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Thursday, 24 November 2011

The Incredible Journey...of sound!

I love listening to new music.  And nothing makes me hotter than hearing something so different, so original, I can't even put a genre on it.  I had that experience last weekend, when I stopped on the Suboculis website.

I was about to cook supper and wanted to listen to something different for a change.  I had given Suboculis a quick listen about a month or so ago and thought his sound was pretty cool. His Infirmus album is posted on his website for anyone who wants to check it out, so I decided to take a closer listen.  I plugged in my speakers so I could turn it up and holy shit, am I glad I did.  I kept turning toward the speakers, thinking - fuck this guy is good!  Of course, I did what was the only logical next step.  I bought the album. And listened to it over and over and over...

Suboculis is the solo project of bassist Dan Menapace and his music is an incredible journey of sound. I say that because you don't fucking listen to Suboculis you fucking experience Suboculis. I want to call his style a sub genre of rock because it is somewhat reminiscent of Tool and Pink Floyd, but from there....

My favorite way to experience Suboculis' Infirmus is turned up while relaxing in a comfortable chair with my earbuds in and my eyes closed.  Then it's just him and me as the nuances of his music move over my body, sparking off all kinds of primitive instincts....fuck it's hot!

Now, there are two songs in particular on Infirmus that really do it for me.  The music seriously takes hold of me....the fucking music mixed with the sound of the vocals turns me on beyond belief....getting inside me and well, let's just leave it at 'they fucking turn me on'.   The troubling part of this is that these two songs are possibly Suboculis' two most politicaly charged songs.  The Sludge Chronicles lyrics are a narrative of John Gesselman's disturbing account of his experiences in the US Navy and dumping radioactive waste in the water at the Farallon Islands Nuclear Waste Site, 30 miles west of San Fransisco, California between 1955 and 1959 - and Narrow Escape speaks to the Cuban Missile Crisis.  So yeah - it makes me feel ashamed and dirty inside but these songs still fucking turn me on.

I am also impressed by how Suboculis is so successful in creating his desired atmosphere.  The titles of the tracks are pretty much spot on with where they take me.  I'll admit it, he did have me turning to the dictionary on more than one occasion.  Incursus is a perfect example of that!  When I sit and listen with my eyes closed, I get the feeling of having flashbacks of a night before.  You know how it is the morning if the pounding head and turning stomach isn't fucking bad enough, your brain gets assaulted with flashes of all the stupid fucking shit you did the night before.  Anyway, after tracking the meaning of incursus through a legal means assault!

If you're afraid of the dark you may not want to listen to Phobophobia with your eyes closed.  This track takes me to places with all kinds of big ass spiders and shit.  Casuality puts me in some futuristic war trench with terminators storming past shooting lasers.  And this is all without the aid of hallucinogenics! 

Now, perceptions are of course filtered by our own personal experiences (and which movies we've watched) so whose to say how Suboculis will make you feel.  I encourage you to find out.  One piece of advise, and please take it  because it seriously does make a difference...plug in your fucking speakers or earbuds!  There are subtle nuances that tie the music together making it truly an experience in sound.

I hear Suboculis is in the process of recording new music.  If it touches me - hehe - anywhere near as much as Infirmus, watch out baby, this wild cat just might come to prowl.  And ooo baby, there's no doubt in my mind that you could make me purrrrrrrrrr........; )

Thursday, 17 November 2011


"TURN DOWN THAT NOISE GOD DAMMIT , OR I'LL COME IN THERE AND TURN IT OFF!"  I can still hear my mom bellowing down the hall when I played my stereo too loud when I was a teenager.  That noise was April Wine, Cheap Trick, Meatloaf etc.  I actually laugh out loud when I think if she were still with us, what she would think about the music her grandsons listen to...not to mention play!

Have you fucking listened to what the kids are listening to these days?  Have you heard the bands Lamb of God, Cannibal Corpse, or Whitechapel?  I fucking have.   In fact if you said no and saw the movie Ace Ventura, Pet Detective, you have too.  Jim Carrey's character Ace sang on stage with Cannibal Corpse in one of the scenes.  Many may think Jim/Ace was just making grunting, growling sounds, but he was actually singing the lyrics....who knew he was so talented!

I started listening to these bands through my twin sons a few years ago.  They started music lessons when they were 11 years old.  One wanted to play electric guitar, the other wanted drums.  The twins are the babies of the family, so of course they got what they wanted.  They took to music in a big way, practicing for hours every day.  If only they had dedicated that much time to their school work....

Anyway....they couldn't get enough!  They formed their first band through band lessons at Pruegger's Music in Lethbridge.  Poor Man's Wealth consisted of Marko on guitar, Moe on drums, their best friend Bret on bass and Branden, another talented kid from Lethbridge on guitar.  Mike, their music teacher sang for them.  Their covers included Metallica - Enter Sandman, Led Zepplin - The Ocean and Stone Sour - Through GlassPoor Man's Wealth performed yearly at the student concert as a full band and Marko, Moe and Bret performed for their school as a 3 man instrumental.  By this time, they had started to write their own songs too, albeit without lyrics.

The twins were constantly challenging themselves.  They both learned to play drums, electric guitar, acoustic guitar and both took a few vocal lessons as well.  It wasn't surprising that they would look to, then rise to the challenge of playing Death Metal with it's crazy fast guitar riffs and rapid fire double drumbeats.

I learned to appreciate the difficulty of playing Death Metal by watching my sons play....blurred hands, feet and hair flying as if caught in some weird epileptic seizure.   Although, one of the twins, Moe eventually turned to the more mellow and quieter sounds of acoustics...Marko continued with Metal and is now playing...uh, I mean fucking shredding for a Deathcore band.

Reborn Extinction consists of Rylan Pozdnekoff on vocals, Marko Hennebury on guitar, "Metal"Mat Yeomans on bass/vocals and Jared Gomany on drums.  As of yet they haven't recorded any music, so fans have to take in their live shows to hear them.  Fans got that chance last week when Reborn Extinction performed at the Moose Hall in Lethbridge along with Calgary's Fall City Fall and Edmonton/Vancouver's Deadbeat.

Now, I'll be honest with you.  You normally won't see me at a Deathcore show....unless my kid is playing.  Those kids are fucking crazy...and I'm not talking about the band...though, yeah in all honesty they're pretty fucking crazy too.  When I arrived, Reborn Extinction had just finished setting up.  I walked up to the band...screamed a hello at them - you know, to blend in with the crowd - then got the fuck out of the way before they started playing.  I moved to the side of the hall and perched myself on a table so I would have a clear view of the band and of the mayhem that I knew would ensue as witnessed at previous shows. 

Once the band started playing and Rylan's vocals rose from some hidden demon of hell within him, it didn't take long for the pit to get going.  The music is so fucking hard and aggressive that it isn't surprising that the dancing is as well.  Boys moving across the floor, arms swinging violently from one side to the other making contact with anything or anyone in their path.  Noses, eyes, jaws...doesn't matter.  In fact the recipient is usually quite fucking proud of his/her injuries.  Strutting with pride as if the blood that flows down their faces is proof that they are warriors of the pit!

The one thing I've learned from the years of watching these boys (and some girls) crash into one another is that for as violent as this all looks, these are nice kids that aren't out to hurt anyone.  No, really, I'm serious.  It's expected...if you're in the pit, you're gonna get hurt...duh...but the intention or emotion of the pit is not hateful.  It's not about us against them or me against you in the pit.  It's more like...I'M FUCKING HERE!! FEEL ME!!

During a Reborn Extinction show it's not unusual for "Metal"Mat to put down his bass and join the crowd in the pit....this night was no exception!  Pushing and yelling at the crowd to "get the fuck in the pit, you pussy motherfuckers!"   I tell you...even if you're not into the music, the show in itself is an entertainment that should not be missed!  Well, admittedly grandma and grandpa probably wouldn't appreciate the entertainment value - see first sentence in this post...'nuff said?

Even though I have admitted previously that I would probably not attend a Deathcore show unless my kid was playing, I always enjoy myself at a Reborn Extinction show.  These young men are very talented musicians...and I'm not just saying that because one of them is my kid...really.  I wish I could share their music with you and as soon as they get their shit together and record some, I will.  In the meantime visit their facebook page, they really are sweet ki....uh, I mean, they're fucking badass motherfuckers who will seriously fuck you up if you don't fucking "like" their facebook page.......; )

Reborn Extinction's facebook page

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Gotta Have More of That Big Sugar, Baby

Back in 1994 I bought Borrowed Tunes a tribute album to Neil Young.  It consisted of two albums actually, Out of the Blue, an acoustic tribute to Neil Young and Into the Black, an electric tribute to Neil Young.  My favorite out of these two albums was Into the Black...and my favorite song on that album was Big Sugar's cover When You Dance, I Can Really Love.
It was the first time I had heard of Big Sugar.  In my own defense, I didn't hear of them when they released their first album in '91 because at the time I was living in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.  The only fucking thing I could find on the airways back then was country.  That was long before I had my first computer so I listened to the cassettes I had, over and over and over again.  I had a pretty good collection of music so it wasn't that big a hardship, but I certainly didn't get the chance to hear anything new.  I moved to Alberta in '93 and was a big fan of Neil Young and his songs, so when the tribute album came out, I picked it up right away.  That album gave me a look at a number of great new bands including Our Lady Peace (also killed with their version of Needle and the Damage Done) but as I've already mentioned Big Sugar's cover was my favorite.
Well, I must have a hell of a sweet tooth, because ever since then, I just can't get enough of Big Sugar.  Lead singer Gordie Johnson is like the Canadian version of the Foo Fighters Dave Grohl.  He's multi-talented, gets involved in a number of different projects and is just so fucking cool.  Or who knows...maybe Dave is the American version of Gordie!  Either way, they both have aligned themselves with great musicians to develop great bands and great fucking music - but I digress...I talked about the Foo's last week, this week I want to talk about Big Sugar and the fucking great show they put on with Wide Mouth Mason at The Stone in Lethbridge Alberta this week.
The last time I saw Big Sugar perform before this past week, was back in December of 2003, during their farewell tour.  In fact that was the first time I saw them perform.  I didn't get out much back know how it is when you have small kids...but I was going to be damned if I didn't catch a Big Sugar show before it was too late!  Yeah, you heard me right...their farewell tour.  So yeah, I was fucking thrilled to hear they were back together and had another album out. 
Big Sugar is a rock band with a bluesy, funky, reggae flavor.  Revolution per Minute is a cool, awesome fucking album....I love it!!!! Apparently I'm not the only one who loves it because The Stone was jam-packed.
Wide Mouth Mason opened and that's not surprising as Gordie Johnson recently joined that band as their bass player.  Shaun Verreault's unmistakable vocals front Wide Mouth Mason.  His high energy along with Gordie Johnson and drummer Safwan Javed had the joint jumping right from the start.  Their show alone would have been enough for rock fans but then Shaun returned the favor and joined Big Sugar as they took the stage and proceeded to blow everyone away for over two hours.
They played everyone of my favorites including Nicotina, Turn the Lights On before You Lie Down, Heaven in Alberta, The Scene, Diggin' a Hole, and their cover of Traffic's Dear Mr. Fantasy.  They mixed these in amongst their new songs including Roads Ahead, Little Bit of A Alright and Come a Little Closer.  Fuck I had a good time singing and dancing all night.
But the fun doesn't end there boys and girls, oh no....
After the show I chatted with the security guys that wouldn't let me past into the dressing room.  You know, I've come across a lot of pricks that are full of themselves working security.  I'm happy to say that security at this show were fucking decent nice guys.  I'm sure if I gave them a problem it would be a different story but yeah they let me joke around with them and more importantly wait around.
I met Friendlyness from Big Sugar first.  This guy is so fucking cute...and nice.  No wonder his name is Friendlyness!  I love his Jamaican reggae rap and long blond dreads.  I shook his hand and thanked him for an awesome show.  I didn't want to let go of his felt so warm and comfortable that I just continued to hold onto it.  I'm still not sure how he got away from me, I truly don't remember letting go.
Then I had the opportunity to thank Gordie, himself!  Holy Fuck!! And my best friend, Jeannine was there to snap a couple of pictures for me!  Well, you couldn't have slapped the smile off my face, I was so fucking happy.  I can't wait until Big Sugar comes back, I'm gonna be there!  I really do love the music but I think maybe it's because I really want to hold hands with Friendlyness again...........; )

Gordie Johnson & Cat Hennebury

Wide Mouth Mason links:
Official Wide Mouth Mason website
Google +
YouTube...take your pick!

Big Sugar links:
Official Big Sugar website
YouTube...take your pick!
 Big Sugar Blog

Thursday, 3 November 2011

I Pity the Foo'

In the infamous words of Mr. T, I do pity the foo' who missed the Foo Fighters Wasting Light tour.  I was almost that foo' myself, but  thanks to Lethbridge radio station, Rock 106, I was one of the cool kids at the sold-out Calgary show.  The contest was text4tix.  Just text foo to a certain number then they would draw for tickets.  43 texts later at $0.25 a text and I got the call from Vince and Rosie, morning show hosts, that I won tickets!!  That's right, 2 tickets to the Foo Fighters for $10.75...score!!

I grabbed my BFF, Jeannine and off to Calgary we went.  Admittedly I was a little disappointed when I found that my tickets were fucking nosebleed seats near the back of the ScotiaBank Saddledome.  Although, if it's true that you get what you pay for, I still came out way ahead...I was in the fucking building with the Foo Fighters for just over ten bucks.  As we took our seats I still looked longingly toward the floor, where I would've been...if only I could have afforded the tickets when they went on sale.  The bonus from this height was I could see the stage had somewhat of a guitar shape.  The main stage was the body of the guitar,  the neck was represented by stairs running from the main stage to a pathway running down the center of the floor and ending at a second stage - the headstock - in the soundboard pit at the back of the floor. 

I hadn't heard anything about who was opening so when I saw the Mariachi El Bronx banner over the stage, I got out my BlackBerry and started a search for Mariachi El Bronx.  I hadn't heard of them before and my search wasn't helping much either.  It was even stranger when the lead came out and started yelling at the crowd, "Hey MotherFuckers!  You ready for the Foo Fighters tonight!"  He looked and sounded like a bad ass biker and then proceeded to play mariachi music.  It was something I had never heard at a rock concert and it was fucking awesome!

But that wasn't even the real opening treat.  Fuck, Kentucky rockers Cage the Elephant came out next and proceeded to shake down the house.  Those dudes are crazy, man, and they put on one hell of a show.   I especially enjoyed  "Shake Me Down", "Back Against the Wall" and of course "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked."  The boys were amazing and although I was getting used to seat dancing...damn seats, I once again looked longingly to the floor as Matthew Shultz, lead singer, vaulted off the stage and into the crowd. 

Now, I've mentioned in previous posts how I hate sitting at a rock concert and I've also talked about how I just can't bring myself to be rude enough to stand in seats forcing those behind me to stand as well.  Well, someone up above must have taken pity on me, because the two huge guys sitting right in front of us proceeded to stand up as soon as the Foo Fighters took the stage and stayed that way throughout the whole concert....of course forcing us to stand so we could see the show.  Fucking A!  Thank you very much, you rude motherfuckers!

The Foos rocked for two solid hours without a break in a high energy show, that included Dave Grohl, lead vocalist and founder of the Foos running several times down that guitar neck of a stage to the rear stage.  Highlights included a shirtless, muscles glistening with sweat, sexy  Taylor Hawkins on drums....and a kick ass guitar battle between Dave Grohl and guitarist Chris Shiflett....sorry Dave, Chris won it.

As they varied between new songs from Wasting Light to old favorites, they definitely were playing to a receptive crowd.  I have been to a number of concerts at the Saddledome including The Who and Neil Young, yet I have never before heard Calgary make so much noise!  I thought we were loud singing along but holy fuck, the noise really started when the Foo's took their break, before coming back and encoring.

Dave Grohl and the boys are genius at keeping the crowd engaged during the encore break.  They have a camera backstage and encourage the crowd to make more noise for more songs.  We had Dave up to 4 songs when Taylor took over the negotiations.  We got him up to 6.  Dave came back out alone at the fucking rear stage, to sing solo with his guitar to the bad seats.  His stage rose at least 20 feet in the air, and I finally got a half decent look at him without the aid of the big screens.

When he asked the crowd how many songs Taylor said they would do, we all answered 10.  Dave did 2 or 3 songs on his own and then the rest of the band joined him for about 4 or 5 more!  It was a fucking awesome show and 5 hours after arriving at the Saddledome we were on our way home.  I had even got over my disappointment about not being on the floor...I was just so fucking happy that I had been there for this amazing show!   I was so wired with adrenaline from dancing, singing, smiling and laughing all night, I didn't hit my bed until 9:30 the next morning.  The Foo Fighters are an amazing rock band with a lot of fucking talent, energy and great songs.  Dave Grohl is multi-talented, sexy and in my opinion the coolest fucking guy since the Fonz.  I know that dates me and I don't fucking care.  Any readers who haven't heard of the Fonz....oh, just fucking google him.........; )