11 Questions...With Rah Rah

>> Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Rah Rah are a six-piece indie-rock band hailing from Regina, SK whose debut longplayer Going Steady dropped last year. Since its release, Going Steady has frequented the Canadian airwaves, charted on Exclaim, and even made my personal top ten records of 2008 list. It's pretty good stuff - the twelve songs are catchy, inventive rock-pop at its finest, and remind me a bit of The Arcade Fire but not as anthemic.

The band is rolling through these parts next week, playing the Lo Pub on May 7th, and were cool enough to answer 11 of my at-times silly, but undeniably character-revealing questions.

Plus, I've got a copy of Going Steady to give away. Simply email me (on the right) with the subject line "Rah Rah - Going Steady Giveaway" and be sure to include your name. Contest closes Sunday @ 1 p.m.; the winner will be drawn and emailed shortly thereafter. One entry per person please!

Thanks to Marshall, Erin, and Leif for doing this.

1. Where are you right now?

Marshall: I'm at home "studying" for my English Romantic Poetry final and listening to Plants and Animals.
Erin: In my living room, hanging out with my dog.
Leif: In Regina.

2. Who is the best Regina-based band (other than your own, of course)?

Marshall: Sylvie's new album is really really good and they put on an amazing live show. Polymaths, Library Voices and The Cathartic Lupins are all great too. Regina has a lot of great music happening in general - it's fun to be a part of it all.
Erin: The Cathartic Lupins!
Leif: Molten Lava: a two piece band that play their instruments fast and furious.

3. What is the best venue to play in Regina?

Marshall: The Exchange. It has a very intimate and warm feel and you don't have to sing over the expletive filled shoutings of random drunkards...
Erin: I like the Exchange because it feels like home and Ohanlon's because of the energy!
Leif: The Exchange because everyone including your mom can come.

4. What are your top three, all-time favourite records?

Marshall: By three you mean five right? Let's say:
Wilco - Yankee Hotel Foxtrot
Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline
Neil Young - On the Beach
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People
The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds
Aretha Franklin - Greatest Hits
Radiohead - Kid A
Fleet Foxes - self titled
Fugazi - End Hits
Broken Social Scene - You Forgot it in People
M. Ward - Transfiguration

5. Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert?

Marshall: Stewart.
Erin: Stephen Colbert!!!
Leif: Jon Stewart. Because he isn't a character.

6. Would you rather have Invisibility or Flight?

Marshall: Flight - I don't have much use for invisibility...
Erin: I'd have to go with flight. When you think about it, flight it the best of both worlds because if you needed to, you can hide in the sky!!! Plus I really dig birds.
Leif: Flight. Invisibility would just be depressing, creepy, and lead you to theft and dishonesty.

7. What is one song you love, but dismiss as “a guilty pleasure”?

Marshall: "Sweet Caroline" - Neil Diamond.
Erin: "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai..... so embarrassed....
Leif: “By Your Side” by Sade.

8. What was the last great concert you saw?

Marshall: Constantines and Weakerthans last night at the Riddell Center was pretty deadly but Neil Young in October was truly great.
Erin: The Great Lake Swimmers! That was pretty much the best night of my entire life. In March. Of this year.
Leif: At the Drive in..... in Barcelona. Everyone was really happy.

9. Which summer Hollywood blockbuster are you looking forward to the most?

Marshall: Not that Wolverine one. The new Woody Allen looks pretty good though I doubt it counts as 'blockbuster'.
Erin: I'd have to go with Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, though I don't know exactly when it's going to be released, I just heard it was coming soon!!!!
Leif: Where the Wild Things Are.......

10. What book(s) are you currently reading?

Marshall: The Norton Anthology of British Romantic Poetry.
Erin: I am currently reading Blindness by Jose Saramago, Snuff by Chuck Palahniuk and I really want to start reading Cormac McCarthy's The Road!!!!
Leif: Orientalism by Edward Said.

11. And finally…who’s your favourite New Kid on the Block (Donnie, Danny, Joey, Jordan, or Jonathan)?

Marshall: They were before my time, but I'll take the one that was Mark Wahlberg's cousin???
Erin: I'd have to go with Donnie. Isn't he the bad boy? I'm a sucker for bad boys..
Leif: What happened to Timmy? I choose Timmy.

Infinite Playlist: Mum - Yesterday Was Dramatic - Today Was Ok


Peter Bjorn And John - Live At The Phoenix

>> Sunday, 26 April 2009

Back in Peg City after spending four wonderful days in Toronto. Last night, I hit Peter Bjorn and John's sold out gig at the Phoenix, and it was six kinds of awesome. The comma-less Swedes played a relatively short show (about an hour and ten minutes) that was loaded with tunes from 2006's smash hit of a pop record Writer's Block (including the ubiquitous 'Young Folks'), a couple oldies, and a healthy handful off the just-released Living Things. Lead vocalist Peter sure has a commanding stage presence (middle fellow in the top pic) and really knows how to entertain a crowd. I was transfixed the whole time. The trio even wrapped up their encore with an extended version of my personal fav "Up Against The Wall" which morphed into a partial cover of Joy Division's classic "Transmission" before reverting back to "Wall". Fantastic end to one of the best sets I've seen in awhile.

New York's Chairlift opened for PB&J. Now you're probably familiar with their omnipresent hit "Bruises" prominently featured on an ipod nano commercial. It's irresistible and a lot of fun and I quite like the boy-girl dynamic. However, the rest of their repertoire is very unlike "Bruises" and sorta has this 80s goth-synth aesthetic to it. I noted to my friend how "Bruises" is about as different from their main sonic inclinations as "Song Two" is from Blur's. In the end, their short set just didn't work for me.

Also, on Thursday night I caught Vancouver's Ladyhawk at the Horseshoe. The place was jam packed and I couldn't snap any photos that weren't just backs-of-heads. Ladyhawk put on a solid show, though, brought to life by their brand of good ol' sweaty rock 'n roll.


Sarah Slean is taking part in the West End Cultural Centre's grand re-opening week party by playing a show there on May 26th. Like Hawksley Workman, it's a very rare opportunity to see a popular artist in such an intimate setting.

Rapper-actor LL Cool J is playing The Centennial Concert Hall on June 4th. I've pretty much been singing this continuously since I read the news.

And stylin', profilin'.

Infinite Playlist: Peter Bjorn and John - Writer's Block


Flight Of The Conchords - Live At Massey Hall

>> Thursday, 23 April 2009

Greetings from glorious Toronto!

Earlier I moseyed on down to Massey Hall to catch New Zealand prodigial comedic sons The Flight of the Conchords' sold out performance.

And if you're a fan of their schtick/show, you would not have been disappointed.

The entire night had an impossibly high laughs-per-minute ratio and my abs actually hurt a little by the end. Eugene Mirman, who has a recurring role as the lads' landlord in the series, kicked off the evening with some surprisingly hilarious, anecdote-driven standup before introducting the stars of the night. Now while Bret and Jemaine leaned heavily on second-season songs, these new tunes sure translated well to a live setting, and I laughed gleefully throughout ('Carol Brown', Too Many Dicks On The Dance Floor', 'Bowie' were highlights). Plus, the scripted (perhaps) banter between the pair, and the imprompu interaction with the crowd was truly gut-spliting.

Oh, and the cellist in the top photo comprises "The whole of the New Zealand symphony orchestra."

Boy did I laugh at that.


You Just Stay Home Playing Synthesizers

>> Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The current reincarnation of British pop-rock band Fleetwood Mac (above) is playing The MTS Centre on June 6th. Reportedly, it's a "hits only" show.

Playful punk-rockers Green Day will be here on July 9th with the venue TBA (three guesses where).

Former Primus leader / South Park theme song penner Les Claypool is at the Burton Cummings Theatre on June 30th.

Rah Rah, a Regina-based indie band who've been generated a lot of solid buzz lately, play the Lo Pub on May 7th.

Speaking of buzz-creators...folk-pop singer-songwriter Gentleman Reg is opening for The Stills at the Pyramid on May 16th.

Oh, and I'm heading to Toronto in the morning to see Flight of the Conchords tomorrow night, Ladyhawk (Thurs), and Peter Bjorn and John (Sat). I'll try to snap some photos and post them here. Stay tuned.

I'm pretty stoked!

Infinite Playlist: Vancouver/St. Louis Game Four


The Weakerthans - Live at the Burt

>> Sunday, 19 April 2009

Just got in from The Weakerthans' gig at the Burt.

I'm pretty tired, so let me just say this: it was my first time seeing John K. & The Boys live, and I probably shouldn't have waited so long. Damn good time.

Hope you were there.

Infinite Playlist: The Decemberists - The Hazards of Love


Went To A Cobbler To Fix A Hole In My Shoe

>> Saturday, 18 April 2009

So much going on in the Peg these days, I can barely keep up (that and the opening-round frenzy of the NHL playoffs is keeping me interminably distracted).

The lineup for the loosely-defined Jazz Fest was dropped recently, and there are some terrifically awesome performers stopping by our humble hamlet.


Indie-rockers The Sea and Cake (above) play the Pyramid on June 30th with local favs The Liptonians.

Celebrate the birth of this fine nation with Land of Talk at the Pyramid on July 1st. I'll likely be there (and at Sea and Cake).

Swedish indie-folk sensation Jose Gonzalez returns to Winnipeg, playing the West End on June 27th.

Indie-electronic duo BEAST play a FREE gig at Old Market Square on July 4th AND on July 5th.

Alice Russell is at the Pyramid on June 27th w/ Mama Cutsworth and Miss Brown.

Blues legend Buddy Guy stops by The Pantages on June 27th w/ Big Dave McLean.

The rest of the illustrious, busy schedule can be found here.

Metric are playing a free acoustic show at the Pyramid in two days and according to the Pyramid's site, the only way to get in is to win tix from Curve (or presumably have connections at the Pyramid or Curve? I'm just saying...).

The Stills' May 16th concert at the Garrick is now at the Pyramid.

Mother Mother, a Vancouver-based pop-rock band whose popularity is ever-increasing, are at the Pyramid on May 22nd.

Totally Ripped and Sex Negatives will be at the Albert on June 3rd.

Infinite Playlist: Peter Bjorn and John - Living Thing


In The Fake Plastic Earth

>> Thursday, 16 April 2009

*blows trumpet*


The West End Cultural Centre is, at last, reopening its doors (next month). And the good folks at the freshly renovated WECC have booked a very impressive new-digs-christening show for the May 25th opening night: Hawksley Workman is performing while local staple Greg MacPherson starts the evening off. Now since Workman normally plays much larger venues, tickets are a pricey 35 bones, but it's a very rare opportunity to see him in such an intimate setting.

And Greg is consistently awesome live (and I'm not just saying that because he was cool enough to take part in my patent-pending 11 questions segment).


Subcity Dwellers play the WECC on May 28th.

Danny Michel the next night with erstwhile Anthem Red leader Jo Snyder opening.

Connie Kaldor performs the night after that.

Julie Doiron will be at the Albert on June 5th.

Rod Stewart returns to town on August 17th at the MTS Centre.

Rock legends AC/DC also return to Winnipeg on August 22nd at CanadInns Stadium.

The Lo Pub is hosting the Rolling Tundra Revue After Party (the whole Weakerthans/Constantines show dealie) on Saturday with Haunter rocking the place round midnight. Anyone with a ticket stub gets in for free.

Sunday at the Lo sees solo performances galore: three members of the Constantines will play separately plus Greg Smith from the Weakerthans will perform a set Weakerthans-less. Yes, that's four solo sets in total.

And now, back to hockey.

Infinite Playlist: Calgary/Chicago on TSN (Radiohead's The Bends playing quietly in the background)


Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains - Live At The Pyramid

>> Saturday, 11 April 2009

Hit the pyramid last night for Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains. The ex co-leader of Death From Above 1979 and his band's set was simply awesome despite the conspicuous absence of people (I’d say there were around seventy bodies).

Now a couple weeks back I was surprised/perplexed that the show was all ages since gigs at the Pyramid never are.

Then last night it hit me.

Good Friday = No liquor sales = Might as well host an all ages show.

Cursing my inability to piece this together and bring a flask, I sat stone cold sober, sipped a watery coke, and watched local act The Playing Cards and Toronto’s Flash Lightnin. I was lukewarm to both openers, although admittedly Flash Lightnin were pretty talented; it’s just their sound (sorta 70s blues-tinged rock) is one that has never really jived with my ears.

Back to Grainger though. Unfazed by the low population at the Pyramid, Grainger was brimming with energy and ripped through his entire debut record of anthemic power-pop (plus one more, according to a friend of mine) and by the end of his set was sweating so profusely that he immediately changed his shirt after finishing.

At one point he explained why he was so sweaty, uttering something like: “This is the soberest I’ve ever been while playing a show. I’m sweating away four weeks of booze.”

Then one of his band mates pretended to lick Grainger’s glistening, salty arm.

I bet he wish he'd brought a flask.

Infinite Playlist: Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains - S/T


A Newfound Respect

>> Wednesday, 8 April 2009

I suspect by now you've probably heard all about Jian Ghomeshi's interview with the highly volatile Billy Bob Thornton this morning on Q, but if not, here's the video clip. Heads up though: it's longerish (14 mins or so) and is awkward raised to the power of infinity.

Total props to Jian for standing his ground and not being all apologetic to the consummate jerk that is Billy Bob.


The Pumps are at the Pyramid on May 29th.

Jeremy Dawson of Shiny Toy Guns will be DJing there on June 5th.

SNFU rock the Albert on June 13th.

The Von Bodies will be there on June 2nd.

Infinite Playlist: El Guincho - Alegranza!


Sleeping In

>> Monday, 6 April 2009

The lineup for the third annual Nuna (now) festival was recently dropped. If you’re unfamiliar with Nuna, it’s a nifty little soiree that explores the connection between contemporary Icelandic and Canadian art and culture, which means importing some musicians directly from the motherland.

Notable music happenings include:

The irreverent, trailblazing Megas (above photo), often dubbed “The Icelandic Bob Dylan”, is playing the Pyramid on April 30th with country-rockers Baggalutur (also from Iceland) and resident bluegrass spinners The D Rangers.

According to this report, Megas puts on an ‘ecstatically brilliant’ show and, unlike his North American equivalent, doesn’t have a voice that’s almost completely shot. Plus it’s only a fin.

Law Low, a lauded singer-songwriter also from the land of ice, is performing at the Lo Pub on May 8th with the Keri Latimer band (the leader of local favs Nathan). Again, tickets are the almost-free $5.

I should be hitting both shows. Hopefully you can make it out too and support these artists. The price is certainly right.

Infinite Playlist: The Arcade Fire - Funeral


What Condition My Condition Was In

>> Thursday, 2 April 2009

Show news...

California punk-popsters The Offspring play the MTS Centre on June 17th (they still make music?).

Ten Second Epic stop by the Park Theatre on May 1st with New Cities and Februarys.

Static Thought are at the Pyramid on May 9th w/ Rebel Spell and The Blackout Brigade.

Infinite Playlist: Kings of Convenience - Riot on an Empty Street


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