Entries in Music (40)


Plants and Animals at Mill's Hardware, Hamilton, ON (04/12/16)



This past Sunday night, in the town of Hamilton, Ontario - Montreal band Plants And Animals took a quick break from their work as support for Half Moon Run to make some magic at the one and only Mill's Hardware.

Mill's Hardware is an incredible event space / concert venue with awesome sound and acoustics and enough space for everyone to enjoy the show comfortably.

We had the pleasure of learning about Plants And Animals many years go, opening for Secret City Records label mate Patrick Watson at the Mod Club in Toronto. We were hooked from the jump - but they have genuinely gone from an awesome band that we dug right away to an absolute force. In ten or so years they have released four full length records and have toured relentlessly.

All of this was clear as day the moment they set foot on stage on Sunday and treated the appreciative crowd to an intimate show comprised of most of the new record Waltzed In From The Rumbling, as well as a glorious selection of classics and favorites and a beautiful Leonard Cohen cover during the encore.

Plants And Animals create raw electricity on stage. It's cliche as hell, but it's true. You will zone out entirely. You will rack your brain to find other bands as captivating. You will love every second of it.

Make sure that you check out and really absorb the new Plants And Animals record. It is absolutely so great. Every song. Make sure you see the band on tour as well. You will be so happy you did.




Calgary Folk Fest 2015

The Calgary Folk Music Festival really is fun for people of all ages - from modern artists that are up and coming to the veterans who've influenced those very artists, to the family zone packed with kids activities while parents enjoy the music and the fine selection of food trucks.  One thing that impressed us was how clean and well organized the festival was.  There was a minimal amount of litter, a recycled plate program and no water bottles were being sold so people were forced to bring water bottles to be refilled at the plentiful water stations.  The bathrooms were well maintained and there was a huge bicycle parking lot - we even saw smokers pocketing their cigarette butts.  

We recommend this music festival to anyone and everyone.  A big thank you to all the sponsors, staff, artists, vendors and volunteers that truly made us feel a sense of community.  Most importantly of course, was the music. We wrote about our five favourite acts of the Calgary Folk Music Festival:


Hawksley Workman - As far as stage presence goes, Hawksley Workman takes the cake.  The Huntsville native goes out of his way to make sure everybody's having a good time even though it's clear he has the most fun.  It's no secret that the talent of his and his band mates of 16 years is always at the forefront and they are so comfortable on stage while he hilariously talks about nonsense with the most comfort and has the ability to give life advice without sounding preachy.   We seriously recommend that you check out Hawksley Workman's new album "Old Cheetah".  We love you Hawksley and hope to see you back next year!

Kid Koala - "The Silliest Show On Earth" in his own words.  The Montreal turntablist brings an all vinyl show to Calgary Folk Music Festival - the famous "Vinyl Vaudeville".  Kid Koala's eclectic mix ranges from metal, 1950's children's records, classic to modern hip hop, blues and everything else.  He shows off the style that he pioneered, scratching melodies and rhythms rather than just rhythms, and brings out flamingo dancers from New York, dressed up robots and even leaves the stage for a minute to put on his very own Koala onesie.  This is a show for people of all ages to get silly too and to join the worlds longest conga line.

Shakey Graves - We were saddened to learn that Patrick Watson came down with pneumonia and was unable to perform but when Shakey Graves got the call to the main stage in his stead, he did not disappoint.  He played his set like he was born for the main stage and from start to finish was most impressive.  When he performed "Roll The Beats" it seemed like every person who was sitting down immediately got up and every single lady in the crowd was dancing.  If we get another chance to see this Austin, Texas singer/songwriter again we will certainly be front and center.

John Butler Trio - We knew that we would be more than impressed with these Aussie roots masters.  We love how sometimes their songs just turn into mind  blowing, long playing, slow burning jam sessions.  At one point during the show John Butler brought up his wife to sing a duet with him called "Jenny", but the highlight of the show was when he played "Ocean" a solo jam that shows his amazing finger picking abilities on a 12 string - if you're not familiar with the song look for a live version of it immediately, and prepare to be blown away.

Black Joe Lewis - Admittedly we weren't as overly prepared for Black Joe Lewis as we would've liked to be. We'll give them the award for band we absolutely love now who we were only kind of familiar with before.  The airtight band from Austin, Texas plays the blues, funk and soul with very high energy with a James Brown influence.  Joe Lewis' voice captivates the audience with highlights "Bitch, I Love You" and "Booty City".  We will be sure to pick up some Black Joe Lewis records, and we highly recommend you do the same. 

Thanks SO much to the Calgary Folk Fest for having us out, 2015 was a smash success and we can't wait for next year!

Photos by Josh & Kyle - Words by Josh



Flosstradamus at Danforth Music Hall 12/5

When the banner emblazoned with opening act GTA's name was taken down after their performance, the stage at Danforth Music Hall revealed a bold new world.  One in which the controlling forces we deal with every day have been removed from power.  One where HDYNATION is everything.  The stage depicts a not so distant future where chaos has taken over, and order restored by thousands holding up their warning signs.

Few artists can honestly say they lead a movement.  In an era where every interaction can be analyzed, and monetized the duo known as Flosstradamus have reinvented themselves creatively and along with taking charge of a new sound they've introduced a new perspective on life.  Within moments of the show's beginning they're calling out to the audience, reminding us we are a family, we are friends who haven't met yet, and we look out for each other.  

As idealistic as that may sound, it's something that you can clearly see makes a lasting impression.  The audience from this show takes that notion with them.  After chants of 'roll up the grass' have faded, the notion that we're all in this together holds on, embedded within the memories of a breathtaking performance.  Flosstradamus impeccably mix a lengthy list of tracks, both their own, heavyweight hip hop, and energetic electronic tunes as well.  The duo trade mc duties seamelssly and in doing so engage their audience on a level that most artists can only dream of.

What is it about the music that makes it so vital to the audience?  Ask around at any stop on the tour and the HDYBOYZ and HDYGIRLZ will be overjoyed to tell you that at one point this music helped motivate them, to inspire them, and to make them feel like a part of something much bigger than them.  Much more powerful.  Something unstoppable...

And isn't that what everyone wants? 


Review: Anderson Paak at Danforth Music Hall 11/10

Part way through his early opening set Anderson Paak announced he was going to perform one of the tracks from 'Venice' differently.  He was about to depart from the usual version of the tune, and his reason was because in his words 'Toronto, we really get each other...'.  This response from the audience to the first performer of the night is a true testament of the power of Paak's music and the enthusiasm of his audience.

Anderson Paak was the first act in a lineup that had the crowd ready to party like it was any day but Monday.  Accompanying Watsky and Kyle on the 'All You Can Do' tour meant that their devoted audience was able to experience the music of 'Venice' up close and personal.  Paak performs with a very talented keyboard player and bassist, lending added dimension to the music.  He also shows the impeccable percussion prowess by playing in addition to singing, and reminding us that this is an artist like none other you've heard before.

Concluding the show with a one of a kind performance, introducing it with an acapella rendition of the chorus and reaching the crescendo on the drums with his band joining in, Paak launches in to 'Drugs'.  The response he elicits is one of wholehearted enthusiasm.  The energy he exudes is mysterious, joyful, and honest.  We are clearly dealing with a performer with so much soul who is passionate about sharing this music.  He went on to perform back up vocals during Watsky's set, and we can only anxiously await the day when Anderson Paak headlines his own tour.

We couldn't be happier to join in...

Get 'Venice' on iTunes or listen below!


Mapei at Kool Haus 9/30

Kool Haus has hosted so many shows over the years, so many memorable performances of absolutely all kinds of music.  Few have made such an impression as a relatively new artist on a cool Tuesday night.  Mapei caught our attention when Smalltown DJ's remixed her single 'Don't Wait'.  The song acheived heavy rotation, and fast.  It's very close to the original mix, and it was a shining moment in her performance.  The balance of her infectious singles and deeper cuts from the debut full length 'Hey Hey' made for a hypnotizing show.

Mapei and her band offered a whole lot more than just a few songs from the album, and the singles.  Between songs they snuck a jazz fueled cover of the Pharoahe Monch classic 'Simon Says', a tune that snapped the audience out of their hypnotic state and into an energetic one.  The band took a creative direction with the arrangements of some of the songs from the way you'll hear it on the record, lending a dynamic, dance filled element to the show.  To top things off a stunning cover of Andre 3000's 'Prototype' caught the crowd at Kool Haus off guard.  Much like the pairing of Mapei on tour with Lykke Li.

The two different sounds made for a truly unique show, one in which the opening act has an optimistic, uplifting feel to a lot of the music.  The hopeful atmosphere at Kool Haus gave way to one that was emotional and intense, the two are so different and yet together each helps the other to shine brighter.  Few shows will be so memorable at a venue that won't be there forever.  Mapei's performance was a brief, beautiful moment, feeling like it happened in the blink of an eye and yet created an indelible memory.