Music ~ EODM & Mastodon

What an experience in May. For me, music is what keeps me going, similar to most of you. Imagine three hours and a half hours of heavy riffs and amazing drum solos completely take over your mind and soul.

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Eagles of Death Metal were truly amazing. The alternative rock band duo from California captivated the crowd with each song. And of course, Cherry Cola was one of them.

Then I still can’t believe I survived a heavy metal gig! Mastodon blew me away. Tracks including Blood And Thunder, Ember City and Show Yourself were my favourites. The collective headbanging and intense mosh pits were exciting enough for one to let loose and enjoy at the Hammerstein Ballroom. Clearly, I’m going to another concert soon.

Music ~ Billy Talent

Canada graced New York with their presence tonight. The punk rock band, Billy Talent arrived with an incredible performance on their Afraid Of Heights tour.

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Walking to Gramercy Theatre. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Opening with “Silent Night”, fans became energized. Leading to the lead singer, Benjamin Kowalewicz questioning the attendees sitting down, “Are you guys having fun? Did you have a long day at work?” The banter amused the general audience with loud laughter in Gramercy Theatre.

Billy Talent admitted it had been a long time since they were last in the Big Apple. Kowalewicz stated to leave to the Toronto Blue Jays alone as they lost 5-1 to the New York Yankees in a baseball game earlier this afternoon. A few boos arose but Kowalewicz was redeemed when shouted that the Boston Red Sox suck. Clearly he’s an honorary New Yorker.

Soon enough, “Big Red Gun” came on and the guitarist Ian D’Sa and bassist Jon Gallant were shredding away. The crowd went mental when “This Is How It Goes” blasted from speakers, shoving each other in mosh pit form. Then there was a moment when the Billy Talent realized a youth named Jake in attendance. The crowd cheered, “Jake” for a few minutes to welcome him to his first concert. And of course “Afraid of Heights” was performed and the lyrics were belted out by admirers.

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Billy Talent. Gramercy Theatre in New York. 2016.

Then Kowalewicz asked, “Would anyone mind if I sing an old song…who owns our second album?” It was awesome as “Pins And Needles” satisfied fans. At one point, the heat and humidity took over and “Surrender” soothed the tone of the gig with sways of intensity.

That didn’t last long when “Louder Than The DJ” was played and people began to jump and scream with enthusiasm. “Devil On My Shoulder” was one of those songs which most identify with. Remembering the lyrics, “As I get closer, my dreams get farther”. It was the ultimate reminder to just keep trying in life as we know from “Try Honesty”. That’s what Billy Talent’s music does. It inspires us all. “Rusted From The Rain” captured the attention of everyone as well for the entire four minutes.

Billy Talent was especially nice acknowledging that tomorrow is 9/11 and expressed how special it was to be in New York. There was a moment of solidarity as it was explained that the world is fucked up place with no real leaders. Kowalewicz invited Americans to venture to Canada and mentioned the dimensions of his backyard. Claps came from every corner of the room. Essentially, the claim was that we should all be tolerant and learn to accept others who are different in the world.

Eventually as all good things come to an end, the band disappeared for a moment. And as normal at any gig, the crowd pleaded for more. Billy Talent returned and rocked hard with “Red Flag”. Not a single person was standing still for that. Bobbing along and dancing the night away, the next song was “Fallen Leaves”. An absolute classic! The drummer, Aaron Solowoniuk went heavy and hard. I was hoping a drum stick would be thrown into the crowd. In all, it was an amazing gig. Now you know why they’re in my top 10 favourite bands. Interested in the band? The next concert is at The Foundry in Philadelphia, PA. Find tickets here.

Arts ~ Stones at Saatchi

Captivating 50 years of history, an international exhibition featuring rock music legends will debut tomorrow in London.

‘Exhibitionism’ unveils the life and career of The Rolling Stones at the Saatchi Gallery.

Over 500 artifacts are on display to engage the public. From 1962 to present day, personal diaries present an account of the band’s global journey. The days of youth and rebellion return to entertain. Creative cinema and media allows viewers to explore for interactive technologies. Never before seen photos depict how The Rolling Stones shaped popular culture. Original costumes are presented for fashion and design admirers. Also rare audio tracks will definitely get you in the rock and blues groove. The two floor exhibition offers an impressive insight of the cultural icons’ musical heritage.

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Music ~ Ra Ra Riot

American indie rock band, Ra Ra Riot raved on tonight at the biggest concert venue in New York City.

Debuting songs at a sold out show from their fourth album, Need Your Light got everyone moving at Webster Hall in the East Village.

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Walking along 11th street outside of Webster Hall. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Vocalist, Wes Miles introduced the band with the tunes “Hug” and “Binary Mind” to connect with the crowd. In that moment, I was taken back to the Seaport Music Festival when I first discovered the band in 2007 just before they signed to V2 Records. Of course, “Oh La” came along with soothing sounds of Rebecca Zeller’s violin.

Soon “just a minute and then you’re lost” was belted out by millennials. This song has only been out for two weeks and it’s already adored, especially guitar chords from Milo Bonacci in “Foreign Lovers”. Fans mouthed the words to “St. Peters” and rocked out to “TTTFast with a maximum capacity at the entertainment venue. 

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Finding the light, Webster Hall. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

Ra Ra Riot made heads bob and shoulders loosen as my favourite “Can You Tell” came on which won Best Music Video at the 2009 Finger Lakes Festival when the band signed to Barsuk Records. This was the track that made the band recognizable and we all know why. From the violin intro to lyrics mesmerizing you to bassist Mathieu Santos that send you into a distant daydream, closing your eyes and dancing in a circle. The baroque pop vibes at the gig filled my mind with memories of the band’s second album in 2010, The Orchard and third album Beta Love in 2013.

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Enjoying Wes Miles acoustic intro, Webster Hall. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

When Bad Times started, we all listened. Wes Miles said, “I don’t normally play guitar…” and began to strum away. It was a beautiful moment. Also bad times are something most can relate to as we often deal with testing situations everyday. Music though is what keeps you going such as Ra Ra Riot’s 2013 single “Dance With Me”or even remembering your childhood from hearing “Bouncy Castle”.

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Ra Ra Riot performing “Boy” at Webster Hall. Photo: Niya Sinckler.

After beats from drummer Kenny Bernard brought energy to the room with the track “Boy”. Then Ra Ra Riot played their top song on Itunes. The 2015 single, “Water” left a lasting impression and evoked emotion. Ra Ra Riot continued with inspirational lyrics from their 2016 single “Absolutely”.

The stage then went black and fans lingered hoping the band would return. About two minutes later, Ra Ra Riot performed “Need Your Light”. Admirers were singing, crying, dancing, spinning and really feeling something. It was an amazing concert! By the end of the night on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, we were all using the hashtags: #rarariot, #rrrnyl and #needyourlight. Catch Ra Ra Riot while on tour in North America now.

Music ~ The Peach Kings

Los Angeles alternative duo, Paige Wood and Steven Dies known as The Peach Kings brought rock and roll to Brooklyn.

Fans nodded heads and swayed their bodies feeling like we could go all night as edgy blues vibes filled the Knitting Factory.

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The Peach Kings, Knitting Factory. 02.02.16. Credit: Niya Sinckler.