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This post will not be music-related. Instead, it will be a rant about something that happened to me earlier today. I tried to shrug it off, but some forms of ignorance and close-minded-ness gets under my skin. Unfortunately, this incident is one of those cases.

I’d like to start off by saying, I have tattoos, and when I wear a t-shirt, they are visible; 3/4 of my tattoos are covered, even in a t-shirt.  I’d like to note that they’re not vulgar, rude, or particularly unpleasant on the eyes. I have roses, birds, and a simplistic, black-outlined, borderline cartoony, piece inspired by the street artist Know Hope.

I was walking to the subway earlier today, and I noticed a middle aged lady staring at me as she walked by, quite obviously in disgust. As she walked past me– and by “past me,” I mean a few steps to my left– she was still in my peripherals and in my full view if I slightly turned my head. She scrunched up her face, shrugged her shoulders, and shook her head as if she had just eaten a cockroach. It was just her and I in that hallway. I had just showered, and besides the tattoos, I’m a very clean and polished man. I may be jumping to conclusions, but I can almost guarantee that it was my tattoos that she was so visibly disgusted by.

I have a full understanding that not everyone likes tattoos, and I respect that; however, in today’s society, and within Toronto — one of the most multi-culural, diverse, and open-minded cities in the world– people should have the decency to keep their opinions and apparent disgust to themselves. She had short, bleach-blonde hair and pastel, outdated fashion (like she stepped out of the 80’s) that I didn’t agree with, but I didn’t make a face as if I ate a lemon because of it. Everyone should respect others’ lifestyles.

What bothers me most is I have very specific reasons for getting the tattoos I have. My most visible one (roses and a heart) I got on the 10-year anniversary of my mother’s passing; she died from a long battle with breast cancer when I was 14. My second tattoo was inspired by a street artist that I would pass everyday on my way to work when I lived in New York City, and now I always associate that artist with my time in New York.

What I’m getting at is, when she scrunched up her face at my tattoos, I took it personally. She was really scrunching up her face at symbols of the most vulnerable time in my life (my own mothers death) and the best time in my life (living abroad in New York). She had no right in judging me just as much as I had no right in judging her poor fashion.

To the lady that shot me a dirty look, I’m not asking you to like my tattoos. Just be more subtle next time.

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I just wanted to write a quick post of what’s coming down the pike. It’s a busy week for me, musically and otherwise, therefore I have plenty to write about! It also means I’m too busy to actually write them, therefore I’m sure it’ll all be irrelevant by the time I finally press the ‘Publish’ button.

Coming up: 

field trip

Arts&Crafts Field Trip 10th Anniversary Celebration happened this past weekend and I was lucky enough to get on a guest list. It was short notice, so although the doors opened at noon, I didn’t show up till 5-ish. Damn work! Who needs money anyway? Expect a review of the last half of the festival.

chvrches

Chvrches will be performing at The Hoxton in Toronto on Wednesday June 12th, and I’ll be there! I’m beyond excited! It’s a small venue and a growing band;  it should be a good night. I do have high expectations though,  so here’s hoping I’m not let down. I guess you’ll have to wait and read my review to find out?!

Band-slide-Ludacris

NXNE is a music festival and conference now in its 18th year. I’m lucky enough to be working as a stage hand at the free Yonge and Dundas Square shows Thursday June 13th through Sunday June 16th. The shows will feature headliners Social Distortion (Thurs), The National (Fri), Billy Talent (Sat) and Ludacris (Sun).

I’ll be on stage working my ass off for all those shows. I’ll be sure to write either one big post for the whole experience or perhaps a post for each individual night. I’m ridiculously excited for The National though, I’m probably going to squeal like a school girl while they play, or if I meet them.

An idea I’m messing around with in my head: Now that festival season is upon us, I was thinking of doing a post on how to save money at festivals, as well as mention some little tips and tricks. However, most of it would be smart ass remarks and probably not very helpful, which, of course, makes me want to post it even more just for the humorous aspects.

Let me know what you think!

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ell v gore

Toronto goth punks Ell V Gore released their EP Sex Static, and a video for their track ‘Lobotomy,’  today (June 4th). I can smell the stench of stale beer and other peoples sweat just from listening to it. You can watch the video below starring “my favorite trannies and scumbagzzz in the city” (quoted from the bands Facebook page).

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The view of Toronto from Sound Academy

The view of Toronto from Sound Academy

Sound Academy is a Lone Wolf! 

Toronto has an amazing and diverse music and arts scene. When it comes to music, Toronto is a hot spot for bands, and the city hosts several festivals such as North By Northeast (NXNE) and Canadian Music Week (CMW). They’re able to do this because the city has a hardy amount of music venues, halls, theatres, bars and stadiums. However, for mid-sized bands who can’t quite sell out stadiums yet, there’s really only one option; the Sound Academy.

Ask any avid concert-goer in Toronto what they think of the Sound Academy and chances are they’ll have nothing good to say. Think I’m over-exaggerating for the sake of this rant? Check out their Yelp page! You wont believe how many friends/acquaintances I’ve heard say “Even if my favourite band play’s Sound Academy, I wont go.”  Truth be told, if so many of my favourite bands hadn’t played Sound Academy, I’d probably never step foot in the venue.

Bands I’ve seen there: Alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club, Interpol, Refused, Death From Above 1979, Foster The People, Beck (w/ MGMT), Hot Chip, The Shins…shall I go on?

Sound Academy's  floor plan

Sound Academy’s floor plan

Let’s get the boring stuff out-of-the-way: For those who don’t know, the Sound Academy is a general admission, open concept, music venue located along the shores of the Toronto Harbour. It has a capacity of 3,230 occupants. The nearest mid-size venue would be The Guvernment Complex, which is made up of nine rooms with a total capacity of 10,000, the largest room being the Kool Haus at 2,500 occupants. To be fair, there’s also Massey Hall (2,752 capacity) and Roy Thomson Hall (2,630 capacity), which are amazing venues in their own right, but you’re confined to seats, have obstructed views and they’re more suited for quaint musical acts and theatre.

The next step up from Sound Academy would be the Air Canada Centre (ACC), whose capacity ranges from 5,200 to 19,800, or the Ricoh Coliseum at a measly 9,250 occupants. Lastly, let’s not forget the Molson Amphitheatre at a skimpy 16,000 person capacity. Can you see the conundrum here?

The issues: When it comes to the Sound Academy, most of the problems arise from its inconvenient location, its mediocre sound system, and its sight lines (or lack there of). However, the venue has cornered the market for mid-sized venues, and is kind of  a lone wolf. I’m sure during the summer Sound Academy has some stiff competition, but that’s only because any park, square, grassy area, or open space in general, becomes a music venue. However, this is Canada we’re talking about, the weather is crap most of the year! So, besides summer, Sound Academy has us by the balls!

Conclusion: As a picky pants concert-goer, I would choose Sound Academy over the ACC or Molson Amphitheatre any day. I’d rather see a band play two back-to-back Sold Out, jam-packed, intimate shows at Sound Academy than one distant stadium show.

To me, it’s about atmosphere, and that beloved atmosphere is often lost in larger/seated venues. Also, let’s be honest, this issue wont be solved any time soon. It’s an overpopulated city with limited space. Do you think it’s coincidental that the only mid-sized venue is located in the middle of no where, beside a drive-in theatre, a go-cart track, a Chinese market and among industrial plants?

Disagree? Did I leave anything out? Feel free to comment! 

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Image

It’s been a long and winding road leading up to the release of Hamilton band, The Rest‘s new album, SEESAW. The record has been cursed with several misfortunes and the story of its release sounds more like a drama filled novel than that of an advancing of an indie album. It’s been 3 years in the making, with death, lose, and mystery, but the album finally has the official release date of June 19th, 2012.

The band is releasing a song every week leading up to the official release date. I can ensure you that it’s worth the wait. It has hints of Radiohead and Sigur Ros, but still stands on it’s own as original. The album is angelic, melodically soothing, with punches of polished grit and is practically a journey for the ears. Of course every ear is different and it may not be everyones cup o’ tea. However some album stand outs include ‘Always On My Mind’,  ‘John Houston’, and ‘Young And Innocent’ (If I had to choose, because the entire album is good).

You can listen to the tracks below and you can also download selected songs for free!

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Making their debut in the Ontario music scene is the indie-folk duo from Burlington/Grimsby, Ontario, Folding Colour. The band  is made up of good friends of mine, David Hearn on guitar, banjo, organ bass, and vocals, and Jill Whitehead on percussion.

Their sound is refreshing compared to the typical heavy metal, cover, and rock bands that are normally produced from Grimsby (who has produced nothing big or mainstream) and Burlington (Finger Eleven, etc…). Although they’re only a duo, they have quite the large sound. Jill keeps the beat with unique, yet simple drums, while Dave plays guitar (or banjo), sings and plays bass…with his feet!

They just recently recorded their debut EP, Green Tree, which is available for free here.

They’re currently booking  shows throughout Hamilton, Toronto, and other parts of Ontario. They’re also planning a mini tour across Canada in June. Expect to hear more from these guys!

Check them out on twitter too @foldingcolour, and don’t forget to download their EP!!! It’s free, you can’t go wrong: foldingcolour.bandcamp.com

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frontpic

Dion Roy is a new up and coming singer-songwriter based out of New York. Dion was born in South Africa and raised in New Jersey. While growing up he played bass in several bands and only recently decided to venture out on his own. He wrote and self recorded his songs, using Logic 9, which became his debut album, Gallery.

This past weekend his song “Blind World” hit the top spot on Hype Machine’s Twitter Music Chart and has hovered in the top 5 ever since.  Dion is ahead of artists such as The Klaxons, Massive Attack, Tegan and Sara, Drake, and Band of Horses!

Dion Roy is simply a small singer-songwriter from a big city, but with the power of the internet he was able to come up on top. He’s proof that you don’t need to be a major label artist to have your stab at stardom and fame. All you need is a computer, internet, and a lot of heart and determination.

You can listen or download the song here.

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