An Ode to Summer Festivals: Pt II

The Cabin in the Woods (WE TALKED TO FAMOUS PEOPLE)

We actually did. It was quite an amazing night.
And so with this post I bring the last summer weekend to an end. It was my first ever road trip (as mentioned is the previous post) and I can’t imagine a better way to have spent it.

DAY 2

Well, 5 hours of uncomfortable sleep (YAY TENTS AND AIR MATTRESSES) later we headed on down for another full day of sun and fun and music and all things in between. I built up the nerve to swim for a bit in the frigid ice water and all I will say about that is that thank god the sun was right overhead (Because warmth).

I even walked around the beach a bit to a quaint little cove area with huge rocks just waiting to be explored. Sitting down and looking out over the landscape and frolicking festival-goers I felt at peace with everything in my life at that moment.

Then back to the dancing! One of the bands who had played the previous night (Who we also are friendly and familiar with) played again, and with them came back our hippie freedom and dance party.
(Sort of unrelated side note, they’ve just released an album, which I intend to review for my next post).

Thank the stars for that familiarity and friendliness, because we got invited to the yearly after-party at Bob’s cabin (He’s, from what I could tell, known by pretty much everyone who attends this festival). This cabin was built by hand and it the most beautiful home I had ever been inside. Food, warmth, beer, friendly people, friends…I’m not really sure what else you need because I was more than content that night.

ONTO THE EVENING SHENANIGANS: One of the bands that performed at the Festival, The Matinee, also happened to be in attendance of the cabin party. A few of our friends were also friends with this band, and with the way things work out in life we all ended up talking music. The highlight of this night was definitely performing some stripped down Soup the Moose (Also featured on a previous blog post!) originals, and then discussing music and band politics with one of the members of The Matinee, who was extremely impressed and understanding with us and our situation (And so sweet and kind and an all-around amazing individual).

This conversation reaffirmed my will to continue jamming and playing with friends even it the music never gets out of our houses. I did need it, as this time period happened to coincide with a lull in my motivation to put time aside for instrumentation.

After another 5 hours of sleep, packing, tea and coffee, driving, ferry rides, meeting up with friends on ferries, driving, and another ferry, we arrived home. I was exhausted, but collected all of my remaining energy for the Murder By Death concert that was also that night (No regrets. None. I’m so happy I made myself go out).

I definitely can’t wait for next year’s festival. Spending the last free weekend before school on a beach at a festival with friends with no cares in the world is the ultimate definition of freedom. Here’s to a summer of music, dancing, sun, road trips, and good company.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALooking out to the Pacific

Hello again!…I know it’s been a while…I’m sorry…real sorry…OH HEY CONCERTS!

Well as the title suggests, I am deeply deeply sorry for the lack of blogging that’s occurred with Pertaining to the Present. I can plead insanity due to school and work and volunteering but let’s face facts; pure laziness is the true villain in this story. For the sake of all things beautiful (like cake) let’s hope it’s been put to rest (at least for the time being) because, as a giant fat apology to you and giant kick in the butt to me as motivation to get back into action, I will be posting back to back blogs today and tomorrow, and then intend to make posting a once a week event.

I’m not sure about you, but I definitely feel that one blog post a week is not only manageable but a brilliant way to keep up the good ol’ writing skills. As a student of the sciences my writing is limited to lab reports and academic journal discussion.

SO as the title also suggests this day’s feature will be a review of the concerts I have attended, and those I am beyond stoked to be in attendance of.

To date, 2013 has been an amazing year for me because it’s the first time I’ve been going out to legit concerts. I’ve finally been to outdoor venues and legal 19+ venues and it’s been a huge rollercoaster of excitement pre-concert, dance-mania in concert, and euphoria post-concert (and repeat).

March 2013
March 16th was the day me and four other friends went for the St. Patrick’s weekend party aka Spirit of the West and Good for Grapes aka PARTYTIME which was also the first time I had been to the Commodore Ballroom. I was not disappointed. The venue was absolutely gorgeous, the people were loud and drunk and friendly, and the music was the perfect dose of folk and dancing for the melancholy spring semester I had been experiencing.

May 2013
May 24th.
Okay. This was the big one. Mumford and Sons. My last blog post addressed all the feels pre-concert so you all get a 1.5 month late review of what went down during the concert.
My friends and  got very close to the front, having been in line a few hours before gates opened. Best choice we made. Every minute from 5pm to 7pm was one minute more before I got to witness and experience my favourite band in my home province. They did not disappoint. From the opening chords of “Babel”, the manic dancing to “Little Lion Man” and “I Will Wait”, to the complete and utter happiness that engulfed me as I and 24999 other fans danced our hearts out to their encore performance of “The Cave”, I still smile to myself when I recall the euphoria I felt on the evening of May 24th.
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June 2013
A few months back I clicked on a youtube video that had been hovering around the corner of my vision for the past few videos I had been watching. I clicked, not expecting too much (youtube tends to disappoint me). However, I was NOT disappointed by the band I had just stumbled upon: The Staves, a trio of three sisters from England, and their poetic melodic song “Winter Trees”. June 17th they graced Vancouver with their presence and me and my group of friends had the luck to experience a 1.5 hour serenade of the most lovely harmonies and melodies I have ever heard from a band.
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July 2013
Hoo boyyy
 July is/was a doozy. First up there was the Canada Day Cloverdale celebrations July 1st and the Khatsahlano Music + Art Festival July 13th. Both featured one of my favourite local bands, Good for Grapes. [SIDENOTE: if you are in the lower mainland check them out; they are in the Peak Performance Project Top 20 and you will not regret it. http://www.facebook.com/goodforgrapes ]
This group is full of life and energy on stage, and their style of folk is phenomenal. At these two separate outdoor events me and my friends were dancing our hearts out, which is exactly what summer music events should be all about.
And now, for what’s to come. July 26. I am beyond excited for this date. Caravan Palace, a french electro-gypsy-swing group I was introduced to recently, will be gracing Vancouver with all their class. This is my scene. The joint will be jumping.
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September 2013
A break in August before Murder by Death comes by September 2nd to mark the end of a other successful summer break. And then Sepember 19th will be here. And with September 19th comes The Lumineers. Another obsession of mine due to their simplistic, catchy, upbeat, folk sound.
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And (for now, at least) that is all! All the music that has come and has yet to come will keep this girl dancing ’til the cows come home.

Let’s Folk

Because
In one week’s time
I will be,
Alongside two (and probably more; my friend group likes to engulf other friend groups. LIKE AN AMOEBA) of my wonderful friends

WILL BE IN ATTENDANCE OF THE MUMFORD AND SONS CONCERT IN HOLLAND PARK.

And I’m aware some of you (hopefully, only a few. Wait…I only have a few readers…so best case scenario one or zero (ZERO FTW)) are thinking “So what?” “Don’t care.” “Shut up I hate you.” “I couldn’t get tickets now you’ve made me sad thanks a lot…” and I apologize if the latter is the case. However, this is not to be  blog post about my feelings of the concert; it is a backstory of how me and one of my favourite bands (and genres) came to be.

In early 2011 I was at a musical transition point in my life. Having found myself listening to punk rock bands for the last three years I was feeling a little…bored. This isn’t the most correct term as I still am a huge fan of bands such as Anti-Flag and Rise Against; however I can’t think of one that describes how I was ready to find more music to add to my playlists.

Anyways, along comes 2011, and with it the discovery of a radio station based out of Victoria, “The Zone 91.3”. It immediately became my new favourite station. A bit of punk rock, a bit of grunge rock, and loads upon loads of local BC artists (SUPPORTYOURLOCALMUSICSCENE). Among this treasure trove was another group to be discovered: Mumford and Sons.

The Zone started playing their single “The Cave” and I was smitten already 5 seconds into the song. I can remember sitting in the car as it played and not being able to think anything else other than “These guys are good….like….amazingly amazing…” (Forgive my 17 year old brain for lack of adjectives). And then I looked them up on the youtubes. And fell in love. This was the first time I had found a band in which the members incorporated so many different instruments into their sound, and on top of all were each multi-instrumentalists themselves.

Then came (in no particular order, and to only name a few) Johnny Flynn, The Staves, Aidan Knight, Beirut, Feist, Fleet Foxes, Arcade Fire, and so so so many more than I can type.

AND SO, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THAT IS THE STORY ABOUT HOW I STARTED FOLK-ING
And how I have been folking ever since.

And how I will continue to folk up to and past next Friday.

With Mumford and Sons.

Folkster out.

Mumford and Sons Holland Park // Holland Road

It’s the small things/Back to basics (CLICHE GALORE)

One would think that after 4 months of wanting to just throw school assignments and pencil cases and anything within grabbing distance out the window while screaming and swearing and kicking and punching and wanting to crawl up in a hole and forget about existing that a certain university student would be on her way to Cuba to sip on pina coladas by a nice relaxing beach without a care in the world…

THREE THINGS WRONG

1.) I have no interest to visit Cuba

2.) HAHAHAHAH SUMMER SEMESTER FOR ME

3.) That reaction was the last of its kind…ever; for I am officially done with calculus, chemistry, and physics courses. For good. I am now blessed to take the upper level biology courses that made me fall in love with my environmental science program to begin with.

And that gives me plenty of time to get back to basics, to focus on small goals that, in the future, will pay off in ways that can only lead to the better. Now I’m not a huge optimist…I’m the optimist that is happy when things work out/are working out…and a total stressball when life just keeps unraveling in my hands. I’m…a semi-optimist. But still, having to focus less on school and getting four months to re-evaluate what is important to me has caused me to think very hard about what I actually want to get out of life (CLICHE 1).

Which brings me back to the basics of me as person; namely, a musician. If I’m describing myself to someone I’ll definitely make a point to emphasize how huge music is to me (as can be seen from previous blogs posts). And while I do have a band and an orchestra, I still feel as if I’m missing something. I really can’t find the right way of describing it, but while thinking about what I can do to fulfill this missing piece, I’ve come up with the following:

I have vowed that this summer I will spend 2 hours 6 days a week practicing my music. This applies to all aspects. Violin, trombone, clarinet, banjo, guitar, technique, and theory. This is for nobody else except me. I want to be better. I want to feel even more confident in my abilities as a musician. I want to feel that I deserve respect for the amount of effort I put into practicing. I want to actually practice. I want to prove to myself that I am a self-motivated individual. I want music to be part of my life forever.

This is me cementing my goal into my life. I’ve been playing instruments for 12 years now. And I want to see that number grow as I do. As I age, learn, and improve.

Where it all began

Musically, that is.

As in, where my love of Celtic music started.

It’s all thanks to those lovely random snippets of memories from childhood that decide to come to the forefront of one’s mind because of one little thing that triggers an avalanche of nostalgia.

Let’s begin!

On a Saturday afternoon a few weeks back, I was searching desperately for music to listen to while completing a physics assignment. For reasons unbeknownst to me, a reel started playing in my head…and I spent a good five minutes trying to figure out where this was from.

AND THEN

MY EUREKA MOMENT:

THIS REEL WAS FROM RIVERDANCE;

THE CELTIC DANCE SHOW THAT DEFINED MY CHILDHOOD

I’m not exactly sure how to define how I felt; excitement for sure, as I was looking forward to hearing the whole piece again. Successful for remembering where the reel was from. Anticipation for listening to my childhood soundtrack once again. And then a mix of nostalgia and sadness (that so much time had passed since I had been a 3 year old dancing in my grandparent’s TV room to the live special taped in New York City in 1996 or so). So this emotion was…exsucannosad. Sounds about right.

Anyway, my next stop was the youtubes. After a frustrating ten minutes of searching up soundtrack songs, I chose a clip of a song from the exact same performance that my grandparents had taped and I had watched countless times. Thanks to chronological titles, I was able to find the very first clip, corresponding to the first dance number. The costumes, the music, the dances, small little things that I had forgotten and then remembered were all running back into my memory like wildfire. I then proceeded to spend the next one  and a half hours re-watching the very thing that defined my childhood, planted a love of Celtic music in me, and inspired me to start up violin a few years later.

After watching all the clips I was so amazingly happy and giddy. For more reasons still unbeknownst to me, that little bit of childhood nostalgia had invigorated me and instilled a sense of completeness. As if I had been missing something (I don’t know what) and then found it (still don’t know what).

I’m not sure if there’s a point or moral to this blog, but I think that if everyone could recapture a small part of their childhood that made them incredibly happy or inspired them when older that, for a moment, life would get just a little easier.

ImageReel Around the Sun

-The piece that started it all. Go check it out if you need a pick-me-up 🙂

Make Soup. Add Moose. Enjoy Music. Pt 1.

What’s your first thought when someone tells you they’re in a band called ‘Soup the Moose’?

I will bet one of two things:

You will think “What?” and wonder if you heard incorrectly.

You will be speechless and find yourself incapable of speaking.

Well I shall tell you now that you in fact did NOT hear incorrectly, Soup the Moose indeed exists

SHAMELESS ADVERTISING: http://www.facebook.com/soupthemoose

Check us out, yo.

The year I graduated a bunch of friends and I decided to form an informal folk band as we would be graduating in one month’s time and did not want to stop making music together (Band geeks since ’03 say whattt?).

Well first “rehearsal” went terribly, to say the least. The 9 of us spent most time goofing off, and after that the songs we did play weren’t really in the folk genre. However, things were about to change…

It started with a jig…

And grew into our first gypsy song titled “Moar Wytches!”…

Which then grew into a host of other gypsy songs that we HAVE JUST FINISHED RECORDING!

Monday and today were two of the most amazing days of my musical career. Recording in an actual studio alongside my lovely bandmates was a a wonderful way to spend two cold winter’s (Okay, yes it’s still techinally fall. My apologies) days.

So all in all, my band has gone from a small informal group to one with recordings, fans, and honorary members. 😉

And let me just say I cannot wait to see what the future holds!

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To live the gypsy life or not…

Aside

HAPPY MONDAY MORNING!

Now before you groan and plan your assassination of me for that comment let me defend myself by stating that today is, in fact, a happy monday morning for me.

FOR MY WORLD MUSIC/FOLK/GYPSY BAND IS ABOUT TO EMBARK ON OUR FIRST STUDIO RECORDING SESSION! 😀 😀 😀

And I am quite excited.

And I promise details, LOTS OF THEM. But first, I have a blog post I promised you all (From last week…my deepest apologies)

When we left off last week our young heroine had just been cornered by a young gypsy man from Chiynyoloslovakia* who was begging her to run away with him back to his homeland overseas so she could forever play violin in a wandering minstrel folk band-

LOL NO THAT DIDN’T HAPPEN.

Is it kind of sad that I wish it would? But that I’m not really sure I would take handsome gypsy man up on his offer?

Saying I adore music is a huge understatement; if something were to happen that prevented me from being a musician I would not be able to function. Although I’m not pursuing it post-secondary I would not give up my club orchestra and band for anything.

That being said, I’m not sure if I would give up my current post-secondary education or not if the opportunity to pursue music in a band arose. For a while I was adamant that I wanted to complete my degree before anything else because it’s a huge personal goal for me and I want to reach that milestone. However if touring was a once in a lifetime chance then I know that rejecting the offer would be one of the greatest regrets of my life.

Decisions, decisions…that hopefully will not have to be made while I’m still in university. I am content with where my music is at this point. And while I would jump at the chance to perform for a live audience the question still lies as to whether I would jump at the chance to run away to Chiynyoloslovakia** with an attractive gypsy man…

*Still not a country                                                                                                             **Just googled it. Definitely still not a country.

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