2008: Year End wrap-up for The Aging Rockstar Review
So, here we are with the Year That Was. January 6th is New Year’s Day for the Aging Rockstar Reviews, the first video review having been posted on January 6th, 2008. And now we will carry through with the perennial, annual exercise of taking a look back.
The best all-round show I went to had to be on June 20th at The ANZA Club: The Pack A.D., The Cadaver Dogs, The TVees, and Val Graham. It was a great bill with the music starting low and slow off the guitar of Valerie Graham and finishing with the head pounding licks and fills of Becky and Maya. An evening to remember to be sure.
Best Gig, runner-up:
The Jolts “Haute Voltage” record release party, July 13th, at The Cobalt with The Parallels and The High School Girls (now Mexican Drug Patrol).
The Stupidest Thing I Heard:
One of The Stumblers Inn’s, [CiTR] Shindig, comment slips advised Graham Myrfield (bass) that it was unprofessional to wear a band shirt on stage. I’ll be sure to mention this to Iron Maiden and The Ramones as it readily apparent that they too need the career advice of a college radio, textbook music fan who probably couldn’t tune a guitar if he even owned one.
The Smartest Thing I Heard:
Ferdy Belland telling James Woods of The Hotel Lobbyists that, “If [bands] don’t compare notes, there’ll never be a scene” in the parking lot of The Biltmore Cabaret.
The Worst Thing I Heard:
“Mike Gurr is dead.”
Best Out-of-Town Show:
Hands down, it had to be The Green Mountain Music Festival in Nanaimo. It was a day of music, fun, sun, beer and… well… you get the idea. Any day that includes the full musical spectrum between gals like Shiloh Lindsey and Val Graham and the bone-shaking, power chords of Bison can’t be all bad. Besides, raising a little less than $4000 for Cystic Fibrosis was a nice touch as well.
Best Stuck In A Moment You Can’t Get Out Of Moment:
About halfway through Edmonton’s Wet Secrets’ set (“The Secret March” as I recall) at The Biltmore (March 31st ), I leaned over to Grant Lawrence (one-time Smuggler, long-time CBC R3 DJ, and all-time friend) and said “This might just be the best band I have ever seen.” Their catchy hooks, tongue-in-cheek stoicness, and fun-loving raunch made for an enjoyable evening, and when the instant struck, left me with a real, Rock ‘n’ Roll moment.
Most Improved Band:
*Note: being designated “Most Improved Band” should in no way suggest that they sucked to begin with. BSC
Murder She Wrote: This motley crew have never failed to impress every time I have seen them play. They consistently hone their stage “show” and are an act that shouldn’t be missed.
Runner-up: The TVees
I once joked about The TVees saying that the “difference between The TVees and a slut is that The TVees get tighter the more they play.”
Best Dance Band That Isn’t a “Dance” Band:
The TVees, The Tranzmitors, The Parallels, and Thee Manipulators all share this title for me. If you are at one of their shows and your feet aren’t moving, check your pulse because you’re probably dead.
I am torn here between The Jolts and Cambridge, but they’re really two types of punk. The Jolts play the mid-70 New York punk (a la Ramones, New York Dolls) and Cambridge are experts at the Post-Maclaren/Sex Pistols political punk that got supercharged in the 80s.
The Hermit, hands down. Though it would be a blessing for the band, it would be a curse for any Top 40 pop band to take The Hermit on tour: fans would realize that pop played on instruments with analog vocals is really that much better.
Best Surf Rock:
The Surf Messiahs. Saw these guys once and it was all it took. If this is your music, they are your band.
Honourable Mention: Mexican Drug Patrol (formerly The High School Girls). Harder than the Surf Messiahs but a gas on stage (pay close attention to the drummer, he’s awesome).
Swank. I’ve said it before and I am certain that I will say it again: Swank is everything that was/is right about country music.
Best Folk [-Rock]:
Valerie Graham. I can’t do any justice to her in words that she can’t do for herself in music. Check her out.
No Horses are incredible at what they do but I’ll honest in saying that I am waiting to hear the next album because they are so good they may have plateaued, leaving themselves no more “up” to strive for (if that made sense to anyone but me, please let me know).
The Beladeans. Gut rocking music from a band that takes no prisoners. If there is in fact a “brown note”, these’ll be the guys to find it.
Bands I’m Waiting For:
The Cadaver Dogs played their last show “for a while” at The Railway Club and if it was their last show forever that’d be a true shame. Likewise, there is not one person in my circle who wouldn’t cry for joy when The Hotel Lobbyists take the stage again.
Best All Around:
Minto Chipman (formerly The Smokes). It took me a while to warm up to this band but after several meetings and a handful of gigs they really started to grow on me. Hard to peg down to an actual genre, Minto Chipman is like a revival show you can drink at. They fill a room with an energy that leads you to believe they might be the only ones in the room that don’t take their amazing sound too seriously.
Runner up: Parlour Steps. This band is awesome. That’s about all I can say: awesome.
So, that was the year as I saw it. This list could have been twice the size it is but it ends here. As stated, this is how “I” saw the scene last year and desperately hope to expand my experience within it in 2009.