Getting Snippy with Whisky Rocks

The Snips

 

(This entry is part of an ongoing guest blog series I am writing for Aux and LCBO’s Whisky Rocks.)

For my second stand-out entry in LCBO’s Whisky Rocks contest, we’re going to slow things down a bit. So, get that special tattooed, lip-ringed someone, hold them close, and get ready for sway-inducing “O’Brother” by The Snips.

The Snips are first-and-foremost a punk band, which you can definitely hear in frontman Ricky Pridmore’s voice, but this song is a slow build, featuring a melancholy trumpet riff, and lyrics about lost love. Around the 3 minute mark, things start to speed up and intensify, culminating in a storm of instrumentation topped off with Pridmore’s punk scream to remind you that this isn’t just some “emo” tune.

The Snips have been around in various incarnations for about 10 years, which is more than enough time to perfect their live show. Expect sweaty dudes. A lot of arms pumping the air during the important parts. And moshing.

And this song, “O’Brother,” isn’t the only song from their new album to have get a video – they actually got 10 different directors to shoot a video for each of their 10 new songs. So, not only are they getting their music out there in a creative way, they’re giving people in other creative fields a chance to express themselves, too.

So, maybe we should give The Snips a chance to express themselves and vote for them to open for The Trews! Isn’t a punk show just what we need? MOSHPIT!

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That Time I Found A New Favourite Band (Or, “The Importance of Being Early”)

Animal Collective at Rogers Picnic

Photo from PanicManual.com

(This entry is part of an ongoing guest blog series I am doing for Aux.tv and LCBO’s Whisky Rocks.)

I almost never arrive at concerts early. It’s not my fault! Really! I just have a hard time getting out the door in time, and HELLO, has anyone here tried to get anywhere on the TTC ever? EVER? You can’t. Sorry.

The only time I see more than one band at a show is when I go FOR the opener, or it’s a festival. Can you call a band an opener if it’s a festival? Sure!

The year was 2008. It was an overcast July afternoon that happened to also be my sister’s birthday. As her gift, I bought her a ticket to the Rogers Picnic at Toronto’s Historic Fort York. The line-up included such acts as Born Ruffians,  Vampire Weekend, Chromeo, Tokyo Police Club and City & Colour- but for me, the most memorable set of the day was Animal Collective. We weren’t there to see Animal Collective- but when they played at 4pm in the afternoon, and for me, they stole the show.

(Let me clarify beforehand – the line to the beer tent was long. The line to buy the tickets was longer. The line to actually buy beer was the longest of all [surprise!] – so I was completely sober and clear minded when Animal Collective played their set.)

I’d heard of Animal Collective before, but I’d never seen them. And I had never listened to their music much.  Their set at the Rogers Picnic that day changed everything. Their set was hypnotic, transcendent, beautiful and weird – and on top of that, only half of the band was actually there – Panda Bear and Avey Tare (and Avey Tare’s bright red bucket hat)! They were amazing. I felt transported and float-y, despite of the mud and rain and lack of beer.

I was completely immersed and, subsequently, won over. After that show, I dove headfirst into their discography, and they’re now one of my favourite bands. I’ve seen them multiple times, I’ve actually purchased their records (with real money, people!) and they opened my ears to a style of music I’d previously let go unexplored. It was a wonderful example of what can happen if you get to a show early and give the bands you don’t know a good listen and a fair chance!

And if you’d like YOUR band to be the act someone discovers by surprise, you should enter for a chance to open for The Trews! Right now!

To enter the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, upload your original music demo to the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition at WhiskyRocks.com between September 17 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 19 at 4:15 p.m. ESTThe LCBO will review each entry and if it meets all guidelines and requirements, the song will be posted on WhiskyRocks.com where friends, family, and the general public can vote between October 23 at 10:15 a.m. EST and November 1 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The top 3 finalists with the most votes will be announced on November second, and will win a slot to open for The Trews on November 8th in Barrie, ON, where a panel of judges and the Trews will then select one winner. The winners will be announced at whiskyrocks.com on November 9th.

Tickets to the Trews show and Whisky tasting cost $25 and are available online at ticketbreak.com, by phone at 1-866-943-8849, at impactlive.ca ticket outlets, or at the door. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Dixon Hall, a United Way member agency and its Music School program, which provides youth with music instruction and opportunities to attend music camps across Ontario.

Concertgoers must be 19 years of age or older and valid ID is required.

For full rules and regulations for the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, visit whiskyrocks.com/competition

If I Could Open for Any Band, Who?! (or, “PARTY!”)

Andrew WK Live (photo: Scott Harrison, http://andrewwk.com/pictures/live)

Photo Credit: Scott Harrison (andrewwk.com/pictures/live)

(This entry is part of an ongoing guest blogging series I’m doing for AUX & Whisky Rocks! Enter your band for a chance to open for the Trews HERE!)

I’m not in a band. But I’d be lying if I said I’ve never wished I was. Like you, I love music- but the part I think I’d really enjoy is the performing part. Getting on stage, giving it everything you’ve got, bringing the audience into it… that’s what I’d be into. And, of course, the partying. Who doesn’t like partying?!

Now, forgetting for a moment that the only instruments I can play are the trumpet, the slide whistle and the bass guitar (badly), let’s pretend that my fabulous imaginary band and I were allowed to jump on as the opening act for any band we wanted. Who would it be?

This isn’t about who my absolute favourite band is. I don’t know if I’d want to open for Talking Heads or LCD Soundsystem, the pressure would be too much! This is about who would be FUN to open for, and who I’d really enjoy watching from the sidestage, and who I think would be down for an awesome afterparty.

So, obviously, I’d want my band to open for the King of Partying, ANDREW WK.

Not only do I like Andrew WK’s music, but I don’t think the guy has ever actually sent a tweet without the word “party” in it. (Seriously, see for yourself.) For Andrew WK, partying isn’t about getting wasted or whatever, PARTYING IS A WAY OF LIFE! It’s a mantra, an outlook, a philosophy to guide your daily existence!

Andrew WK seems like a guy who would be good to his opening band, who would hang out with you, maybe share his rider and some guidance. And how much fun would he be to watch from the sidestage? The answer: SO FUN! His fans would probably be pretty great to open for, too. They’re there to have a good time, they WANT to like the opener! I imagine all of these conditions would combine to create a perfect storm of awesome.

You know… maybe I will start a band, just so this could happen. Who wants to join my slide whistle party band? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Oh, that’s right. You already have a band – and you’re entering to open for THE TREWS! (By the way, if you haven’t done that yet… you should really get on it. Okay?)

WhiskyRocks.comTo enter the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, upload your original music demo to the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition at between September 17 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 19 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The LCBO will review each entry and if it meets all guidelines and requirements, the song will be posted on WhiskyRocks.com where friends, family, and the general public can vote between October 23 at 10:15 a.m. EST and November 1 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The top 3 finalists with the most votes will be announced on November second, and will win a slot to open for The Trews on November 8th in Barrie, ON, where a panel of judges and the Trews will then select one winner. The winners will be announced at whiskyrocks.com on November 9th.

Tickets to the Trews show and Whisky tasting cost $25 and are available online at ticketbreak.com, by phone at 1-866-943-8849 , at impactlive.ca ticket outlets, or at the door. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Dixon Hall, a United Way member agency and its Music School program, which provides youth with music instruction and opportunities to attend music camps across Ontario.

Concertgoers must be 19 years of age or older and valid ID is required.

For full rules and regulations for the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, visit whiskyrocks.com/competition.

What Gets My Attention When I See A New Band Live (or: “If You Care, Let’s Get Engaged”)

Scott Pilgrim vs The World: Sex Bomb Om

Practice is important.

(This is part of an ongoing series I’m writing and cross posting from Aux & Whisky Rocks. Click that link to enter your band for a chance to open for the Trews!)

We’ve all been there – you get to a show early, one where you came to see the main act – and you end up watching some opening band you’ve never heard of. And sometimes, when you’re lucky, that band ends up being incredible.  You end up buying the shirt, or the CD(?) or the vinyl, and you get home and look them up and learn about them and listen to everything you can get your hands on. It’s more exciting than when you hear about a band from word-of-mouth, it’s the thrill of finding it for yourself, in real life, like an archeologist discovering a new dinosaur or an astronomer spotting a new comet in the sky. You’re seeing and hearing it with your own seeing-and-hearing holes! It’s actually happening, and you’re there, at the beginning, experiencing it!

(Fun side note: This happened to an ex-boyfriend of mine in a pretty big way: many, many years ago he saw the Arcade Fire open for the Constantines. Boom. I have forever regretted missing that show.)

In my last post, I said that I generally find new music online – but I fall in love with new music when I see it live. Why? What makes a new band grab our attention from the stage? If you go to a lot of shows, you know that for every great new band you find at a live show, you’re going to hear a hundred that do nothing for you.

When I see a new band live, of course, the quality of their musicianship is important. Although I support very new musicians and understand that you eventually have to get out of your parents’ garage and play a live show for the first time, I probably won’t become a fan from your live show if you can’t keep it together. If the band is tight, talented and well-practised, I’ll be a lot more receptive to what you’re doing up there.

Bigger than skill, though, is ENGAGEMENT. You need to engage me. Get me to pay attention. Don’t just look at each other and mumble, don’t stand halfway back on the stage, don’t turn your back to me to play to your bandmates – BE PRESENT, and BE THERE. We paid to see YOU! You have a few minutes to win us over, so let us know you want to. You can get away with mistakes and the audience will forgive you, if you can perform with confidence and stage presence. Play to your audience. Be yourself. Talk to us. Have FUN. Show us your FEELINGS and show us that you care about being there. That’s why you are there, right?

Bottom line: if you expect to make me care, you need to feel it first. If you don’t feel passionate about it, why should I?

To enter the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, upload your original music demo to
the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition at WhiskyRocks.com between September
17 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 9 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The LCBO will review
each entry and if it meets all guidelines and requirements, the song will be posted
on WhiskyRocks.com where friends, family, and the general public can vote between
October 12 at 10:15 a.m. EST and October 25 at 4:15 p.m. EST. The top 3 finalists
with the most votes will win a slot to open for The Trews on November 8th in Barrie, ON,
where a panel of judges and the Trews will then select one winner. The winners will be
announced at whiskyrocks.com on November 9th.

Tickets to the Trews show and Whisky tasting cost $25 and are available online
at ticketbreak.com, by phone at 1-866-943-8849, at impactlive.ca ticket outlets, or at the
door. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will benefit Dixon Hall, a United Way member
agency and its Music School program, which provides youth with music instruction and
opportunities to attend music camps across Ontario.

Concertgoers must be 19 years of age or older and valid ID is required.

For full rules and regulations for the Whisky Rocks Showdown Competition, visit
whiskyrocks.com/competition

WIN STUFF! Tell Me Your Favourite Summer Jam!

As you may or may not know, I live in a basement. Which isn’t altogether the worst thing, but when the weather is as nice as it has been the last week or so, I get a pretty severe case of DECK ENVY. Ohhhh, to relax in a patio chair, with a beer in hand, listening to some sweet jams on my boombox. Do the kids still say that? Boombox? Sweet Jams? Patio Chair?

Raina on a Deck

*Artist’s Conception

Unfortunately, I don’t have a deck. Not yet, anyway. But I do have a patio chair in my apartment. (It’s covered with a blanket. I’m pretty sure no one can tell.) And I do have beer, and I can listen to sweet jams.

So, the question I pose to you, dear reader and obviously very cool person, what’s your favourite summer song? What tune would we be listening to if you were here hanging out in the patio chair? (That’s right, I’d even let you sit in the patio chair and I only have one. That’s how much I like you.)

Here’s what I want you to do. Go to the Rain’s World Facebook page and tell me what song gets your summer juices flowing. 

The best answer (ie: the most summer-y song, that will get added to my Summer Jams Playlist) will WIN a Steam Whistle prize pack, which includes TWO tickets to the Steam Whistle UNSIGNED Show on June 1st! 

You’ll get to check out The Wilderness of Manitoba, Amos the Transparent and Cai.ro! If you’re not full of summer vibes yet – this should do it! Here are the deets:

Click on this to go to the Steam Whistle event page!

Now go! Hit up the Rain’s World Facebook Page – just click on this link! Yes! Just click on it! I made it nice and long so you really can’t miss it! See, still going! This link! This one right here!

I’ll announce the winner on Monday, May 28th!