A Super Canadian Weekend

by PenRei

Warning: It’s about to get super Canadian in this post, because this is all about the Canadian weekend I had with good company, good food, good music, and nature (which is good in every aspect).

It started off Saturday morning with Nomes, Douggy Fresh and I heading over to the Evergreen Brickworks, as mentioned in Nomes’ previous post. It is such an eco-friendly park that there is not only a garbage and recycling bin, but also a compost bin. What a brilliant idea! I believe that the option of all three separate bins should be everywhere (and I mean across the world). I’ll admit that we Canadians can seem a little self-righteous when it comes to protecting the environment, but I am partly proud of it because our environment is an incredibly important part of everyone’s lives (despite how some may disagree).

We got there a little late to take in all of the festivities, but we were able to partake in a quick look at the various Farmer’s Market stalls (to be repeated in the near future). One stall that especially interested us was a honey stand. A very nice and cheerful young woman ran it. She sold organic honey, which is FAR superior to regular store-bought honey. I can’t remember when it happened, but one day I tried organic honey and I couldn’t go back. To be clear,  I’m not a hardcore organic grocer, but when you can taste the difference, you get my vote. She had wildflower, lavender, cranberry, and cinnamon honey. Of course, I wanted to buy ALL OF THEM, but my wallet wasn’t burning a hole through my bag, so I opted for just one wildflower honey jar. The winning side, IT CAME IN A HONEY BEAR JAR!!! Douggy Fresh pointed out that if you bought various types of honey in honey bear jars, you could make yourself a drinking glass set. She often comes up with brilliant ideas like this out of nowhere. Here is a shot of Nomes and Douggy Fresh with our purchased honey (Nomes got the cinnamon one).

Afterwards, we heard the sweet call of music from The Honeyrunners. As you may know from my previous post, I’m a fan; a fan who is impatiently waiting for them to release their EP (dated to come out in October, in case you’re wondering). We were hoping to hear their original music, but they played a cover set that was still impressive. We also discovered that they have a new drummer with beats as killer as his awesome afro. Since I’ve already gone on and on about them before, I will simply leave you with a few photos I took of their gig and you can imagine the fun time we had.

Starving Artist Jar

Also, here is a photo of them with my jar of honey. After all, I bought a jar of honey than saw The Honeyrunners. How could I not?

The Honeyrunners with my jar of honey

Since it was Douggy Fresh’s first time at the Evergreen Brickworks (and Nomes and I are nature junkies) we had to take a walk around the nature park behind the buildings. It was such a beautiful day. Words can not describe the amazing weather we had, so instead I will leave you with this picture.

On Sunday, it was Canada Day… which to anyone from Ottawa, is a BIG DEAL!!! Even when other people in your city aren’t huge into partying it up, Ottawa people will make their own party.

The three of us started off with a Pride brunch at Johnny Be Good’s apartment. He has a balcony that overlooks Yonge street, hence, the perfect place to both watch the parade and have access to running water, thus keeping at bay dehydration from heat.

Pride Flowers

I’ll start off by saying there was A LOT of bacon. There was so much bacon, that I should show you this photo I took, because you wouldn’t believe me otherwise. There are some sausages in there, but it was about 83% bacon.

Bacon Mountain

Mountain of bacon

It seemed perfect to start Canada Day with a Pride brunch. After all, Canada is awesome with its legal rights, gay marriage and openness to allow same sex couples live full and happy lives out in the open, without shame. I wish I could say that this was everywhere in Canada, but sadly, there are still some small pockets that are evolving in their mentalities. We had an awesome time, eating brunch, meeting new people while catching up with good friends, and dancing to music for 3 hours.

Afterwards, we had to leave the party to continue our Canada Day festivities. Nomes went off to celebrate a friend’s birthday party, so we said our temporary goodbyes.

In the evening, Douggy Fresh and I headed down to the Harbourfront centre. The sunset was GORGEOUS. We had to take a moment to just absorb the pinks, blues, and purples in the sky, the gentle cooling breeze, and the sound of moving water. If you live in Toronto and haven’t experienced the sunset at Harbourfront, I suggest you put it on your list of things to do during your next weekend.

We were primarily there for a free live concert of The Hidden Cameras. They are a 9 piece independent Canadian band that plays an interesting and playful mix of folk, pop, progressive, and rock. I didn’t take pictures of this event since the lighting wasn’t ideal for the type of lens I have on my camera, but I believe that this music video will give you a sufficient idea of how good they are. If you are a fan of Broken Social Scene and other Arts & Crafts bands, I know that you will love The Hidden Cameras. For those of you who are impatient. The song starts around 1:30.

I guess that’s it. HAPPY BELATED CANADA DAY!!!!

Up next, the 4th of July in Washington DC. It’s gonna be CRAZY!

The Honeyrunners and TimeGiant

by PenRei

Thursday night, Nomes and I had the pleasure to rock out to two great independent bands at Toronto’s Rivoli venue. Good times were definitely had; so good in fact that we ended up staying until 1:15am. It was quite the feat considering that I had to be at work for 8:30am and Nomes had a dance class at 8am. But I admit, IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT!!!!

I would like to start by explaining that this rock ‘n roll show was of, what I find in Toronto, to be a rare kind. Most independent music shows I’ve been to consist of the type of music where you sit or stand and just listen. Of course, there are a few exceptions (like The Balconies, which you should absolutely check out if you haven’t already), but there are few.

I will start with The Honeyrunners. This four piece rock band won my heart over the evening of Friday May 4th at the Hard Rock Cafe. First of all, the lead singer and keyboardist, Dan, came on stage barefoot. I immediately knew that this would be a good show. As soon as the first guitar riff happened, I knew what I was in for. The Honeyrunners are influenced by both American and British rock from the 70’s: an era of amazing music. Throughout their set, I could hear influences from great bands such as Boston, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Lynyrd Skynyrd… but successfully never sounding exactly like these previous big name bands. In short, The Honeyrunners know where their music is coming from while managing to build their own distinct sound. There wasn’t a single song that I found weak or didn’t enjoy, but they had a song based around the Faustian myth of Robert Johnson (unfortunately, I can’t recall the title, but it has the word “devil”) that was pure GOLD. I highly suggest checking them out when you have the chance. Here is a list of some of their upcoming shows in Toronto from the band’s website:

  • May 26th at the El Mocambo with Steve Lewin
  • June 23rd at Cherry Cola’s @ 9pm
  • June 30th at the Evergreen Brickworks from 10am to 1pm for FREE

On a more personal level, Nomes and I noticed that there is a condition spreading across spectators in Toronto. It’s called “not-dancing-because-I’m-a-judgmental-hipster-who-is-too-cool-to-be-judged-by-others”. For some odd reason, even when there is a great concert with danceable rock music, Torontonians just don’t dance anymore. When did dancing at a rock concert become uncool? At the beginning of the show, Nomes and I noticed that we were the only ones who were moving out booty. We had one of our telepathic short conversations wondering if we ended up looking like drunk idiots, or real fans of the music. We thus decided “this music is awesome and it makes me want to dance, so I’m going to dance and all you judgers be darned”. In case you haven’t noticed yet, Nomes and I aren’t afraid to make complete fools of ourselves. Luckily, we got to speak to Dan, the lead singer, at the very end of the night. He said that half of the music they wrote was so that people could dance to it and he was glad to know that there were at least two people that night rocking out. So the next time you go out to a concert and you feel a strange sensation in you to move it, listen and DO IT. Just keep it on a non-annoying-non-harassing level to the fellow spectators around you.

Here’s a YouTube clip with two of The Honeyrunners songs. Hope you enjoy!

Official website: www.honeyrunners.com
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/honeyrunners
Blog: honeyrunners.tumblr.com/

Now, onto TIMEGIANT! That’s right, they rocked so hard that I chose to write their name in all caps (actual spelling is TimeGiant). Their 50 minute set felt like an adrenaline-laced-gasoline-on-fire shot straight into my brain resulting in awesome overdrive! These musicians are rockers in the truest sense; I like to describe them as the type of guys who came out of the womb holding guitars and drumsticks.

Their heavy progressive rock was reminiscent of the 70’s rock music and Nomes I and found it impossible to stand still and just watch (although others further back looked like statues… how could you when THAT is on stage right in front of your face?!). Not only was the music good, but their sound was tight, polished, and well rehearsed. As I told Tyrone, the singer, guitarist, and saxophone player (that’s right, you read it clearly, saxophone in heavy rock = amazing!), it is so refreshing to hear in a day and age full of acoustic indie music that there are still bands that can go onstage, rock out, and really deliver a show. Long hair and mustaches have never been cooler!

Here’s a list of some of their upcoming concerts:

  • May 12th in Hamilton Ontario at The Underground @ 8pm
  • July 5th in Owen Sound Ontario at The Harb @8pm
  • July 6th in Toronto Ontario at The Horseshoe Tavern @8pm

Check out this video from their performance at the Rivoli from Thursday evening. (Review from T Mak World and original videos can be found here.)

Also, check out this acoustic version of their song Temple In the Sky.

Official website: www.timegiantband.com/
FaceBook: www.facebook.com/timegiantband
MySpace: myspace.com/timegiantband

Now go forth legion of music lovers and ROCK ON!