The Final Countdown

With just 7 days to go in our gig review contest, there’s still time to stake your claim for $500 worth of festival tickets, or $100 of concert tickets!

We’ve had an incredible influx of reviews over the last week, and they just keep coming.  If you’ve recently been to see some awesome live music, or if something from yesteryear has stuck in your mind it’s time to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) and tell us what really made it special.

Already submitted your review? Go on; write another, you know you want to! We’ve loved hearing about your gig memories as much as you loved making them…so why not share another to be in with an even better chance of winning our top prize (and of course tonnes of amazing rewards for runners up).

Sharing that one great concert with us before the 31st of this month could be a game changer for your summer. Loads of them have impressed us so far, check out a few of our favourites below that really made us wish we’d been there.

fleet foxes

Fleet Foxes by Raineybt

It probably goes without saying that catching the Fleet Foxes at United Palace in NYC was a huge highlight for me, less than a year before they stopped touring and Joshua Tillman left the band to go solo. These guys are unbelievable musicians, as evidenced by the number of acts they are associated with while they are on a (hiatus? suspension?).

The mark of a great live act is one that takes an amazing album and makes it even better, and that’s pretty much what these guys do for every track. Beyond the fact that their sound lends itself to being played live, they do a great job expanding their sound without getting too far away from what they’ve recorded to become unrecognizable.

While you wait for these guys to announce more shows – make sure to track Father John Misty (Tillman’s act, which is as good as these guys live) and Poor Moon, the ongoing side project for Christian Wargo and Casey Wescott. They might not play “Mykonos” but their ability to put on an amazing live show with great sound is on display. And if you run into Robin Pecknold on the Columbia University campus – tell him to play some NYC solo sets!

foals hq

Foals by lesley-keller

Mind-blowing. Ass-kicking. No holds barred. Take no prisoners. These are the words that come to mind when I think about a Foals show.

 The first time I saw Foals was only after I had just listened to their song, “Spanish Sahara”. Just that one song and my mind was made up. I needed to see them. Turns out that one song was merely a comma in the string of punctuations this band is capable of creating. That song is probably the tamest one they played, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

A strobe light show starts off their performance to the band members entering one by one. Then lead singer Yannis Phillippakis takes the stage, his signature black Travis Bean guitar in hand. He had a wireless setup for that guitar – a tipoff that I immediately recognized. This show was about to get insane. 

They ran through a few of their hits from their first album, “Mathletics”, such as “Red Socks Pugie”, and “Cassius”. The crowd was in absolute hysterics. Ebbing and flowing with the music, people crowd surfing and ramming into each other. The song progressed into songs off their sophomore release, “Total Life Forever”, where they played “Blue Blood”, the aforementioned “Spanish Sahara”, and the amped-up “Two Steps, Twice”.

 Then mayhem. Yannis runs top speed and propels himself into the crowd (who were miraculously ready and caught him). All the while, Yannis continues playing his guitar. What happened next was a thing of beauty. Somehow, Yannis makes his way to the side of the venue and proceeds to climb up to the balcony level, and again, launches himself off into the crowd. In all my years, I’ve never seen someone with such a low fear of death or injury. 

Since this first performance I’ve seen Foals a number of times and they never disappoint. Even when they were added as a last minute addition to fill in for a band that canceled for Governor’s Ball 2013, they managed to win over everyone at the festival, some saying they were the highlight of the entire event. Easily one of the best live acts I have ever had the pleasure of seeing.

 Without a doubt, I have never danced, jumped, and sweat so much than when I am at a Foals show. Do yourself a favor, drop any plans you might have and go see Foals. Well worth it.

 

bonobo

Bonobo by Imyourboombox

This past year Montreal has been in the midst of Bonobo fever. Not only was this Bonobo’s 3rd appearance this year in Montreal, after a stop at the Théâtre Telus back in April and a DJ set at Osheaga in August, but he also managed to sell out the Metropolis on a Tuesday night. The masses were clearly antsy for Bonobo to start, after a generic and lackluster set by the appropriately named Paul Basic, and greeted the British musician like a rock star (there was even crowd surfing throughout the night… at a Bonobo show). They were already grooving well before the music actually got groovy and offered encore-worthy applause after only the first track of the night, a fantastic rendition of new album The North Borders’ first single Cirrus.

Simon Green was joined on stage with a revolving door of musicians, including a brass trio, multiple percussionists and a solid vocalist. When she came on stage to perform the first of many tracks Transits I found myself contemplating another electronic act with live instrumentation, Disclosure, and how their lack of vocalists at Osheaga prevented their good performance from being a great one. I’d argue that at times throughout the night, the reverse happened. On certain tracks, notably the Grey Reverend featuring smooth jam First Fires, were hindered by her powerful vocals. A “less is more” approach might have been more appropriate for certain tracks. Bonobo and his band mates would go full maximalist at times and pared down at others, but not always at the right moment. The brass trio would at times drown out some of the interesting subtleties of Bonobo’s creations, while highlighting them on other tracks. It was a bit of a paradox to be honest.

In the end you have to applaud Green for being a true musician through and through: never hogging the limelight, mostly blending in with his band, while performing certain tracks solo when necessary. “Montreal is basically one of my favourite places right now,” shouted Green before launching into a 3 song pseudo-encore (they never needed to leave the stage, the crowd was already clamouring for more before the show was even close to being finished,) and it was clear why: Montreal loves him back tenfold. And while the show could use a bit of fine tuning, Bonobo sure knows how to put on a performance that seemed to please the 2000+ people in attendance.

Don’t you just wish you’d been there?

The more reviews you write, the better chance you have of winning. Challenge yourself: how many can you do…1 an hour, 10 a day, 70 a week?! Easy!

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