Toronto’s Trove open’s for metal legends, Anvil!

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Trove

Trove and Anvil at Toronto’s Rockpile West, October 18, 2013

Trove is a Toronto based rock n’ roll band formed through friends that worked at HMV. Matt “Chewy” Chaitram, and Matt Bellissimo were practicing lead singer Aryn Powell’s original material when bass player and only female member, Alexa Pavao got word of the collaboration. Once a guitar player and drummer, Alexa wanted in on the action. She bought a Yamaha RBX, and explained her mission this way: “it was a relatively shitty instrument; I started playing, sounded pretty bad, but kept practicing.” Alexa has played in other bands and projects, but mentioned she always wanted to play with musicians who were established and “capable”.

Trove is beyond capable. Lead singer and guitar player Aryn reminds me of a young Jeff Martin from Canada’s own, The Tea Party. Aryn’s voice is not the deep, channeling darkness that is Mr. Martin’s, but comparably reflective and now. With intuitive and introspective lyrics, and spontaneous utters of heavy screams, there is something being channeled here. It was felt within the crowd who attempted moshing for a short time, getting into the primal urge of the heaviness that is metal.

Anvil truly delivered and Lips was, as I thought, larger than life. I met him prior to the show and he was all smiles, somewhat shy, and truly happy to be there. He is one of those people who radiate a feeling of being blessed. The energy was contagious; I was beaming too, and giggling, as only the best metal can bring out in me! Hearing “6…6…6” being sung repetitively made me laugh. Like a heavy metal cartoon, Lips exudes joy. He made me think of Slayer’s Tom Araya, who screams of Satan, while grinning ear to ear.

Anvil is the corner stone of the Canadian heavy metal scene. The big bands of today that rose from metal’s past all recognize Anvil’s contributions. Finally they are getting the recognition they deserve. A fan from Tokyo proved his devotion too. He found out Anvil was not playing the “Loud Park” festival, as mentioned in the Anvil documentary, and traveled to Toronto to see them play. That is dedication. Long live metal and the Canadian music scene!

Dee, Lips, and Joel

Dee, Lips, and Joel

Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution, Review

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Bi Notes book cover

The B in LGBT is seldom theorized in the context of oppression and invisibility whether through Lesbian and Gay circles or in relation to heteronormative culture. Bisexuality is named by those that are not bisexual, but barely voiced, written, or expressed by bisexuals themselves, until now.

Bisexuality is promiscuous, deceptive, and a phase. What happens when an activist, author, and genderqueer, bisexual feminist deconstructs the myths and stereotypes, reversing them from sites of shame and secrecy into revolutionary freedom?

Shiri Eisner’s “Bi Notes for a Bisexual Revolution” is a must read for sexuality and gender studies, but also compelling and ground breaking for anyone who knows minimal on the subject. The text is reader friendly with side notes breaking down words commonly used in theory. Eisner also gives trigger warnings when discussing anything that could be difficult or problematic for readers.

This book is for those that do not fit the binary of gay or straight with desire for only “male” or “female”. It is for those of us that see love, sexuality, desire, gender, and sex as fluid, ever changing, ever evolving, and always questioning. Shiri Eisner takes the myths and stereotypes of bisexuality and turns them into sites of revolution and empowerment. Add this to your gender and sexuality reads. It is well worth it.

Reading this book proved very valuable for me. I had a difficult time coming out and was afraid to identify as bisexual due to the stigma I was receiving. Eventually, with lots of support from loved ones, inner self work and love, and this book, I see my identity as revolutionary and positive. I, too, take the stereotypes and reverse them as empowering. My blog “Coming Out Queer” addresses some of my own personal feelings regarding my identity and so I will add it here. I am grateful Shiri has dug so deep into biphobia and monosexism (terms I never knew existed). Having vocabulary to explain experiences brings much more awareness and knowledge.

Coming Out Queer

Summer Reading: Book Review of Ellen Harger’s, “Strong Enough”

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Ellen Harger’s novel, “Strong Enough” unravels the lives of women with music and feminism. It is a story of new beginnings, making choices, and the people we love and loathe along the way.

Female characters drive this fun, unique story. Right from the meet up of protagonist Whitney and fellow musician Gabe, it is impossible to not root for this heroine fire cracker. Along the way, Whitney shares past heartbreaks and successes that squash normalized, small town traditions. Past secrets reveal her courage and non-conformity, yet plot twists still surprise. Take character Sadie for instance, she is stubborn and impossibly likeable, and her path towards Whitney seems inevitable, though the growth of their meeting, unexpected.

Music throughout, with Whitney as a DJ, connects a main theme of starting over with harmony and structure. Whitney takes some of her over-the top analysis of life and puts it to creative use with coinciding musical content. Expect lots of music references and trips down memory lane. A mere mention of Samantha Fox made me jot down notes and get excited.

I wondered how feminism would be portrayed in this novel when reading the summary. Would it be watered down feminism or a backlash against it? At least one commonality I have with this novel is music, the other my background in women and gender studies. As the story unfolds I understood the way Harger uses both in the novel. Instead of theory, the lives of the characters play out the complexities of independence and being strong. Nothing proves this more than the pregnancy of Whitney and the pro-life agenda.

I highly recommend this book. It has been years since I have read a ‘chick lit’ novel. Much like Sophie Kinsella’s Shopoholic series, the mood is welcoming and anticipatory. Add “Strong Enough” to your summer favorites! I did.

For more information on Ellen Harger and “Strong Enough” check out her blog:

Ellen Harger Blogspot

Book Review: What Are You Doing Here? A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal

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What Are You Doing Here

Laina Dawes is a writer, photographer, and heavy metal fan that lives in Toronto, Ontario. Dawes brings a critical lens to the punk, metal, and hardcore scenes with her book: “What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal”.

Heavy Metal is known for its alliance among members and fans, providing a place for the disenfranchised. What happens when you are a black woman in a white male dominated scene? Dawes unravels the racism and sexism barely discussed in an underground subculture. What happens when the scene is dug deeper, unearthing the layers of heavy, dark, somber, speed? What if you are a minority amongst the outsiders?

Laina Dawes grew up a black woman in a white family and neighborhood. Adopted in a rural setting, steeped in racial and gender inequality, heavy music helped Laina release pain experienced from being silenced and alienated. As a teenager she learned that black women should not show anger. In a society that normalizes women to be passive and agreeable, black women’s anger brings to the forefront a past of exclusion and stereotyping meant to limit social and economic equality.

During high school, Laina’s white male peers didn’t think twice about her love of metal. It was her black friends and extended family that disapproved of her obsession with heavy music. It was assumed that she denied her blackness by not listening to a type of music that should represent her culture. Expectations of how Laina should behave, look, and act were hard to live up to. The heavy metal music scene best represented her emotions and experiences, but not without its setbacks.

Laina spoke with fellow black women involved in the heavy music scene for the book. They are leaders of bands, players, fans, and journalists. Some have been verbally and even physically assaulted at shows. Though metal is known for the mosh pit, and a communal type of aggression, Laina expresses the injustice of race-based verbal and physical assaults at shows. Typically, white female fans have not experienced such violence. In fact, they note an almost patronizing chivalry at shows, even ones assumed to be dangerous like death metal.

Laina Dawes and her peers still attend shows, buy the merchandise, and work in the scene. If anything, metal is known for its members never backing down from a fight. With all its pitfalls, metal is still the genre that allows the most freedom for expression, emotions that women, especially black women, are expected to hide. Heavy metal is dysfunctional and violent, welcoming and unifying, and filled with contradictions. “What Are You Doing Here: A Black Woman’s Life and Liberation in Heavy Metal” is a powerful, eye opening musical journey that has more adversity and accomplishments on its horizon.

Coming Out Queer

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It's Just a Phase

I originally posted a Facebook status about coming out as a queer woman. I did this about a month ago, before Valentines Day. I felt this important to do because I was back with my best friend, who is a man. Being back with him, certain people wanted to talk to me again, after disappearing from my life when I came out queer.

The last year and a half of my life was spent being in a monogamous relationship with a woman. I loved her very much. Coming out with her, as my partner, was a big step for me.

More difficult was the initial coming out transition. This was when I needed people to talk to. I had my first crush on a woman, and also had my heart broken.

We cannot expect people to be supportive when they do not understand. I know this. But it does not help how hard a time it was for me initially.

Some people in the queer community were also judgemental, wanting me to explain what exactly I was: “gay, straight, or bisexual”. I found these labels limiting, but more so, learned the ways bisexuality is misunderstood and condoned by many.

The attraction to both genders is not promiscuous to me. In fact, I find a label that names desire for more than one gender to be discriminatory and limiting. There are more than two dichotomous genders. There are many ways to express an identity.

I am posting below my original status. I am blogging this as a thank you to all of the people that responded kindly, showing me support. The response was over whelming and reaffirmed my faith in human kind.

To those that have not yet come out, you are not alone.

When I came out as a queer woman certain people were no longer interested in me as a person. As if my “choices” were wrong and unspeakable; in certain cases not meant to be seen or talked about. A few people disappeared from my life. Now that I am back with my best friend, who happens to be a man, there’s a sudden interest in me and my life again. Me being with the love of my life, who has been my support and light through it all, does not erase my queerness. What is queerness? To me it is not identifying as gay or straight. It is a fluidity of self. Throughout my life I have tried to be the best advocate of equality I can possibly be. I am not the perfect feminist; I am imperfectly human, as we all are. I have a pre-Valentines wish to those who choose to not care about people they consider abnormal or unspeakable: if you’re not into equality, I’m just not that into you. And if you chose to label me, with an identity that comforts you, that didn’t work for me then and it doesn’t interest me now. And to everyone who has supported me, loved me, talked me through things, and accepted me through it all: I love you!! Thank you.

Pallor Mortis

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Pallor Mortis is a death metal band from Montreal, Quebec. They played the Katacombs Friday, November 9 with opener Impalement and headliner Paroxysm.

All photos taken by photographer and videographer, Clifton Nicholas.

vince last one lolPallor Mortis, Latin for “Paleness of Death”, are a death metal band from Montreal. They are comprised of Vince O’Leary on Vocals, Jessica Simard on bass, Peter Lountzis on guitar, Anthony Bourque also on guitar, and Luc Lauriault on drums.

Heavy metal is a misunderstood genre, death metal, even more so. Pallor Mortis deconstructs some of the stereotypes and myths of this genre with lyrics that reflect political situations and darkness that is a part of our society. Instead of promoting violence, they shed light on issues, while keeping that foreboding music throughout songs and stage shows.

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The band is built around the friendship of guitarist Peter Lountzis and lead vocalist Vince O’Leary. When bands are founded on friendship, you feel that energy in the audience. They began their music together in high school, growing and collaborating to find the band they have now. Having already opened for bands like Marduk, Lock Up, and Goatwhore, it should be interesting to see where this band goes next!

Pallor Mortis is perfect horror, a picturesque back drop for chilling film, where sound meets visual in nightmarish gore.

Lead singer Vince O’Leary is the evil look alike twin of story told Jesus, with thin sculpted body and long curly hair. His black high boots were worn on top leather pants that hung low on waist. His sinister smile creeped through screams.

Screams were few, high pitched, and eerie. Orders for pit thrashing were given with the same guttural voice: “I wanna see a fucking pit! On my signal! … Give me the fucking pit!”

Music ended for a split second with complete silence. I realized in this moment, how loud the band is, and how obediently they had the crowd in rapture.

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Vince let us know it was their last show.  Unawareness and surprise filled the air, “until we get back in the studio to record our next album!!”

The crowd thrived for that, cheering in response.

Everyone was thanked for coming out, the audience, the band that opened, and the band about to go on.

The song of the evening that left the greatest impression was “Feces of Fear” followed by  “Dominus Et Deus”.

The crowd raised their fists in the air, a farewell gesture of unity among death metal.

Peter played a gorgeous guitar solo making me anticipate more.

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The crowd was brought back to the moment. We were again reminded it was the last song of the night. The audience yelled for one more song. They would have their request, granted, they “fucking scream!!!”

A sinister laugh chilled the microphone.  The song got heavy, the band broke out into head bangs, and the speed intensified. The set ended this way; glorious and grotesque. I am pleasantly pleased and death metal changed. Fun was had by all.

Chuckie the Cat

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My partner and I just moved to Montreal from Toronto. It is our first time living together and the move was big. We both lived in Toronto for over 10 years.  Stuff was accumulated. I own lots of books and shoes. Mel owns lots of albums and skull memorabilia.

The most interesting part of our move is the joining of our sons. My dog Coffee, aka “the Frog”, a Boston terrier, and Mel’s cat Chuckie, aka “the owl, duck”.

I am considered Mommy 1 to Coffee and Mel is Mommy 2. With Chuckie, Mel is Mommy 1 and I am Mommy 2. We both play significant roles in the lives of our furry friends.

This is a story about Chuckie the Cat.

I awoke abruptly from noises one night not sure where they came from. Since Coffee and Chuckie are sleeping in the living room together now, I assumed it was my misbehaving Boston terrier making the racket.

I walked down the long dimly lit hallway worried my dog got into no good. He has a habit of breaking into the fridge and helping himself to pasta, cheese, and ham. At my place in Toronto I had to install baby gates because he had gotten so good at helping himself to his favorite foods. He hasn’t tried this at our new place but there was always a chance he would still.

I arrived at the living room realizing it was our upstairs neighbors making the noise and turned my head to see Coffee on his bed with red blanket wrapped around him. He was sleeping and quiet, unaware of my presence.

Now was as good a time as any to go to the washroom.

I am among the opened boxes scattered in the newly moved into space. Chuckie, the cat, comes in to greet me, quacking softly. I pet his body that is thinning from kidney disease looking into his big green eyes. It feels like the first time we’ve looked at each other like this. My strokes are gentle, barely there, but enough to please him.

He looks toward the tub; I ask him, “Would you like some water?”

“Quack”

“Okay, Mommy 2 will turn it on for you.”

He jumps into the tub. I turn the water on to a drip. He gets in; putting the top of his head under the tap, paw below to catch the flow. Chuckie licks his paw drinking the water, happy to be practicing his routine in the new place.

He comes closer to me, big pools of green filled with happiness and love. I realize again the simplicity in the best moments of life. I see it clearly in my partner’s aging, thankful pet.

His meows are quacks, one of the traits that make him unique. He meows again. I grab a Kleenex and softly wipe his forehead. Mel told me he loves this. I consider it part of his grooming and am glad to oblige.

I am sitting at the base of the tub looking at him as he stares up at me. I wash my hands and he saunters into the spare bedroom that has become his.

I recognize this moment as our first bond together and go back to the rooms that have become the bedroom for humans. I want to tell my partner but decide to let her sleep instead.

The construction workers are setting up outside, it is already 6:00am. I get into bed beside her and soon enough grab my phone to sketch out my morning with Chuckie the cat, aka “the owl”, aka “the duck”.

Back to sleep. I say a soft prayer. May Coffee become Chuckie’s new comfort, a protector like he has been with me on our daily walks.

Heavy Metal Connects Serbia to a Dark History

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originally published in Ryerson Free Press

There is a city in Serbia where heavy metal is loved by youth. They are a younger generation of fans that keep metal alive. Most of them are in high school and they attend local shows and buy the albums of their favourite bands. One of Kragujevac’s metal ambassadors is Forever Storm. Their music tells stories of past wars and battles.

Their first album’s title, Soul Revolution, sums up the over-arching theme. Forever Storm asks for a revolution of the soul first, to solve the problems of the world. Lyrics from the song “Storm” describe the feel of the album in one sentence: “we’re here to belong, not to destroy”. The mood and content of this album speaks of forgotten history;  a time when children, like the ones who love Forever Storm, were taken out of their classroom, to be killed, in an atrocious act of war.

During World War 2 the Nazis killed innocent children attending local schools in a town outside of Kragujevac, Serbia. This time in history is memorialized in story and poem. One story is told in Serbian citing the words of a teacher. The poem Kragujevac contains the final lines ‘Pucajte. Ja i sada drzim cas.”  The rough translation means “Go ahead. Shoot. I am giving my lesson. Now”. These words reveal the re-telling of tragedy shared among Serbians.

Because there were no survivors to tell the story that day, folklore lives on in remembrance.  However, there were letters written by children, left on pieces of paper, found in the classrooms, to express last words to their loved ones. Robert Burns, a poet and writer who lived in former Yugoslavia tells of a letter from a 17 year old student, addressed to his mother and father: “Dear mum and dad, hi for the last time. Ljubiša.” The massacre during October 19 to 21, in 1941, was justified by the Nazis with the notion: “that 100 people should be shot for every German killed, and 50 for every German wounded”. Children became a part of this killing spree.

Presently, in Kragujevac, there is a place of alliance for youth that love heavy metal. On the steps of a local high school, fans of metal meet and listen to music. Heavy metal fans and players in Kragujevac are outcasts and non-conformists. Stephan Kovačević, of a local heavy metal band Forever Storm, shared his views on Serbian musical majority. The most common genre is folk music. Thus, writing and playing in a metal band, can be frustrating and alienating, due to popular trends in music, though, heavy metal provides a place for fans and players to belong.

Soul Revolution, Forever Storm’s first album release, connects to a history in Serbia rarely discussed in Canada. Songs reveal epic battles, alienation, and oppression on personal and national levels. Lyrics of the song “It Rains” read: “We’ll keep fighting on and on / just let your heart lead the way…/ on this holy ground we’ll forever stay”.

The most passionate fans of heavy metal and Forever Storm are youth living in the city. In Kragujevac, specifically, heavy metal is loved immensely despite being a misunderstood genre. Heavy metal addresses issues of war not often shared. In song, there is an emotional resonance that connects the youth of the city to the bands and music they love. Forever Storm is a heavy metal band with a social and political message. Their younger fans have a place with heavy metal and the band. It is a place they share common ground.

Shawn Hook with Lights at Salle Andre-Mathieu, Quebec

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Shawn Hook is a Canadian EMI artist and philanthropist with a smoldering talent. Watch this young star erupt slow and steady.

I’ve seen him play live for the second time, most recently at Salle Andre-Mathieu in Laval, Quebec. After this show he performed at Fashion Cares with Sir Elton John. Most assuredly, Sir Elton will notice Shawn’s piano, guitar playing, youthful good looks, and strong singing voice.

Cosmonaut and the Girl is Hook’s first album release. The songs are catchy with a conscience. They are great for a club setting and musically solid, backed by a full band live. I caught him performing last year at Canadian Music Week in Toronto. He was my favorite performer and an unexpected surprise, making me appreciate up and coming pop music again.

Salle Andre-Mathieu is an interesting venue. The show was filled with adolescents. The electro pop of Lights and her introspective lyrics brought passionate screams from fans.The dim lighting and mood was at its peak during Lights’ song “Saviour”. Lyrics with keys felt intimate, with fans singing every word perfectly.

Hook played with enthusiasm, revealing a falsetto comparable to Bruno Mars and pop rock vocal of Maroon 5. His set ended with radio friendly “Red Light” showing the crowd his potential for more moments like this.

Shawn makes teens go wild. Girls scream when he approaches. He played to this, shaking hands and singing close to the lucky ones at the front. His independent charisma steers him from the boy band genre, with an older fan base acknowledging his talent at the end of the set.

He was available for pictures and signings. It was nice to have an in person chat, more personal than our online correspondence. Kind and friendly, he is a true Canadian talent who soaks up the respect given by fans and media. I gave Shawn a hug and told him how well he played, yet again. I’m looking forward to seeing where he will go next.

 

A Kiss From Chloe

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Bob Bickford is writing his latest novel called “A Kiss from Chloe”. I love this passage; the references to cigarettes, the way she walks like a line in a song, the romance and anticipation, the wanting to kiss her but looking instead.

This is a dream come true for me in written word. 

At last, the boisterous cars, the squealing tires and blatting mufflers were gone, and the giant machine that was the city groaned and sighed and settled itself into real darkness. Occasional lost ones rippled the quiet, creeping out into the street’s light here and there, then blending back into doorways and darkened recesses. Yellow police cars drove slowly by at intervals, their blank windshields looking at nothing.

It seemed like a night for cigarettes. I wished briefly that I still smoked, but I had none, so I watched the city’s uneasy sleep instead. The concrete beneath me got cold, but I didn’t move.

I saw her coming from a long way off, in the last hour before the eastern sky lightened. She came toward me, passing in and out of the illumination of half-lighted storefronts, walking like the whole night belonged to her. She stopped in front of me, and I reached out and touched her hair. I didn’t say anything.

“How long were you going to wait?” she asked.

I wanted to kiss her, but settled for looking.

“Longer than this,” I finally said. “A lot longer.”

 

Kill Devil Hill, August 17th, Toronto’s the Rockpile

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Kill Devil Hill is a hard rock band with seasoned metal gods supporting and driving a burly front man who looks like Jim Morrison. Dewey Bragg has a style similar to Zakk Wylde with a voice comparable to lost but not forgotten, Layne Stanley of Alice in Chains.

People say certain bands have a little something for everyone, but there’s no exaggeration with history and sound describing this band.

Vinny Appice, the drummer of ever beloved DIO has played with Black Sabbath and Heaven and Hell. With his drum solo the crowd remembered the little man with the big pipes. DIO moved metal heads of the world. Appice echoed the mourning of DIO’s fans with the love and respect we still carry for him.

Bassist Rex Brown moved the crowd in an entirely different way, with applause that was loud and rowdy. Playing for Pantera and Down, it’s expected that fans will be eager to yell.

Mark Zavon, formerly of Ratt and W.A.S.P, plays a skillfully beautiful guitar. The solos reflected his eighties past with a new sound brought to this hard and heavy band.

Lead singer Dewey Bragg is a combination of each member’s background. His voice is strong and powerful with an impressive range needed for the melodies he growls, sings, and screams. Bragg mixes hard core, melodic, and nineties grunge to satisfy every fan’s needs.

The show began with a huge opening of lights and sound. Bragg resembled Morrison in rock, Lemmy in punk, and DIO and Pantera in sound. “Strange”, the song release with self-titled album, is grunge and heavy enough to keep head bangers happy.

Dewey reflects the band’s mood with a cross on microphone and respectful pot smoking banter with audience. He asked: “How many people in here smoke weed? Throw your weed up! No, just joking! No, I’m not… throw it up, we’ve got a long way to travel!”

No one can refuse a man of this stature, with long braided beard, and patch worked vest. Sure enough, pot ended up on stage with Rex Brown smoking as his bass pumped the whole venue.

Dewey called us “ladies and gentleman” throughout the night, though the number of men outnumbered the women. And like my favorite metal shows live, I loved this crowd.

“Gates of Hell” was a further reminder of DIO with themes of darkness and light and good and evil. Drop D guitar and dark metal gunshot riffs spoke injustice with politically minded songs like “War Machine”.

Together, this band is a super group of epic proportion. The crowd went wild at the Rockpile and not a fist stayed by side. Horns were raised, heads were banged, and respect was given from band to fans and vice versa.

For more Kill Devil Hill, go to:

Kill Devil Hill Music

Florence and the Machine at Toronto’s Molson Ampitheatre

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Florence and the Machine opened with “Only if for a Night” from Ceremonials. Florence Welch stood in the middle of the stage as a seraph in black. Her smile lit up the audience as she looked towards the sky channeling a higher power.

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As she moved to the left of the stage the audience responded in applause. Gliding back to center she looked right through us with a command only a singer of her stature can evoke so sweetly. Her arms rose like a pop prophet singing “What the Water Gave Me”. The right side of the stage met her acquaintance screaming. She ran back to our centre channeling our subservience. When asked to jump or sing, we did, without hesitation.

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Posing like the voguesque super model she is, she spoke in the sweetest, most polite British accent: “Hi Toronto, we’re Florence and the Machine”. Her waves reached those in the upper levels and even in the grass, and like Bruce Dickinson unifying a crowd and making them feel connected, she reached all too.

“Cosmic Love” brought holy darkness to the surface; the angel in black cloak. With a flick of her hands she turned off the music and lights to chat with us about Canada and how good looking the girls are. She asked for human sacrifices through the raising of people on shoulders. Giggling she said “hundreds of Canadian sacrifices!” leading us into “Raise it Up”

As Florence joined us on the floor level, she mysteriously blended in, disappearing, while I wondered if she came near, would I be able to stop myself from attempting a humble kiss upon Pre-Raphaelite cheek. The smell of pot filled the air and I craved a cigarette.

The encore gave us what we needed to take us over the top, beyond bliss. The band came back with “Never Let Me Go” and Florence giggled quietly into the microphone. I swear the song was written for me, and with that nod good-bye, I felt it was played for me too.

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Dog is Blue at Toronto’s Silver Dollar

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Dog is Blue is a two piece Toronto based garage folk band. I caught the set of the very funny and memorable, Paul and Laura, at Toronto’s Silver Dollar, July 21, on a Saturday night.

The evening began with a soft introduction that swiftly changed, making me realize how pleasantly loud a two piece can be. The evening was hilarious and sweet all at once, with beautiful music that reminded me of the Civil Wars and Blue Rodeo; a perfect combination of Canadian tales and sweet harmonies.

Paul is quite the story teller. A pretty guitar solo accompanied a funny retelling of their last gig; Paul split his pants while dropping an amplifier simultaneously. My laugh was surely heard throughout the bar that reminded me of Cheers, everyone seemed to be friends and I was among the chosen at this local venue.

Excitement brewed over the band’s new pedal purchase. Paul had lots to say about it, mixing melodies with a gorgeous song called “Tortoise”. Sounds of birds matched lyrics making me smile and giggle; “chirp, chirp”. Paul announced he needed to stand away from the infamous pedal after using it.

Pretty back-up vocals and keys by Laura make songs feel folky, especially my favorite, “Southern Ontario”; “Maybe when I’m older if my wallet ever gets full, I’ll come back to my lady in southern Ontario….” This song makes me strangely ambivalent with homesickness. Ontario isn’t my home per say, but a second home, and like the song, I need to leave. The glockenspiel matches mood with a down home country theme, reminding me of the East Coast, with references and nostalgia for the people and the land.

Highlights of the night included two cover songs. Dog is Blue covered a song by the Kinks and Swedish pop star Robyn. “Dancing on My Own” sounded great, and though Paul teased Laura with her reluctance to try the song, and Paul mentioned “this could go horribly wrong”, it was a favorite of the evening. Go Laura! Go Paul! What a blast!

Be sure to check out more music by Dog is Blue and follow them on Twitter and Facebook! They are one of my new favorites! You will love it!

DogisBlue.com

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Deeanna Danger Visits Unity Night Club in Montreal

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As I walked down the street that was closed off to cars, I felt like a kid excited for an amusement park. The top of Montreal’s village was lined with pink balls that gave the area a magic vibe, different than our village in Toronto, more colorful, and vibrant for the people passing through and partying at their clubs of choice.

Walking into Unity I was 22 again. It’s been years since I’ve been to a dance club. From day one, the moment I stepped inside a hot, sweaty bass pumping venue, I’ve been in love.

Unity was no different and I fell in love again. Levels of floors played different types of music and all walks of life seemed to lavish the sights and sounds.

Looking back I think of my nights at Fluid night club in Toronto where upon entering the doors I joined an Alice in Wonderland fantasy theme, where everyone forgot the real world and danced their stress away.

A beautiful drag queen, who I managed to snuggle up to for a picture, visited our favorite floor taking moments to dance for us leaving me exhilarated and excited.

The female DJ enjoyed the music, dancing and singing along, as smoke filled the room bringing an ethereal vibe.

This was not just a night club for me; it was the first time in years that I danced so much. Like the gay boys with their shirts off, I made use of the pillars.

If I move to Montreal, Unity will be my dance club. I want a job there. I have the perfect sparkly dress to morph with the beautiful people that dance like there’s no tomorrow.

Surfacing

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We said good-bye at the corner of Yonge and Adelaide, holding each other for the last time. It took ten years for this day to happen. I looked at the post on the office tower before me; it had these words written: “peace”. The symbol represented our past love and our prayers for the future. We went our separate ways on the busy streets of Toronto. The sun shone strong and bright, my heart was wilting. The loud traffic, like an iPod over damned sleepless nights, could not drown out my sorrow and hope for another try. I turned around, expecting him to come back to me and he didn’t. We were no longer 19 and he no longer loved me. With this end, came the end of the family that treated me as their own and cared for me like a daughter. I went home and cried for three days. That was the end of my first love, the one that was patient and kind with my wounded heart, and who believed in me so much he let me go.

Writing News

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I wanted to add an update of what’s been happening with my writing. I am now writing for an independent e-zine called Vandala Concepts. The owner of the magazine supports me and my writing and I love working for her. I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil, reviewing Gigantour, and beautiful albums by Steve Gates and Kate Lynne Logan. My work can also be found on Vanada’s blog where I have written about Nephelium, a death metal band and their passionate fans, Kelly Clarkson, and Tribune’s new thrash/prog rock album.

Check out the site here:

Vandala Concepts

and the blog:

Vandala Concepts Blog

In other very exciting news, while browsing in my local Indigo I found my writing, from my review of Mustaine’s memoir on his paper back! Needless to say I screamed a little and jumped up and down in the store! I am a huge fan and being published with the Globe and Mail was a big accomplishment, especially because it was a metal review. To have those few sentences of my review on Dave’s book is a dream come true for me! Check out the picture here:

Swamp Woman

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The boys in the pop metal band would pay for their crimes against humanity. Swamp woman would make sure of that.

She started a fire with chants of spell, laughing as the flames rose above her. The sound echoed through the woods. Her wolves cried on top distant hills.

Her matted hair smelled of past fires. Green eyes turned to red, enlarging the heat, nostrils breathed in desire for burning flesh.

She began the transformation from woman to beast. The brown dress she wore, laced with holes, stretched. Subtle but remarkable, her power increased. The black widow spider, tattooed on her back, glowed with white light, her nails fluorescent green. Blue veins that were always visible, protruded, thickening and filling with blood. Her pulse quickened, her senses awakened.

The monster lifted her arms, raising the fire. Ancestors joined; the energy burning, and intensifying.

The night sky glimmered with smoke; the stars formed the sign of the devil.

Wolves came running nearer. The leader approached.

Swamp woman crouched on her dirty, scratched knees.

“Bring me the leader of the band”, she said.

Damien, the largest of all the wolves, black in color, bowed his head.

She reached a muddied hand down, petting his soft fur. Damien made soft noises snuggling into her legs. She grabbed him by the ear and warned “do not let them tell you any different, do not let them get away.”

The wolf raised his snout in confidence and agreement.

They ran back to the darkness from whence they came. Trees opened a pathway. The ground rumbled and the fire crackled. Swamp woman would see her revenge.