A collection of musically themed musings by Brendan Bush in Burlington, VT

Osheaga 2010 Wrapup: Still Life Still

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Tuesday August 10, 2010

Day 2 of the festival was significantly hotter and sunnier than day 1, so Rachel and I left the Galactic show on one of the main stages a little early to catch some shade at the Scene Verte before Still Life Still came on. This gave me a great chance to get up close for some good shots at the beginning of the show.

Eric Young of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Still Life Still put on an excellent set, full of sweaty rock goodness. As a testament to their grit, after what seemed like a series of electric shocks from the mic as his sweat dripped on it, lead singer Brendon Saarinen just kept right on going without a word.

Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Most of the set was from their 2009 release Girls Come Too, though they also played at least one new song. Their sound was tight and their energy and excitement was clear.  This was definitely in my top 3 favorite shows of the festival.

Brendon Saarinen of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

Still Life Still is a must-see for lovers of rock music.  They remind me a bit of Broken Social Scene, with a little more of the rawness of Kevin Drew’s solo album (or whatever you want to call Spirit If…).  Their album is great, their show is better, and I’m really looking forward to their next release, which they are working on currently.

Aaron Romaniuk of Still Life Still @ Osheaga 8/1/2010

note: all photos in this post are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Osheaga 2010 Wrapup: Arcade Fire

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Friday August 6, 2010

I can best describe Arcade Fire’s performance as the closing act of day 1 at Osheaga as awe inspiring.  Pardon my gushing, but Arcade Fire is absolutely one of the best few contemporary rock bands.  Their live show is a testament to their original song writing, musical talent (they all play numerous instruments) and raw energy.  And they really go the extra mile in spending the money and time creating such an elaborate stage setup and well-timed performance.

Even without the large video screen intermittently playing live shots of the band through a variety of lens filters and a pre-made series of film clips, their show is so visually compelling that it almost distracts from the music. Almost.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

Playing a mix of songs from their previous 3 releases, Arcade Fire was as tight and polished as a band could be. They manage their playlist in such a way to keep the energy high with the old hits, while interspersing heavy, intense numbers like Rococo.  They treated us to three never-before-played numbers, “Deep Blue,” “Half Light II” and my favorite track off their latest album “Sprawl II,” featuring Regine on lead vocals.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

While Win Butler commands the stage with his powerful voice and presence, and Regine Chassagne dazzles with her choreographed dances, elaborate costumes, accordion playing and sugary-sweet vocals, I have to say that multi-instrumentalist William Butler (Win’s brother) is the best performer in the band.  In fact, he’s an absolute maniac out there.  Nobody has ever made the xylophone look so hardcore.  Keep your eyes on him if you’re lucky enough to catch an Arcade Fire show. (William is pictured on the left of the photo below, absolutely wailing on the drum in his hands)

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

If you’re about to cry because you missed this show, and Arcade Fire isn’t coming your way – fear not.  They played a very similar set on YouTube last night (broadcast live from MSG), and it was every bit as impressive.  You can watch it here.

Arcade Fire @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

I will be stalking the Arcade Fire tour dates until I’m able to see them again, and I suggest you do too. And if you haven’t yet, pick up their latest albumThe Suburbs, on sale for $3.99 through today only at Amazon.

note: all photos in this post are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Osheaga 2010 Wrapup: Stars

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Thursday August 5, 2010

Stars are easily one of my five favorite bands. They’ve put on some of the best shows I’ve ever been to. And their live performances have made me love songs of theirs that I previously couldn’t stand listening to (The Ghost of Genova Heights comes to mind). So it’s fair to say that I had high expectations for their set at Osheaga – in their hometown.

Amy Millan of Stars @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

Unfortunately, things didn’t quite go as I’d hoped. We headed over to their stage about halfway through K’Naan’s set (he was playing on the other main stage) to stake out a good spot, which we got. Unlike the other bands that had been playing back-to-back on alternating main stages, Stars didn’t take the stage right after K’Naan ended. I could hear the seconds of unplayed music being wasted.

They came onstage to huge applause and threw out some of the roses tied all around the stage to the audience – a nice touch. Then it went quickly awry. As the first note was played, Torquil Campbell (1/2 of the lead singing duo with Amy Millan) began throwing what ended up being a half-set temper tantrum because the sound in his earphones was either completely broken or just way off.

Stars @ Osheaga 7/31/2010

No matter how justified he was, his attitude immediately turned me off of the music. I couldn’t help but cringe as he whipped the corded microphone around the stage, leaving mic stands, keyboards and stage crew on the ground in his wake. By the time he got over it, Stars did manage to really nail “Take Me To The Riot,” and “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” two of my favorites. So ultimately there was redemption, and Amy Millan sang as wonderfully as ever, but what I’ll remember most about that show is the attitude.

I’m planning on seeing Stars again in Montreal in December, and I’m hoping Torquil can leave the other stuff off stage and put on a performance that I know he and the rest of the band are capable of putting on.

note: all photos in this post are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Osheaga Wrapup: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Wednesday August 4, 2010

After a fairly disappointing show in Burlington earlier in the week, I had fairly low expectations for Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros at Osheaga. After all, if they seemed tired and uninspired on Tuesday, and didn’t have a break between then and their Saturday set, chances were they’d put on the same lackluster performance.

As an aside, and an introduction to the following photo, it amazes me when singers smoke cigarettes. It just seems like the two things are completely at odds with each other. Here, Jade Castrinos and bassist Aaron Older share a smoke backstage just prior to their set:

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

Luckily for me, the band (and particularly lead singer Alex Ebert) were able to really turn it on for their Osheaga set. Their connection with the audience was so much better (it helped that Alex came out into the crowd for a bit), their energy as a band seemed so much more complete, and the music was spot on.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

There was no sitting down for this one (thankfully, as the ground at the main stages was covered in gravel and rocks), but they didn’t need that kind of gimmick to get the crowd into the show. All in all, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros completely redeemed themselves in my eyes, and put on one of the best performances of the festival.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

When the stage managers told Alex that it was time to wrap up their set, he wasn’t really into it, so they played another song. Jimmy Cliff, who was set to go on directly afterward at the adjacent main stage (an excellent setup, for what it’s worth), found his way over to give the band a hard time. After a few seemingly harsh words for Alex as he left the stage, the two of them hugged it out and Jimmy ran over to start his set.

Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Osheaga 7/31/10

note: all photos in this post are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

So tired…

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Monday August 2, 2010

Two straight days on your feet is a lot. Especially in the hot sun. We drove back to Burlington last night after the festival, and I’m still recovering from the exhaustion. I promise lots of photos and some notes on the sets I saw later in the week. All in all, Osheaga was a great time, and definitely my favorite festival to date (and perhaps my last…).

Thanks to Eric, Emily, Pam, Pree, Rachel and Shannon for an awesome weekend.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Tweeting from Osheaga

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Saturday July 31, 2010

I will do my best to post some photos tonight, but I’m going to be enjoying myself too much to be posting anything substantive during the festival.  Instead, I’ll be trying to send some quick updates here via twitter.  You can also follow me @onpermarotation.

[late update: I've taken the twitter widget out of the post, and replaced it with a transcript of tweets from Osheaga.]

Hot n dusty at #osheaga but the black keys rocked it. 5:49 PM Aug 1st via txt

Blitzen trapper putting on an impressive show 3:23 PM Aug 1st via txt

Still life still is tearing it up 2:32 PM Aug 1st via txt

Argh! Metric.got moved and now overlaps with ra ra riot 1:22 PM Aug 1st via txt

2 songs from arcade fire never played before… thank you! 10:50 PM Jul 31st via txt

Arcade fire blowing my mind #osheaga 10:00 PM Jul 31st via txt

Pavement set started better than Stars, but is too long #osheaga 7:52 PM Jul 31st via txt

Pavement is rockin it 7:30 PM Jul 31st via txt

Hanging with old people…waiting for pavement 7:03 PM Jul 31st via txt

Ok they’ve redeemed the set…but Amy is taller than torquil 6:16 PM Jul 31st via txt

Stars set not going so well with audio… bummer 5:57 PM Jul 31st via txt

Also…very bald 5:45 PM Jul 31st via txt

Torquil not happy bout Stars sound…but singing anyhow 5:43 PM Jul 31st via txt

K’naan meh. Stars on nxt 5:30 PM Jul 31st via txt

Jade’s voice is on fire @edwardsharpe #osheaga 3:48 PM Jul 31st via txt

Edward Sharpe & magnetic zeros are killing it #osheaga 3:40 PM Jul 31st via txt

Earlove plugs in for Edward Sharpe 2:58 PM Jul 31st via txt

Ingrid michaelson covering ice ice baby… awesome 2:19 PM Jul 31st via txt

No cage the elephant :-( 2:17 PM Jul 31st via txt

Getting the crew together for the short road trip 8:31 AM Jul 31st via txt

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Less than 7 questions for Still Life Still

Filed Under: 7 Questions
Written by Brendan
Thursday July 29, 2010
Still Life Still plays Osheaga on August 1, 2010

Photo: Norman Wong

What can I say…7 is a hard number to write sometimes. This has become a pretty expensive hobby in terms of time spent…anyhow.

Drummer Aaron Romaniuk of Still Life Still was kind enough to answer a few questions for me in advance of the band’s upcoming set at Osheaga. Their set is from 2:00-2:40pm on the Scene Verte.

BB: It’s not often that one comes across of band of mid-twenty-year-olds who have been playing together for over 10 years. As 13-year-olds, did you ever imagine you’d be playing festivals like Osheaga and playing residencies at venues like Mercury Lounge?

AR: as 13 year olds we had no clue where this band would take us . as we got older and became closer friends we started to have the same visions . the picture got clearer in our minds

BB: You’ve said that your goal is to make enough money as a band to buy a farm off the grid, grow your own food, etc. You sound like you’d fit in very well in Vermont – have you spent any time here? If not, where do you envision your farm?

AR: we haven’t spent much time in Vermont , only driving threw while on tour , but that would be a great spot .i like to picture the farm somewhere tropical close to mountains and rivers .

BB: The lyrics of your song “T-Shirts” surprised me the first time I heard it. Care to elaborate on the meaning of that song?

AR: t-shirts is just real talk . about being really in love with someone . in love enough to do anything for them .go threw anything with them . its also about using logos on shirts to clean up blood .

BB: Girls Come Too is an impressive debut album. Is there a followup in the works?

AR: we are working on our next record right now actually . we have about 15 new songs written . were recording it at a home studio we have set up with our friend and sometimes band member Markus

BB: With a presumably large collection of unreleased material, do you find that you are more likely to write new songs, or revisit and rework material that you’ve already written?

AR: most of the songs for our next record have all been written in the last year . new songs happen so spontaneously ..we try to just go with the flow .

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

What you’re missing if you won’t be at Osheaga

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Wednesday July 28, 2010

I’ve only seen The Black Keys once before — at Lollapalooza in 2007 — and I was as far away from the stage as you could have been and still heard the music, trying to squeeze in a meal. So I’m psyched at another chance to see them, and this time to be a bit closer to the action. The Black Keys — a drummer and a guitarist — make more sound than many 4- or 5-piece bands. Check them out live in Chicago below (there’s some muffled show talking in the middle, but I think this gives a great perspective of what they are like live):

The Black Keys released a new album called Brothers this year, another in a long series of impressive studio work. They manage to sound just like themselves without ever sounding stale or repetitive, with each album having it’s own distinct sound. If you’re a fan of rock ‘n roll, I highly suggest you give Brothers a listen.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Wrapup: Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros @ Higher Ground 7/26/2010

Filed Under: Concert Reviews
Written by Brendan
Tuesday July 27, 2010

Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros played a sold out show last night at Higher Ground — the first sold out show I’ve been to in a long while, and despite the small inconveniences (shoving fights, etc) of such a crowd, it was definitely nice to see Burlington turn out to support a band who isn’t a washed up rapper and isn’t known for their jamming.

Security was incredibly intense – I’m not sure if it was in response to an incident or incidents, but I’ve never seen things like this before. There were cops in the parking lot with breathalyzers, cops in uniform patrolling inside and out, and burly plainclothes cops with incredibly conspicuous firearms at the door. A youngish looking kid in front of us who definitely looked like he’d had too much of something got a field sobriety test before they’d take his ticket. Not normally what I’d expect at a ES&MZ show, but like I said, maybe it was in response to something else.

We got a good spot stage-left where there are generally less people (farthest spot from the bars). I came to this show ready to dance, so it was nice to have a little bit more room. I was definitely expecting some craziness based on what I’ve read about their shows and seen on YouTube. But I have to say, this show lacked the crazy.

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010

Besides the lead singer, Alex Ebert, forgetting the words to a couple of songs (which he played off well enough), the music was really good. I particularly liked Jade Castrinos’ vocals and loved the sporadic trumpet playing. And Alex certainly put on a performance — bouncing, dancing, jumping and interacting with the people right up front. But his energy didn’t seem to spread, and I was left feeling that the band seemed a little fractured, or at the very least just a bit tired.

In a bit of a revolt against the standard practice of pretending to leave only to come back out for an encore after some applause, most of the band just stayed on stage after their “final” song, which I thought was a nice touch. That whole routine definitely gets tiresome. And for their final number, they invited people up on the stage until it was completely full, then went down to the floor and asked everyone to sit with them for the campfire-style “Brother.”

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010

Most of the tunes were off of their 2009 release Up From Below, though they definitely played a few that I hadn’t heard and enjoyed. For their bigger “singles” like “Janglin” (popular from being featured on a Ford Fiesta commercial) and “Home” which has apparently been on heavy radio rotation, it was very apparent that the band was sick of playing them. They seemed much more animated and energetic on some of their more low-key or lesser known songs like “Up From Below” and “Desert Song.”

All in all, this was a very good show. But I was (maybe wrongly) expecting something a bit more. Unfortunately, the band doesn’t have a day off between now and their set at Osheaga. I think they could really use it based on what I perceived to be a lack of energy. Here’s to hoping that the atmosphere at Osheaga provides them with a little extra spark.

Edward Sharpe @ HigherGround July 26, 2010


Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.

Osheaga Preview: Ra Ra Riot

Filed Under: Live Shows
Written by Brendan
Monday July 26, 2010
Ra Ra Riot

Photo: Doron Gild

Ra Ra Riot is due out with a new album, The Orchard, on August 24. If their 3-song EP Boy is any indication, then I am certain that Ra Ra Riot has most definitely NOT fallen into the sophomore slump. I caught Ra Ra Riot at the Higher Ground in December of 2008, and was incredibly impressed with their live sound. Though I would be remiss if I didn’t mention how terrible one of their opening acts that night sounded (So Many Dynamos). I have friends who still remember the Ra Ra Riot show as being one of the worst they’ve ever been to, until I remind them that Ra Ra Riot was actually amazing…

It’s quite hard to grasp how powerful the cello and violin are in Ra Ra Riot’s music until you’ve seen the lovely ladies of the band play the strings live. Not to mention I’m pretty sure you’ve never seen instruments as cool looking as some of theirs (electric violin in particular). And vocalist Wesley Miles’ voice, which I feared might be too meek to stand out at a live show, was powerful, robust and crisp.

Anyhow, Ra Ra Riot is one of my most anticipated shows at Osheaga, and as a preview I wanted you to hear “Boy” – the first single from their upcoming album. You can download it at their site here. Though I love this song, I love “Keep It Quiet” even more. It’s not much of a festival song though, so I’m not sure I’ll get to hear it this weekend.

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Note: All photos are copyright © 2010 Brendan Bush unless otherwise noted. You are free to copy, distribute and transmit them as long as proper attribution is given, in accordance with this Creative Commons policy.