Music: Frazey Ford

fraze ford

So, my uncle told me about this brilliant musician last week and as it turns out I will be seeing her at the Winnipeg Folk Festival in less than a month! Canadian singer-songwriter Frazey Ford was born in Castlegar, British Columbia. She is a founding member of The Be Good Tanyas but her solo career began with the release of her album Obadiah in the summer of 2010.

The release of her second album Indian Ocean features the catchy song, “September Fields“. Her voice is something easy to listen to and the music is kinda dancey! It’s a really nice mix. Catch her at the Winnipeg Folk Festival Mainstage Saturday July 11 at 6:00PM before another Favourite Dan Mangan + Blacksmith! See you there!


 

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The Head and the Heart

The Head and the Heart 7 (2011)

The Head and the Heart are a folk rock band from Seattle, Washington. They formed in 2009 with band members Josiah Johnson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Jonathan Russell (vocals, guitar, percussion), Charity Rose Thielen (violin, vocals), Chris Zasche (bass), Kenny Hensley (piano), and Tyler Williams (drums).

They put on one hell of a show. I think one of my favourite things about watching them live was how they interacted with one another. Watching Josiah and Jonathan together was almost like watching two little boys playing, they were a lot of fun.

I wish Charity did more solo singing her voice is something! I think it’s the way she pronounces words when she sings that makes her different, all I know is that I love it and I want to hear more of it.

The opening act was Basia Bulat a Canadian folk singer from Toronto, Ontario. Lead singer Basia Bulat rocks the ukulele, Autoharp and vocals. Bulat appeared with her brother Bobby Bulat on drums and Ben Whiteley on guitar and bass. I love going to shows for opening acts, it’s how I find some of my favourite bands.

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Said the Whale

Said the Whale

Juno Award-winning Said the Whale is a Canadian indie band from Vancouver, British Columbia consisting of Ben Worcester (guitar & vocals), Tyler Bancroft (guitar & vocals), Spencer Schoening (drums), Nathan Shaw (bass) and Jaycelyn Brown (keyboards). The tour stopped in Winnipeg last night at the Garrick Centre to promote their new album Hawaiii.

Said the Whale did not let down. I have seen them once before at Sasquatch! Festival but it was nice to hear them in a more intimate venue. It was a rowdy crowd at the Garrick last night but they handled it swimmingly. They played songs from Islands Disappear and Little Mountain then finished off with a few from Hawaiii. What I enjoyed most was that they slowed their tempo a few times to allow for some intimate solos by Ben, Tyler and Spencer. Ben sang about losing a love in Curse of the Currents, Tyler sang of his mother’s battle and triumph of cancer in Helpless Son” and Spencer showed off his vocal talent in “Seasons”. The solos really showed what a well-rounded band they are.

The opening bands for their Winnipeg stop were Dojo Workhourse of Calgary, Alberta and Escondido of Nashville, Tennessee. Both were excellent bands and it was the first show opening up for Said the Whale.

Dojo Workhorse was rock/blues/jazz it was a really interesting mix and it works for the 5 bearded men who stated “you may think we are gross old men, but we have feelings too.” I promise, they weren’t gross and their music is definitely worth a listen.

I really enjoyed Escondido, Canadian born Jessica Maros has some serious vocal talent and stage presence. Their sound is rock and I want to say country but “western” almost sounds more appropriate. They have the perfect vocal range and talent for their rock/western style of music.

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Said the Whale

Imagine Dragons

Imagine Dragons
The stage was lined with cut out trees that added extra lights to the set, a giant drum was rolled out to centre stage and
Dan Reynolds came out looking bad ass in his leather jacket with his collar popped and confidence to boot. This is the first time I’ve seen the Las Vegas band Imagine Dragons, consisting of frontman Dan Reynolds, guitarist Wayne Sermon, bassist Ben McKee, and drummer Daniel Platzman live in concert. While they oozed with confidence they were also incredibly humble. Reynolds thanked the audience between almost every song and was giddy with excitement for all the love he and his band were shown.

Reynolds was extremely entertaining to watch spinning and jumping around the stage the energy was incredible. He was never afraid to let the audience take over his singing duties and after he performed “Radioactive” I thought he was going to die, he gave his all for that song.

This band is going to blow up soon I am sure of it. The audience was so diverse, there were high schoolers, young adults and even parents were at this show with their kids, men and women across the board. That is the sign of something big when you can appeal to such a huge demographic.

One of the opening bands were Atlas Genius from Adelaide, Australia is made up of brothers Keith Jeffery (vocalist/guitarist) and Michael Jeffery (drummer) as well as keyboardist Darren Sell. Their album When It Was Now is available on iTunes. Off of that album the most popular is “Trojans” but my favourite was “If So“. Described as alternative they are three fun loving guys who are great with the audience and the accents don’t hurt either.

The first opener was Nico Vega made up of singer and lyricist Aja Volkman, guitarist Rich Koehler, drummer Dan Epand and travelling bassist Jamila Weaver. This mighty band has a wildly energetic leader, Volkman. Small but fearless and she may have more energy than her husband, Imagine Dragons frontman, Dan Reynolds. What I liked most about Nico Vega is that while I realize their sound is more rock I still feel like I can’t stick a genre on them, their sound was their own and that’s pretty cool. They have an EP out called Fury Oh Fury and the most popular song on the EP is “Beast” and one of my favourites is the title track “Fury Oh Fury“.

It was such a great show from all three bands full of energy. Imagine Dragons said they were making plans to come back to Winnipeg so don’t miss out next time.

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Imagine Dragons

Dan Mangan

Dan Mangan

“The day we got banned from the Burton Cummings Theatre.” Dan Mangan joked as he overruled security for the last couple of songs last night. Inviting anyone up front to the stage. I have seen Dan Mangan live a couple times now and it never ceases to surprise me how humble he is. He got everyone on their feet and up around the front of the theatre then he hoped off the stage and out into the crowd. He performed his last song and of course he got everyone in the crowd on harmonies. He asked that all cellphones be put away so we could all be in the moment.

Mangan had so much good to say about our little city. Saying he has had his best dinners of the tour in Winnipeg one of them being at the Deer + Almond. “Kudos to you guys. You’re well rounded but see what you can do about the roads,” he joked.

The Rural Alberta Advantage who opened for Mangan was also an exceptional group. They played some songs from their album Departing. I think my favourite off of that album would be “Tornado ’87″.

All in all Dan Mangan is a wonderful performer talented and humble. If you haven’t seen him live and are a fan of his music I suggest you get to it.

“Needing an answer is futile..” – Dan Mangan

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Dan Mangan

Trampled by Turtles

Trampled By Turtles

Live music is really unbelievable. Trampled By Turtles played at the West End Cultural Centre on Thursday evening they are a blue grass band from Duluth, Minnesota. When you listen to these guys you will find your head bobbing or your toe tapping. Though I learned last night that watching and listening live is so much more of an experience. They’ve got the bass, the guitar, the banjo, the fiddle and the mandolin and its amazing to see these instruments live. Ryan Young, who plays the fiddle, played it so hard that he was sawing the side of his fiddle creating smoke and saw dust.

Besides how awestruck I am the music was great and lead singer Dave Simonett and mandolin player Erik Berry interacted with the crowd very well. One thing I appreciate most about live shows at smaller venues is the interaction between musician and fans and the humbleness of it all. For instance some girls right up front were adding songs to the set list and they decided to play one of the songs she had written down because it was her birthday. Simonett joked, “these girls over here are tampering with our set list, I thank you for knowing our songs.”

They closed the show with “Wait So Long” and then slowed things down with “Again”. They said their goodbyes and left the stage. That’s when the chanting began. “ONE MORE SONG” with rhythmic clapping and then escalated to stomping. One of my friends noted how aggressive the chanting was getting. Eventually they came back and played two more songs.

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Trampled by Turtles

Music: The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans

The Weakerthans played last night and they were AWESOME! I mean I love their sound to begin with but hearing them live is a different experience. They started their four day return to their hometown with their first album Fallow at The Royal Albert Arms. Then moving to The West End Cultural Centre with the album Left and Leaving. On Friday they played their album Reconstruction Site at The Pyramid Cabaret. Last night was supposed to be the Reunion Tour album at the Burton Cummings Theatre. Instead of only playing Reunion Tour they played all four of their albums something they have never done said John K. Samson their lead singer. The folk rock band kept the audiences attention for the four hour show. “There won’t be an encore… for obvious reasons.” joked Samson.

Members Stephen Carroll, John K. Samson, Greg Smith and Jason Tait all have their own quirks, as most musicians do. Bassist Greg is not your regular statue player, he is the mover, using the stage playing off other members he’s really fun to watch. Stephen plays guitar as well as keyboard he likes to play guitar on his knees. Rusty Matyas has been playing with The Weakerthans for their whole tour as well as being front man for the opening band Imaginary Cities. Rusty broke strings on two guitars last night playing so hard. He had to keep sending them back stage. And John K. Samson has a very unique voice and likes to play on his tippy toes. Also for the second half of the show John rocked a “Judy for Mayor” t-shirt. The show was unpolished but that’s what I loved about it. It was real, five guys doing what they love. They had some big fans in the balconies dancing the whole way through.

Imaginary Cities was a great opening band. I had never heard their music before but I absolutely loved listening to lead singer Marti Sarbit. She had a stunning voice, gave me goose bumps through their whole set.

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Left and Leaving – The Weakerthans

weakerthans__05686_zoom

1. Everything Must Go!
2. Aside
3. Watermark
4. Pamphleteer
5. This Is a Fire Door, Never Leave Open
6. Without Mythologies
7. Left and Leaving
8. Elegy for Elsabet
9. History to the Defeated
10. Exiles Among You
11. My Favourite Chords
12. Slips and Tangles

*In bold are my favourites

Music: The Weakerthans