Mini Show Reviews: November 2016

Danny Elfman’s Music from the films of Tim Burton – October 30

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As you may know, I’m a big Tim Burton fan, and one thing I absolutely adore is his collaborations with Danny Elfman. The day before Halloween, I attended the Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s perfomance of select songs from Tim Burton’s movies, including Edward ScissorhandsFrankenweenie, and – the movie everyone was waiting for – The Nightmare Before Christmas. During the songs, they projected scenes from the movies and/or Tim Burton’s original sketches onto a big screen as visual entertainment, but it was really cool to hear some of my favourite film scores live. The ice dance scene from Edward Scissorhands always hits me in the feels, and it was even more emotional watching the orchestra playing it.


LANY – October 30

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I actually won tickets to this concert, which meant I ended up with back-to-back events on the 30th, but I’ve been hearing a lot about LANY, so it was cool to check them out. Opening band Transviolet was interesting – not really my type of music, but cool to see live because they’re really good performers. Their singer looked like a cross between Luna Lovegood, Lorde, and what’s-her-name from The Pretty Reckless (aka Jenny from Gossip Girl), and she was fascinating to watch. Their bass was super heavy, which I usually enjoy, but they probably could have turned it down a notch in such a small space.

LANY has very similar aesthetics (and sounds) to The 1975, so if you’re into Matty Healy and co, you might want to check these guys out. They’re pretty mellow, but some of their songs have a great beat to them – stuff like “Where the Hell are My Friends” and “Like You Lots” (which, to be honest, are the only two songs I remember the names of). They were fun to see live, but I’m not sure if I’d listen to them outside of a club/venue.


The 1975 – November 3

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As you may recall, I saw The 1975 earlier this year, in May. This show was my fifth time seeing them and in the course of three years, they went from playing the Mod Club to playing the ACC – one of the biggest venues in the city. So that’s impressive, but it was also weird to be standing so far away from them…also the fact that the screaming from the fans was about 129790% louder than ever.

The opening act was 070 Shake (I think that’s what she’s called)…she wasn’t really my cup of tea, but she was certainly interesting to watch.

The 1975’s set was as polished and mesmerizing as ever. They played such a great mix of “old” and “new” (I’m OBSESSED with “Loving Someone” now), but they also made the decision to include some of their instrumental tracks, which I thought was an odd choice. On the one hand, it’s nice to hear them live and watch the band jam out to the them, but then, as an audience member, you can’t really do much during those 3-5 minutes. Also the fact that they could have included other older songs (like “The City” or “Settle Down”).

During the encore, Matty asked the crowd to sing “Happy Birthday” for his 80 year old grandad so he could film it…and as a “thank you” for indulging him, they played “Robbers“, which they haven’t been playing this tour!! Of course it was magical, and the “now everybody’s dead” line is still spine-tingling. 100% recommend seeing The 1975 live, though now you’ll have to be prepared to pay arena-sized prices.


Crown the Empire – November 18

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I was supposed to see Simple Plan on the 18th, but they postponed until March, and, long story short, I decided to see Crown the Empire that night instead. My sister and I have been listening to them for a few years, but we’ve managed to miss them every time they’re in town. So apart from a short set at Warped this summer, we’ve never seen them live, and we needed to get it out of our system.

We got there mid-way through blessthefall’s set – they were good, not really what I expected (I’ve only heard a handful of their songs), but nothing mind-blowing either. The crowd seemed to love them though.

Crown the Empire came on at 9:40 and I was a little disappointed that they only played an hour. There was a lot of stuff from their latest album, Retrograde, which is super mellow compared to their older albums. The highlight for me was when they played “The Fallout” (the song that first introduced me to CTE) right before the encore. And while I like “Millennia“, I’m not entirely sure why they decided to slow the set down.

Overall, they were good but not great. I’m glad I got a chance to see them live, but I probably won’t run for tickets the next time they’re in town. Also, where the heck is Dave?


Biffy Clyro – November 25

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When I was in Dublin at the end of November, my sister andI saw Biffy Clyro at 3 Arena. First of all, that place is HUGE. Secondly, Biffy always puts on an incredible show – everything from their explosive opening song “Wolves of Winter” to their brilliant (in multiple ways) light show. They played a lot of my faves and my sister lost it when they started “JustBoy”. They’re such polished performers and you’d be lucky to catch them live to see what a real rock show is like.

Meanwhile, Brand New opened for them and, while they were decent, they weren’t great. Their set was designed to appeal to hardcore BN fans and the majority of the audience couldn’t have cared less. I’m a casual BN fan so i was disappointed when they sped through my favourite song “Sic Transit Gloria” but then played a 12 minute outro. As a headliner, they would have been impressive; as an opening band, they seemed to waste their time on being Artists and not actually making an effort to appeal to people who may not have listened to them before.


Phil Coulter – November 26

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Also in Dublin, we went to Dun Laoghaire (sorta of a suburb type place, 20 minutes from the city centre), to see my dad’s favourite musician, Phil Coulter, an Irish legend, perform. It was a two hour long show that included a mini intermission; most of the perfromance was Mr. Coulter sitting at a piano and chatting with the audience before delighting our ears with some of his original compositions (including my favourite, “Coultergeist“) as well as classic Christmas tunes (such as “Silent Night“, with his wife Geraldine singing). Another guest included a former Celtic Thunder member, Paul Byrom, who serenaded us with songs that Phil wrote for him.

We sat in the third row and even got a shout out from Phil himself who had been told that we’d travelled all the way from Canada to see him (he never plays here). It was a mellow evening, but we were all stoked to hear (and later meet!) the man who usually soundtracks our Sunday nights at home.


Hands Like Houses – November 30

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We’ve seen Hands Like Houses twice but both times it was a short set so we were excited to see them headline. Opening band The Color Morale was pretty good; I saw part of their set at Warped a couple of years ago but haven’t really gotten into them. Next was Our Last Night; I’m more familiar with their covers but I recognized quite a few of the songs they played, including “Road to the Throne”, and their cover of “Cold Water”, featuring The Color Morale’s Garrett and Hands Like Houses’ Trenton, was fantastic.

HLH was, of course, amazing. They were energetic and lively and the entire club was sweating like nobody’s business within minutes of them taking the stage. They played a lot of songs from their most recent album, Dissonants, including lead single “I Am” and “Colourblind” (which I love), and older songs like “A Tale of Outer Suburbia“. Basically, the show was 10/10 and I would absolutely see them again (and not just because the lead singer is cute)!

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Versatile Blogger Award!

I realize this is like my 1354068th post of the day, but you guys! The very kind Laura (Tea Time Reads) nominated me for the Versatile Blogger Award! This was most unexpected, but I feel absurdly honoured. Thanks, Laura! Please go check out her blog! :)

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How it works:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
  2. Share 10 random facts about yourself
  3. Nominate 10 other bloggers who are relatively new to blogging (& you like!)

So here are 10 Random Facts About Me:

  1. “bellsiebooks” was coined by my oldest niece. My eldest sister (I have two sisters and a brother) nicknamed me Bella when I was little; when my niece was about 3, she realized that “Bella” and “book” both start with a “b”, so she combined it and pronounced it to be my new name.
  2. I’m currently interning at a children’s book publisher, and I can honestly say it’s my dream job. I live for YA and children’s books.
  3. I also dream of being an author; I’ve written one YA novel so far (though it’s in it’s fourth major revision), and I have about 10 other ideas floating around in various states (some have about 50 rough pages, while others are no more than a named document).
  4. I love love LOVE music and going to concerts. If I come home sweaty and/or without a voice, then I know it’s been a good show.
  5. My favourite movie of all time is The Nightmare Before Christmas. I love Tim Burton and I’m trying to watch all of his movies (I own most of them).
  6. I often work Adventure Time quotes or Scrubs references into every day conversation. And I somehow manage to turn almost any music-based conversation into a discussion about You Me At Six.
  7. I currently have three tattoos, have a consultation booked for a fourth, and have plans for at least five more. In my spare time, I fantasize about having enough money to spend on a full-coloured sleeve.
  8. I have a ridiculous collection of tea, most of it from England. Twinings Earl Grey was the first flavour I liked and it’s still one of my favourites.
  9. I also have a ridiculous collection of Converse sneakers, and one day I hope to have one pair of shoes for every colour of the rainbow.
  10. Sometimes I write for idobi radio (an alternative/pop-punk online radio station), and recently I’ve been collaborating with my friend Jane on music reviews (so far we’ve done a review of a Bleachers concert, and a track-by-track discussion of Fall Out Boy’s American Beauty/American Psycho).

Nominations:

I don’t know that many blogs, so I’ve picked five random ones that I follow :)
Steam Punk, On the Edge of Food-vention
Starlight Daydreamer
A Baked Creation
Books For MKS
Vital Endeavor
BONUS (because she was also nominated by Laura!)
Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Books

This is Halloween

Happy Halloween!!

If you’ve ever met me, it should come as no surprise to learn that I am a huge Tim Burton fan.

My obsession started with The Nightmare Before Christmas (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary!!!!)

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The eternal question.

Personally, I like watching it all year, but if I had to choose, I’d watch it in November (Ro recently said that most Tim Burton movies are perfect for “American Thanksgiving” – right between Halloween and Christmas!).

I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw it. To be honest, I don’t think it really stuck with me until I re-watched it when I was about 12 or 13. And I can’t quite explain why it means so much to me.

For one, it’s absolutely beautiful and took an absurdly long time to make (approximately one minute of the movie took almost an entire week to film!).

Plus, I just love the story. The idea that Jack, tired of being the “Pumpkin King”, discovers Christmas and decides he has to experience it in his own way (Christmas is my favourite holiday). Maybe it’s the whole identity quest thing – is Jack better suited as a Pumpkin King or a Sandy Claws? What lesson will he learn at the end of this experiment? etc etc

I don’t know. I try not to over-analyze it because I don’t want to ruin it.

Then there are the songs, which I sing all year ’round (thanks, Danny Elfman):

Not only is this one of the best songs of the movie, but this particular version is a cover by one of my favourite bands, Panic! at the Disco!!

Of course, my favourite character is Jack Skellington himself:

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Jack’s first scene. I squeal every time.

He’s tall and lanky and has musical tendencies. If he was real (i.e. not a skeleton), he would be my ideal man (he still kinda is…).

He’s also ambitious and intelligent and optimistic and generally a fantastic hero.

And now it just sounds like I’m fangirling over an animated character, so I’m going to stop before I make things weird.

Long story short: this is my most favourite movie of all time. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to give it a chance. Even if you think it’s cheesy or lame or whatever, I think everyone can appreciate the amount of effort that went into making this beautiful film.