Archive for indie week

THE BEACHES

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

“They are pretty good for an all girl band”,  he said to me.   If I hadn’t been there on business,  I would’ve knocked him on his ass and asked him if I hit pretty good for an all girl writer.

thebeaches3Pretty good is an understatement at best, and the condescending tag for an all girl band was unnecessary.  THEY WERE GREAT, and if they had been cockerspaniels that might have been somewhat noteworthy.  Female musicians have long since paid their dues and have gone lick-for-lick with the boys for decades, and the girls from THE BEACHES….  could give any one of them a run for their money.   The fact that they are all teenagers, and the band is still in it’s infancy, is more astounding than their gender.   The quality and professionalism belies their youth and their experience.   If I had closed my eyes and just listened,  I never would have believed, if you told me, that they were in high school and had only been together, in this line up, for a short time.

When I caught them during INDIE WEEK at The Rivoli,  I had no idea who they were when I saw their set.  I was drawn in completely by the sound and the energy.   This was my game plan.   To have no plan.    I just wanted to go from bar to bar and stay and listen if I liked what I heard, or move on if I didn’t.   I really wanted to be drawn in by the performances.  No previous homework or bias.  I didn’t want to be persuaded by a really cool website or by a well written bio.  And more than that, I didn’t want to chase down a band I liked on SoundCloud or BandCamp, just to find out the live performance was lacking.    I wanted the moment to speak for itself.

And this moment spoke volumes.

thebeaches2Yes, they are beautiful young ladies,  but they are not a T’n’A act selling sex instead of music.  They are very skilled musicians.  Technically, the performance was flawless, engaging and energetic.   Their style has clear influences but it was fresh and distinct alternative/pop/rock that was not trying to replicate something that already existed.

The obvious comparison to The Runaways will probably be made many times,  but more for reasons of age, gender, and look, than the actual style of their music.  Although,  the raw energy and attitude of the performance is definitely reminiscent of the ladies who hard rocked that path clear for Jordan Miller (Lead Vocals/Bass), Kylie Miller (Lead Guitar), Eliza Enman McDaniel (Drums) and Leandra Earl (Keyboard/Guitar).

Audience engagement is a huge deal for me at a live performance.   I can stay home and listen to good music, and I have already paid to hear it, as often as I like.  There is a mystical, spiritual thing that happens when you are captured by a really great live performance.   This is exactly what happened while I watched these young girls doing their thing.   They have that charisma and dare I say it… magic…that gets the crowd involved.    This, I am sure, was a contributing factor to their being named “Breakout Band of 2013” by Toronto’s NXNE Festival.

The_Beaches_EPThe other contributing factor is that they have clearly invested time honing their skills in both playing and songwriting.   Once I walked away from the live show,  I had a listen to just the recordings.   Did the music hold it’s own once I was away from the passion of the moment?   Yes,  it most certainly did.    “Loner” (http://youtu.be/MW3qKk5bqL8),  and “Absolutely Nothing” (http://youtu.be/UMAB286tTYA),  the two stand out singles from the 6 song debut self titled E.P. (available on iTunes) are both edgy, catchy, commercially viable songs with sing along lyrics.  An easy transition out of the alternative/indie circuit into the mainstream.

These Toronto girls have a bright future around the bend and a full performance schedule straight ahead,  including a Hamilton show on November 13th  at This Ain’t Hollywood where they share a bill with Cherie Currie.

That is a torch passing moment not to miss.

To connect with The Beaches:    www.thebeachesband.com  and www.facebook.com/thebeachesband

r1Rocinante’s Aurgasms.

Rocinante is an Innovator, Creator and Passionate Expressionist.

Music is not an interest, it is a lifestyle choice. You do not choose the song….the song chooses you.

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https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/

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I, The Jury Or Rather, The Judge

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2013 by TheManicBlogger

ciwI was recently offered to be a judge at Canada Indie Week. I was honored and I was distraught. I have never believed that it was possible or even appropriate to have musical competitions. What is it that is being judged? It seems to me that it is just too subjective. I always believed that The Beatles were the greatest band ever. I still do. Yet The Beatles never released Dark Side Of The Moon. Pink Floyd on the other hand, never released Rubber Soul or Revolver. How do we accommodate for genre? Do we judge the material? Should more weight be given to the melody or the technical aspects? Do we consider commercial appeal and success? I have no idea! Yet I agreed to judge Indie bands in order to assist in determining the Indie Band of 2013. And so, I gathered my thoughts, and headed out to fulfill my duty as a Canada Indie Week judge.

XPRIME

XPRIME

My venue for Thursday night was Czehowski’s, a nice, non descript bar on Queen St. W. I signed in and was given a pen, and 4 score sheets. I was to judge 4 bands in areas of stage presence, performance, image, crowd response, song writing and ready for the next level. Who knew it would be this difficult? Could I be that objective? Isn’t objectivity subjective? But enough of my philosophical ramblings. Let the bands begin!! The night opened with J.J. and The Platters. A decent rock band with great energy and good songs. The crowd enjoyed them, and J.J. had good command of the stage. Something was missing though. There was nothing original, nothing unique in their music.  Nothing distinctive. Next up, Xprime. I had seen this Niagara Falls band on several occasions during the past 2 years and was amazed at how they had developed. They blew me away. They blew the crowd away. Their energy, intricate songs and amazing harmonies made them a tough act to follow. I will be writing a review on Xprime as soon as I hear their upcoming album. I spent the rest of the evening speaking with this band, getting a sense of where they were headed. Phil Taylor, the drummer, manager, booking agent and business manager is on top of it. These guys play bars, corporate gigs, and private functions and put their earnings back into the band to fund recording projects. Smart and talented.  Following Xprime was an unenviable place to be. So much so, that I cannot remember the other 2 bands who played that night.

As for the venue, there were not enough monitors for the bands and not enough lights to read the score sheet. The server was incredible, loaning me her flashlight so I could mark my scores. Thank you.

Friday night took me to The Silver Dollar Room, a venue I had played many times, a long time ago. Surprisingly it looked exactly the same. In fact, I think I recognized some of the stains. Its nice to know some things never change. I got my score sheets and pen and sat at the seat with the best vantage point in the bar. Once again I was to judge 4 bands.

Boy + Kite

Boy + Kite

Sue Newberry & The Law

Sue Newberry & The Law

Boy + Kite, an amazingly cool band out of Austin, Texas took the stage 1st.  I liked their music. They were innovative and had a unique edge. I chatted with them after their set and picked up an Ep and a full album. Very cool band. They are also due for a review. Next up, The Waxmen, a power trio with some nice songs, but nothing I haven’t heard before. Talented musicians who still need to find an edge.   Sue Newberry And The Law followed. A kind of Parachute Club approach to the music, but this girl can sing. Nice harmonies, and original, but lacking energy. Cool sound though. Finally, Maladies of Adam Stokes, an interesting band that supports a Dylanesque front man. Good songs, cool image, but lacking in uniqueness. All in all a pretty good night.

passesWhen I left The Silver Dollar Room I realized that it is impossible for me to be completely objective in my judging of music. I have my biases, my likes and dislikes. I have been around music long enough to know what I like and don’t like as soon as I hear it. It is not judgemental to prefer one genre over another. It is what makes music universal. There is something for everyone. I will not judge again. It is too stressful, too anxiety provoking. I have lost sleep and I have lost some sense of innocence. Next year, I will just go from venue to venue checking out the bands and writing about Indie Week. It is a lot simpler for me, and it does not wreck havoc on my conscience.

https://icantbelievemyearz.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/review-archives/
RTDS

Radio That Doesn’t Suck. All the time.