Category Archives: concerts

Kelly Clarkson / The Fray in Toronto

I was really enjoying the Kelly Clarkson show at the Molson Amphitheatre in Toronto last night. I had gotten a free ticket and I managed to score a pretty good seat. I was right at centre stage but I was near the back of the seating section.

I tell ya, I sure picked a good seat. The lead singer of The Fray made his way through the crowd as he sang a song and he actually walked down my very aisle. He stood on the seats and walked right behind me. It was pretty cool.

I wished I had brought my camera. I stopped bringing it to shows because I just want to enjoy the moment. Plus, in this day and age, I can usually count on someone posting good photos or videos online for me to remember the show later on. Normally I am so far back that I don’t get good shots either.

With that photo-worthy moment gone, I wasn’t sure there’d be another. But there was.

Kelly Clarkson did the exact same thing. She didn’t make her way down the row of seats I was in, but she did stop at the section just ahead of me during her cover of “We Are Young” by Fun.

I looked for myself in this clip from a fellow concert goer. I swear I was just outside of the camera’s field of vision. But I was super-close.

After she finished the cover song, she stayed in that same spot to sing “Gone.” It’s a great song and a personal favourite of mine. It was so cool to have her sing those two songs so close to where I was standing and singing along.

Overall, it was a great concert. The Fray really impressed me. They put on an amazing show. I couldn’t find any YouTube videos to show you here so you’ll just have to take me word for it. But hopefully, someone will upload one soon. Maybe you’ll be able to see when Isaac walked right passed me.

Another highlight of the concert was when he came back during Kelly Clarkson’s set to perform the Jason Aldean part of the duet with her for the song “Don’t You Wanna Stay.” That’s my favourite track by her and they did a great job of it last night.

I’m so glad I was able to score free tickets from a friend of a friend. It was a great night and a great show.

Classified Autograph

This concert was really good. Not only did I get to meet and hang out with one of the best rappers to ever come out of Canada, but I also got to interview him for the radio show and podcast.

Classified put on an amazing show. If you ever get a chance to see him in concert, you really must do yourself a favour and go.

I got him to autograph my concert ticket too.

I love collecting autographs. I have a lot more to share with you. In the meantime, check out these ones.

Avril Lavigne Rocks London, Ontario!

Avril Lavigne knows how to put on a live show. She has energy and enthusiasm and it is clear that she really loves rocking out.

The crowd definitely was on her side this weekend. The uproar was deafening as she took to the stage at the John Labatt Centre.

She worked through her extensive catalog of hits and had the audience singing along to nearly every song.

We did our best work during “I’m With You,” when the band cut out, Avril lowered her microphone, and we carried the chorus.

It really was electric to hear the crowd singing in unison. Our voices blended together and it one of the best sounds I’d ever heard.

Avril was proud of hearing her song being reflected back to her. She conducted us and smiled as we belted out the lyrics. When we finished, she started the chorus again and then lowered her microphone once more, letting us own the song.

She must have felt the same magic that I did, as she had us sing the chorus one last time, before the band came back in and brought the song to a stunning conclusion.

The show seemed to fly by and before I knew it, before I wanted it to be, it was over. She said, “Goodnight,” waved, and left the stage.

It can’t be over, I thought. She hasn’t even sang “Complicated” yet.

An encore definitely was in store.

Avril came back out on stage with her opening act and best friend Evan Taubenfeld. During his original set earlier in the night, he played one of Avril’s hit songs that they had written together. Now he came back out with his guitar and he and Avril performed one of his latest songs.

It really was a great song and I’m definitely going to pick up the single. The song was called “Best Years of Our Lives.” He also has a new album out entitled “Welcome to the Blacklist Club.”

The two played one more song in this acoustic setting before Avril’s band came back on stage to close out the show with “Complicated.”

It was a great show. I really don’t want to say anything bad about it. I enjoyed every minute . . .

. . . but I was a little disappointed about the lack of a large television screen beside the stage. From my seat, I couldn’t see everything in as much detail as I would have liked.

I haven’t been to a concert lately that hasn’t had a big screen. I thought it was strange that this show didn’t have one.

The picture at the top of this post shows you what my view was like. Of course, I also don’t have that great of a camera. I could see better than it could.

All in all, it was a great show. I yelled my undying love for Canada’s pop-power-punk princess. I hope she heard me. If not, maybe she’ll hear it here from this post.

I love you Avril. Keep rocking out, and keep giving us great music! Thanks!

Motown Night was Electric (Literally)

It was Motown Night at the Canadian National Exhibition last night and we were very excited to be there covering it for the radio show. We had interviews set up with the headlining acts; The Manhattans, and The Spinners.

The Manhattans took to the stage in their matching red jackets and captivated the crowd with their performance.

I was really enjoying the show and looking forward to seeing The Spinners take the stage next.

Unfortunately, the weather had other plans. Before The Manhattans had even finished their set, the concert was shut down due to a tornado warning. We were advised to go inside one of the buildings for cover.

You can see how quickly this storm rolled through because the sky does not look threatening at all in the above shot.

I took this shot from the cover of the Arts and Crafts building. The rain was coming down hard and lightning was filling the clouds above us every few seconds. It was really intense!

It almost looks like I took this photo during the day time. The lightning completely lit up the sky.

It was a beautiful storm to watch but unfortunately the CNE decided to shut down the entire operation. I have never seen them do that before. That meant, we had to either buckle down where we were or make it back to the car in the pounding rain.

We waited for ten minutes. The rain let up, and we made a break for the car. The sky continued to illuminate brilliantly all the way home. Fortunately, we were spared any strong winds and made it home with no problems at all.

The good news was that we had a chance to sit down with The Manhattans for a great interview earlier in the day. Stay tuned to DOPEfm to hear it first! I will post the podcast and transcript after it has been aired.

The Left in The Hammer

The Left are an amazing hip-hop group from Detroit. I’ve been bumping their debut album, “The Gas Mask” ever since it first came across my radar last year. I was really excited to see them come to Hamilton to rock a dope show this past weekend.

I love going to rap concerts in small clubs. Quite often, the star performers will just hang out in the crowd all night long. This was the case with The Left.

I had the honour of chatting with each of the three members. They were really cool, down-to-earth guys. I didn’t get the chance to interview them this weekend but we are planning on getting them on our radio show, DOPEfm, very soon.

Journalist 103 is the lead MC for the group. He controlled the crowd with his intelligent rhymes, great delivery, and amazing stage presence.

DJ Soko totally destroyed the turntables. It’s always refreshing to see a live DJ performing. It was pretty cool being able to see the laptop controls from this angle as well. You don’t normally get to see that as a fan.

Apollo Brown is one of the best producers in the game right now. His beats are hard-hitting, have a signature sound, and are grimy in that classic underground hip-hop style.

He started their set with a twenty minute solo of sorts. He played through a catalog of his instrumentals while the crowd nodded along to every beat.

After that introduction, Brown played a beat from The Left’s album and Journalist 103 seamlessly took control of the vocals and the stage. DJ Soko showed that he was a beast on the tables with some great cutting and scratching throughout their set.

Martin McFly is the name of the group which features Knamelis on the vocals and Supa83 on the beats. I wasn’t expecting the unconventional flow and subject matter that Knamelis delivered but he sure hit a mark with the crowd.

Fortunato Bonnano from Angerville rocked the house with his gritty deliver and he wouldn’t let technical difficulties stop him from delivering a good show.

Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of Flight Distance. Bender and Patience traded vocals and played selections from their album “Bad Information.”

Much props to In Tha Kut for bringing The Left to the hammer. It was a great event!

In Tha Kut can be heard every Thursday from 9:00 to 10:30 on CFMU 93.3 in Hamilton or worldwide at http://cfmu.mcmaster.ca/

Photo CreditGamma Krush

Eternia Live TONIGHT

I was surprised to see this in the newspaper this week. They gave a third of a page to one of the best emcees doing it right now, Eternia.

She’s playing TONIGHT! Here’s what you need to know.

When: Saturday July 9, 2011

Where: APK – 340 Wellington St. London, Ontario.

Unfortunately, I am not able to go to this show. Hopefully you can though. Eternia puts on an amazing live show. She is a fierce MC and has a spectacular album out right now called “At Last.”

You can check out the interview I did with her last year. Download it for free, or stream it with the player below.

If that doesn’t make you a fan, go to the show and pick up the CD. I guarantee you will be one after that.

Word!

Reflection Eternal Concert

Talib Kweli is one of the most respected MCs and lyricists in hip-hop. He was been making great music since 1997.

Hi Tek has made a name for himself as a sought after producer and DJ. He’s produced hip-hop classics and has quite the catalogue of hits.

Together Talib Kweli and Hi Tek form the group Reflection Eternal.

They brought their show to the London Music Hall this past Friday night and completely rocked the house. They didn’t waste time between songs. It was just hit after hit after hit.

We heard the great Reflection Eternal songs, the classic Black Star joints, solo joints from Talib Kweli, cuts from the Hi-Tek albums, and some of the great songs Kweli has blessed for other artists. I was especially glad to hear him perform “Get By”

One impressive aspect of their show was the dual video screens on either side of the stage. As they performed some of their biggest hits, the videos played simultaneously. I was amazed that the timing was so on point that Kweli was actually synced up with the images.

They played an encore and didn’t stop there. Kweli got behind the tables and started an after-party right there and then. They invited all the ladies up on the stage and then let the guys joins them. The stage was packed. I should’ve taken a picture of that. It was a nice way of them to connect with the fans and close out the night.

Nineteen85 is a producer and DJ and he held down the stage for Shaun Boothe as the opening act of the concert.

I talked to Shaun Boothe at the Stylus Awards this past Monday so it was cool to be able to see his live show and link up with him again. He had an R&B singer as well as a guitar player / singer on stage with him. They put on an energetic show too.

Overall, this was a great concert. I’m so glad I finally got to see Talib Kweli live. He’s definitely one of the best lyricists and MCs in the game. What an amazing night!

Festival of Friends Highlights

Festival of Friends is a completely free festival held every August at Gage Park in Hamilton. It is always a great event. The festival manages to draw some big name entertainment and this year was no exception. Here are some of the highlights from the great acts I was able to catch.


Finger 11 were the big headliners at this year’s Festival of Friends and they certainly packed the park. There had to be over 20,000 people there. It was a great turnout and Finger 11 didn’t disappoint. They had an amazing set and had the crowd singing along to their hits.


Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg put on an energetic show and ran through a brief history of punk rock before the power abruptly cut off. It was really strange. The lights, amps, instruments, everything shut down in the middle of one of their songs. Fortunately though the power came back on within a few minutes and they continued to rock until it got dark.


Here’s Marky saluting the crowd after the performance.


Steven Page entertained the crowd with a stripped-down acoustic performance of his solo material and some of the immense catalog of hits from Barenaked Ladies.

I always wanted to see those guys play. I was hoping to one day soon. Unfortunately, Steven has now left the band and while they continue to make music, it won’t be the same without Steven.

Steven held down a good show without his bandmates and just a single guitar. The crowd sang along and yelled out their requests, which he honoured.
This was the act I was most looking forward to all weekend. I’m glad I got the chance to go.


This guy is a high school teacher and man, can he rock. His name is Kevin MacLean and he has established quite the reputation in his hometown here in Hamilton. I can’t believe that I had never seen him perform live before. It was a great show.

I saw the above rock acts with my dad on Friday.
And then on Sunday, my mom and I went back for the country acts.

First up was The Wilkinsons. They put on a really excellent show. We sat a little further on the grass but it was nice to be in the shade. It was ridiculously hot Sunday afternoon.


Crystal Shawanda played her hit “You Can Let Go.” She has a powerful voice and a great stage presence and captivated the crowd with a strong set.

We then had to sit through a horrible performance by Leon Redbone while we waited for The Road Hammers to come on. I know that my mom was really looking forward to seeing the headlining country act.

Unfortunately, a lightning storm seemed to swoop over us. We tried to wait it out. It looked like the show might still go on. But then the skies opened up and we got hammered with ran. The lighting and wind kicked up a notch and the show had to be cancelled.
We got soaked walking back to the car. Too bad we didn’t get to see that last show but at least the whole weekend wasn’t a washout. I enjoyed watching these acts perform. And the best part of it all was that it was completely free. We even managed to find free parking only a few blocks away. You can’t beat that.

Tim McGraw Reigns in the Rain

I went to my first country concert this past weekend. I had seen country acts before at free festivals but I had never been to a see a major show before. That changed when Witgirl bought me a ticket to Sarnia Bayfest to see Tim McGraw. I’ve been a fan of his since I first heard “Live Like You Are Dying” on the radio. 

That is an amazing song. In fact, the whole album is amazing.

And now I can add that he has an amazing live show as well.

There were over 17,000 fans in attendance for the show. We were in the licensed VIP section and had a great spot about 15 feet back from centre stage.

Just before Tim McGraw came on, the rain started to fall. Fortunately, it was a light rain and it let up after at short while. It didn’t dampen anyone’s mood.

Tim McGraw’s band came out and got all the instruments ready and then Tim just strolled onto the stage and started the show with “I Like It, I Love It.” He captivated the crowd with his nine-piece band consisting of two drummers, a steel guitar player, a keyboard player, a fiddle player, and guitar and bass players. Tim played guitar for a few songs but mostly just held down vocal duties. And he didn’t disappoint.

I could tell that the crowd was in to the performance as they sang along to almost all of his songs and took picture and videos. Although, I must say that they did baffle me a bit. Country fans are a lot different than rap or rock fans. They just stand there and seem to have very little energy. No one jumps up and down or throws their hands in the air. Some people dance in their spot but that’s about it. I guess it’s just that nature of the country concert. But it was weird to see.

Tim McGraw really impressed me with his no-nonsense, no-holds barred show. And he topped off his set perfectly with my favourite song, “Live Like You Were Dying.”

One of his opening acts, Jason Blaine, also really impressed me. He commanded the crowd with his entire performance. I also like how he had a fiddle player on every song. Sometimes she plucked the strings and sometimes she used the bow. She had a really nice solo or two thrown in there as well. They put on a great show. I think I will have to go check out his album.

Tim McGraw has a new album coming out this fall. He played new material from it and got quiet a good response from it. One of the songs was hilarious. It was called “It’s a Business Doing Pleasure With You.” I love how he flips that phrase and tells a story about a woman he likes spending money on. I’ll be looking forward to the album.

So I guess I will have two recent country albums to add to the Taylor Swift one I just got. Crazy, it seems I’m reverting back to a country boy, won’t my mom be happy.