Tag Archives: rock

Saying Farewell to Growing up | The Only Band Ever

15 Jan
Alexisonfire @ The Copps Coliseum, December 30th, 2012 | credit: Jeanette LeBlanc

Alexisonfire @ The Copps Coliseum, December 30th, 2012 | credit: Jeanette LeBlanc

Concert Review By: Jeanette LeBlanc

On December 30th, 2012, something big happened in my life- well my music life. I stood in the floor section at the Copps Coliseum and watched as thousands of us “fans” said good-bye. Good-bye to the only band ever, Alexisonfire. I think it’s safe to say that Alexisonfire started something big in the rock music industry, and that was being the first band with screaming vocals that our parents didn’t insist we turn off while we felt like a bunch of bad-ass’ (well at least at my house). My Mom would always say “I love that Green guy, he’s amazing”. Yes, she was refferring to Dallas Green, no matter how many times I told her his full name, it just wouldn’t stick. It then became evident that our parents were not the only “non-delinquents” who could tollerate and enjoy the band, because before we all knew it- they were on the radio! And boy did it make us kids happy. Alexisonfire was now that really cool band that related to and accepted everyone- regardless of whatever “clique” you were involved in, everyone liked them and if you didn’t, you weren’t about to make fun of some kid who did.

The self-titled album “Alexisonfire” came out on September 9th, 2002- this put me around 11 years-old and I feel like I must have been older but I do remember listening to them at my local pre-teen dance and thinking that 44 Caliber Love Letter and myself were the coolest things happening in the dance but one of them was wearing fishnets and black lipstick- and fortunately for everyone else’s sake, it was not Alexisonfire. That album really influenced and helped me stay true to my taste in heavy music at that age, and I’m so apprieciative of that now because thinking back, the most popular songs at that dance were Dutty Wine and Usher’s Oh– just thank god.

Eventually, after awkward pre-teen bumn grabs and the ugliest stage of puberty- highschool came along, and with that came Watch Out! I have to say, this one really had the strongest impact in my life. Grade 9 was a terrifying year for me, as it is for everyone else and I honestly think Alexisonfire knew that. They knew exactly how to relate to the up’s and down’s, the heart-break, the anxiety, the excitement and the reality of being a teenager. Watch Out! got me ready for school everyday and put me to sleep every night. People came and went during that time but somehow, no matter how far away I may have drifted from Alexisonfire at times, reuniting with them always felt good and as if no time had passed.

Finally, after more heart-break and exploring of the unknown, 2006 brought us Crisis and with that came Rough Hands– my all-time favourite song. Rough Hands made me feel love and loved. It’s scary how everytime I listen to the album I can just imagine myself as the old me and feel like I’ve managed to travel back in time to that moment where I felt content and excited.

2009 came faster than I expected and with it, another flawless album- Old Crows/ Young Cardinals. Now I know that three years is the average amount of time it takes for a band to release a new album but to me, that gap between albums was basically my highschool years, which meant that Old Crows/ Young Cardinals truely felt like a new start and it really did sound like it too. That album brought along changing seasons and a whole new love that I didn’t even know existed.

Everything over the years brought me to Copps Coliseum that day, and by the looks on everyone else’s faces, I wasn’t alone in feeling that way. Alexisonfire’s fans proved that they are more than just a band, they are the only band ever. The passion and dedication in that stadium was clearly evident and Alexisonfire deserved every ounce of respect that was thrown their way that night and throughout every single show they have ever played. They proved that being an Alexisonfire fan isn’t about having Alexisonfire tattoos, knowing the words to every song, dressing like you just came out of a rock music video, or even being cool. Being an Alexisonfire fan is about growing up and every single thing that comes along with it. George Pettit told us that night that “This is not a funeral but a celebration” and those words really stuck with me because it truely was a celebration- a celebration of growing up.

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The Influence of an Era | Grunge Music

15 Jan

grunge2

By: Jeanette LeBlanc

Rock music has had many different influences over the years. There was the influence of Jazz music which led to Blues-Rock/Folk-Rock, to the 1970’s Rock and Roll and Psychedelic Rock which brought the world to the 1980’s Glam Rock, Soft Rock, Hard-Rock, Punk-Rock and eventually Heavy-Metal. After these exciting and memorable eras of influential music, the early 1990’s brought a whole new type of music to the stage and it came with a lot more than just that- Grunge music brought its own methods and its own attitude that has forever changed the way we know rock music. Grunge changed the emotion in a singer’s voice from formal to raspy and full of angst, it opened our ears to the many heart-breaks and mental disorders the world suffers from, it created a distorted energy filled sound that will forever remind the world of its troubled and reckless ways. There are reasons behind every band’s sound and personality and many of them lead back to the grunge era, where did it come from? Who created it? And what has the music industry become today because of it? The music community will be forever grateful for the expression that has come from it- grunge.

The grunge music scene originated in Seattle giving it another title people referred to as “The Seattle Sound” and turned the city into a place that Rolling Stone magazine called “The New Liverpool”. grunge music started in the mid 1980’s, and was influenced by punk and metal. The sound of grunge music generally contains distorted guitars, distressed sounding vocals and a highly dynamic tone by going from soft and loving to hard and hateful, and back again. The term “grunge” came from Mark Arm the vocalist of grunge band Mudhoney; he used it to describe the sound of their band as “Pure grunge! Pure noise! Pure shit!” which then stuck and became a new hype.Grunge created a new sound that spoke out to angry and depressed teens. People felt that they could relate to the lyrics and the everyday hateful-heartbreak that they contained. This is something that has continued in music post-grunge with no one being afraid to approach depressing hateful lyrics the way famous vocalist Kurt Cobain from Nirvana did. Kurt Cobain was famous for writing songs titled “I Hate Myself and I Want to Die” and “Negative Creep” which are titles that were not normal during that era and allowed distraught teens to embellish in the music and use it as their way of coping with disorders like depression and anxiety, it allowed them to feel that they were not alone during hard times. Grunge concerts consisted of bands playing the same way they would at a bar, the shows always lacked theatrics and flashy lighting and were full of enthusiastic teens who just wanted to let loose. The Fashion Industry marketed these teens and soon every fashion distributor was releasing “Grunge fashion” which mainly consisted of ripped-up jeans and over-sized flannels, overpriced beanies, and an unmaintained look which was influenced by Kurt Cobain’s lack of cleanliness- basically the opposite of the 80’s over the top glam look.

The grunge era was formed by many strong and now famous influential musicians. Soundgarden was the first grunge band to sign with a record label in 1989 when they teamed up with A&M Records. Their first release however was mainly discovered after 1990’s breakout and soon to be one of the most influential bands of all time, Nirvana- signed with Geffen Records in the beginning of that year. Upon their signing, Nirvana’s “Nevermind” was released in September 1991 and sold 400 000 copies a week until Christmas where it then over-ruled Michael Jackson on the top 200 Billboard thanks to their single “Smells like Teen Spirit”. “Smells like Teen Spirit” was constantly played on MTV and dubbed “The Anthem for Apathetic Kids”, the song uses a verse-chorus form which creates a loud and quiet dynamic and to this day it has become one of the greatest rock songs of all time. During this same time Pearl Jam had just released their album “Ten” causing them to become another one of the key bands of this era. Pearl Jam became famous not only for their unique and engaging sound but also for the bands unwillingness to abide by traditional music industry practices by refusing to make music videos and being involved in a highly publicised boycott of Ticketmaster which prevented the band from playing shows that the company was involved in- fortunately this attitude just caused their fans to appreciate them even more as well as influence other bands to pursue the “reacting and rebelling against the state of society” attitude that became the grunge era. By 1992 bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains were all ruling the top 200 Billboard. These bands rapidly changed the rock music scene away from the popular glam metal bands like KISS and Twisted Sister and more towards this new radical and emotional obsession.

Grunge, like many other music era’s remained for the decade and then began to change. The fall of grunge is also referred to by others as a “new born” grunge and is now known as Post-Grunge consisting of bands like Candle-box, Three Doors Down, Goo Goo Dolls, Puddle of Mudd, Stone Temple Pilots and Bush; these bands lacked the originality of Grunge music and instead were influenced by the sound. Most Post-Grunge music contains mid-tempo songs with high levels of power-chord energy. These bands became popular on the radio in the late 90’s after most popular grunge bands either broke up or disappeared, starting with Kurt Cobain’s suicide in 1994, followed by Pearl Jam’s Ticketmaster boycott, then Soundgarden breaking up in 1997 due to creative direction disagreements, which was then followed by the death of Alice in Chains singer Laynes Staley who died from a heroin overdose in 2002. Fortunately however, most band members from previous grunge bands have carried on the grunge persona to influence the way that alternative-rock sounds today, the singer of Soundgarden Chris Cornell is now in a band called Audioslave who on their own have a very unique post-grunge inspired sound unlike any other. Dave Grohl who was previously the drummer of Nirvana and one of the most famous of all previous “grungers” has been involved in other projects such as Queens of the Stone Age, Nine Inch Nails (who helped influence the industrial scene) and Foo Fighters containing Pat Smear, previous guitarist of Nirvana. Not only are all of Grohls’ bands very famous but they are all extremely unique sounding. While listening to the Foo Fighters it is very easy to tell where Grohl’s influences originated from by the similarities between his and Kurt Cobain’s deep, passionate, raspy sounds and the distorted yet clean tone of the songs. Foo Fighters also write a lot of catchy songs similar to Nirvana’s “Smells like Teen Spirit” that Grohl says he tried to write to the beat of the crowd and by imagining the fans jumping up and down to the songs. Foo Fighters also contain a lot of stop-start parts to their songs as well as soft-hard dynamics which originated mainly from grunge music. Foo Fighters have even recently collaborated with Butch Vig who produced Nirvana’s record breaking “Nevermind” album. Pearl Jam also remains famous and they continue to influence the industry. To date Pearl Jam has sold 31.5 million records in the US and an estimated 60 million worldwide, while they still manage to sell out major venues around the world. Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder has a grungy vocal talent that has influenced many bands including Scott Stapp from Creed who went on to influence other bands like Nickleback and Hinder.

Grunge music will always be popular, whether it’s playing on an I-Pod, the radio, in a movie, or by some cover band at a bar- it will always be enjoyed. Generations have learnt a lot about self-expression and self-healing through grunge music and it has continued to live on through its fans and producers. It hides behind every band’s power-chords and distortion pedals. It provokes bands to fight back against the music system and have the “screw society” attitude they’ve always looked up to. It coaches teens through their angst and battles against growing up and it brings back memories of a legend that had yet to be discovered. Grunge music has always been and always will be appreciated and influential towards many more generations to come.

The Molson Canadian Red Leaf Project Presents: The Tragically Hip

14 Jan
September 22nd, 2012

The Tragically Hip @ The Sound Academy- September 22nd, 2012 | credit: Jeanette LeBlanc

Jeanette LeBlanc

Molson Canadian hosted 100 park projects across Canada in hopes to help make communities cleaner and better. Trees were planted, trails were fixed and litter and invasive plants were booted out. When these clean-ups were finished all volunteers were given a ticket to a music festival nearby and me being one of them- I was given a ticket to see The Tragically Hip at The Sound Academy in Toronto.

On September 22nd I hopped on the Go train and made my way to the venue with a completely open mind towards how my night was going to go down. Upon arrival I realized it was going to be a good time, a lot of people were wearing the red Canadian shirts that we received for volunteering and we were all given vouchers for two free eco-friendly bottled Molson beers on the way in, along with synchronized flashing wristbands. While walking around the venue with my free beer in hand and listening to the opening DJ lay down some amazing tunes- I discovered that they were giving away free food- another added bonus that no one expected.

Finally the time came, The Tragically Hip were coming onstage- opening with “At Transformation” and let me tell you, they sounded amazing. This being my second time seeing the band, I had pretty high expectations and they met them all and more. Gord Downie’s energy took over the entire venue and he continuously thanked us fans for all our hard work we had done to improve our cities, which in turn made us all feel awesome. The band played a huge variety of songs off of their best of album titled “Yer Favourites” and they encored with another 5-6 songs, the last one being a mash-up that sounded incredible.

Molson Canadian’s generosity made that concert the ultimate Canadian concert experience of 2012, volunteers were left feeling proud and overly satisfied- Molson even made sure that everyone was taken home safely in a Grey Hound bus. They proved that Canada cares and knows how to make a difference while rockin’ out!