Hamilton's Supercrawl Review pt. 2

I was in the midst of coming down from an intense beat experience at the Exclaim! stage when I ran into the most unexpected of visuals: a giant fire spewing steampunk tricycle. Circus Orange had begun its unique performance, and it involved making its way through the densely packed streets of curious onlookers. With fire spewing, the tricycle slowly made its way while the clown conductor narrated some sort of story in a made-up language… but it didn’t matter as the acrobats, stilt walkers, and various performers captivated me enough to get me to drop my plans to see Kevin Drew on the main stage, and follow this menagerie of weird to wherever their final destination was…

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Hamilton's Supercrawl Art Festival Scores Big (pt. 1)

Hamilton’s sixth annual street festival Supercrawl came as advertised: a celebration of art, food, fashion, and music in the heart of Hamilton. Last year the festival drew a reported 100,000 people over three days, and expectations were high for the latest edition. The format for the festival is simple: close down James Street to car traffic from King Street to Barton Avenue (pretty much the main stretch of downtown), build four stages along it’s 1km span, fill the streets with local artist exhibits, food trucks, and vendors, and offer visitors three days of roaming, exploring, laughing, eating, and dancing to music. Did I mention that it’s all free? 

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Vintage Trouble puts on top shelf performance at Mavericks

It isn't often a musical treat that can easily fit into a common curated list of "greatest live shows ever" comes to a smaller venue like the enduring 175-200 capacity bar, Mavericks in Ottawa. Yet somehow, magically, thankfully, Vintage Trouble were booked there, not long after 2 powerful performances at the Ottawa Bluesfest, by local promoter Spectrasonic .  It was clear, after having seen those shows, viewed clips of their acoustic sessions, on Letterman, or any of the others found on YouTube that picking up a ticket for the event would become a huge priority.

The venue was packed already an hour before VT was set to start, while the crowd was being entertained by tourmate The Soul Selector, DJ Tom “Papa” Ray who played records.  They were great records of course, but one collective question arrived later in the evening regarding merch, "Why didn't Vintage Trouble bring more than 100 copies of vinyl records into Canada?".  There had to be a bit more room for more vinyl on that Tennessee-plated Prevost which was also towing a very large cube trailer for gear, parked along Cumberland.  Hopefully next time, they will bring more because there were quite alot of people looking for vinyl.  One girl in line said "No vinyl? That's not very Vintage of them!"

Vintage Trouble in their very slick twill pants, matching vests and blazers made their way to the stage and were presented with epic cheers.  Ty opened the show with enough power to energize the nearly 200 music lovers instantly.  He manages to connect with a crowd from the start, kinda like a hypnotist that ensures he or she'll have complete control over their will throughout the show.  There was a small verbal survey early on that compared the cheers of people who've seen Vintage Trouble before, and those that haven't.  Ty thanked the experienced for bringing out the virgins and he was sure that there'd be another date in the future after 'popping your cherry'.

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War On Drugs definitely better "prepared" than Matt "guitar" Murphy at Ottawa Folkfest

Photos: Mike Bouchard

Words: Jay McConnery

Sunday, brought Folk Fest’s deserving fans some blue skies and the warmth of autumn sun, reviving weariness with a lineup spilling over with curiosities, sonic gold and various country flavours. Beginning to slip behind in real world responsibilities, I spent the majority of the day completing school work, but made certain to arrive on site in plenty of good time for Philadelphia band: The War on Drugs. Their latest album ‘Lost in the Dream’ has been getting a lot of play on my stereo, and I was ecstatic to hear the production of the live performance faithfully matched the sonic standard set on the record. Huge! The sound was colossal, with Charlie Hall’s killer Ludwig vistalite kit and deliberate groove playing treating listeners to drum tones immaculate, confidently escorting the psychedelic drone which magically entranced listeners young and old for the brief hour they were on stage.

Offering tracks from their three albums, but focusing mainly on ‘Dream,’ frontman Adam Granduciel channels the desirable elements of Dylan’s vocal within spacey melodic progressions set to punchy driving beats. There are elements of Americana, and Space-rock, and stoner rock, which all sound exactly right in the WOD stew. Sounds pretty perfect to me, really. Often I found their most simple melodies and progressions became the most memorable. I realized part of the depth was derived from some backing tracks- but oddly, I didn’t give a shit. I’m by no means a purest, or consistent in my assertions- are you?  Anyway- to avoid going all Blue Rodeo on them, I’ll admit they aren’t the most diverse act on earth, but they do their thing really really well. 

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