Sunday, June 29, 2014

HAVOK with Wretched, Untimely Demise, Dissolution and Norse Mara @ The Zoo, June 21st, 2014

Finally back on the cold, metal horse! I've decided to try and make it to a lot more shows, at least until I get too busy with other things. I'm still loving the photography gig and seeing everyone at shows. It's nice to see a lot of new faces too! Thank you very much to Cory for allowing me to do my thing at his shows, and it's a pleasure to see him play drums. Cory is a local institution in and of himself, so kudos to him for always busting his ass for the metal community here in Winnipeg.

Broken bottles- A constant struggle behind the barrier.

There seemed to be a lot of people at this show, which is excellent, and at $20 a ticket, that's a lot of entertainment. I totally missed Norse Mara though, but if anyone recommends I see them, well, I'll make the effort eventually. As for Dissolution, they've been slaying for years, and this time was no exception. You should check out their new release Natural Selection and look out for them playing more shows. They are streaming most, if not all, of their tracks online, but you know the drill- support local artists! A Rust Coloured Dawn was one song they played that I remembered vividly and I'll be playing that track on The Metal Lunchbox sometime again soon.

Of course, we have Untimely Demise, who is practically a Winnipeg band not only because Cory is in it, but because they seem to live here. They really tightened the screws for their live performance since the last time I saw them. Their new album Systematic Eradication has all the potential to be widely acclaimed as a GOOD FUCKING ALBUM.  Again, buy their stuff, support local. They're fun dudes, and they are totally dedicated to the genre. Not to mention, I got a lot of pictures of Cory with his shirt off. Admit it, you're all fans.

I cannot discount the hardcore feel of Wretched and their performance, but we do we expect? They're on Victory Records. Holy jeeze, does their vocalist Adam ever work hard on stage. I had a wonderful time taking pictures of these fellas and I hope you all enjoyed their performance. Again, super warm in The Zoo- which leads to super shirtless. The presence and feel was all there, so thanks to this American band for making it across the border to drive metal into our ears!

Finally, there was Havok. Hanging out in the Zoo before and after the show because they're just awesome dudes. I was surprised to find that they remembered me from their last gig here, two years ago at the Pyramid! For anyone who doesn't know, they were the last people in War On Music before it burned down on Albert Street.

Havok played a pretty killer set of  a good mix of songs from their new album Unnatural Selection and what could already be considered classics, such as "Afterburner" and "Covering Fire". Their new bassist, Mike Leon, is just about the best person I could possibly want to take pictures of. And I don't mean in an oiled up, on the beach, cologne campaign kind of "best". The guy has a million faces and is ridiculously entertaining. Hell, they all are. World class showmanship is what Havok has got on board, and I'm not just saying that because they're excellent dudes. They really do bring their own brand of thrash and are so damn down to Earth. I couldn't be more pleased to talk with Havok again and catch up. Again, buy their shit so they can keep thrashing instead of working at bars for a living, making tips and selling vacuums door to door. That's a fate I wish upon no one.

I had the pleasure of speaking to Reece, Mike and David after the show, not so much Pete, but I hear he's a cool guy. Reece told me about their plans for the next little while and their new album plans; which includes some Dokken-esque stuff. Songs about love? We'll just have to find out!

I just want to thank everyone who has been supporting me, unbeknownst, but I know you're out there, helping me help you out. What goes around, comes around!

Now for the pictures! Which can be viewed HERE and for just Havok --> HERE

Hope you guys like this stuff. Comment and let me know which pics are your favourite.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

WOAH! NEW POST! And Nocoma at The Zoo!

So it`s been a while, internet. I`ve been lurking hard, but not really participating- I can say the same thing about metal shows- lurking, but not really going.

I couldn`t think of a better way to be reintroduced to my love of concert photography than to do some for my good friend Mike Zhang, who goes to my gym and frankly, kicks a lot of ass. His band is the local group Nocoma, and if you haven`t seen them and you just want to kick back and listen to some tight playing without having to worry about looking cool and headbanging, this is the band for you! In all seriousness, I was completely impressed with their performance, not because Mike`s my friend, but because it looked like they effortlessly had a lot of fun while playing some wicked tunes.

I would also like to add that this was one of the first times in a long time where I actually PAID to see bands play. Yeah, they must be pretty special. Now for your picturesssssss....

View the whole album HERE

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Devin Townsend Experience

Mein Traum hat treu!

I have to admit, the level of anxiety to meet Devin Townsend more than quadruples the amount I felt for meeting Jahri. Devin Townsend has been on a ridiculously productive roll in the past half decade, and I had the opportunity to explore the reasons why, as well as other things. For anyone who knows me personally, they're familiar with my love and appreciation of Devy's music. I've been into his solo work and Strapping Young Lad for as long as I could actually appreciate music enough to justify buying my own CD's. With that, I thought I might have more of a "right" to meet this musician than most people, but I'm sort of wondering what a "right" is, and I'll explain that in a bit!

So I worked all day down at the M-O-N-D-R-A-G-O-N and went straight down the street to the Garrick, snaked through the back exits... asked Gojira where Devy was, got redirected to a stage-hand named Paul, then to some other guy, and then I think I was told to just sit tight because Devin was doing a live acoustic with someone... Me nerves was rubbed right raw. And by that, I mean, I was pretty nervous. I didn't know what to expect! I just didn't want to seem like a moron, and ask a lot of the same questions he had already gotten (I always imagine that's pretty annoying, especially when you're hot shit at the moment) I hadn't thought of any REAL questions all week... not ones I knew I would ask for certain. Eventually someone came up to the seats and said the man was down there with the big hat. The hat wasn't that big, but it was Devin! We shook hands, and I had to gather back up all my faculties, because this thing we call "speech" was all of a sudden pretty difficult. I just about spilled all over the floor.

We went to his tour bus, and throughout the interview- Ryan, Brion and David were going in and out. I would not have minded talking to the gentlemen who have been accompanying and complimenting Devin's talents for the past few years, but we just let them go about their business. The interview was easy-peasy in the way that... Well.... Devin is such a relaxed character, at least at this time he was. He was extremely honest, he wasn't putting on any kind of act and he was open. Wide open. Probably more than he's ever been in a his life, and I mean this in terms of this period in his life with Epicloud, Retinal Circus and everything. He described something I was desperate to know, and that's how Epicloud differs from the rest of his discography before the quadrilogy, which is apparently the transition period for him. With his solo work before Ki, he does say he believes in peace, love and happiness but... FUCK YOU. With Epicloud, there is no sinister twist, or what he described as insecurity with his past work. He's exposed himself, laying it all out, he loves love and peace and wants to find happiness. Right on.

Want one of these awesome easy-peel oranges?! They're delicious!

So about the "right" to hang out with Devin... he made an interesting point about being a musician and how people are personally invested in it--"his" music,  which insinuates risk... "I HAVE to meet you." or "I NEED to have your next record"... it's all personal investment and it makes Devin somehow responsible for something he has no need to be responsible for. This is all in the interview which will air on Radio Active Metal on the BY THE WAY... Devin is a musician and this music, as he says, is not "his"- he merely interprets notes and uses a set of skills to manifest something that's always had the potential to be there. "That's MY riff" now sounds like a ridiculous statement of ownership. It really makes me think about what intellectual property is. By the way, I don't ever expect or necessarily want to get paid for taking pictures.

I've already used a hell of a lot of quotations, but I think I should just get to the off-interview festivities... The interview was long, and during it, it did not take me long to loosen up and not feel nervous anymore. When we went back into the venue, it was a bit of standing around watching roadies be roadies... I noticed Devin speaking with one of the stage managers- or at least trying to while a drum check for Gojira was happening... Devin had said on the bus that he was hungry and a vegetarian, but also intended to go to my restaurant if time permitted, so I walked over and offered to pick him up some food if he was too busy to. He said thanks, but that he would be walking over himself. I said I'd show him where it was and then all of a sudden, I'm walking in the exchange district with my favourite musician of all time... We talked about Winnipeg, and what makes it Winnipeg, we talked more about ourselves and it was a nice little walk. When we got in the restaurant, of course no one recognizes him off the hop. Daunted by the menu, I made my recommendations and he picked the Dragonbowl and the Southern Fried Strips. Of course I made all the food for him, because that's what I do all day. So I deliver his food and get my bearings.

I sit down with him as he gnoshes on vegan fare and he asks when I'm getting married and... we just have a nice relaxed, but personal conversation about ourselves. We talk about marriage, his and my future one, what we're learning about in life at the moment... One of the things that stuck with me is that he's been on tour since him and Tracy have been together, and that in itself has caused contention, but more so is having CHILDREN.... in the end, Devy tells me that if your spouse isn't an idiot and you are friends, that's all you can really ask for. There's a fantasy period, and then there's having kids... I took a lot away from this 41 year old man, who has made music that I've listened to through some of the most emotionally hard and wonderful periods of my life... I was able to describe this to him and I can't think of a more fulfilling feeling....

Oh! I also got Devin to try Kombucha for his first time! He thought he knew what it was, and was like "that shit is weird" so we split a bottle of Ginger Kombucha and he liked it, as he felt the probiotics going to town on his meal. He also likes comfort food, so we agreed that next time he's here, it's Liz's lasagna all the fucking way. That was a pretty excellent experience, having Devin try something new and him enjoying it, and agreeing to hang out with me again. This tour is definitely the mark of a new period in Devin's life and career, and I hope he finds his happiness. When he left to get ready for the gig... I felt like a really close friend of mine was going away for a while... but... he'll be on stage in just over an hour! Anyways, enough of my guts spilling all over the internet... here's all my stupid pictures!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Wintersun - December 8th @ the WECC

First of all, I would like to thank Ruben from Union Events- you helped me immensely at the show, and I feel I owe you a sandwich. Moving swiftly forward! I knew for a few weeks at least, that I would be speaking with Wintersun. However, I did not appreciate the magnitude of how insanely awesome it would be. Talking to Jahri and possibly the other members of the band- including Kai, whom is a Finnish legend in his own right, was going to be delightful. It wasn't until I was actually making my why to the gig that I started to genuinely be nervous. I've never really been nervous to hang out with a band before- not Iced Earth, not Havok, nor Devin Townsend... Meeting the person who masterminded Wintersun really made me gittery- giddy and jittery. Would Jahri and the others be shiny, or have an aura around them? Well, kind of. More an aura of grace and professionalism, but a sense of fun at the same time. Really though, they were exceptionally cool guys. I mean, really down to earth, and in it for the fans and the music.

Anyone who saw Wintersun could easily tell they were tight, well put together and loved connecting to the audience. They really appreciate the crowd's energy and brought anything they could to help us enjoy their performance. Everyone went bat-shit-holy-fuck-euphoria-ca-razy. It was the kind of concert and performance that you really found a sense of community and love, mixed with genuine respect for the musicians. Everyone who was there adores Wintersun. I don't think I saw anyone whom I thought had never heard their stuff, and wasn't there for their set. But Eluveitie is still pretty stellar. Herdigerdi, anyone?

The crowd was all very friendly, and an unusual one from the one I usually see, but it's refreshing. Now for shameful cross-promotion! So my cohort and I totally interviewed Jahri and Jukka, as well as Anna the Herdigerdi player from Eluveitie and Kriegel. By the way, there are half a billion people in Eluveitie. Anyhow, these interviews will be run on Radio Active Metal- which I have taken a hiatus from co-hosting, but Snowy and Roch are simply awesome guys. So eventually the interviews and the show featuring them will be on the internet FOREVER! The interviews themselves were pretty interesting- especially with Jukka the bassist. It was his dream to be in Wintersun, and he really fits the bill, and his moose hat is almost as cute as my owl hat.


View the full-ish album here! More to come as I deem one of the six hundred or so pictures as worthy...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Obituary, Broken Hope, Decrepit Birth and Jungle Rot - September 19th @ The Zoo

I want to keep this write-up short and sweet, but so much mirth was had at the Obituary show. I was absolutely giddy with excitement as I walked right into the venue to meet some gear loaders I knew before the show. I could see Jungle Rot on the other side of the room, but I was too shy and excited to say anything. Bearing banana bread, I giddily went to Kickboxing to let off some excess excitement and after a thorough sweat, I was ready to go for some much needed live Death Metal.

I have never seen Obituary live, and now that I have, I could probably rot happily in the ground. But first, I want to talk about Jungle Rot- The first time I heard them was when they were here earlier in the year with Deicide. I was so thoroughly impressed with their no-nonsense groove and tone, I had to literally buy five of their CD's- well, at least to sell to Winnipeg if they missed them. Kill On Command is a fucking classic, and I recommend anything off their catalogue as far back as their first release Skin the Living. They fucking pound! But enough about their recordings, as for this time's live antics... some personnel at the Zoo or under Cory's supervision completely ruined the microphone levels and the stage was dark up until Dave Matrise had to fucking say something so they could get some lights turned on.  However, I could only care about the lights a little bit, since I was too busy moshing so much of the time. I almost never mosh, by the way. Let this be an indication as to how fucking awesome Jungle Rot are.

After their set and some time during Decrepit Birth's set, I caught up with David and offered him one of the loaves of banana bread I made, which he accepted, but only after he let his stomach settle. It was actually surprisingly difficult to get rid of that entire loaf of banana bread. We chatted for a long time, and Dave was pretty fed up with the politics of the music industry, especially in touring. Jungle Rot had no place opening, but they know they're no Obituary. He also told me that they were following the Morbid Angel tour, but they're always behind by a few days. What's the point of that? Either way, Jungle Rot said they'll be back in the studio for another album in January, and will be touring again soon after, so stay tuned for an interview with those guys!

I'm going to skip Decrepit Birth, because they're just too proggy brutal death metal for me. Does that make sense? Impressive musicianship, but nothing that captivates me too much. Keep it simple, keep it brutal is my new mantra. Now how about Broken Hope? The best fucking thing about Broken Hope was Chuck Fucking Labossier of our city was the vocalist. The man is a legend in his own right, and I nominate him to be the new mayor of Winnipeg. He represents everything that's kind of all right about Winnipeg- the metal scene, bicycle enthusiasm, good humour, dope smoking... Chuck is great and down to Earth, but fucking talented at the same time. I would say I wish he were my Dad, but Chuck is a big kid himself, in his own words, and wouldn't really be a great Dad. But he is an amazing front man. Keep up the killer tunage, sir. Go check out Eyam or Psychotic Gardening as well as wishing him luck as he tours with Broken Hope for the rest of their Canadian dates!

Now here's the interesting part... Obituary... They played everything I'm sure everyone wanted to hear... Turned Inside Out, Stinkupuss, Chopped In Half... They just really nailed it. And from my end of things doing some photography, I could really tell that John Tardy is a serious and professional vocalist. He doesn't fuck around, and he expects everyone working the gig to not fuck around either. They were a pretty amazing band to see, and Donald Tardy is a really cool guy *faints*. I am going to cut the crap now, and just post what you people wanted to see... PICTURES!