Music Monday: Fall Shows in Edmonton

On Twitter, there is a common thread every Monday. Using the #musicmonday hashtag, people recommend songs or bands they’re listening to right now. I’m going to start a similar recurring feature on this site.

I go to a fair number of concerts, and I listen to a lot of music. I like sharing new music and hearing recommendations from other people. Music Monday posts will focus on new bands I’m into, shows I go to, or other recommendations along those lines.

To kick it off, here is an overview of some of the shows I’m looking to catch in Edmonton over the next two months, or in some cases, would if I was available (note: I still need to buy tix for most of these shows, so I may miss out on some if they sell out). I encourage you to check out these artists, and if you have the opportunity, to see them in person.

September 25: Matthew Barber (Haven Social Club)
Barber, the sibling of better-known artist Jill Barber, is a talented Canadian singer-songwriter who is currently recording his fourth album. I discovered Barber two years ago when I saw him open for Chris Isaak, and saw him perform last spring while on tour with Jill. He’s a talented live performer, and will no doubt put on a heck of a show in a small venue.

September 25: Two Hours Traffic (Pawn Shop)
I loved their album ‘Little Jabs’, and hear they are a great live show. Unfortunately, I already bought tickets for another show that night so I’ll have to catch them on their next visit.

September 26: The Gaslight Anthem (Edmonton Events Centre)
I love this band. After buying me their albums for Christmas last year, my brother described them to me as a mix between Bruce Springsteen and a punk band, which is pretty accurate. Brian Fallon is a talented songwriter, and the band as a whole plays with a lot of energy and emotion. Their show at the Starlite Room in April was fantastic, and I’m excited to see them again.

October 2: Library Voices (Flow Lounge & Grill)
I saw this band at The Hydeaway All-Ages Space earlier this year, and they were a revealation. A 10-piece band that plays with energy and writes well-constructed songs. I won’t be able to make this show, but I recommend you give them a listen and check out their show if you can.

October 3: Elliott Brood (Starlite Lounge)/Jason Mraz (Jubilee Auditorium)
I like both of these artists, but haven’t decided if I’ll go to the shows. I like each successive Mraz album less than the previous one – ‘Waiting for My Rocket to Come’ is great, ‘Mr. A-Z’ is pretty good, and ‘We Sing, We Dance, We Steal Things’ is decent, but not spectacular. But, I have heard he’s a good live show.

I liked Elliott Brood’s 2008 album ‘Mountain Meadows’, and have heard they’re a really good live show. I could be persuaded to go to either one.

October 13: Jay-Z (Rexall Place)
H-O-V-A! I’ve been a Jay-Z fan since I first heard his stuff in the late ’90s. I’m looking forward to seeing how he does as a live performer. I also hope he plays more of his older stuff. Or he could just play The Black Album from start to finish and I’d be very happy.

October 14: Chris Isaak (Jubilee Auditorium)
I won’t be attending this show, but having seen him two years ago in the same venue, I can attest to the fact that he’s a great live performer. If you even remotely like his music, he’s a must-see show. He even wears a suit made out of mirrors.

October 16: Sarah Cole (Haven Social Club)
I plugged Sarah in my Friday post. Her and her band are talented musicians, and have always put on a good show when I’ve seen them live. This is Sarah’s CD release party too.

October 21: Amy Millan (Myer Horowitz Theatre)
I’m a big fan of Stars (Amy’s band), and liked Amy’s first solo album too. I haven’t listened to the entire new album yet, but I dig her cover of Death Cab’s “I Will Follow You Into the Dark”. My co-worker Marilyn, who generally has good taste in music, also recommends the opening act, Bahamas.

October 31: Metric (The Jubilee Auditorium)
Keyboad/Synth-rock at its best. I love this band, especially their latest album, ‘Fantasies’. I’ve never seen them live, but I’m looking forward to hearing them in a fairly intimate setting. I picked up tickets about 10 rows back – one of the first couple of rows on the right terrace. Should be awesome.

November 2: Marianas Trench (Edmonton Events Centre)
I love pop-punk music. It’s true. It’s fun to listen to, and I find it makes for a good live show as well. Marianas Trench is an energetic band, and will no doubt put on a good show.

November 18: Justin Rutledge (McDougall United Church)
With three albums under his belt, Justin is starting to develop a following. I caught him at a session at Calgary Folk Fest, and he put on a good show. The acoustics at McDougall are really good, and this should be a great venue for him.

There are a number of other shows I might end up going to see. The above are my ‘would really like to see’ list. On my ‘maybe’ list are the following shows:
September 22 – Cuff the Duke (Pawn Shop)
September 27 – Final Fantasy (McDougall)
October 30 – Dan Mangan (Haven Social Club)
October 30 – Young Galaxy (Flow Lounge & Grill)

If you’re going to any of the above shows, let me know and we can connect. You could also buy me a ticket, so I don’t go broke attending concerts.

Advertisements

Election 41: When It Happens, Let’s Make It Count

Friday’s vote in the House of Commons means that we Canadians are spared for the time being from going to the polls. Maybe for 10 days, maybe for 10 months. My guess is that the between the support of the NDP and the Bloc, the Conservatives will be able to marshal Parliament through a fall sitting. Following the Vancouver olympics, they will bring forward a motion that neither party can support, sending Canadians to the polls in March or April of 2010.

Canadians don’t seem eager to go to the polls. Which is funny, because if you believe the polls from the last couple of months, a majority of them also want to see someone besides Prime Minister Harper lead the country. Which is even funnier, because polls indicated that Canadians (outside of Quebec) overwhelmingly opposed the idea of a coalition government between the Liberals and NDP (supported by the Bloc Quebecois) when it was proposed several months ago. I’m at a loss for options that will therefore please the majority of people (at least those responding to these polls).

In any case, it looks we’re headed for another election soon – certainly before the 40th Parliament’s mandate expires in 2012, and likely before 2010 is finished. I think the combination of a lack of enthusiasm for an election as well as for the status quo indicates one thing – voters don’t believe the election will change anything. You can’t blame someone for thinking that – polls indicate the next parliament will look like the current one, and if recent elections are an indication, the campaign will be more about fearmongering and name-calling than serious policy considerations.

Most Canadians seem to be unsatisfied not just with government, but with the level of discourse and debate in politics. The next election is an opportunity for voters – to ask tough questions, demand to see policy and discussion surrounding it, and to reward those party leaders and candidates who do so. Done right, another early election can be a good thing.

Which is why I was encouraged to read Michael Igatieff’s speech to the Toronto Board of Trade.

Ignatieff Speaks

Almost three months ago, I blogged about Michael Ignatieff’s town hall in Edmonton. He outlined a vision for Canada, and with speeches such as today’s on the economy and last week’s about Canada’s place in the world, he’s starting to articulate how he would move the country towards that vision. We need more of this. There is certainly a place in political speeches to critique the actions and views of other parties, but when that becomes the prime focus of your speeches, and you move away from informed critique to ad hominen attacks and misinformed generalizations, everyone loses out.

While you may not know it if you just tune in during elections, especially the leadership debates, our four national party leaders are all smart, accomplished people – as is BQ leader Gilles Duceppe. Between the five of them we should be able to have a real debate about the values and future direction of our country.

Michael Ignatieff is an accomplished author and public intellectual. He has written extensively about nationalism, national identity, and foreign policy. He has studied and lectured at some of the world’s leading universities. Let’s hold him to account, and make sure he spends his time talking about issues like foreign policy, the economy, and nationalism, rather than demonizing the Conservative government.

Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper addresses the worlds media

Stephen Harper was the Policy Director of the fledgling Reform Party, and one of the more active minds of his generation. He challenged the status quo and helped present a coherent vision of a more conservative Canada. As Prime Minister, he has abandoned selling a vision, choosing instead to advance causes like Senate reform by stealth, and to woo voters with piecemeal measures one microtargeted group at a time. Mr. Harper has been Prime Minister for 3 1/2 years, and there’s a good chance he’ll continue to be Prime Minister after the next election as well. With this office, what is he trying to accomplish? What is his ultimate vision for Canada, and how does he see us getting there? The Prime Minister would be well-served by laying his cards on the table. We can judge for ourselves if someone is not a leader, or just visiting Canada. So let’s hear less of that and more of where you want to take our country.

Jack Layton in Edmonton I

Prior to his election as leader of the NDP, Jack Layton was a respected Toronto City Councillor, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and author on the issue of homelessness. Since then, he has spent more time on the campaign trail spouting platitudes about “working families”, demonizing the Liberals and Conservatives, and railing against big corporations. Aside from the “NDP Budget” he extracted from the Liberal Party in 2005, we haven’t seen or heard much about what the NDP stands for. Our cities face significant financial challenges, both in raising revenue and addressing the need for infrastructure and services. Homelessness remains a significant problem. Let’s hear you talk about how you would address those.

Elizabeth May, Green Party leadership candidate

And wither Elizabeth May? For all the talk that Michael Ignatieff was invisible all summer, what has Elizabeth May been up to? Besides turning up to announce she was running for, then contest and win, the nomination in Saanich-Gulf Island, Ms. May has been conspicuously absent in recent months. You would think the leader of a party on the outside of parliament would be making a compelling case that her party would be different than the dysfunctional caucuses inside the House. It would, you know, try to make parliament work.

More importantly, where is May, the lifelong environmental leader, to speak out as we head towards the next round of climate change talks in Copenhagen. Isn’t this precisely the type of issue she got into politics to address?

It’s important we don’t place all the burden or blame on our public officials. Democracy isn’t a spectator sport. As citizens, we have a responsibility to hold public officials and candidates for office to account. As we head towards another election, we have an opportunity to demand more of party leaders and candidates for office. We can demand that they discuss issues seriously. We can reward the ones who do, and punish the ones who don’t. These things take time and effort – to vote, to analyse and discuss party platforms and policy issues, to volunteer our time in support of people and causes we support – but good government and serious debate don’t magically happen. It takes the time and effort of citizens and officials at all levels.

If our citizens and our public officials are up for it, Election 41 can be a good thing. We should all do our part to make it happen.