Posts Tagged ‘Bloc Party’

Day 3 was a bit of a struggle because my body started getting angry with me. My back had had enough and I was forced to start popping Advil to get by. I also had to succumb to buying more supportive shoes – apparently flip flops aren’t the sturdiest – so that I could survive the day. Which I did. Barely.                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It was raining on and off all day, the grounds were disastrously muddy, skies were dark, but it was still humid as ever outside. The first act I stumbled upon was Woodkid. Sadly I only caught the tail end of their incredible set. Hailing from France, Woodkid, aka Yoann Lemnoine, sings in English accompanied by indie rock music with obvious tribal influences in it. The rain had stopped for a while and during one of their songs while the drums were coming to life, fans were jumping around to the music and all of a sudden it started to pour – almost like the crowd was doing some sort of rain dance that induced the waterfall. It was a glorious scene to witness. I became a fan on the spot.

Next up was Bloc Party, who I was looking forward to seeing since Day 1. I was surrounded by a bunch of giant guys which didn’t really concern me until they started playing. All the giants then decided it would a good idea to start moshing – ie body checking in dance form – and crowd surfing. Again, not the biggest deal in the world, actually seemed kind of fun. Except when you’re my size, it’s quite possibly the scariest thing ever. My claustrophobia kicked in and in a true fight or flight response, I fled. Saved myself from what could have been a traumatic episode, with only a bloody broken toe nail. Gross, I know. I watched the rest of their performance from further back, but was surprisingly underwhelmed by it. They did a good job, I just prefer listening to them with my noise canceling headphones so I can fully absorb their music.

Next, I caught Toronto’s own Metric. I adore watching lead singer Emily Haines perform because she is as elegant as she is edgy. Perfect blend of loud and soft, fun and serious, poetic and to the point. I then trekked over to see France’s electronic group M83, most commonly known for their track “Midnight City” which was on HBO’s How to Make it in America. The packed crowd and insane beats made everyone go wild. The lighting and effects on stage made the show come alive, so you could enjoy it even from any distance. Last but not least, the festival ended with headliners The Black Keys. The subway ride home was bittersweet because the music was finished, but my body could finally get some rest.

There are plenty of reasons to attend a music festival: travel, spend time outdoors, hang out with friends, grab a few beers, sport the latest fashion trends – for girls, high-waisted shorts, hippie braids and baggy tank tops. My reason was the music. For everyone who really understands that, I wish you were there with me.

For photos check out Me vs. the Music Blog Page
For video footage check out Osheaga 2012

I know it has to come eventually, I know I can’t avoid it, I know it’s all part of life: I’m turning 30 this week and have no idea how to feel about it. People keep saying 30s are the new 20s, you’re only as old as you feel and age is just a number. To them I say, yeah right. Getting older only makes me think of the years gone by and I can’t help but reflect. If I’ve learned anything in the last 30 years, it’s that being yourself is more important than blending in. I tend to live in my head most of the time and have always found that music is capable of doing all the talking for me. What I listen to is a reflection of who I am and how I feel, and the five following albums have all been instrumental in reminding me of that.

1. Achtung Baby. U2. 1991

U2 was my very first favourite band. Most would argue that 1987’s The Joshua Tree was their best album and though it had better individual singles, as a whole, Achtung Baby came out on top. It was my first real glance into rock music and I haven’t looked back since – you can’t compete with  powerful vocals, backed by a killer electric guitar, intense bass and bewildering drums. My exposure to U2 has opened my mind to The Red Hot Chili Peppers, R.E.M. and pretty well any other rock band I know.
Favourite Track: ‘One’
Honourable Mention: ‘Tryin’ to Throw Your Arms Around the World’

2. Welcome to the Cruel World. Ben Harper. 1994.

This was the first Ben Harper album I ever bought and thank goodness I did. Throughout the album, his voice is incredibly soft and effortless, yet also strong; his lyrics are simple but meaningful, like he’s inside my head and able to express exactly what’s going on in there. Some of his tracks are just him and his guitar – a combination also adopted by City and Colour, Jack Johnson and Damien Rice, that never fails to give me chills. But most importantly, Ben Harper is why I fell in love with the acoustic guitar.
Favourite Track: ‘Walk Away’
Honourable Mention: ‘Forever’

3. Live at Luther College. Dave Matthews Band. 1996.

I’ll admit that it took more time than it should have to become a fan of DMB, but after listening to this two-disc album there was no way I could avoid it. Dave tells stories of how some of their tracks came to fruition, and performs them with only Tim Reynolds accompanying him on acoustic guitar. He sings his profoundly beautiful lyrics with so much conviction, and gets so overwhelmingly involved in his music, that every feeling gets translated through his guitar. Music to my ears.
Favourite Track: ‘Lover Lay Down’
Honourable Mention: ‘Seek Up’

4. Boxer. The National. 2007.

What can I say? My gateway album into Indie music and everything it has to offer. It’s emotional, deep, sometimes dark but always delivered so eloquently. The National have this infinite ability to capture a sentiment and build an entire song around it – their way with words is such a focal point of their music, a refreshing quality in today’s day and age. Since them I have discovered Bon Iver, The Civil Wars and so many other bands who understand the impact of expressing themselves as honestly and meticulously as they do.
Favourite Track: ‘Slow Show’
Honourable Mention: ‘Brainy’

5. Intimacy. Bloc Party. 2008.
The first time I heard Bloc Party, was on the television in a hotel room in Nice. I couldn’t help but be captivated by what I was hearing: my first insight into rock music blended with electronic sounds coming together in perfect harmony. Thematically, the album mostly deals with loss, but somehow the music masks the heaviness of it all, without taking away its significance. My admiration for Bloc Party led me to Metric, The xx and other bands who concentrate just as much on the sounds they create and the music they make, as what they say and how they say it.
Favourite Track: ‘Signs’
Honourable Mention: ‘Biko’

These albums have stood out to me most in the last 30 years because I had to do a double take, I had to listen to them once and then once again. I couldn’t have imagined my last 30 years without this music and I don’t foresee myself not needing them in the next 30. It’s what I relate to, what I feel most comfortable around. These albums have opened my mind to so many other possibilities and that’s what being yourself does – people respect you and appreciate your honesty, even if they’re not on the same page. My advice to those also on their way to 30: surround yourself with what makes you feel most like you, because the best thing you’ll ever be at is yourself.