Monday, March 24, 2008

Best Concerts

Townie Bastard recently asked some dangerous questions, which may threaten a mass exodus from the territory: What is the best concert you've ever seen? and, what was the first concert you went to?

Dangerous because, besides the White Stripes just before I got to town, there's a decided lack of bands who come through Iqaluit. And thinking of concerts may make some of us long for the south.

Kate Nova tagged me in this bloodsport, so here are my responses:

First Concert.
If you don't count Sharon, Lois and Braham when I was, like, six, I guess my first concert would have been Beck at the Opera House, when he was touring Mellow Gold, and people suspected he would be a one-hit wonder with "Loser." I didn't go to too many concerts in High School, since I didn't have many friends who liked the same "weird" music I did, but I managed to win free tickets listening to CFNY, and thus was able to convince someone to go with me.

Best Concert
I'm going to have some sub-categories here, because, damn, when I think about it, I've seen a whole bunch of really good shows that I can't help but mention. But if I have to settle on one show, I have to pick seeing Built to Spill, with Lonesome Crowded West - era Modest Mouse opening, playing at a club (whose name I don't remember) in London, England. I spent my last University-summer in London, and saw a lot of great shows (Godspeed You Black Emperor in an old gothic church, Man or Astroman on Canada Day after drinking all afternoon at the Maple Leaf Pub), but this show stands out, because it's the only time I've seen Built to Spill, a great band who almost never tour (I think they played Toronto for the first time about a year ago), and it turned me on to Modest Mouse (who I saw again in London at a small club later that summer). I was so into that show that, caught up in the moment in a half-joking and half-earnest-rockfan way, I shouted out "Rock Power." Much to the embarrassment of those around me.

However, there are many other concerts that are worth mentioning, so I'm gonna make up some sub-categories for best concert.

Weirdest concert moments.
During Ryan Adams' show at Lee's Palace while touring Gold, none other than Elton John came on stage during the encore. Apparently he's a fan. Other than that, it wasn't that memorable a show - although Adams' sit down solo acoustic show touring for his first solo album Heartbreaker was one of the best solo acoustic shows I've ever seen.
Runner up for weirdness would be when I lucked into catching Neko Case playing at the notorious Toronto after-hours boozecan the Matador. In attendance were many drunken folks there more to procure mickeys from the guy with a hockey bag full of booze than for the performance. Hilarity and great music ensued. Some of that show can be heard on her live album, The Tigers Have Spoken.

Loudest, rockingest rock show
Hands down, this award goes to McLusky, an underappreciated Welsh band who I saw at the Horseshoe a couple of times. The first time I saw them play, the bass player, a tall, lanky red-head with a beard, wore a turquoise jump suit with a cape. My ears were bleeding with rock and roll joy by the end of the show. You should find their album McLusky Do Dallas and take your shirt off and rock out. (Actually, maybe you can keep your shirt on.) McLusky also win the award for best album titles (such as The Difference Between Me and You is that I'm Not on Fire, and My Pain and Sadness is more Sad and Painful that Yours)

Best show to dance like it's the 60's at.
Sharon Jones at the Dap-Kings. Seen 'em twice, the best being at a sweaty Horseshoe Tavern.

Most electric concert.
The Weakerthans at a free outdoor show at Harbourfront in T.O., where you could turn around while the band was playing and see lightning out over Lake Ontario.

Bands that I've seen a few times and are always great.
Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (and his current band, Heavy Trash), Magnetic Fields, Wilco (and Jeff Tweedy solo at Trinity St. Paul's church), Luna, Yo La Tengo, Chixdiggit (most fun punk rock band on the planet), not to mention those countless small shows by local performers in bars throughout Toronto.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Non-human roommate

Atlas the English Bulldog and I watched a bunch of episodes of the Dog Whisperer last night to herald the long weekend. Although, if you're a dog, I suppose every day is a long weekend.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unexciting Updates

Well, this past week I've been knocked on my ass by this flu-like virus that's been going around town and lasts forever. That might have led to more frequent updates on my blog, detailing the extensive playing of Civilization IV and playing Scrabble against myself (I'm reading a great book about competitive Scrabble players called Word Freak) that I've been up to lately. Except I just moved back into my place after house-sitting for the past month or so, and the wireless internet wasn't working to get access in my room. Luckily, yesterday, my fourth day off work this week (which is unheard of for me!), I gave myself a two-hour crash course on wireless networking and - voila! - I'm back on the interweb.

Speaking of technology, I forgot to mention that I received my new computer a few weeks ago - a shiny white MacBook; isn't she beautiful?

Most other happenings you can read about on other people's blogs. There's a tattoo artist staying at my house (who does great work, btw) who gave Kate Nova a new tattoo. I went to a party last weekend and Inflatable Elvis took a picture of me with cop shades. And, you can learn the big curling news in town through Townie Bastard. Speaking of curling, I've been throwing some pretty good rocks skipping my team lately, which makes me really happy to say. I really dig curling. Stay tuned to find out how well (or not) we do in the playoffs and upcoming bonspiel at the end of the month.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A walk along Frobisher Bay

Among my birthday gifts was a new digital camera, so I decided to take a short walk on Sunday along the beach before it got too cold. I couldn't believe I hadn't been down there since the winter began... the chunks of ice that rise up because of the tides are amazing. I will definitely be going on longer adventures out on the land soon. There's been a dearth of pictures on my blog recently, so here's a bunch:

The tides of the bay:

A mountain of tidal ice:
A crack in the ice marks the shoreline (I think):
Rock meets ice:

Land meets sea:

Monday, March 3, 2008

Swims with the fishes

Over the past few weeks, I've been house-sitting a really nice 2 bedroom apartment with a great view of Frobisher Bay. My main responsibility here has been taking care of the fish. I was a bit worried about this initially, because a whole bunch died just before I began my fish-sitting duties... I think there were about 16 of them back in January. When I started taking care of them, there were three, and I'm happy to report these same 3 hardy survivors are still swimming happily around their bright blue tank.

It's nice to have pets to come home to, even if they are just fish. It's way more interesting to watch them swim around than I ever thought possible.

In other fish-related news, I baked a delicious Arctic Char in a lemon dill cream sauce last night.