EP review and Interview – The Nursery – Carnival Nature


An indie band in Toronto called “The Nursery” has completed their new 6-song EP called Carnival Nature.  Alex Pulec is the main driving force behind this band (and he is formerly of the band The Ruby Spirit where he was asked to leave).  He’s a very talented individual whose skills are all over the internet.  If you google his name, watch what comes up.  Amazing.  I hope to meet him personally in the future.

The EP was produced by Tony Malone, and when I heard this EP I knew that it had been mastered by Joao Carvalho (David Vertesi, Shad and By Divine Right) whose mastering skills are just amazing. The EP was released on 29 June 2013, and the links for Tmblr and Bandcamp are listed at the end of the review, as well as a video.  Another ally in the project is Nathan C. LaLonde (photography), whose personal site is worth a serious look.  He is definitely someone who I’d like to meet in the future.  I love his work!

Photograph taken by Nathan C. LaLonde

Photograph taken by Nathan C. LaLonde

I had a chance to ask Alex Pulec and Victor Ess some questions and their responses are as follows:

How did you form your current band “The Nursery”?

Alex: The band developed between a collaborative relationship between Victor and I. We had gotten into this habit of spending evenings ditching parties and events early to go work on songs. Eventually we realized a whole set of music had been written and we started getting excited. After having the songs ready we needed to find musicians to bring them to life and perform so Victor brought Nate in and I brought in Jared.

Where did the band name come from?

Alex: To me a Nursery of any kind represents life as much as it represents death. I love the play between light and darkness. The pleasant and the macabre. Those dualities always find their way into our music. It seemed appropriate.

What drove you to leave your last band “The Ruby Spirit”?

Alex: I never left. I was asked to leave. Too many cooks in the kitchen to make a loaf of bread.

Most artists have a “process” for writing songs. How do you write your songs? Do you concentrate on the melodies, or the lyrics, or the entire structure of the song?

Alex: For me it usually starts with an impression of an idea or a hazy image. Sometimes it’s a melody with words or sometimes it’s just a sound. I like to allow the idea to lead me further and further into what it’s supposed to be. It gets shaped in the process of trying to discover why this bit of music is having such an effect on me. Eventually the pieces start falling into place as you get closer. It always gets shaped even more with the band before it can be called finished.

Victor: I’ll often have a basic skeleton or structure in mind, or perhaps a particular melody or vibe that I want to emphasize. If I don’t have a completed idea, Alex and I will usually take an evening to work on it together and help it take shape.

As an Indie band in the land of social media, how do you find gigs to play?

 Alex: I have used social media to connect with bands that are based out of our town to swap gigs with. I see Twitter as some sort of ice breaker platform to get in touch with bands, promoters or venues that may seem out of reach otherwise. It’s great to use if you are booking all your own gigs and don’t have someone handling that yet. I also really like putting on shows with friends and other bands I love from in and out of town. It’s fun to put on shows with your friends. I feel it resonates with an audience on a level that feels honest and genuine. Pulling together with people for something feels good. Trying feels good.

What’s your take on supporting yourself in an Indie band in the age of social media and networking? Do you find it works to your advantage or disadvantage?

Victor: Social media done right can actually be really effective. I find a lot of people trying to promote themselves, bands or otherwise, put in the bare minimum with social media/networking and it comes off as disingenuous, like they’re just going through the motions cause everyone else does it. Nobody wants that. I think social media is great because it really gives you a chance to share your journey and tell your story to people.

 Alex: It’s discerning between ASKING for things or GIVING to people. Focus on giving not asking. Social Media is free. Give it away.

What have you “personally” learned and sacrificed by being a creative artist through your life so far? And how did you incorporate that lesson or emotion into a creative expression?

Victor: I’ve turned down some great job opportunities because they might have cut into my ability to make music. Same thing with relationships. I’m doing this because I love it, plain and simple.

 Alex: You have to genuinely love your art or else you’ll start to resent it when obstacles come in your way. And they will always come, because it’s not easy. There is no set path to follow. You need to cut your own. It’s always easier to travel in the dark with something you love.

Because of the over-saturation of DIY bands in the Toronto area, how will your band stand out above the other bands?

 Alex: I don’t believe it’s over saturated. Just under exposed.

On the EP, Carnival Nature, you name many other musicians who play and arrange – who are the other permanent members of The Nursery, and what instruments do they play?

 Alex: I never made a record that had so many people on it. It was like a making a film with big cast of characters. Tony Malone who produced it served as the director and helped organize everyone’s contributions. He also did the horn arrangements. I asked Athena Babayan to sing harmony on This Wild Heart to get a ghostly female voice on it. Her parts are some my favourite bits on the record.

Victor: From the beginning I have been a permanent member of The Nursery but ended up taking over the synthesizers instead of bass on ‘Carnival Nature’.

 Alex: He was kind of our Brian Eno to Roxy Music on this record programming most of the odd sounds and atmospheres that swirl around the songs.

 Victor: Sam Morton, a great bass player and friend of ours handled bass while I did all synth work. Now I play Bass, synths, sing harmony and any other effects or sounds that I can get my hands on.

Alex: Now The Nursery consists of Nate Finucci on drums and Jared Roth taking over keyboards as well as myself and Victor. They both bring such a different and fresh energy to the whole thing. We have started to work on an LP together.

What bands/artists/performers have inspired you musically and creatively over the years?

Alex: There are too many to list and even talk about. But I often take a lot of my inspiration from films, poetry and spontaneous discoveries in my everyday life. Sometimes a child yelling a strange sentence on the street may inspire an idea or lyric.

What was the inspiration for the song “This Wild Heart”? I find this song very interesting musically as well as lyrically….

 Alex: It was a combination of old western songs and the work of David Lynch initially. Lynch is a master of creating a surreal world that consumes you and that you can get lost in. So I tried taking this approach to a seemingly familiar song format by putting it in a whole new context. Victor and Tony’s textures are really what creates it’s juxtaposed and hypnotic environment. Lyrically it’s about coming to the realization that you are completely bound to someone regardless of the journey you’ve had with them and weather you like it or not.

You yourself play many instruments including the Mellotron on this EP. Which instruments are your favourites to play onstage and off-stage?

 Alex: Onstage I play guitar when I sing. It’s most fun and comfortable for me. I sometimes play Theremin onstage with my guitar when I can. That’s the best. You need a large stage to even use it properly, so it doesn’t always happen.

The members of this band are:

Alex Pulec – Vox and guitar

Victor Ess – Bass

Jared Roth – Keys and Synths

Nate Finucci – Drums

The song listing for the EP is as follows:

1.  Lysergically Yours

2.  It’s A Sin

3.  Lucy

4.  Domino

5.  This Wild Heart

6.  I Was I Was Someone Else

“Lysergically Yours” is pure kitschy and chaotic.  Progressive, edgy and with a touch of fun mixed with madness and fears, it’s a song about overpowering someone who is perhaps more passive.  There is symbolic duality in the melody of this song which gives it a fun but mad feel.

‘It’s A Sin” is a bold and brash song which is pure progressive psychedelia pop.  The melody is strong and makes a bold statement as the vocals wrap around the words beautifully.  Again, there is duality in this song which I think of as good versus evil but it’s more lyrically than musically.  Musically the song is upbeat and on the bright side.  Perhaps that’s another duality of the song itself.

“Lucy” has a good beat, is upbeat and chaotic in spots but these unusual spots hit a nerve when you realize that this is about life versus death (suicide).  The music belies that fact which is a brilliant disguise in song structure!

“Domino” sounds like a death dream that one lives in a song, if that’s possible.  Duality in life and death, whispers, Munster-like music which symbolizes being hypnotized while dying as the eyes close on life.  One of my favorites on this EP!

“This Wild Heart” is another favorite.  Sounding like southern psychedelia pop with vocal work by Alex this song reminds me of cowboys who have had a hard life and can’t be tamed in anyway, but instead, find a kindred spirit in the melody of songs.  I really like the big sound to it as well as the feel of the music.

“I Was I Was Someone Else” is a ballad like song but instead of being a traditional ballad its again a duality of being ignorant of one’s feelings about another person.  We all grow and become older and may change our lives, but, internally, we don’t change  our personalities.  This is one of those songs that makes you think about how you’ve treated past lovers and yourself.

The EP is everywhere, but the Bandcamp link is provided so that you can buy the EP right from the band without a middleman.  You can also visit the blog on Tmblr for info on the band and follow them there.  There is also a link to see video on YouTube below (produced by Nathan C. LaLonde).  I invite you to have a visit to Nathan’s site Eccentric Exhibits.  It’s a very interesting site of artwork, photographs and video works.  Other artwork on the CD comes from photographer Genevieve Blais (who has a website you should visit) and Amy Janine Wong sketched out the poster which is awesome.

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Show Review – Rickshaw Theatre – The Electric Demons/Kicked off the Farm


The Electric Demons played host to a fantastic lineup at the Rickshaw Theater in Vancouver on a cold night in February.   Although I’m not familiar with the bands’ current music, it’s very fast, abrasive and hits you upside the head.  And in the midst of all this music was a moshpit that churned itself into a frenzied dance of the early 1990’s grunge music of Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden with a little dash of Ozzy Osbourne and the Crazy Train riders of the new incarnation of The Electric Demons.

As I ride on the road to destination vacation, I think of this show with the moshpit that was insane.  I think that was the best thing about the show itself, giving off an idea that the fans of these bands love the music is quite an understatement.  Although not familiar with Kicked Off The Farm’s music, I was very familiar to a band coming across as giving it all they had for this show – excellent vocal work, good songs and great instruments gets the point across to the reviewer.  When I have some extra money after this holiday to buy the music, I will do so.

And the same goes to The Electric Demons.  Three years ago, I had the privilege to review the bands’ CD Rip Your Heart Out.  Shortly after that review was posted on this blog, the lead singer of the band died as a result of injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident.  What should have a celebration of this bands’ music and stunning vocal work by Tarja, the female voice of the band, it was to attend a funeral of a remarkable woman who was just on the cusp of something bigger that herself.  I was unaware that at the funeral, Tarja’s parents had framed my review and it was there for all to read.  I was stunned when I found this out shortly after the funeral.  Tarja Ridgewell (Thundermonkey), RIP.  I posted this review the same day there was a tribute show to the late singer, where many were reminded how special she was to the Vancouver Music Scene.

On the bands’ Soundcloud page, there is a current 3 song live bootleg to enjoy.  The 3 songs are I’m Weak, Drugs and Kings Game.  Although these are not well recorded and are rough, I like the feel the band gives off to the crowd.  It’s like the band is giving energy to the crowd who in turn give it back to the band.  I personally am looking forward to more shows to come from this current line up of The Electric Demons!

Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 018 Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 020 Kicked off the Farm-Electric Demons Feb 22-2013 023 The Electric Demons The Electric Demons The Electric Demons

Current members:

Guitar – Murray Howes

Drums – Melanie Fox

Bass – Brian Sword

Vocals – Dave Barroqueiro

Show Review – Rancid, My Chemcial Romance and Blink 182


Show Review – Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182

Wednesday August 31, 2100

Rogers Arena Vancovuer BC

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Rancid. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The Honda Civic Tour rolled through Vancouver this past Wednesday and the arena was set up for concert bowl due to the apparatus of the lighting system – it would have been in the way of the show. Four great bands in order of first to last – Against Me!, Rancid, My Chemical Romance and Blink 182. I’d seen the Florida US band Against Me!, so I decided to check out the mech table of all the bands. Tons of stuff for sale if you are a teenager or in your 20’s. I do have to say the posters were pretty special. Good pictures.

Rancid came out and performed a stellar set that they played hard and with fantastic energy. I loved this band in the 1990’s and saw them a handful of times but in all honestly, I drank a lot back then and really don’t remember the shows I did attend – the only proof was the ticket stub in my pocket. But, they did a favorite of mine just toward the end of their forty minute set called “Radio” Awesome!

My Chemical Romance took to the stage next and they looked well rested and ready to rock Vancouver for the next hour. Teenage girls still scream at the men onstage. Although I was really there to see Rancid (sober) they really rocked the crowd. One friend of mine in a band from Vancouver called Philoceraptor said that “the My Chem boys really rocked the place out.” And I totally agree. A good light show with video screens on either side so that if you were at the back of the arena, you could look at the video screens. Since many people requested that I get a set list, here it is to the best of my recollection in a crowd of screaming, dancing teens:

Na Na Na

I’m Not Okay

Planetary Go!

Mama

Helena

This Is The Best Day Ever

You Know What They Do To Guys…

Famous Last Words

Scarecrow

Destroyer

Welcome To The Black Parade

My Chemical Romance. Photo by Jade Sperry.

With no encore. No band on this circuit did an encore except for Blink 182. Speaking of which, they followed MCR and hit the stage about 1030pm. I have to admit I was really tired by this time but I had to see Blink 182. I’m not sure of the songs they played in order were but my favorites performed were “Does My Breath Smell”, “All The Small Things”, “Feeling This” and “I Miss You”. Every song was bang on and in between the songs the band members took pictures of themselves and joked around with themselves and the audience. A fantastic show with high energy and good lighting for photographers as you can see from the pictures that are on my Flikr page.

Blink 182. Photo by Jade Sperry.

The remainder of the tour dates are as follows:

9/7/11 Minneapolis, MN- Xcel Center
9/8/11 Des Moines, IA- Wells Fargo Arena
9/9/11 Kansas City, MO- Sandstone Amphitheater
9/10/11 Indianapolis, IN- Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/11/11 Detroit, MI- DTE Energy Music Centre
9/13/11 Cleveland, OH- Blossom Music Center
9/15/11 Pittsburgh, PA- First Niagara Pavilion
9/16/11 Saratoga, NY- SPAC
9/17/11 Philadelphia, PA- Susquehanna Bank Center
9/18/11 Virginia Beach, VA- Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
9/20/11 Charlotte, NC- Charlotte Verizon Wireless Amphitheater
9/21/11 Atlanta, GA- Lakewood Amphitheater
9/23/11 Miami, FL- Cruzan Amphitheater
9/24/11 Tampa, FL- 1-800-ASK-GARY Amphitheatre
9/26/11 Houston, TX- Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
9/27/11 Dallas, TX- Gexa Energy Pavilion
9/29/11 Albuquerque, NM- Journal Pavilion
10/1/11 Anaheim, CA- Honda Center
10/2/11 Sacramento, CA- Sleep Train Amphitheatre
10/4/11 Concord, CA- Sleep Train Pavilion at Concord
10/5/11 San Francisco, CA- Shoreline Amphitheatre
10/7/11 Las Vegas, NV- Red Rock Resort, Spa & Casino
10/8/11 Los Angeles, CA- Hollywood Bowl
10/14/11 San Diego, CA- Cricket Wireless Amphitheater

For more tour information visit the Tour Page

FOOTNOTE:

Posted on the My Chemical Romance page is the awful circumstances that led to the drummer, Michael Pedicone, being fired from the band. He was caught red handed stealing from the band. That’s pretty bad and I feel sorry for the band. He was an excellent drummer. This was posted by Frank on Friday September 2, two days after the show in Vancouver.

Photos of Honda Civic Tour now up on Flickr


You can view the photos here of RANCID, MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE AND BLINK 182 at the following link:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/jadesperry_jadedphotography/

Concert review and My Chemical Romance’s set list posted tomorrow!  Check back then.

Jade Sperry

Shoot The Image Show Review – April 20 2011 The Painted Lady Toronto ON


Shoot The Image – Benefit Show for Jason Woods

Show Date:  April 20, 2011

Posted on:  May 24, 2011

Toronto ON @ The Painted Lady

by Jade Sperry

JadedPhotography

Jason Wood's Benefit show. Photo by Jade Sperry.

First off, I want to tell you that I would have written this review sooner had it not been for my health issues that relate to the job I am currently working.

Secondly, this was an acoustic show by three bands, two of which I caught on camera – The Fast Romantics and Shoot The Image. The first band was Hayley Gene (of the band Tuzo and which I only caught the last 15 or 20 minutes of their set which was good nonetheless).

This was a benefit show with a “pay what you can at the door” for Jason Woods. Jason was sidelined with a bad foot injury which prevented him from working and supporting his young family. The band members of Shoot The Image put together this benefit show for him.

The Fast Romantics. Photo by Jade Sperry.

This show was brilliant. The Fast Romantics were up second and did a casual acoustic set. After some minor sound issues were resolved they played a seven song set which included “Cool Kids”, “Union Park” and “Last Night” which were played with a hint of mellowness and a lot of energy. There was a lot of love in the room for Jason.

Shoot The Image took the stage next and although three band members could not be there to play due to conflicting schedules, it was the main duo who brought it home for Jason. Starting with acoustic versions of “Fortified” and “Lithograph” they sang a few covers and finished with a rousing group of friends onstage singing “Stand By Me” which fit the theme of the evening perfectly! And the best part of this night was —- raising $2200.00 for this event and a big thank you to all who attended and donated. It goes to very good people.

Shoot The Image's main dynamic duo. Photo by Jade Sperry.

Shoot The Image are playing a benefit show (Pop With Brains) at The Rivoli this Friday May 27. If you visit the bands’ website you can find out where they are playing shows as well as listening to their music.

Thanks so much to EVERYONE in the Shoot The Image realm – you all made me feel very welcome. It’s a rare thing when you go somewhere far away and meet total strangers who become friends. Bonzai to you all and thank you again!

Jason Woods in the green jacket. Dude you rock! Photo by Jade Sperry.

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.