Show review – The Architects – Neon Trees – My Chemical Romance


Show Review – The Architects, Neon Trees and My Chemical Romance

The Ford Center – Vancouver BC Canada, April 2 2011

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

MCR take the stage at the Ford Center. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Last night’s show was probably amazing to most of the teenagers that were there.  I witnessed hysteria, crying and screaming from some of the most rabid and loyal fans to a band that I’ve ever seen, and I remember that from the Projekt Rev tour from 2007 – although it’s toned down a lot more since then.

The Architects were up first to warm up the crowd which they did well.  They had some good energy, good stage presence and they seemed to really dig the crowd.  In fact all 3 bands were really into the crowd, saying  “Vancouver, you are a good looking crowd” .  Their songs were performed very well and they left the stage after a 30 minute set.

Neon Trees took the stage and just went head first into their set like ducks to water.  This is a really good band.  The drummer, Elaine Bradley, really impressed the hell out of me with how well she kept the timing of the songs live.  I could only stand and stare in awe quite frankly.  Tyler Glen really has a great stage presence and was born to be a frontman.  He reminded this writer of Jared Leto from 30 Seconds To Mars in his showmanship, drama and style onstage.  If you get a chance to see this band live, I highly recommend that you do.  You will not be disappointed.

Gerard Way marching across the stage. Photo by Jade Sperry.

And finally, at 940pm PST, MCR took the stage and began the night with “NaNaNaNa” to which every single teenager went absolutely insane.  One thing I should say is that there were also some older folks in the audience (50+) that were there either with friends or their kids.  That was really cool to see.  And the audience for the most part was well behaved even in the midst of their hysteria that MCR were really on the stage in front of them.  Gerard Way gave this show a lot of emotion, sweat and energy to the kids in the crowd, thanked all of us for having the patience to wait for the new record and generally seemed to really CARE about the audience which not a lot of mainstream big acts do.  Frank Iero and Ray Toro really got into the show with the way they played their guitars, and Mikey Way was all cool and hip with his bass playing.  They did a lot of tunes for this show, new and old, and all of them were performed at a high level of energy and done very well.  I also liked the stage setup for this tour because it’s stripped down and looks bare.  The lighting was well done and chaotic which added an  apocalyptic feel to the whole show.  And the V shaped lights behind the drummer were awesome.  Just a note:  there are a lot of strobe lights for this show so if that bothers you, be warned.  There were a few teens next to me that had to leave because of that factor.

As I left the show and drove by the theater 20 minutes after the show ended, the 2 tour buses in front of the venue were swarmed with fans getting autographs and that kind of thing.

Thanks to the bands that played last night and thank you also for the music you play.

Filtered shot of My Chemical Romance with blood red lights in background. Photo by Jade Sperry.

CD Review – Shortwave – The Skyline Versus


CD Review – Shortwave – The Skyline Verses

Released: 8 February 2011 (EMI Music)

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Anthems of heartbreak and triumph that tug at the heartstrings and speak to the masses. New-wave indie-rock that is smart and sexy. Pulsating dance-rock and contemplative ballads. Toronto’s own Shortwave have managed to capture it all on their debut full-length album The Skyline Verses, available February 8 via EMI Music / MB Distribution.

With seasoned producer Byron Kent Wong (The Crystal Method, Beck) at the helm, The Skyline Verses blends together vintage analogue warmth with a forward leaning attitude, creating an album that is as contemporary and immediate as it is reminiscent and familiar. It is also the long awaited follow up from a band that has recently shared the stage with an eclectic range of artists from Cracker to The Waking Eyes.

The five members of Shortwave have been together for over five years and are brothers Ry and Sager Johnson (guitar), who grew up in Toronto with Devin Jannetta (drums), forming various bands and sharing stages with the likes of Big Sugar, Junkhouse and Super Friendz. With the addition of long time friend, Cary Parker, the band’s unique family dynamic was rounded out creating an environment where ideas are explored and honed as they seamlessly shift tempos, layer harmonies and dive into the sonic vastness of keyboards and effects.

Shortwave released their debut EP Breaker/Breaker (2007) and shortly after that, they received a fan letter from Grammy winning producer Malcolm Burn (Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop). Shortwave found themselves in New York recording their self titled sophomore EP in rapid time – one week. Several tracks from Shortwave (2008) received airplay on 102.1 The Edge (Toronto) and CBC Radio (Canada). They were also featured on the first episode of AUX TV’s Master Tracks. Their self-produced video for the single “Stereo” received rotation on MuchMusic and was also a featured video on MySpace.

Shortwave with producer Byron Kent Wong. Photo courtesy of the band.

Track Listing:

  1. Esther
  2. The Sublime
  3. Horror Show
  4. Your Face Is A Mirror
  5. It’s Time
  6. Louis L’Amour
  7. Motown
  8. Maybe Science
  9. Sea Legs
  10. Stereo
  11. Little Men

With this new collection of songs, I can hear the progression this band has achieved in just over a 4 year period. And with this kind of hard work, it will pay off in the long run of Shortwave. “Esther” is the kind of song that has a great hook, good melodies and all members of the band are locked into each other from the get go. The chord structure is simple but has a good overall effect which the melody and hook call for in this song. Lyrically the song is speaking of wanting to be with a partner and exploring intimacy with one person. It sounds to me like someone in need of being saved by an angel. The chorus and bridges have effective time changes and the infectious overall sound makes for a great dance rock song. “The Sublime” is this writers’ favorite song. The hook and melody are really radio friendly, the vocals are perfectly matched to the music and the band are playing this song as one solid unit. Although the structure of the song itself and chord structure are simple they use it to their advantage. The chorus is dreamy and trippy and makes for a nice break in the song melody. “Louie L’Armour” has a gritty and dirty feel to it and is based somewhat in a blues chord structure. The bass line is sick and funky at the same time. Vocally well done especially in the harmonies. The drumming is shaman-like and the Hammond Organ gives the song a real classic 70’s feel. That is a lot going on in one song and gives you a good look into how good this band is overall. On the lyrical side, it speaks of some kind of apocalypse complete with black horses and their riders, burning cities to the ground and the kind of destruction we see from the recent events in Japan. “Stereo” starts out softly with a piano line followed by the drums. The vocals are soft but speak of being on the road and missing that special someone. A progressive modern ballad done well. The only thing is that again it’s built on a simple but effective chord structure but what gives the song its weight is the layering effect of keyboard and piano lines. The harmonies are beautifully sung and the emotion of the song gives you a forlorn but positive feeling.

Other solid mentions are the songs “Motown”, “Maybe Science” and “Horror Show”. This CD is mixed, mastered and performed well and is an overall good package of music. Fans of progressive alternative rock with blues, classic and psychedelia rock will appreciate the simplicity and passion of the music presented here.


Video – The Sublime

CD Review – Alert The Medic – We, the weapon


CD Review – Alert The Medic We, the weapon
Released: Fall 2010
by Jade Sperry
JadedPhotography

Halifax, Nova Scotia quartet Alert The Medic released their sophomore effort to rave reviews and were nominated in 2010 and to their delight, were awarded “Fan’s Choice Entertainer of the Year” award at the East Coast Music Awards. The band’s live show leaves the same sort of lasting impression. After playing last year’s Canadian Music Fest, ChartAttack reviewed, “…man, did they ever wake people up”. It isn’t hard to see why the east coast is raving about this exciting rising talent!

I must admit that until Audio Blood sent an email with this band’s press kit, I had never heard of them. But once I downloaded and began listening to the songs, I am now a fan of this bands’ music. Raw, powerful and emotional are all in the songs and a whole lot more.

Track listing:

  1. Aid The Getaway
  2. Atlas
  3. Let’s Hear It For The Symphony
  4. The Weatherman (pt, 2)
  5. Cause For Alarm
  6. Cardboard Cutout
  7. Hey Kid, To The Back Of The Line
  8. Stealing Scenery
  9. Cross Your Fingers
  10. The Wound That Won’t Heal

Alert The Medic are getting their bombs on. Photo courtesy of the band.

The first song “Aid The Getaway” is a song that just flows and hits you across the head screaming “HELLO!” from the first note. Good tempo changes, a really good hook and melody that blend well with all members playing as one unit which is what the song dictates. I really like bands who play what’s best for the song. Following this is the song “Atlas” which has a great dirty kind of groove reminiscent of many of today’s progressive alternative rock bands. Adding in an organ gives the song a real classic rock sound buried in layers which is what the song calls for. Subtle effect. The chorus is smooth, funky and flowing so easily that the listener would think it was effortless when in fact it’s not. Good old hard work. Lyrically this song is about collecting experience so that you’re up for anything, going off to see the world and, having those two things, you can take it to the next level in the game. “The Weatherman (pt. 2)” is a beautiful ballad written in the minor keys giving it a desolate sound and feel. I also like how this song builds slowly and crests just like a surfer’s perfect wave towards the end of the song. Lyrically it speaks of how one might fall down the corporate ladder while not realizing it as it is happening. Only after the fall do they realize it and are defeated in some way by that realization. “Stealing Scenery” is a song that has a good melody, time changes and is funky with the bass line. Although the chord structure is a bit simple it is effective for the time changes within the song. Playing what’s best for song. The guitars follow the bass and drums like fish to water and it just sounds so good. Lyrically about stealing cars, petty crime and feeling high from what would be called a rebel doing bad things in small crime.

Other standout songs are “Let’s Hear It For The Symphony”, “Cross Your Fingers”, “Hey Kid, To The Back Of The Line” and “The Wound That Won’t Heal”. A strong and solid CD, I would recommend this if you like progressive alternative radio-friendly rock that will get you up dancing in your living room in no time.

Video – The Weatherman (pt. 2)