Archive for the ‘Music Festivals’ Category

Summer is the time for music festivals. The great outdoors, the sunshine, the fresh air – all perfect conditions in which to enjoy some live music. I’ve already been through the types of people you see in the crowd at a concert, so here’s a look at the unique characters you may come in contact with at festivals.

Dehydrates – young teens who love the idea of getting hammered on $18 beers in the dead heat, while watching their favourite band tear it up on the outdoor stage. Here’s a tip for you guys – drink some damn water. Otherwise, you will either faint, puke, get the spins or all of the above. It’s not rocket science and you don’t need to be a mature 30-year-old to understand this concept. Water is the new beer, kids, water is the new beer.

8540647429_76995ae051_o

Loyalists  – these guys are hard core. They’ve likely come to the festival specifically to see the headliner. So they come super early, park themselves at the front of the crowd and stay there the whole day, watching band after band after band they don’t care about perform. They stand a lot. It’s hard for them to get food/water because then they’ll lose their place. They’re on a mission and are pretty successful – caution to anyone who tries to squeeze in front of them.

8933529867_08853ac134_o

Recorders – having an SLR camera with an tripod doesn’t make you cool. Having/using a selfie stick will only cause injury when used in a crowd of thousands. Recording an entire set with your smartphone ruins the experience for anyone standing behind you because all they see is your phone screen – so put it away. Here’s a thought: try actually absorbing the experience instead of documenting it. If you take a minute away from hashtagging, I’m sure your 2 Twitter followers will understand.

concert-phones

Water Hose Guy – I’m not sure if this guy is hired by the festival, or is just some random fan. His role is to take it upon himself to determine when the crowd needs to be soaked by a current of cold water spewing out of a ginormous garden hose. Girls squeal excitedly, boys cheer because what’s better than being in wet clothes for the rest of the day? (note the sarcasm). Why is this guy allowed to decide when people need to be drenched?

28274717_c4d0323824_o

Anti-Hygienics – okay, so I get that being in the summer heat all day can be taxing on the body. I get that sweat happens; that it’s inconvenient to bring a toothbrush with you; that you have no other choice but to use outhouses. But that doesn’t mean you abandon all sense of hygiene. Take a shower before coming; brush your teeth in the morning and bring gum/mint to freshen you up during the day. For the love of God, use hand sanitizer. There’s already enough body odour floating around, why must you add yourself to the mix?

Ultra-music-festival-week-1-miami-fl-2013

Hippies – generally female, I use the term “hippies” loosely because no one who attends festivals are actual hippies: they were all born in the wrong decade. They prance around with their braided hair, ultra high-waisted denim mom shorts, flower crowns, crop tops and complete lack of common sense.

Future_Music_Festival_2013_(8541725920)

Hipsters – generally male, they sport thick beards, skinny pants, vintage kicks, and of course, large-frame glasses. They’re there to be cool, but they don’t care about being cool, so they’re just there ironically. They’re not actually enjoying themselves, but just came along to make fun of the whole experience, whilst documenting the entire thing on Instagram.

8251901645_af5dc6c3e5_o

Osheaga Music Festival took place this past weekend in Montreal. Parc Jean-Drapeau was once again host to the epic series of live performances. Sadly, this year I was only able to attend one day of the festival (I blame my age) but boy was it a great day.

The first band I made it for was Stars. They were playing to a hometown crowd and the fans were eating it up. Lead singer Torquil Campbell did spend a little too much time going off on Prime Minister Steven Harper which was a bit of an unnecessary buzz kill. Next up were darling twin sisters Tegan and Sara. From outfit to hairstyle to accessories, these girls decorated the stage with their immense talent. Their latest album Heartthrob has made huge waves for them. Well done ladies.

The next artist was supposed to be Miguel. He was a last minute addition to replace Frank Ocean who bailed due to damaged vocal chords. I was dying to see Miguel, having fallen head over heels for his album Kaleidoscope Dream, and I was in the mood to swoon. However, at the very last minute he also cancelled due to scheduling conflicts with his band. Who substituted him? K-Os. Normally this would have been fine. But K-Os actually had a slot the day before, where he took a hissy fit and stormed off stage when the sound system wasn’t co-operating. Not cool buddy. The few minutes I did witness him rocking a Jays’ hat, trying to remind the crowd why he was still relevant, weren’t all that impressive. Therefore I will not post any footage.

Imagine Dragons came on after and completely saved the day. The band was happy the entire time. Smiling, dancing, singing their hearts out, playing their instruments like they were having the time of their lives. The energy was contagious and there wasn’t a single person standing still in the crowd. Lead singer Dan Reynolds was dynamic, entertaining and the only one I’ve ever seen who plays a massive bass drum. I kind of want to be friends with them. What a great performance.

It was time. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis were about to hit the stage and I couldn’t contain my excitement. It started to rain (thankfully I was well equipped with a bad ass poncho) but that wasn’t stopping anyone. The crowds had been gathering all day to see these guys and although I was tempted to worm my way up close, I knew it was going to be a battle and I wasn’t in the mood to fight off drunken 19-year-olds. So I stayed back where I wouldn’t be succumbed to the smoke, smells and sweat from being pushed up against someone. Macklemore & Ryan Lewis did not disappoint, they were off the hook. He did an acapella version of “Otherside” and during “Same Love,” a track about equal rights for homosexuals (damn right he supports it) he treated his fans to a beautiful moment in music: he called on Tegan and Sara to sing the chorus. They are darling twin sisters who are also both lesbians. It was just perfect.

And then this happened during “Can’t Hold Us”:

 

The main headliner was 90s rock legend Beck. I was unable to make it long enough to watch his set, but heard that it was fantastic. Here’s a look.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if you’ve never been to an outdoor music festival you don’t know what you’re missing. There’s just something about that environment that causes some sort of strange euphoria (not the drug-induced kind) that makes everything better. Try it, you’ll see.

Electronic Dance Music (EDM) is a term used to describe music produced by disc jockeys (DJs.) With the help of turntables, drum machines, synthesizers, laptops, etc they’re able to express their musical innovativeness in the form of beats and sounds. I never really fully understood its appeal until I accidentally saw Tiesto play live in Vegas: it made me a believer. But EDM’s increasing popularity over the last few years has lead to a floodgate of DJs vying for our attention and for the novice listener, it can be overwhelming. So I’ve broken it down for you (and me.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              90s Dance Music – consists essentially of anything off Dance Mix ’92-’95, including Robyn S.’ “Show Me Love”; plus the likes of C+C Music Factory and Snap! By the mid-90s, we were all graced by the presence of the infamous Gino Beats (think Joee’s “Angel”): tracks indistinguishable from one another because the same beat was used over and over again in the same way. This also involved a lot of fist pumping (Jersey Shore Guidos are so behind the times.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Techno/Trance – most often associated with rave culture: one synonymous with glow sticks, copious amounts of Ecstasy and beaded bracelets. The beats had more of a dream quality to it, almost hypnotic. Although one could still dance, it was more mellow and chilled out, less aggressive compared to other styles. Artists include Paul Van Dyk and Paul Oakenfold.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Electronic Music – as its name indicates, it has a stronger electronic presence to it. More digital and sharper sounds as opposed to the heavier bass beats found in other forms. Daft Punk and Deadmau5 fall into this category, both sharing the unique characteristic that they dress in costume every time they perform. For them it’s not about being seen, it’s about being heard and making the turntables sing, keeping the focus on the music. Though the large mouse-shaped head is a tad bit distracting.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 House Music – originating in Chicago, it was supposedly named after 80s Chicago nightclub “The Warehouse,” where people went to dance. Also supposedly named after the type of music you would find at home. House music possesses some consistent musical elements (kick/bass drum on every beat), but for the most part varies in style (ie progressive house, deep house etc.) Vocals are common but generally as an after thought compared to the beats. Tiesto was instrumental in bringing it to North America; along with Swedish House Mafia and Chicago-based Kaskade.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                             House Pop Music – a term coined by me to describe house music that has been mainstreamed to the max by not only adding strong vocals, but those of big pop celebrities like Rihanna and Usher. Sure the resulting success of the track is mutually beneficial for both parties involved, and I’m no EDM junkie, but this screams sell out. It’s taking something from the underground and overexposing it. The vocals take over the track and the beats become the after thought. David Guetta and Calvin Harris currently reside here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Mash-Up Music – involves taking pre-existing tracks and mixing them together, instead of producing beats and sounds and mixing them together. This requires an incredibly creatively genius mind in order to recognize which sounds will end up in matrimony. Girl Talk is one of the best out there.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Young House – music produced by a group of twenty-something DJs that have appeared over the last few years and taken the music world by storm. They’ve used the mounting accessibility to house music as a platform to illustrate their raw talent, and attempt to separate themselves from the rest by putting their own spin (no pun intended) on it. Avicii, Skrillex and Afrojack – all 25 and under – belong here.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                              EDM will once again be showcased at Ultra Musical Festival in Miami over the next two weekends, and this year’s line up is doused in the best of the best. Most EDM DJs, with the exception of a select few (including Canada’s Deadmau5,) hail from somewhere in Europe; EDM having such a big presence in North American culture has to be saying something. It’s music that makes you feel good and there’s never anything wrong with that.