Archive for the ‘Rock’ Category

You can recognize a Nirvana song from miles away. Their music was the anthem for an entire generation, and a founder of the grunge movement. Their lyrics were filled with anger, depression, apathy, self-deprecation; their sound was heavy, distorted and loud; themes often revolved around drugs and escapism. That may not seem appealing to some, but for a teen growing up  in the 90s, it was everything.

When you turned on a Nirvana album, you knew what you were getting yourself into. They presented an alternative to mainstream, a change from the barrage of leftover 80s rock and current 90s pop. They were there for you when you needed them, standing by your side; I mean who doesn’t want to mosh and head bang when they’re in a bad mood?

Recently, after days of rumblings, every 90s adolescent had a dream come true: a Nirvana reunion. Dave Grohl reprised his role on guitar, Krist Novoselic returned to play bass, Pat Smear (touring guitarist for Nirvana) played guitar, and they borrowed the vocal stylings of both Joan Jett and John McCauley (of the band Deer Tick.)

In  honour of this nostalgic event, here are the best Nirvana tracks.

In Bloom, Nevermind, 1991

 

Dumb, In Utero, 1993

 

Man Who Sold the World, MTV Unplugged in New York, 1994 (David Bowie cover)

 

Drain You, Nevermind, 1991

 

About A Girl, Bleach, 1989

 

You Know You’re Right, Nirvana, 2002

 

Lithium, Nevermind, 1991

 

Where Did You Sleep Last Night, MTV Unplugged in New York, 1994 (Lead Belly/Mark Lanegan cover)

 

All Apologies, In Utero, 1993

 

Smells Like Teen Spirit, Nevermind, 1991

 

 

 

 

 

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The final instalment for this Live Series, has been a long time coming. My love affair with the Foo Fighters began when they formed, back in 1994. They have always been on my side, always known what to say. Between 2003 and 2018 (15 years!), I have had the honour and privilege of seeing them live 5 times. In 5 different cities. Here’s how they all went down.

2003 – Montreal, Auditorium de Verdun, One by One Tour

In the summer of 2003, I moved to Montreal with my best friend (at the time.) It was our first time living away from home, but we quickly fell in love with Montreal. One of my fondest memories was my first ever Foo Fighters show, 4 albums deep into their career.

They performed at the Verdun, capacity approximately 4,100. Our group of 8 picked our spot in the general admission standing area. It had to be the hottest, most humid day of the entire summer, and the air conditioner was broken (or at least it felt that way.)

As soon as the show started, the energy took over, and not a single person was bothered by the stifling heat, no one noticed the stench of sweat in the air. A mosh pit soon formed, and the brave ones navigated their way to the front of the stage, unscathed, only to come face-to-face with the band (note: my short-ness prevented me from being said brave one.)

It was the first time I heard “Everlong” live, and I was hooked (note: I walked down the aisle to an orchestral version of it.) As I stood under the coldest shower I’ve ever taken, – something had to diffuse the heat – I knew then that I would be a fan forever (Also: I cannot believe this video exists.)


2008 – NYC, Madison Square Garden, Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace Tour

I moved to NYC in 2007 for work. I was 25, finally finished school, and ready to see what the world had in store. I have always found that mutual music interest is an easy way to make friends, and at the time, the Foos were on heavy radio rotation.

After a botched attempt at seeing Lenny Kravitz (I don’t want to talk about it,) we were looking forward to the Foos show for weeks. By this time, they were 6 albums in, and playing a much larger venue – capacity 20,000+ – with an extended catwalk-like stage, bringing the band even closer to the fans.

The Foos did not disappoint: they were a more finessed version of their 2003 selves, but with as much energy (if not more,) passion and fun. It was the first time I heard “Stranger Things Have Happened,” as well as a live acoustic version of “My Hero,” and the goosebumps lasted for days (see 23:40.)

 

2011 – Chicago, Lollapalooza, Wasting Light Tour

The first major outdoor summer music festival I ever attended, my initial reaction was: Lollapalooza is bananas. Over 65,000 attendees, so many bands, so much music, and so little time to take it all in while also staying hydrated, finding a good spot from which to watch the bands, staying fed, and not giving in to heat stroke.

Foo Fighters were one of the headliners, now with 7 studio albums under their belt, a fan-favourite Garage Tour, and a documentary about them, called Back & Forth. I went to the festival with friends, but we all had our own bands we wanted to see, so for a large portion of it, I was roaming around solo.

On this particular day, the heat and humidity had reached their peak, and the gray, overcast skies morphed into their evil cousin: apocalyptic skies. A few minutes into the Foos’ set, they were inundated with torrential downpour.

I retreated and watched from a distance, the band barely in view (I have a strong aversion to rain.) But the Foos, like true champs, kept right on playing – for 2 hours – and set the stage on fire. Metaphorically, of course.

 

2015 – Boston, Fenway Park, Sonic Highways Tour

When the Foos announced this tour, I tried furtively to get tickets to their Toronto show, to no avail. I blame ticket bots. Luckily, my partner in crime agreed to hunt them down with me in Boston for their show at Fenway Park – capacity approximately 37,000.

By this time, the Foos had released their 8th studio album, Sonic Highways, as well as an HBO series of the same name. A behind-the-scenes look at the making of the album, which involved recording each track albums in a different city, and using conversations Grohl had in those cities, to form the lyrics for that track. Artistry at its best.

The unique thing about this tour was Dave Grohl performed with a broken leg (an injury incurred at a previous show.) Because he physically couldn’t stand, he played and sang from a throne covered in guitars, specifically designed for him, and like the badass he is, even attempted to perform on crutches.

It was a 3-hour long show, and my favourite one of theirs ever. I have never seen such commitment, enjoyment, musicianship and rock ‘n roll.

 

2018 – Toronto, Rogers Centre, Concrete & Gold Tour

15 years after I first saw them live. 9 studio albums, 3 documentaries, and 1 short-lived hiatus later, I finally got to see them live in Toronto, alongside 53,000 of my hometown friends, on a beautiful summer night. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

 

In yet another instalment of this live series, here are the performers I haven’t yet had a chance to see, but hopefully will get to one day.

Beyoncé

They called it “Beychella” for a reason. Plus, I’ve never seen anyone slay live.

Pink

I need to see her music live. I don’t know of any other chart topper that puts that much physical effort into their show (based on what I’ve heard,) and it’s sure to make me have a better appreciation for her music. So win-win for me.

Backstreet Boys

Seeing BSB live will channel the inner closeted boy band fan girl inside of me, and set her free. (In case you were wondering: Brian is still my fave.)

London Grammar

Their music breaks my heart every damn time, and I know witnessing them live will just destroy me (in the best way possible.)

Adele

When I first heard “Someone Like You,” I hadn’t had such a visceral reaction to a song in a very very long time. Adele knows how to express the deepest, darkest of emotions, with a perfect voice, which glorifies the pain and the sadness. Her music must to be experienced live (it’s just impossible to actually get tickets to her show.)

Dixie Chicks

I do my very best to be a well-rounded music fan, dabbling in as many genres as I can, to gain a more whole understanding of music. The Dixie Chicks were my gateway into country music, which is why I so badly want to see them live. Their music is beautiful, meaningful, and everything that makes them country, is what makes them so damn great.

Radiohead

I love Radiohead. My favourite way to listen to them is alone with headphones on, so I can drown out the world around me. I always hesitate to see them live when they come to town, because I don’t want that effect to get ruined when they play to thousands. Having said that, if I never get to see them live, I’ll never get over it. I missed them this year, here’s hoping they decide to come back.