If you haven’t been able to catch one of Matt’s performances yet, add it to your to-do list the next time you notice he’s playing here in Hamilton. The last time I saw a Matt Paxton show was when he opened for The Wooden Sky at the Hamilton Place Studio Theatre. His ability to engage a comfortably seated (older) crowd was quite impressive, and his voice and solo guitar melodies carried beautifully all the way to the back, filling the venue. Despite this being some time ago, I had added Matt to my mental list of local(ish) artists that I wanted to be a part of Six Kicks. Thanks again Matt for doing this via Canada Post. (Because we all love getting mail.) Find out more about Matt Paxton here.
I saw Hollerado’s album release show at the Rivoli last week and it was amazing to say the least. FRED PENNER himself opened up the show, which was a genius move on Hollerado’s part, considering the age of most people in the audience. I’ll be seeing them play here in Hamilton on Friday at This Ain’t Hollywood. If you’re free, come! You will have a great time. Especially because Topanga is opening, a band that operates on the same wavelength as the eccentric gents in Hollerado.
Life got in the way a little bit. I’m sure you know how it is. But rest assured soon I will have some interesting Six Kicks interviews for you lovely people.
Hey everyone! While I await some mail from various bands, let me tell you about the great trip I had in Boston!
A few months ago, I was itching to get away. I knew I wanted to go to a city I’ve never seen before and I definitely wanted to make sure I’d be able to go to a great show while there. I heard Lights was going on tour with the Arkells so I scanned the dates. At the very end was Boston. My mind was made up and so I asked for the time off before I even bought a ticket.
But I’d need a way to get there. Since I don’t drive this proved to be a slight problem. I asked a few friends but none could take the time off (or maybe that was a diplomatic way of saying: “you want to drive how far to see a band from Hamilton?”) Nonetheless my parents graciously offered to take me there and pay for a hotel, so how could I say no to that? The sad part was not being able to bring my sister, since she had classes at school she couldn’t miss. So I went ahead and bought three tickets for myself, mom, and dad.
Wednesday: the departure day had finally arrived. After many days of anticipation, our bags were packed and at 5 am, we were on the road. 9 and a half hours later we were Boston. And let me tell you, navigating in that city is no easy task. Did you know that no street crosses a street with a president’s name without changing it’s name? Did you know that no street ever stays straight? And did you also know that there is a Massachusetts Avenue in every suburb of Boston? This made for very confusing map reading. And when I say map, I mean map. The GPS went haywire because of all the criss crossing of streets and bridges and tunnels and causeways.
Wednesday was also the day of the show. So we needed to get to our hotel, freshen up, have a bite to eat, and navigate our way through the road labyrinth to Cambridge. The Middle East was set to let us in at 7:30 (if I can remember correctly) and we managed to make it there by 6. A substantial line had formed, rounding the corner. It. Was. Freezing. My feet were actually numb. So I was tweeting about the situation and, lucky for me, Max saw them. Being the nice Hamiltonian that he is, he squeezed us all in a bit early to warm up and claim our spots. (Mine at the front of course.) And he vouched for me when the security guard didn’t know what to make of my Canadian ID. My parents sat by the bar and I danced up at the front. Everyone around me seemed to feed off of the energy that the Arkells were supplying. (Electrifying!) I had fun singing along, and understating the references only someone from Hamilton would get. I really like Lights, but it was getting pretty pushy where I was. This really small girl behind smiled so wide when I told her I was heading to the bar and that she could have my spot against the stage.
I grabbed a beer and saw my parents. “That Max, he’s a nice guy. Do a lot of people know about the Arkells? They were fantastic! I thought they were just one of those bands you go and see all the time at the Casbah.” Comments from Mom. I laughed when she told me that. Dad was quite impressed too. We had a drink and then Lights came on stage.
Every time I see Lights she gets better. Her voice gets more powerful, and her acoustic tunes always change. This time she played Ice on piano and everyone respectfully refrained from singing, even though they had been doing so for every previous song. Since I forgot my camera, I only have a few iPhone pictures that barely capture the way it felt in that room. I did manage to salvage one good shot though. After the show was over, I meant to say thanks to Max for being so nice earlier but they had a long way back home and had to boot it out of there.
Plus my parents were not used to so much excitement and I could tell they just wanted to go to bed after a long day of driving and staying out late. (It wasn’t actually that late.)
The next day was the American Thanksgiving, therefore EVERYTHING was closed. No restaurants were open so we had to eat as much as we could at the hotel’s complimentary continental breakfast. The hotel staff recommended that we walk the Freedom Trail which started at the Boston Common. What a beautiful walk, and a beautiful day it turned out to be. We did end up finding a place to eat. Luckily the only place that happened to be open was the Cheers bar. We got a kick out of that place. On our way to do some window shopping at Quincy Market we passed the Orpheum Theatre. I saw “Ray LaMontagne Nov 23, 24” on the marquis and thought: “wouldn’t it be cool if we could go to this show?” So when I got back to the hotel I tried every combination on ticket master to try and get just one ticket anywhere in the theatre. I kept getting that awful grey screen: “Sorry, no matches could be found. Please try again closer to the date of the show as some venues release more tickets as the event nears.” Well the event was near, and I really wanted to be there. Since the next day was Black Friday, we planned on some shopping in Quincy Market anyway so I thought of asking right at the box office if any tickets were available.
Speaking of Black Friday, our hotel was conveniently situated right behind a shopping centre which included a Best Buy, Target, and TJ Max. People had been lining up since noon the day before and when we asked them what time the stores opened the next day they told us 1 am. That’s a pretty ridiculous hour to be buying 52 inch TVs. But for novelty’s sake, my mom and I walked over at 1:30 to see what we could see. For the most part, it was people at their worst. Pushing, yelling, screaming at other people in line, crying; not my idea of a fun time. All I ended up buying was season 3 of Community and a bunch of Boy Meets World DVDs.
Oh so back to Quincy Market. Before we headed there, a local told us about a place to eat lunch and get some pastries. The lunch place was called Galleria Umberto and no word of a lie, I ate the best pizza of my life there. It’s a unique set up; people line up like their in line at a cafeteria, then the owner greets everyone because he knows everyone by name, and his son gets the order ready for each customer. Seat yourself and try not to drool over your food, it’s that good. Across the street we went to a place called Mike’s Pastries. We bough the biggest lobster tail ever. It must have weighed 2 pounds. The cream inside was sinful. Mmmm, my mouth is watering just thinking about it again! If you go to Boston, go to those two places for the best Italian food you’ll ever eat! (They’re on Hanover Street)
After lunch we headed back to the Orpheum Theatre. I walked up to the ticket booth and asked the woman behind the glass if there happened to be any tickets for that night’s show. She asked me how many I needed. Conveniently, she sold me the the very last 3 tickets! The only downside was that it said there was supposed to be an obstruction, and that one person had to sit alone because the seats weren’t together. We went for dinner and then came back just in time. When we walked inside I felt like I had gone back in time. This theatre is more than 150 years old. I felt like I was in a scene from Phantom of the Opera. When the usher was showing me to my seat I almost fainted. Front. Row. And the obstruction was no obstruction at all! Just a couple of speakers that were a little taller than normal. Plus, no one ended up sitting in the aisle seat, so after a few songs I moved there for an even better view!
I can’t even begin to describe how delightful it was to watch Ray LaMontagne play in such a beautifully sounding theatre. On top of that, there was no opening band so Ray played for a solid 2 hours, plus an encore. Oh and did I mention it was entirely acoustic? I was swooning all night along with the rest of the smitten audience. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen in one of the most gorgeous venues I have ever been in.
The next day we planned on travelling back home early but since the hotel allowed us a later check out, we decided to do a little more sight seeing before we left. My dad got to see Fenway Park, and we were able to visit Harvard. Then, it was time to say goodbye to Boston. In just a few days we got to do so much! It was definitely a great city to visit and I will certainly go back again. In some ways it felt like hadn’t really left home, because on the first night I was watching the Arkells play. Then other times I felt like I was somewhere in Europe because of the old buildings and cobblestone roads. It’s a city with a perfect blend of old and new. I loved it.
Make the trip one day. Tell ‘em Steph sent you.
It’s really nice when bands take time out of their busy schedules to send me these back in the mail. So thank you to all the bands that have participated so far. Today’s feature is KESTRELS. Kestrels will be playing Supercrawl tomorrow here in Hamilton on the Colbourne Stage at 3:45pm. Supercrawl is Hamilton’s annual music and art festival so if you’re nearby, definitely come and check it out.
Alas, there is a little embarrassing mistake on my part (below), but I’m just going to go ahead and blame auto-correct. Because we all do it.
Hello Six Kicks friends! I am very happy to say that I received some delightful mail from the talented Mr. John Van Deusen. Since I am quite smitten with The Lonely Forest, opening the envelope was quite exciting. Interestingly, each time I’ve seen this band play they haven’t been headlining. Most recently (pictured above via iphone camera/instagram) was during the Jagermeister tour of which the main act was Portugal The Man. I traveled from Hamilton, Ontario Canada though, just to see The Lonely Forest for the third time in Buffalo, New York. Although, the very first time was when they opened for Death Cab at the Phoenix in Toronto. Now THAT was a magical night. Nostalgia is getting the better of me so I had better cut to the chase. John was kind enough to answer my Six Kicks questions. Here they are:
If you are yet to be acquainted with the enriching sounds of The Lonely Forest, don’t fret. You can delight your ears here. If you suddenly feel the need to thank these fine gentlemen for their work you can do so by way of a little blue bird. If your admiration turns to mild obsession, moderate stalking has become socially acceptable.
A special thank you to Nani at Vector Management for making this happen.
Yes, The Elwins! I had the chance to talk with this bunch of friends from Keswick, Ontario a little while back when they came to Hamilton for an in-store performance at Dr. Disc and later, a show to close Brews n Bands at the Casbah. They are a very down to earth, happy group of guys who like to involve the audience to the point where one feels impelled to dance like a wiggly-tailed fox. When you see them play, smiling is neither forced, nor optional. Here’s my Six Kicks post featuring The Elwins; I was very happy when this came in the mail for me. If you are heading to SCENE fest next weekend make sure you have time to catch their set. The Elwins will be playing at the Exclaim! stage at 7:25pm. Listen to them on Bandcamp. Follow them on Twitter. Stalk them on Facebook.
Cool, I will. Always love new music.
This month’s Art Crawl was awesome. I got to spend the day hanging out with Crissi (and Mark at Dr. Disc) because she came to Hamilton to perform 4 shows in one day! She toured with a band called Dear Sister who actually blew me away. We had a great time, it was a beautiful day, and Art Crawl was in full swing which made everything even more lovely. Then the next day my sister and I headed off to Windsor to see Michou perform a fundraiser show. They played old songs, and one that I have been waiting for them to play for about two years now. I managed to sneak my sister in (shh!) and even bought her a beer.
On another note I have a few more exciting Six Kicks coming very shortly: Oh No! Yoko, The Elwins, and The Lonely Forest. Stay tuned for those in the coming couple of weeks!
Here’s some photos from that weekend: