Tag Archives: Canadian

Playlist Progress

I’m nearly there naming all 26 alphabet playlists. I wanted to share with you my 80’s playlist which isn’t actually part of the alphabet playlist (yet) but spawned from a fun night on facebook with new and old friends throwing out their fav 80’s tunes. The plan for the 80’s playlist is to morph into the N spot – Nine – this is me in Grade Nine, which will me more of an early high school playlist of late 80’s tunes.

But for now here is the playlist that I call ‘Pynx’ after the all-ages night club I went to and heard some of these songs for the first time!

Alphabetical Order of course!!

ABC – Poison Arrow
Alphaville – Forever Young
Animotion – Obsession
Asia – Heat of the Moment
The Bangles – Hazy Shade of Winter
The Beastie Boys – She’s Crafty
The Beastie Boys – Girls
Blondie – One Way or Another
Bonnie Tyler – I need a Hero
Bonnie Tyler – Total Eclipse of the Heart
Bootsauce – Masterstroke

Bow Wow Wow – I want Candy
Boys Don’t Cry – I Wanna Be a Cowboy
Bronski Beat – Smalltown Boy
Bruce Springsteen – Born in the USA
Buggles – Video Killed the Radio Star
C&C Music Factory – Gonna Make you Sweat
The Cars – Drive
The Cars – My Bestfriend’s Girl
The Church – Under the Milky Way
Cindy Lauper – True Colours
Cindy Lauper – Time After Time
Cindy Lauper – Girls just Wanna have Fun
Concrete Blonde – Joey
Corey Hart – Sunglasses at night
Cowboy Junkies – Misguided Angel

Crowded House – Don’t Dream it’s Over
Culture Club – Karma Chameleon
The Cure – Pictures of You
The Cure – Just like Heaven
The Cure – Why Can’t I Be You?

Cutting Crew – I Just Died in Your Arms
David Bowie – Heros
Dead or Alive – You Spin Me Round
Debbie Deb – When I hear Music
Deee-Lite – Groove is in the Heart

Depeche Mode – Behind the Wheel
Depeche Mode – People are People
Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence
Devo – whip it
Dexy’s Midnight Runners – Come on Eileen
Duran Duran – Rio
Duran Duran – Hungry Like The Wolf
Eddie Murphy – Party all the Time
The English Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom

Eurythmics – Would I Lie to You?
Flashdance – What A Feeling
Footloose – Let’s Hear it for the Boy
General Public – Tenderness

The Go Go’s – Our Lips are Sealed
The Go Go’s – We Got the Beat
Grandmaster Flash – The Message
The Gruesomes – Hey
Heart – Alone
Heart – What About Love
Howard Jones – No one is to Blame
Huevos Rancheros – Get Outta Dodge
In a Big Country – Big Country
Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills
Jackson Five – I Want you Back
Jane Siberry – Mimi on the Beach

Janet Jackson – Nasty
Jefferson Starship – We Built this City
Jesus & Mary Chain – Just Like Honey
Joan Jett – I Love Rock n’ Roll
John Cougar Mellencamp – Jack and Diane\
John Cougar Mellencamp – Crumblin’ Down
John Waite – Missing You
Kate Bush – Running up that Hill
Kim Wilde – Kids in America
Love & Rockets – Ball of Confusion

Madonna – Crazy for you
Martha & the Muffins – Echo Beach
Men At Work – Who can it Be Now
Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
Micheal Jackson – Wanna Be Startin’ Something
Midge Ure – If I was
Midnight Oil – Beds are Burning
Modern English – I’ll Melt with You
Mr. Mister – Broken Wings
Nena – 99 Luftballoons
New Order – True Faith
New Order – Bizzare Love Triangle

New Order – Temptation
Oingo Boingo – Weird Science
Olivia Newton-John – Physical
Pat Benatar – Love is a Battlefield
Patrick Swayze – She’s Like the Wind
Paula Abdul – Rush, Rush
Pet Shop Boys – Always on my Mind
Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes
Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight
Platinum Blonde – It Doesn’t Really Matter

Platinum Blonde – Not in Love
The Pointer Sisters – Neutron Dance
The Police – Can’t Stand Losing
The Police – Don’t Stand so Close to Me

The Police – Every little Thing She Does is Magic
Prince – Let’s go Crazy
Prince – I would Die 4 U
Prince – Purple Rain
Prince – When Doves Cry
Prince – 1999
Pyschedelic Furs – Heaven
The Pursuit of Happiness – She’s So Young
Queen – Fat Bottomed Girls
REM – Superman
REM – Radio Free Europe

Rob Base & DJ EZ Rock – It Takes Two
Robert Palmer – Addicted to Love
Run DMC – It’s Tricky
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet – Having an Average Weekend
Sheena Easton – 9 to 5
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – Love Missile F-11
Sigue Sigue Sputnik – 21st Century Boy
Simple Minds – Alive and Kicking
Simply Red – Holding Back the Years
Sinead O’Connor – Mandinka

Slade – Run Run Away
The Smiths – The Queen is Dead
The Smiths – This Charming Man
The Smiths – How Soon is Now?

Soft Cell – Tainted Love
Spandau Ballet – True
The Spoons – Nova Heart
Specials – A Message to Rudy
Split Enz – Romantic Traffic
Sugarcubes – Birthday
Talking Heads – And She Was
Talking Heads – Burning Down the House

Talking Heads – Once in a Lifetime
Tears for Fears – Change
Technotronic – Pump up the Jam
Thomas Dolby – She Blinded Me with Science
Thompson Twins – Hold Me Now
Til Tuesday – Voices Carry
Tina Turner – What’s Love Got to Do with it
Tone Loc – Wild Thing
Tone Loc – Funky Cold Medina
Toto – Africa
Toni Basil – Mickey
U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday

U2 – With or Without You
Ultravox – Dancing with Tears in My Eyes
Van Halen – Jump
Violent Femmes – Blister in the Sun
Wall of Voodoo – Mexican Radio
Whale – Hobo Humpin Slobo Babe

Wham – Wake Me up Before you Go go
XTC – Dear God
Young MC – Bust a Move

11:59 – Part Goo

I’m sure if you’ve been following along and casually reading Beat & Lyric you will sense a recurring theme. Well it isn’t exclusively ‘Ryan Star’ but he does play a major role, and so does bacon. Bacon I will however leave to the quirky foodie Betty because that is right up her alley.

Ryan Star shot by Marti Taylor-Dee, Erie PA 11-13-11

It’s all about connection, a connect-the-dots drawing that is a map of creativity that crosses paths, builds bridges between minds, colours blending and emerging in light and sound. Betty & I are sharing the sound, sharing our words and thoughts here and with every show we see, or trip we take the map gets larger, the paint on the canvas thickens, and the connection(s) electrify.

Erie, Pennsylvania is an interesting city, the lake city as it is sometimes known on the southern American shore of Lake Erie. Erie the next destination on the Beat & Lyric concert tour. This trip, the second cross-border trip, the third with Betty by my side was a true road trip. In the car early on Saturday morning, drive-thru for a caffeine fix, playlist made and plugged into the car, Google maps printed and in the hands of navigator Betty Beat.

The trip focus was of course a show. Sunday night, November 13th we had tickets to see The Goo Goo Dolls close for Ryan Star. This is how we ‘fanatical fans’ of Ryan were referring to his 6 week tour with Buffalo bar-band gone big time The Goo Goo Dolls. Thinking back to my ‘cd’ collection I did recall purchasing ‘Superstar Carwash’ in 1993 and enjoying the entire album, especially ‘we are the normal’. I would have to dust off the collection and look through, I could own ‘A Boy Named Goo’ & ‘Dizzy up the Girl’ but I’m sure that anything after Iris would be unrecognizable to my ears.

I don’t think I have to reiterate the love that both Betty & I have for Ryan, his music, and his entourage. I think we have established that in the three previous 11:59 blog posts. The trip was uneventful for the first part of Saturday morning, we made record time to the border, but it seemed that every Canadian uber shopper was heading into the USA for ‘deals’. An hour weight time at customs, luckily we had taken advantage of the Duty Free Bathrooms on the Canadian side and scored a sweet deal on fancy bacon-flavoured vodka.

Shopping in the USA is different than Canada, especially outlet shopping. There is a sense of urgency and if you don’t break the ice early with a purchase you lose momentum. Betty scored boots at a very reasonable price in the first store…..I however did not. At that point I should have realized that my very narrow perimeters for the style, colour and feel of the boot I was after, would be my downfall in finding a deal. Hence I came home bootless. I did however nearly complete my Christmas shopping for the plethora of nieces and nephews my siblings and sibling-in-laws have blessed me with, that was the goal.

Just before we embarked on the second leg of the road trip, something worth mentioning – running into people in a mall in another country hours away from home that we know, well that Betty knew. A friend /co-worker of Betty’s with his wife were at the outlet mall, and she spotted them from across the busy food-court. Not a strange coincidence as the place was likely packed with Canadians, but still a chance meeting all the same and another ‘connection’ to solidify the recurring theme. I wonder if they like bacon?

Leg#2 – driving from Niagara to Erie. Playlist = Florence + The Machine – Ceremonials. We both had been skipping around the new album at home but never listened from beginning to end. We did on this leg of the journey and the conclusion is that both Betty and I have different favourites but have the same dislikes about the album. We arrived in Erie after listening to many different tunes, and we found out that both have a love of Dinosaur Jr. and car-danced to Start Choppin’, what a great driving tune. I think I may have even peaked Betty’s interest when Buffalo Tom came on in the rotation, we went from brand new to kickin’ it old school in a matter of hours. Every good road trip playlist needs a great mix of old and new….if only we could get our hands on some good soul music, anyone have a Gerald Levert mp3 they care to share?

I’m going to fast forward here as we arrive in Erie, checked into hotel, found a rather unassuming chain-type restaurant to eat, and then crashed. Noteworthy is the hotel in downtown Erie – sketchy place but dirt cheap and there is bacon and it’s free!!!!!! Seriously free bacon makes you overlook the downsides of a cheap hotel – the copious amounts of pigeon shit in the parking garage, the broken elevator, the stained carpets and sketchy bedspreads, and the gaggle of drag queens hanging out in the lobby (I did really like one of the gal’s boots, perhaps I should have found out where she got them).

Sunday was about Target, but not before we indulged in the free bacon buffet in the hotel restaurant. Target didn’t know what hit them, and when we returned to the hotel our room was littered with red-dotted plastic bags (keep in mind we will be reusing these bags and that in Canada they are recycled so we lugged them home to do our part.)

The afternoon and evening was spent twittering with other rstar fans in hopes to meet up for drinks before the show. We managed a dinner near the venue and a few cocktails to liven us up, and then off to the show. The Warner Theatre is a gorgeous old venue, and much reminds me of the Capitol Theatre in my hometown – nostalgia crept in. We found our seats and were pleasantly surprised by the view we would have of the stage. Old theatres really don’t have a bad seat in the house.

Tradition has been started and typically it is an ‘expensive’ shot/shooter at the venue bar, weren’t we mildly delighted when the bartender poured us double-shots and only charged us $10! Suddenly Erie, PA went up a notch!

The opening act – well, he was fabulous. When the set first started it was only Betty & I along with only a few others in the crowd standing. We didn’t care, we were here to see Ryan and there was no way I would/could sit through it. By the end Ryan had them on their feet! The sound in the theatre was great, or at least from my seat it was great…we sang, we danced, we grooved…..it was all too short. I was thrilled to be able to experience ‘Stay A While’ live so I give you a video of that night’s performance. Thanks to my twitter peeps for posting this one.

Set list – Brand New Day, Right Now, 11:59, Last Train Home, Psycho Suicidal Girl, Breathe, Stay A While, Start A Fire, Back of Your Car

After Ryan’s set we meandered out to the lobby knowing that he’d be at the Merchandise table to meet and greet. We had already chatted with the lovely Michelle pre-show and it was nice to re-connect in person after meeting her all those years ago in Toronto. My one regret from the NYC show is not making my way over to chat with her, there was so much going on that night that I never really even had a chance to say ‘hi’. She’s a doll, so if anyone out there hasn’t chatted her up, take the time, she doesn’t bite!

We caught some of the Goo Goo Doll’s set and it was lovely. Didn’t hate, didn’t love….but like I said earlier they have been off my radar for some time so my opinion on them is irrelevant, the venue was packed and their fans were rockin’ so that to me is a testament that they’ve had staying power.

We made our way out and chatted with the rstar crew. I was thrilled to get a giant hug from Serena, another absolute doll in the rstar crew, I imagine that I if I lived in NYC that we’d be sharing cocktails and cupcakes on a regular basis. As the show let out and people were milling about in the lobby it felt like a cocktail party. Mingle with people, chat with old friends kind of cocktail party. We managed to meet only half the band, Artie & Eli, as Dan & Dallin were perhaps meant for the next show. Artie is a character and he made me laugh, I’m not sure if his telling me my proper use of the word ‘loitering’ was a compliment or not?!? Marti, a friend of Ryan’s and a twitter peep was also great person to finally meet – she’s an artful soul with a great creative vibe – she was kind enough to give me permission to post one of her shots of Ryan from that night’s show (see top of this post) http://martitaylordee.com/

Betty and I were lucky enough to get some great face time with Ryan – we chatted like old friends and I believe he truly appreciates each and every fan new and old. He’s a man with no pretentious bones in his body and I have a feeling that I will be rocking to his tunes for years to come – firstly because I love his work and secondly but he’s a gracious creative soul that connects with the people around him on another level.


11:59 (Part Two)

For 11:59 (Part One) – here http://beatandlyric.com/2011/07/11/an-1159-part-one/

Apparently the gestation period for blogging about a whirlwind trip to NYC to see a concert you were supposed to see in November is 9 months. I’ve reported the gist of the trip to friends and family, posted the pictures on Facebook for my inner circle to see, the ‘story’ has never been out there for the world (at the least the small part that reads what I write). I’m sure now, 9 months later it has solid lungs, it has 10 fingers, 10 toes and is ready for entry.

I must give credit, where credit is due. It’s all Lindsay’s fault. Chatting one night in October 2010, I mentioned that Ryan Star was playing a show in NYC the same weekend we had contemplated doing a road trip to Montreal (American Thanksgiving). Her response “let’s go there instead”. I had a ‘you don’t have to ask me twice’ light go off in my head and plans were made. Show tickets purchased, flights booked, swanky accommodations arranged. Excitement ensued.

Nine days, seriously nine days before departure news came that the show was being post-ponded until January 18th. I felt like the kid at Christmas that opens a present to find pajamas, the kid that opens the brown paper bag to find a ‘healthy’ lunch – total lunch-bag letdown. I’m not going to dwell on my disappointment as we went anyways and had a great weekend seeing the city.

Our accommodations were extraordinary (thank you Andrew) an apartment on the UWS, a terrace and roof-top access with a view of the park, Starbucks within spitting distance and an awesome breakfast joint perfect for indulging after a run through one of the most famous green spaces in the world. *Sigh*. We went, we had fun but there was unfinished business and I felt it brewing on the flight home.

Refunds for the concert tickets were available, but I couldn’t bring myself to cut the tie. I was willing to eat the cash in hopes that just maybe last minute plans could be made. The internal struggle became a battle in my head. A Tuesday night in January was difficult for me to get to Toronto so NYC was an entirely different dimension. Lindsay was a firm ‘no’ much to my dismay for she was an awesome travelling companion, even with her directionally challenged limitations, as January was her busiest time at work. I contemplated a trip alone, I looked into cheap hotels in the Webster Hall area and then I put it out to my inner circle. I received lots of “oh I would love to see Ryan’s show but it’s too far to travel on a weeknight” or “are you crazy?”

Right before the Christmas holidays I started to concede that this wasn’t going to happen. I was coming to terms with tucking the tickets away and forgetting about the show and continuing with the waiting game for a Toronto or Montreal date. But then a carrot appeared, a shiny golden carrot was dangled in front of me. Gambit and Hesta Prynn were announced as openers. Crawling out from her hole was Betty Beat, she caught a glimpse of the shiny and was in hot pursuit of the light.

Flights booked.

January 17, 2011 – weather forecast for January 18 in Muskoka is bleak. I realize I cannot risk missing a plane because the weather in my area is sucky. I make my way to Toronto a day early to avoid freezing rain and snow. I am eternally thankful for friends like Lindsay who live pretty much right next door to Toronto Island Airport. I arrive in Toronto with no problems, get myself a good night’s sleep and wake up ready for adventure.

Check flight – some delays.

UGH. No f*cking way. The threat of an ice storm in the New York vicinity is causing Porter Airlines to condense their flight schedule. I make the decision to head to the airport and meet Betty there and try and get on an earlier flight so at least we are in the city not worrying one bit if we can’t get out. Works like a charm, and no charge for changing flights either…..sweet!

Security on the other hand isn’t so easy. Porter Airlines is mainly a business class airline shuttling business types between Toronto, Boston, New York and Chicago. Two women travelling with no brief case, no business attire going to New York City for the day is apparently suspicious. We get tagged for full-on body scan and baggage search. They find nothing, because we are good girls and we are on our merry way. Side note: Porter Ginger cookies are the best and not just because they are free.

We get on the plane, get seated and continue to bounce in our seats from excitement. No wait that was turbulence! It was a bouncy ride the entire way to Newark…and not the good kind of bounce. Our descent seemed like eons, I do suspect anticipation was holding the clock still. We get through customs with no real problems, small rookie mistake of being slightly too chatty with the customs officer. I will forever adhere to the First Rule of Customs Chit Chat – THERE IS NO CHIT CHAT. Thankfully dude was as charming as charming
can be when you are in ‘customs’. Again, I suspect anticipation to be the culprit.

The train, oh the lovely retro train into Penn Station, it’s not the clickety clack type train that Sheldon Cooper loves, and likely we weren’t sitting in the optimal seats but we were just lucky to be seated. We arrive at Penn Station. Having been in this location previously I take charge and lead Betty along. Betty’s thoughts upon arrival “The NYC subway is CRAZY. And damp when it rains. Like crazy damp/wet. And dirty. It’s interesting that everything is so old and interesting, but it’s so DIRTY. And the decay is crazy. And the subway is filled with cops (in some cases, hot cops). And I’m eternally grateful for iPhone apps that help you with the subways because it puts Toronto’s 2-line system to shame. The good thing is neither Lila nor I had any moments of panic or anything when we got turned around. It was all very chill and “meh, let’s just backtrack a bit.”

My reflections on those moments leading up to and arriving in New York City now nine months later are strange. I do love the spontaneity but it doesn’t seem like a trip two thirtysomething-year-olds with kids(dogs), husbands, mortgages and that day-to-day life embark on. I think that is what makes it strangely special that it’s seemingly out-of-the-ordinary for woman like Betty and myself to even want to do a whirlwind trip like this, and it takes me back to a ‘moment’ that is significant. It’s an 11:59 moment that I didn’t know I had until reflecting right here, right now. Mrs. Wilson, Grade 11 art class, BCI – she was ‘that’ teacher, her job was to teach me the fundamentals of art, but she guided me creatively, she gave me the foundation for living in the moment. I arrived one day in class with red hair, a nice mahogany. I remember her watching me from across the room and sauntering over as I layered the thick oil paint onto canvas. She put on that art teacher look and examined my work and said “I really like the red” as she looked at the canvas. I was painting with blue. I looked at her from the corner of my eye perplexed and she continued “the hair, not the paint. I see you as the girl that keeps them guessing, just when they figure you out you go and change”. Nothing else was said but that is a moment that will live with me until the day I die, an 11:59. Perhaps my ramblings about Mrs. Wilson’s prophecies are a way of connecting the dots, connecting my youth to those moments on the night of January 18, 2011 more than 20 years later.

As we wandered around Penn Station looking for the train to take us to the vintage store that I had decided would be a fun addition to our day in the city I got a little cocky. Got on the train, the right train, got off at the right location, and then it started to turn. The store was nowhere to be found. Frantically we wander back and forth between a two to three block radius….in the rain no less. I made no ‘notes’ this trip, no intinerary….just Betty, me and my trusty phone. I realize as I look at the website for the vintage store on the small screen of my iPhone – I’m not all that and a bag of chips when it comes to navigation and travelling in a very large city. The store location – Brooklyn – not Manhattan. Lesson learned, Plan B in affect.

Plan B was non-existent, so we improvise. Jump in a cab and head to the area of Webster Hall. Food at this point is necessary. We find a noodle house and stuff our faces, drink a little and dry out (from the rain, we are drinking cocktails). Time starts to get the better of us and we leave, find a place to charge phones (Starbucks), then because this particular coffee house has the most disgusting bathrooms ever we wander again in search of a pleasant facility in order to change. Nordstom’s is the place to be….quite lovely.

We get to Webster Hall, get in line, get into the venue, and beeline for the bar and get a cocktail. Gambit plays first. The energy was amazing and both Betty and I were thrilled to see them live after many many rotations of their songs on our iPods. Lyle chatted with us after their set and thanked us for coming out early to see them. Well of course we were, he sent me stickers in the mail and we tagged Toronto with Gambit QR codes, it was mandatory that we be there in time to see this set. We sing along ‘don’t you keep your feet on the ground’……we live by this everyday. Gambit gives away tunes right now, so I suggest you click here www.gambitofficial.com and download now. Twitter feeds gambitofficial and email teasers suggest new music coming really really soon.

Hesta Prynn, the sexy flaming redhead that can sing, rap and dance, was up next. Describing Hesta Prynn and her music in one word ‘stylin’ – she’s uber cool and can belt it out. She’s describes herself on her website “I’m a child of the ’90s. I take all of these different sounds, influences and genres and come up with something cohesive and tangible. We kept calling it ‘post-everything.’ It’s post-hipster, post-genre and post-pop.” We’ve talked about her many times at Beat & Lyric, and it’s because we love her, she is fabulous. Many HP tunes are on my running playlist and now my EP even says ‘run fast’. Thank you HP, you get me up so many hills. There is much talk of new tunes on her twitter feed @hestaprynnmusic and her website www.hestaprynn.com Please check her out, you won’t be disappointed.

Band # 3, Hot Chelle Rae. While I liked them and looked them up after the show, I must say that they didn’t stick with me. They had a good set and it helped build anticipation within the crowd. I’m still not sure over 9 months later why they didn’t stick, perhaps they are a bit too pop, too much like everything else out there and there wasn’t a connection between me the concert goer and them the band. The other two openers were already on my iPod, they were friends and part of the inner-circle of the main attraction – Ryan Star – so perhaps I am discounting them for lack of knowing. Don’t let me influence you though, check them out www.hotchellerae.com

The main event – www.rstar.net Ryan’s set is EXPLOSIVE. After years of me wondering if I was insane to have this connection the music, always thinking perhaps I was delusional, perhaps it wasn’t as ‘good’ as I thought it was…..there was Betty transfixed and totally being drawn in by the music, by the passion. It was a moment of vindication and I was squealing with delight – it may even have been out loud. The set (thanks @videethis) Brand New Day, Right Now, 11:59, Waiting for Love, Last Train Home, Breathe, Psycho Suicidal Girls, The One You Know, Take a Ride, We Can Work it Out (nice Beatles tribute), Start a Fire, then the encore of Sink or Swim and Back of your Car, although somewhere in there was Losing My Religion came out, I know I heard it. I can’t say I hated any of it (and why would I?), the Beatles cover was a nice surprise but honestly I would have rather one my Youtube favourites that I have seen Ryan pull of – Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows. I suppose too melancholy for such an intense show? If the first three songs were a blur, then Waiting for Love snapped me back to reality, I still feel that song resonate through my ribcage from the night – the anticipation as it began, the arrangement live turns this ‘notsofavouriteonthealbumtune’ into one of the best of Ryan’s in live performance. I want to label this my favourite of the night, I want to but 9ish months later it’s hard to pinpoint, can I get a rewind and play again to make sure? I will remain non-commital.

Here is “Breathe” from that night straight from my iPhone.

Fast Forward to after the set.

Ryan is immediately at the Merchandise table to meet and greet fans (it’s his thing). We sort of stay back a bit but weasel up in a different direction. We are standing there watching him chit chat with others, sign things etc. He’s getting pulled in every direction because there are so many people that are friends, his family is there too. He was very gracious and did what he could to keep up.

At one point when I was standing RIGHT next to him the security person from the venue starts separating the crowd and telling them there will be no more – they want to close. Ryan of course pipes up “don’t yell at them please” then directs his attention to the herd getting booted “stick around outside, I will be out soon and will sign and chit chat more out there’.

My thoughts are no way am I waiting around in the rain so I grab his arm (nicely) and put my hand in his and say “He Ryan, we met back in Toronto when you played there, we flew in for your show tonight”. His jawdrops and he says “you came all the way from Canada?” then pulls his hand out of mine and gives me a hug.

He signs my CD cover, takes a photo, does the same with Betty and then thanks us for coming all that way. At this point I decide to go in for the kill.

Dino, I thank you for this.

I said “Ryan, I’m not sure how much you know about the lecture series that you may have a potential invite for at McGill in Montreal”. He looks at me with intrigue and then I say “my friend is the one that works there and I am the one that had her submit your name’.

Again the jawdrop. He says “THAT WAS YOU? Your awesome for doing that, I love when my fans do stuff like that” (insert giant hug #2 – not that I was counting).

At this point he says “there is an after party, Canada needs to come” pointing at me and Beth. Beth of course got her hugs too….as she was a ‘show virgin’ as he put it. I asked him where the ‘after party’ was and I he said ‘I will let you know’ but apparently he said “I will tweet the address”. He did tweet the address for others, and of course we made our way there.

I’m not going to bore you with the details of the after-party, how we made our way on foot there, or Ryan leading a band of young girls too young for the after-party outside the show in a thrilling rendition of “Oh Canada” but I will say a few things about Ryan’s amazing friends. Stoney is quite the conversationalist and I was glad to chat with him again, Serena is a sweet-heart and I am glad that we still connect online from time to time since this show.

I do want to tell you about our adventure after the after-party though. The cab ride to Newark was stinky, Mr. Cab Driver had the worst gas…..hard to sleep through. Homeless poets wondering the Food Court make for good stories and giving him the last of our US money likely bought us some karma with security coming back to Canada. Canadian Customs are just as suspicious of our travel habits as the guards entering the US. Good girls have nothing to worry about, even if they don’t declare the concert shirts and CDs they purchased (well one was a freebie).

A new adventure is on the horizon. Betty and I are making our way to Erie Pennsylvania to see Ryan open for the Goo Goo Dolls, shopping will happen this trip and we will subject two friends (if I can find any that don’t suck) to an RStar show, we will make them drink the cool-aid.

I leave you with a promise, a promise that Betty Beat will post a list, a giant list of her thoughts on the NYC overnight R-Star adventure. I know she will, and if she doesn’t then I will sell her ticket to the next adventure to the highest bidder 😉

~Lila Lyric

A night of velvety goodness…

Typically I don’t get to see many shows unless I travel south.  So when my good friend Nom sends me a message about an art gallery (The Bohemian Gallery in Bracebridge) she is affiliated with is hosting musicians now for small intimate gigs then I jump at the chance.   Nom and I share many music likes (and dislikes) and she fits in with the groove that Betty Beat and I dance too.  I trusted that she wouldn’t take me to some off-the-wall artsy fartsy gig, and she didn’t.  Tammy at The Bohemian Gallery is a sweetheart and makes a mean cup o’ Joe, I will return.

The gig consisted of two young folk musicians.  Two cute Canadian boys from British Columbia, travelling across the country playing their tunes for anyone that will really listen, well I really listened.  I love their vibe, I loved their gumption to just travel and play anywhere.

First up – My Boy Rascal – Nom gave me a bit a background as she had youtubed to get a feel for what we were getting into that night.  She was bang on – he did have a Ben Harper vibe.  He played an eight song ‘unplugged’ set and I was a fan right at the first tune “OK”.  Nom and I had been chatting and prior to the show about cover songs, about the new show Cover Me Canada and about Betty’s previous blog post about covers and over-played music at her  job.  We were talking Alannah Myles and Black Velvet.    My Boy Rascal softly says after he played three original songs ‘this is a cover of a Canadian Classic, I think you will know it’.  I leaned to Nom and said ‘Black Velvet’ before one note was even played.  I nearly spit coffee across the gallery when I heard “Mississippi in the middle of a dry spell’.  Seriously, I must be musically psychic.  I loved it, even if I couldn’t look at Nom as she was red-faced and on the verge of tears.  It was a funny moment for us, but in an art gallery immersed in the mellow vibe of an amazing musician we had to contain it, we did and all was good.

Next up – Folk Thief – The first note in gave me the chill, the chill of nostalgia and he is clearly influenced by the country folk twang of Johnny Cash.   As I’ve blogged before, JC is a huge reminder of my Grandpa Smith, and I always appreciate the memory.   I didn’t just love Folk Thief’s tunes – the nine song set was completely original music, but his interaction with his intimate audience (and vibrant wee babe) was charming and entertaining.  The shoe stompin’ on the guitar case, the squeal of the strings all added to the great set. 

The final was a song where both My Boy Rascal and Folk Thief played together and it was a great close to the evening.

I’m a fan, and I will follow these boys virtual as the finish out their tour.  Look them up and give them a listen.

My Boy Rascal – http://music.myboyrascal.com/

Folk Thief – http://folkthief.com/home.cfm

And keeping in the ‘if you post/tweet it, I will listen’ theme of things, I found My Boy Rascal had posted a youtube video of ‘Black Velvet’




An 11:59 (Part One)

Today I spend less time worrying about what people think of me. I’ve realized there are few on this earth that get me and those that don’t I hope don’t judge and those that judge are insignificant in my life and won’t likely make my circle.

I like the word hipster, it sounds like someone I’d want to know, even though I think labels are useless the word hipster appeals to me. I’m not a hipster, I’m ok with that. I admit to giggling at the non-trends that so-called hipsters follow, it’s now trendy to be non-trendy and it’s always a competition to find the coolest most exotic and weird things out there, especially with music. I’ve been caught in that trap and I listened to some horrible tunes because they were perceived as cool. I’m done with that. It’s all about me now.

I’ve decided to let my ears, my heart, and my urge to chair dance dictate my likes and dislikes in music. The category that the tunes fall into is irrelevant and only will be used to search out the song to purchase it for replay. If my right butt cheek starts to bop up and down while seated, if my shoulders begin to sway, if my foot begins to tap and my head begins to bob then the tune is worthy in my little world. There is no shame in listening to Top 40 tunes and no shame in listening to country (really did I just type that?)….the only shame is listening to song you don’t like because of the perception of being cool. My ear is my own and I will own my preferences. I’m 38-years-old and the lesson has been on-going since I hit about 30, I’m finally passing with an A+.

In 2006 I tuned into yet another reality type TV show, Rockstar Supernova. I did so to support a Canadian artist who had made the cut. My quiet Canadian patriotism always comes to the surface when a musician or artist is showcased on the American airwaves. The other reason I watched – Jason Newstead – major teenage crush and love of long-haired bass players. What evolved while watching this show was not what I expected…at.all. I did not expect to become so attached to a musician that I become a cheerleader for him. Episode Two was a hook, line and sinker moment. I did not expect to put myself out there on websites and fan pages looking for voting to keep this guy on the stage. I joined Rockband Lounge – a website dedicated to the show where fans could get to know each other and chat and find out more about the artist they loved. Much to my surprise I found that the musician’s friends and family were joining in the chat and putting themselves out there with support. At this point I had already ordered previous CDs and found every tune on the internet and joined the musician’s forum on his website. I was quiet at first…but by Episode 5 I became vocal.

I want to say Ryan Star had me at ‘Hello’, as that would be witty and funny but he didn’t cover that song, his buddy David Cook did – but that’s another story. Ryan had me long before ‘oh life is bigger’…but that is the moment where I went from ‘oh this guy is cool’ – to – ‘oh this guy is freaking phenomenal’. I remember even Mr. Lyric was impressed and he was a hardcore Dilana fan (don’t get me started).
I don’t feel the need to go into the history of the show or jump into what happened from there, it’s pretty irrelevant in the grand scheme of this blog. It served a purpose, it introduced me the rstar world and am forever grateful. After Ryan was eliminated he toured. He toured extensively. Thankfully Toronto was a stop on the tour.

That first show, and meeting him and chatting with him prior to the show at the radio station and HMV where he gave an in-store performance solidified the ‘obsession’. Yes I recognize the obsession. He became real at that moment. Chatting with his friends and support team wasn’t just about being a fan, it was about meeting truly genuine people who were supporting a friend and intrigued by the droves of people there to see this phenomenon. I sensed that they got it, that they were privy to how it worked and treated each and every fan accordingly. I sensed no fakeness, no pretentiousness from anyone on the rstar team.

I have this quirk when meeting people, mostly meeting people that have some sort of notoriety. People like Ryan Star meet fans and new people every single day of their lives. From my limited experience it seems he is pretty good at being genuinely interested in each and every person, but I realize that most of them will be forgetful or that the faces and stories merge into one. I have this urge to stand out, this urge to be remembered. Natural I guess, but it’s something I am constantly striving for and it almost crushes me when someone I have met before (in any walk of life) says ‘oh I don’t remember meeting you’. It something I don’t understand, perhaps it’s my photographic memory and having a great ability to remember names and faces. The quirk to be remembered is that I plant a seed within that person so that the next time I see them or speak with them I can reference that seed. Sometimes the seed grows, sometimes it withers and dies. The first time I met Ryan he asked if we had any requests for the show. I dug the hole and planted the seed right then and there. I blurted out ‘Rainbow Connection’. I think I threw him for a loop. Here he is north of the border in Canada and some random chick asks him to sing the song from the Muppet Movie. He did the puppy dog head-tilt and look at me and said ‘how did you know that’. Michelle, his friend and part of his crew started to laugh and said ‘you must be on Rockband Lounge’. She of course had posted months before about Ryan liking to cover songs like ‘Rainbow Connection’ and other out-of-the ordinary tunes at his shows. He indulged me and sang a line from the song – he however did not sing it at the show that night. What I hoping for in that seed is that perhaps next time around I will be able to say ‘I’m the girl who requested Rainbow Connection at your Toronto show way back when’ and it will spark a memory. Silly, yes, but it makes me feel better knowing that I am remembered in some eensie weensie bitty way.

The Toronto show that night at Lee’s Palace (iconic Toronto venue – but somewhat stinky place, literally) was amazing, the energy was intense, but now we need to fast forward. The megafandom did not fade with time, it did not fade with the waiting and waiting and waiting (yes were all waiting) for the official release of 11:59. Each step that Ryan took was out there in cyber world from the day he left the show to being signed with Atlantic, to jumping on tour with David Cook, to the day the cd finally hit the stores.

The way artist promote and keep in contact with fans today is a phenomenon, it’s a life unto itself and it amazes me. Perhaps it my age and living through a major twist in how music comes to fans, but the connection between fan and artist is totally different than 20 years ago. When I first picked up Pearl Jam’s Ten it was all about seeing Eddie Vedder on Much Music and in video form, there was no website to stalk, no twitter feeds to follow, no Facebook group to LIKE. Ryan and the rstar team have their finger on the pulse as the beat of the rstar fan vibe strengthens. I attribute their touch and their connection with us fans as what keeps that beat going. I’m sure it’s a tough world to live in being on the verge of the ‘big time’.

From my perspective I see Ryan’s journey as a marathon, the first one out of the gate doesn’t win the race, it’s not even a race to win really, it’s about going the distance and pushing yourself forward. The pace he has set, the pace his team is keeping him on is all the momentum that is needed ‘right now’.

I write this piece to do my part in the momentum and hopes that even one follower of mine will see what I see, hear what I hear.

I leave you now with a promise of posting the “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” adventure where Betty & I take a whirl wind trip to NYC to see Ryan Star and friends (Hesta Prynn and Gambit) perform at Webster Hall. Promises of ice storm adventures, Porter Flights in the dark of night with free wine, bad navigational skills, yummy food talk, expensive shooters, great great music and energy, meeting all the right people, and even some poetic justice in the Newark Airport at 4:00am.

Tuesday Top Five – Five Ways to Listen to Hallelujah

For someone who is this side of being an atheist-leaning agnostic, I have to admit a penchant for the song “Hallelujah”. I will confess, however, I was raised in a church. I was a choir girl and all (stop laughing). But this song isn’t even about religion for me. Well, maybe the religious way Lila and I treat music – so this song fits very well into our idealism and seriousness in which we take our music.

But, it’s a Tuesday. Let’s not think too much on things like the meaning behind the song, taking it, today for what it is: A classic song that has been redone more times than my mother has redone the furniture arrangement in her living room (read: at times, far too often).

And since High Fidelity was on over the weekend (gah, a dark and brooding John Cusack combined with scads of musical nattering and snobbery and a great soundtrack… any wonder why it’s one of my “All Time Top Five Movies Designed to Make Me Feel Better”?), I wanted to do a Top Five list.

So, without any further preamble, The Top Five Ways to Listen To Hallelujah:

Number One

In its original format. Leonard Cohen. It’s classic. You don’t mess with it.

Number Two 

The next best thing. Rufus Wainwright. If I can’t have Cohen, Rufus comes a very close second. And I even liked it before the Shrek soundtrack. So there.

Number Three 

Canadian Classic. What’s better than when one great Canadian covers another? (there’s a cold weather joke in there somewhere, but seeing as the humidity is about 100% and it’s hotter than the depths of hell outside, I’m not making it). Not much. KD Lang’s cover during the Olympic opening ceremonies was spectacularly done. And worth watching the overdone, over-promoted-product-placement-commercialized Olympic opening ceremonies.

 Number Four

Tragic Sounds. Jeff Buckley’s cover was just another cover. Then there was that whole drowning bit. I hate to say it, but he makes the Top Five because his story is interesting. Flame away for insipid sapiness.

Number Five 

Up and Coming. I really like Kate Voegal. I have for a little while, even though I’m still in the “getting to know you” phase with her music. I did, however, note her Hallelujah cover. This is Number Five with a bullet. The more I listen, the more I like it. I find she brings something new to a cover that so typically sounds redundant if done poorly.

p.s. Thanks so much to our good friend and fellow blogger, Deb, for the earworm from across the ocean this morning.  Be sure to visit her blog here: http://www.thestar.blogs.com/realitycheck/

Not Elective

Rather than coming up with a clever song for today, one that adequately showcases my, at times, impatience with our current democratic model, I’m simply going to use one word: Vote. It’s not a song, it’s not even a lyric. It’s not anything worldly or deep. It’s simply your right. Use it.

Today, I use my voice, not so much for singing loudly in the shower to myself, but, rather to express my thoughts and beliefs in the form of walking into a public arena and checking a box.

Do you know how many people have said, “Bad politicians are elected by good people who don’t vote”? (or some variant of that quote) Enough of the ambivalence and excuses. You can’t affect change if you don’t even show up.

Don’t rock the vote, rock YOUR vote. Besides, all the cool kids are doing it.

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