04 June 2008

Candidly Brendan Canning

You can now download Broken Social Scene Presents Brendan Canning! Canning doesn't seem to pumped about it, but you can snap it up from the Arts & Crafts site. Here's what Canning posted to his Facebook today:
It has come to my attention that an unmastered version of my album has been leaked through the internet. With the retail release being six weeks away, I've decided to correct the situation by releasing the album digitally myself, because I can. So this is for all you early birds who just couldn't wait for July 22nd. But you know, it won't be like going to your favourite record shop and getting a copy in your hot little hands, or sitting in your basement downloading it to your iTouch phone while playing Grand Theft Auto, it merely corrects the situation that is...a messed up version of my record floating around on the internet, and this is not how I wanted my record to drop. Believe me, this is not a minor situation. We're talking recall here folks...With all of this in mind, please note: 'Something for all of us...' will be available at all fine retail and digital outlets in North America July 22nd with some additonal artwork inside and slightly later for the rest of the world.

Thank you all, please enjoy.

03 June 2008

Return to Forever @ The Paramount 6/3/2008

How do you being to grade or rate a band that is composed of masterful musicians? Any sort of criteria relating to musicianship seems irrelevant essentially, because you can't help but rate them well. Indeed, Return to Forever is one such band that is filled with those who are renowned for their mastery of their instruments, and as expected, they exemplify that mastery live.

Unfortunately, that mastery was far from appreciated during the performance. While most of the audience seemed to recognize that they were watching extremely skilled musicians perform their craft, very few audience members seemed to truly appreciate it. The difference ties to what the audience was composed of, that is, middle class, middle-aged pseudo-pretentious music fans. They knew enough to recognize the skill, but not enough to really appreciate it. Which was depressing because they clapped and screamed throughout the solos and songs, obscuring the subtleties and even annoying the performers quite a bit. This was a crowd of Rock fans at a Jazz concert, and they were sorely out of place. It certainly didn't help that so many were inebriated, but I feel these people wouldn't know class if it looked them in the eye.

Beyond the crowd though, the show was amazing. The first set was the more Fusion-oriented set, but still with the Jazz-improv that meshes the Jazz and Rock worlds in these types of bands. Technical issues plagued Chick early on, but by the start of the second song he seemed to have worked things out for the most part...although his acoustic piano was muted when he first started playing it. The first set, while great, was overshadowed by the second set, which was primarily acoustic.

The second set began with Al Di Meola's solo and it was a very nice acoustic piece leading into the opening song of the set. Chick opened the second song with the best solo of the night, without a doubt. The masterful experimentation ranging from using mallets and even his fingers to stroke the piano strings, to lovely Jazz compositions with very loose structure. It was both beautiful and almost incomprehensible, the latter likely lending to the strength of the former. Stanley's solo was the most flashy solo of the night and certainly energized the crowd. The solo was possibly the most creative of the night. While Chick's blew Stanley's away in terms of musicality, the things Stanley did with his upright were things i have never seen done before. Very interesting and unique and memorable. Lenny's solo was in the midst of the last song and was my least favorite of the night sadly, despite my drummer nature. While not bad by any means, compared to the avant-garde style employed by Chick and Stanley, Lenny's solo seemed far too accessible and simplistic for a man of his talents. There was not anything very interesting going on in it either, mostly rudiments and weirdly timed fills and, while difficult, the solo did not wow as much as his peers' did.

The encore began with Chick on the keytar involving the audience in singing along to his melodies while the rest of the band looked on. Gradually the band built into the start of something before bringing the audience back in again. After that they began the encore song. The song itself was sort of a let down after all of those solos. It felt empty as it was played without as much improv as previous pieces and was much more straightforward. While a fan favorite, they could have done more with it musically to end on a high point.

That being said, the show was amazing, period. In simple summary: amazing musicians play amazing music.