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Tag: Phoenix Concert Theatre

Kathleen Edwards @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Kathleen Edwards
Kathleen Edwards @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 23rd, 2008 : : .

Of course, I remember being charmed by Kathleen Edwards‘ set at NXNE for Six Shooter Records Outlaws & Gunslingers showcase in 2007. I was introduced to a lot of great new music that night, so I don’t remember quite what it was that lead me to investigate Kathleen’s recorded music specifically shortly thereafter.

But I do clearly remember queuing up the Asking For Flowers album for the very first time. I remember the intimacy of the sound of the piano bench creaking under the sparse but powerful chords of Buffalo. I remember the drums and guitar kicking in, matching intensity with a literal and metaphorical storm chasing the song’s protagonist across the Canada-US border.

I was instantly and irrevocably smitten.

Whitehorse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Whitehorse @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 20th, 2017 : : .

Memory’s a funny thing.

I’ve written (I think a couple of times) in earlier blog entries that this was Whitehorse‘s record release party for Panther In The Dollhouse.

I understand why I’m misremembering it as such. The band had been using social media to create some pre-release hype for the album throughout the recording sessions, making its release feel imminent. The lead single, Boys Like You, had been hit the airwaves three months prior. They’d previewed a couple of additional tracks from the disc at the end of the set, giving that exciting, brand-new feel. Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland even used some in-between song banter to recognize and thank producer Gus van Go, who was in the audience (and I believe about 8-feet from where I was standing).

In retrospect, the biggest reason I likely made that mistake was because of how much this felt like the beginning of a new era for the group.

Tanya Tagaq @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Tanya Tagaq
Tanya Tagaq @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 20th, 2017 : : .

Arguably the biggest draw of the night, the crowd was now at capacity and stood shoulder-to-shoulder for the third performer of the evening, Canadian Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

This observation would be much less note-worthy if Tanya wasn’t constantly contextualized with phrases like “Experimental vocalist” and “Avant-garde” — hardly large selling points for the masses.

Check Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, or your local record store for an Inuk Throat Singing genre — you probably won’t find it represented anywhere. So, what is it about Tanya that has managed to find cross-over success, earning her feature pieces on 60 Minutes, NPR, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and the Guardian?

I won’t pretend to be qualified to throw my opinion out there, but the fact remains: Tanya’s a hit. Her albums have won Juno Awards, the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, Canadian Folk Music and Western Canadian Music Awards. Her debut novel, Split Tooth, similarly was well regarded: it was shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon First Novel Award and won the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English.

She’s going to need a bigger trophy case.

Amelia Curran @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Amelia Curran
Amelia Curran @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 20th, 2017 : : .

Can you imagine a line up of four bands where the talent is so formidable that NQ Arbuckle opens the show, and Amelia Curran is only the second performer?

That’s exactly the set-up for Whitehorse‘s record release party for Panther In The Dollhouse album at the Phoenix Concert Theatre, and it’s clear Six Shooter Recorders was prepared to present this show with all guns blazing (pun unfortunately intended). Luckily, the Toronto crowd knew not to miss a good thing, and although the floors hadn’t filled up by the time NQ Arbuckle got off stage, things were starting to get much cozier for Amelia’s set.

Hot on the heels of the release of her eighth(!) album, Watershed, Amelia had gathered momentum with its universal acclaim and mainstream media attention as the album that most blurred the lines between Amelia’s art and work as an advocate for mental health in Canada.

NQ Arbuckle @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

NQ Arbuckle
NQ Arbuckle @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 20th, 2017 : : .

NQ Arbuckle seems like the ultimate basement-bar band. It’s no wonder they’re frequently playing sold out shows at venues like Dakota Tavern in and around Toronto: front-man Neville Quinlan‘s sprechgesang (a german word for spoken-singing — don’t worry, I had to look it up too!) and clever lyrics, the band’s tight rhythm section, the hooks that are instantly catchy (but maybe not in a top-40 sort of way), there’s no question that they’ve carved a comfortable niche for themselves and developed a devout following.

But I can’t help but wonder if they’re really pushing for any more than that. After all, there was five years between the Juno-nominated album Let’s Just Stay Here and the follow up album, The Future Happens Anyway. Their recent single, Love Songs for the Long Game, was the first sign of new music from the band in the six years since.

Dwayne Gretzky @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 18th, 2014 : : .

Summer is fast-approaching, and in the music world, that means festival season. Some of the most historically important musical festivals have been a showcase for current and emerging talent — think Woodstock (either of them, arguably) — but recently, the pendulum has swung so festivals have become a touring nostalgia sideshow.

It occurs to me that both promoters and concert goers could save themselves a bucket load of cash and inevitable disappointment by giving a call to Tyler Kyte, Nick Rose, and the ladies and gentlemen who back them up in Dwayne Gretzky.

The band has nailed nostalgia down to a tee; last year they gathered to perform all of Fleetwood Mac‘s Rumours album, but this year they had their sights set on a broader theme that may appeal to their fan base at large — the entirety of the 1990’s. Cribbing the name of the event, Big Shiny Dwayne, from a classic, best-selling Canadian compilation that charted five straight #1 discs annually, the band came prepared to live up to the title by showcasing the best music of the 90s with a focus on alternative and college rock.

Bahamas @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : June 19th, 2012 : : . I have developed this weird, reverse way of discovering bands through their various side projects. I didn’t get into Cursive, for example, until after falling in love with front man Tim Kasher‘s lighter, popper band, and The Good Life. Similarly, I’d never heard of Bahamas before accidentally stumbling across Afie Jurvanen‘s alter ego, “Country Superstar” Tex Message. Then, I couldn’t stop hearing of him. Shortly after, he made a guest appearance in Kathleen Edwards‘ live CBC performance to launch her album, Voyageur. Then, he was featured on Q With Jian Ghomeshi, which served as my first taste on his Bahamas material. The…

Kathleen Edwards @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Before entering The Phoenix for another Kathleen Edwards performance, I had the opportunity to chat with a few people in line. I told the fans who hadn’t been to the Hamilton show the night before they were lucky for two specific reasons. One, the sound quality at the Molson Canadian Studio in Hamilton was outstanding. Two, the absolutely emotionally charged performance from Kathleen could never be duplicated, and any attempt to live up to the prior night’s performance would only meet in disappointment. I wasn’t wrong, but I wasn’t as right as I thought I’d be, either. For the two opening numbers, the same two tracks…

Hannah Georgas @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : February 11th, 2012 : : . After missing the first half of Hannah Georgas‘ set on Friday in Hamilton, I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. I erred on the side of overly cautious, and headed out to The Phoenix Concert Theatre and arrived some 50-minutes before doors opened. You’d think, being so over-zealous, I’d be first in line and left out to freeze in the cold for another twenty or so minutes before anyone joined me. Surprisingly, there were already half a dozen die-hards in line. It wasn’t long until we all got chatting, and discovered we all…

Death Cab For Cutie @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : May 18th, 2011 : : . I credit Death Cab For Cutie with my interest in indie pop/rock music. A friend and fellow taper turned me onto them with a copy of his recording of a recent show they played at the *tiny* local venue, The Reverb, usually reserved for little-known local bands. It was shortly upon the release of their third album, The Photo Album, which virtually single-handedly changed my musical interests. Death Cab For Cutie became THE band I listened to, almost non-stop. New friends and acquaintances as a freshman in university would raise a confused eyebrow when I always listed…