Upon turning over my calendar at the beginning of this month, it came to my attention that in a short time 2011 will be no more. 2012, and the possible end of the world, will follow. In the limited time we have remaining, allow me to go through a list of some of the things I’ve witnessed this year that have warmed the very cockles of my heart.
#1: Hippi – Bottles and Cans.
This list starts with a tip of the hat towards 2012! Hippi is a chap who lives in the woods of Ontario, making music. He also happens to be Brock Zeman’s best mate, which is good because he has decided to produce Hippi’s debut album next year on his own Mud Records label. I love this song and the video.
#2: 25th Annual Women in Blues Revue.
The 25th Annual Women in Blues Revue at the prestigious Massey Hall in Toronto was simply a fantastic night out. An all-female band and cast played old and new blues for a good few hours. One of the best performers of the night was Edmonton, Alberta’s Kat Danser.
#3: Elliott Brood – Northern Air
I listen to the radio a fair amount here in Canada; Q with Jian Ghomeshi being a personal favourite (not only because they get great musicians and film-makers, but because Jian is a hell of an interviewer). I heard this band play live on the radio and had to check them out. The fantastic Q show features again on this list because I listen to it 5 days a week.
#4: Ball of Wax’s Songs about Books
I absolutely adored this record. What a fantastic thing to exist – and what a brilliant set of tunes. Levi’s “Free Men” was my favourite.
#5: Galway Girl – Stewart Lee
I watched a lot of stand up comedy this year, and therefore a personal list of 2011 would not be complete if some funny person was not mentioned.
Stewart Lee is an English comedian who made the 2010 DVD If You Prefer a Milder Comedian Please Ask for One. Not known for his musical numbers before, Stewart Lee decided to end his DVD with a song based on his own sadness at Steve Earle selling the rights to his tune “Galway Girl” to a cider commercial. The song was previously one of Stewart’s favourites, but after the constant TV play his memory of the song was tarnished (the commercial shown here).
The ending of Stewart’s DVD is a piece of sheer genius and a brilliant way to take the song back to have it as his own.
#6: Undercover Opera
There is such a thing as an Opera group that performs at random in the street. Isn’t that just the greatest thing in the world?
#7: Laura Marling gig
I went to see the young English lady Laura Marling in September and was really impressed with her new album A Creature I Don’t Know. Here is the ‘single’ from her latest release being played in a stripped down way (with Laura massively hungover).
#8: Washington gig
I mentioned Megan Washington in my NXNE series post back in June. The gig was pretty intense and a welcome change, so I feel it deserves a mention here.
#9: Mogwai gig
I saw Mogwai this year for the first time. During the gig they showed a short film to which they did the soundtrack. I decided to put this on here as I dig film and music.
#10: Q with Jian Ghomeshi
I really, really enjoy this radio show and urge anyone to check it out (they operate under Sirius Satellite Radio as well as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). One of my favourite parts of this year was getting the opportunity to go and watch a live show being recorded. Werner Herzog was one of the guests that day and, as you will see from the video below, was in fine form. The beauty of the Q show is not only the excellent live bands that they get on (and the superb job the sound guys do of keeping a tight sound from a tight studio) but also the way in which people open up to Jian Ghomeshi. Being a musician himself, Jian has no problem connecting to folks in bands. When dealing with authors and filmmakers, however, he finds common ground quickly (probably through superb researching). More often than not the interviews are not fluff, with Jian picking and pulling at guests when the opportunity arises. The day I was there Werner Herzog was talking about his film dealing with the death penalty (Into The Abyss), and delves into the whole industry of documentary filmmaking in this exceptional 3 minute snippet:
I wish everyone a very special 2012 with a lot more output from the Glocal Scene team!