My New Baby!!

For the past little while, I’ve been thinking about buying a new guitar. I’ve had my Ibanez GRX40 for 10+ years, and the more I played it, the more I didn’t like the sound. It was really hard to find the “perfect” guitar as I’ve become pretty picky about everything – the sound, the brand, the style, and the looks. I wanted something with humbuckers and a semi-hollow body. I’ve looked at Fender, Ibanez, PRS, Gretsch, Gibson, and a bunch more, but there was always something I didn’t like about it (most of the time is was the way part of the guitar looked). I was starting to lose hope, but then I decided to check out the Grestch line again, and I found this.

A Gretsch Power Jet. It looked amazing, had awesome electronics, chambered body, and it had a Bigsby vibrato tailpiece. The more I looked at it, the more I knew it was the one! The only problem was the price tag… I went to Long & McQuade to try out this guitar, and the first chord I strummed, I fell in love with it right away. She was perfect. I decided to try out the $700 version (the cheaper version) of this guitar, and there was a lot I didn’t like about it – the tuning pegs, awkward knob positioning, and the sound was flatter. So after a few weeks of mulling over it, I went back to Long & McQuade and ordered it!!

It was pretty expensive, but I figured it’s more of an investment. So it’ll last me a long time, and I wouldn’t be mad at the little details (if I were to buy the guitar I wasn’t 100% sold on). I’d like to think I’d made a good choice. So far so good!!

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John K Samson with Shotgun Jimmie

John K Samson, lead singer of Winnipeg’s folk indie rock band, the Weakerthans decided to put out a solo album on Jan. 24, 2012 called Provincial. He’s currently nearing the end of his tour throughout Canada and the US promoting his newly released album. He made a stop in Vancouver on Mar. 31, 2012 at the Biltmore Cabaret – a small venue that can hold about a couple hundred people. I was fortunate enough to go see him live as I’m a big fan of John K Samson. I also knew he doesn’t come out here that often, so I had no choice but to go.

The house music fades out. More people started arriving at the sold out venue as the curtains pull away. The opening band, Shotgun Jimmie started the night. I didn’t know what to expect from him because I’ve never heard of his stuff before. One of the first things I noticed was his modded Fender guitar (it had a Bigsby vibrato tail piece, which I’ve never seen before) and a suitcase used as a kick drum. His music was interesting as you knew he was up there having fun, and his songs were about random things like girls, love, space, beer, etc. It had an indie rock feel to his music. Really enjoyable. He would add in little guitar riffs here and there, a couple of jazz chords, and some rock and roll. He even admitted that his “drum kit” sounded like cheap electronic drum loops. He definitely warmed up the crowd especially when he played his last song of his set. He invited a drummer and John K Samson to play bass. What a great way to get the crowd pumped.

John K Samson starts off with him alone on stage with an acoustic guitar in hand. He did his welcome thing and starts the set with playing “One Great City!”. A Weakerthans song about a love/hate relationship with Winnipeg. Once he played the first note on his guitar, you knew he had everyone’s attention. He then played “Heart of the Continent” from his solo album, Provincial. He mentioned how they were pretty much the same chords but with different lyrics. The rest of the band came up and joined him for a few more songs along with Shotgun Jimmie on lead guitar. During the performance, a girl blacks out in the crowd and John stops the music to make sure she’s ok before continuing on. Then someone yelled “you’re so Canadian!” and the night went on. He later raised his mug and made a toast by reciting his song “Elegy for Gump Worsley”, a tribute to Gump Worsley, an old goalie for the New York Rangers. He also later promoted a petition saying that Reggie “The Riverton Rifle” Leach should be into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Which lead to the song he wrote about the petition. John played a good balance of songs from his solo album and songs from the Weakerthans which was what everyone was hoping for.

John always had a smile on his face, and you knew he was having a good time on stage. With that combined with his great stories behind the songs, and his amazing songwriting, this is why people were so captivated by him and his music.  I found myself just closing my eyes and embracing the music. One could only hope that the night would last forever, but unfortunately, John’s set had to end. People were wanting more. John ended up doing a few more encore songs, and wrapped up the night by standing at the very front of the stage with his guitar playing and singing (without being plugged into the system) “Virtute The Cat Explains Her Departure”. It was like a good old sing along. What a great end to the night.

I think I’ve said this a few times already, but I’ll say it again. When you have someone that is very genuine, a good story teller, talented musician/songwriter, and a great poet playing at a small intimate venue, you get an amazing concert.

Rococode with Mike Edel @ Lucky Bar

December 2, 2011. Rococode headlined at Lucky Bar and Mike Edel opened for them. I’ve heard one song from Rococode and I’ve heard about Mike Edel, but never explored much of their music so I had no idea what to expect.

Mike and his band stepped on stage. Once they started playing, I was drawn into the music right away. Their folk/pop sound really clicked. There were really good rhythm changes, melody lines, energy, drumming, wicked bass lines, and dynamic. Oh, and also the occasional banjo which adds a really nice touch to the songs. They just gave a really good vibe where you can’t stop bobbing your head to the music.

By the end of their set, it was sad to see them step off stage because you just wanted to hear more of them. But they really did a great job and the bar for the night was set.

The next band, Rococode. I was pretty excited to see what they have up their sleeves. I’ve only heard one of their songs when they were in the 100.5 Peak Performance Project, and my friend Matty has been raving about them, so they must be good! The smoke machine goes on full blast, and the show begins. They definitely have a very unique sound, and this is where I hate classifying music into genres. They had a really good pop/rock/indie sound. They started out strong and continued throughout the whole night. Song after song you’re being blasted by good stage presence, talented musicians, and a big sound. Laura Smith has such a unique voice which blended in perfectly with the band and the style of music. She lead a couple of songs which is also great to see. They were all up there having a great time and were really tight musically.

Definitely a great night. It’s been TOO long since I’ve been to a concert. So it was amazing. If you want to see higher res of the pictures, click on them, or check out my Flickr at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/keither/sets/72157628323629815/with/6473706741/

Or check out Mike Edel: http://www.mikeedel.com/

And Rococode: http://www.rococode.com/

And I’ve said this many times… GO SUPPORT LOCAL ARTISTS!!!

So Close To Being One Year Old

Yet another busy week for me… Right when I thought I was able to have a full weekend off, there was work to be done! LAME!! So after having one day off on Sunday, I seemed to be even more tired on Monday. So that’s why I’m really looking forward to this coming weekend. It’s strange how at work you can go from being stupidly busy to nothing happening at all. These last few days have been super slow which makes work long and boring, so I’m really glad that tomorrow is Friday!

Nothing really exciting has happened except the past couple of days, a group of us have been working hard on our music magazine (Musetta Stone). And I’m glad to say that our 3rd issue is up! Click on the picture to check it out:

As you can see in the picture, our spotlight interview is on the super talented Kennedy sisters – always having fun up on stage, perfect harmonies, and amazing musicians! If you want to listen to some of their stuff, check out their Facebook page here. But besides the spotlight in the magazine, there are also concert reviews, articles, cd reviews, concert listings, and more!

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a year. So check it out, leave comments, and we’re stoked to start another year of the Musetta Stone.

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