Hamilton Poetry Nights At The Lyric Theatre.

I find Hamilton an intriguing place.

It’s full of places to explore, people to meet, and a lot of stuff to do.

One of the latest things to do are poetry nights at the Lyric Theatre.

Consisting of 4 portions (a workshop, an Open Mic for all ages, a Slam portion for 22 years and under, and a reading from a feature author), these evenings have captivated me since I heard about them last month.

I actually went to last month’s edition, and I loved it. I haven’t read my poetry aloud since high school, so it was great to get back to it. The crowd was receptive, and my anxiety was made things worse in my head than they actually were.

If anyone is interested in attending, the event takes place the third Tuesday of every month at the Lyric Theatre. Start time is 6pm for the workshop, 7pm for the Open Mic and Slam. It’s $2 for everyone 18 and under to compete, and $5 for everyone 19 and over. (For rules and things like that, the site is: burlingtonslam.wordpress.com)

Good luck to everyone who comes out and reads!

 

 

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Review Of The Last Crash Landing Basement Event.

NOTE: Hey everyone! It’s good to be writing again after feeling under the weather for so long. I hope you all enjoy this review, and some other stuff I have planned for the blog this week.

I’m going to be doing something different on this post.

Usually, I talk about music in Hamilton. But today I’ll be reviewing something of a combination night my mother and I went to at Crash Landing Punk and Music Store here in Hamilton.

Their last basement event was held August 18th, (the store is moving to Cannon Street and will be a smaller locale), so as a last hurrah the owners Suzanne and Chris invited Punk Rock author Chris Walter to do a reading. Then, there was a screening of the SNFU rock film/ Ken Chinn bio-pic: ‘Open Your Mouth And Say… Mr Chi Pig’

All this was in celebration of Mr. Walter’s latest work; ‘SNFU: What No Else Wanted To Say’. It is a book that charters the career of SNFU, the legendary Edmonton Punk band

I have to say, when I heard what the last event was going to be; I was ecstatic. Chris and Suzanne have always managed to make every event at Crash Landing a worthwhile event, and most often; there is something that everyone in the Punk community will find for them at their events.

I’ll be missing their events. But, this was a tremendous way to end things. I wish them the best of luck at their new location, and I can’t wait for the opening day.  (September 7th at 1189 Cannon Street, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.)

1st Part of the evening: The Reading.

The evening began with Mr. Walter reading a modest portion of his new book. He chose to tell us about a time when SNFU were on tour and got the service of some professional ladies. (The adults reading this know will know what I’m talking about.)

As there were children there, it was a little awkward. But they didn’t seem to understand, and Mr. Walters cracked a joke, so it was the kind of awkward that was laughable.

I enjoyed the reading.Not because it was perfect. (There were times that the author stumbled.) But because of the imperfection. I would rather people, in any given field, act real then pretend they are infallible.

2nd Part of the evening: Q&A.

This was the part of the evening that had me in knots.

As a writer, I wanted to ask Mr. Walter  some questions. (What his next book might be about; how he transitioned from writing zines to books, etc.), and he answered the questions with patience and in a conversational tone. He did this for all questions, which I thought was fantastic. It was very casual and by the time I asked my second question, I wasn’t nearly as nervous.

3rd Part of the evening: The Film.

I had seen the movie ‘Open Your Mouth And Say…Mr Chi Pig’ before as a rental from my local library.

I thought it was an amazing movie when I saw it late last year/ early this year, and my opinion hasn’t changed.

Sure, a lot about the band is documented. And you get the general picture of the band’s history, up until 2009. But what I find most striking about the film is Ken Chinn’s eventual handle on his schizophrenia and addictions.

Crash Landing as a movie venue was a great change of pace. (Literally. I’ve enjoyed the Punk shows in the basements, but it was nice to enjoy what I seeing without people bumping into me by accident.)

We got to bring our own drinks, and various posters around the city and online had said we would have been able to bring our own snacks too.

The seats my Mom and I had were comfortable, and we were able to see clearly.

The basement did well as a one time theatre.

The evening didn’t end there, (thanks to Suzanne and Chris), as I got to interview Mr. Walter for my zine. (Woo hoo!)  And as this is the online version of that project, I’ll be posting it here too.

I want to thank Suzanne and Chris for all they have done, for everyone, in the years I’ve known them. I wish them all the best, and I can’t wait to see their new store location.

I want to thank Chris Walter for the interview and for his time. I know he has just released a book and that must be hectic, so I appreciate the time.

Review Of Frankie and Jimmy At Gage Park.

As part of Canada’s birthday every year, there is a tradition in Gage Park. It’s Your Festival. (It ran this year from June 29th-July 2nd. I went on the 2nd.)

For a long time, it was considered the ‘folky’ festival. (Probably coming from the name Hamilton Folk Arts Heritage Council, the organizers of the event.)

But that’s changing with the New Music Expo Stage. I have noticed in recent years that there has been a lot of exposure for Punk, Alternative Rock, and the like. And I have gotten to see some of my favorite bands there because of it.

This year, one of my favorite duos took to the stage.

Frankie and Jimmy combine Blues, Rock, Folk, and Punk to create something new. All while bringing the past to life.

 

Review:

It may only be two people.

It may only be an acoustic guitar and a harmonica.

But it’s all Frankie and Jimmy needed to give the audience a spectacular set.

Armed with their Blues covers, the D.I.Y ethic of Punk, and their instruments, the duo played fantastically.

They mostly did their Blues numbers, but some of their stuff had a Rock feel to it.

Frankie and Jimmy’s rendition of ‘Freight Train’ deserves a mention. It fitted with the atmosphere, and it was folky and light.

No matter what they were doing, I liked the energy both performers gave off. Both seemed to throw themselves into the music, and that reflected in the performance.

10 out of 10.

 

No S.C.E.N.E For Kristine. But There Will Always Be More Music.

(*Note. This is intended as a humorous article. The facts are true, but my melancholy, overstatements, and pomposity are all jokes.)

This post is supposed to be about all the fun times I had at the S.C.E.N.E Music Festival. I’m supposed to talk all about how I went to St. Catharines and the people were floored.

I was supposed to interview a great-but-undiscovered band and bring them to the Canadian consciousness. In doing so, I would prove what a spectacular talent I was. I would write my article and show my photos, and win myself a few prizes along the way. (I’m thinking a Governor Generals Award or three. And a couple of Granges. Nothing major. Yet.)

But none of it turned out that way because the universe hates me.

Instead, the night before S.C.E.N.E, I was admitted to the hospital with a migraine and severe dehydration. And the prescription to rid my ails? (Aside from some medicine.) ‘Plenty of rest.’

There went all my hopes and dreams, down the drain!  I felt like crying bitter tears. I felt like pounding my fists into the wall. I felt like tearing the very hair from my head.

This has given me inspiration for a new book. ‘Lamentations.’ (Nobody’s written that before right?) And even if they did, they don’t comprehend my pain. I mean, I missed a music festival. That’s like dying.

But there is an upside: The Canada Day weekend shines like a lighthouse. At Gage Park, there is It’s Your Festival. Snakecharmer, Frankie and Jimmy, and more will be playing. (It’s free.)

And Canada Day, This Ain’t Hollywood will celebrating the independence of our nation by shattering the sound barrier around it. There is going to be a Punk Rock matinée that runs from 5:00pm to 1:00am. We’re finally going to see and hear the result of all this waiting on one, all-Hamilton comp. ($10 gets you into the show and a record.)

Here, There, Everywhere, and Nowhere. All The Music I’ll Be Taking In The Next Few Weeks.

Tonight continues my massive intake of music. (3 out of 4 days at Burlington Sound Of Music was awesome.)

I’m seeing Crystaline at the Casbah. They’re a new band, and it will be interesting to take in their sound.

Then tomorrow, I head to St. Catharines for the S.C.E.N.E music festival.

In a lot of ways, I’m excited. I’ve never been to S.C.E.N.E, or St. Catharines for that matter.

I’ll be interviewing 10 bands tomorrow for the paper zine Thunder and this blog; it’s virtual copy. And of course I’ll be taking photos.

The bands I’ll be meeting range from well-known Canadian favorites (Die Mannequin) to recent up-and-comers (The Rebel Arms.)

It’s going to be an amazing day, and I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

Then next weekend, I have assigned myself two tasks:

1. Cover It’s Your Festival in Gage Park.

2. Cover the Destroy Music 7 hour concert that celebrates the release of the comp, and the life of Imants Krumins.

I feel grateful that I get to take in this music, and that it’s happening in Ontario.

Review Of Rebel Fest. (Part 2.)

Unlike a lot of people, I’m still as excited for the consecutive days of something as I am for the first day. (Call it a long, weird attention span.)

Rebel Fest last weekend was no different. Day 2 appealed to me as much, if not a little more. (Some bands that were new to me were coming. Not to mention they came from outside of Ontario.)

1st Band: Jesse Lebourdais.

He’s one person with an acoustic guitar, (the ex-singer of Punk band Cambridge), but Jesse filled the venue musically as well as any band could. He touched on a lot of subjects, from a favorite hang-out in Vancouver being changed drastically, to people losing work. Punk is about changing perception and doing things differently, and Jesse is living the ethics in how he performs. 10 out of 10.

2nd Band: Social Club No. 27.

I’m not sure how long ago it was, but for some time, the band Broadcast Zero has been broken up.  Now, three members are back with a new project: Social Club No. 27. It was good to see them performing songs again, and I liken it to Broadcast Zero. (Solid Punk with messages tucked in the lyrics.) I’m interested in seeing them again, as their set was intriguing. Only time will time tell if this project will be as well-liked as Broadcast Zero proved to be,though. 10 out of 10.

3rd Band: Get The Shot.

This band came from Quebec to play Rebel Fest, and it was certainly something to hear and see. Their brand of Punk reminded me of Rage Against The Machine. It was heavy, it had hip-hop elements, and they had a lot to say about people who didn’t take Punk seriously. (They did have pleasant things to say about the Hamilton scene, however.) The singer showed his enthusiasm by going into the crowd and singing in it for a portion of the set, which I always think is a cool touch. They were a little heavy for me, but I do admire all they had to say. And how they said it. 8 out of 10.

4th Band: Nine Eleven.

Nine Eleven is the first international act to play Rebel Fest, (they are originally from France), and this was the band I was properly most eager to see out of sheer curiosity. They were even better than I thought they would be. They had sharp, militant drum beats; powerful vocals; and very politicized views. (Revealed in lyrics on their blog.) Whether you agree with their views, don’t agree, or do a bit of both like myself, you can certainly see that they will make you think. And I think that’s part of what Punk should be. 9 out of 10.

5th Band: La Gachette.

Another act hailing from Quebec, La Gachette certainly have opinions. But their music is on the lighter side, and they certainly don’t seem like they take things too seriously. (Part of their set included a cover of ACDC’s ‘TNT’.) One of the coolest parts of their set, though, was hearing about the band’s trip to Mexico and what the Punk scene is like there. They then played the song that was inspired by the trip, so it all made for a great section of a fantastic set. 10 out of 10.

6th Band: Subsistance.

It’s been a while since I last saw Subsistance, (they too are from Quebec), but the band still gives an amazing set to its audience. They performed my favorite song ‘Keep Up The Fight’, which is about keeping Punk Rock alive, well, and true. Their Hard-Core is a subtle mix of sub-genres, ranging from 80’s D.C Hard-Core, to the Hard-Core that Montreal experienced through-out the years. 10 out of 10.

7th Band: Born Wrong.

What better way to close a Hamilton Punk festival than with the Hamilton Punk band that so many people like? (Those who didn’t attend should have seen all the people, myself included, who clamoured for the microphone to sing along with ‘Burn A Debt.’) Born Wrong are one of my personal favorites, as they blend so many different musical styles into a spectacular Hard-Core set and make it all their own. And what’s more, their lead singer often dives into the audience to sing and mosh with the crowd, giving them a cool opportunity to mix with those who are their fans. 10 out of 10.

Review Of Rebel Fest. (Part 1.)

Note: I know. Rebel Fest was last weekend. But that doesn’t change the fact that I want to give the review that gives credit where it is due.

I’m not an easily excitable person. That isn’t to say I don’t enjoy things, but something has to be pretty spectacular to get me waiting eagerly in anticipation. And letting loose once said event comes to existence.

Every year, Rebel Fest gets me waiting and acting less restricted. It is a celebration of the current Canadian Punk landscape, and a lot of people turn out to support the vibrant scene. Bands, individual performers, and of course fans; were all part and parcel to the 2 day marathon of Punk music that took place at This Ain’t Hollywood on April 14th and 15th.

1st Band: At What Cost.

I can no longer see this band and see just ‘a Punk band.’ Instead; because of time and circumstance, I get nostalgic. I know that sounds silly, but I am serious. I have seen the band three times. But the first time I saw them, I was new to Punk shows. And every time I have seen them since, I am reminded of that time. Their music is still cool, politically driven, and socially conscious. And I am still a fan. They still put on kick-a*s shows that make you think. The best part about seeing them live though is how I feel like I’m 17 once again. And how fresh and inspiring everything in Punk feels once more. 10 out of 10.

2nd Band: The Rebel Arms.

It wasn’t that long ago I saw this Grimsby band, and I took an immediate liking to them. Sure they play Hard-Core, but it’s melodic, appealing, and has political overtones. It also has it’s funny moments, making for a wild mix of Punk. This band has an insane amount of energy, which made for some difficult shooting moments, but it all turned out in the end. I love seeing Punk from other areas of Canada, and The Rebel Arms teaming with Rebel Time Records to help produce this festival help provide a great opportunity for that. 10 out of 10.

3rd Band: The Rotten.

Yes, their original songs are brilliant. (They concern the state of modern Punk Rock, Canadian politics, and other topics.) But then; Steeltown Spoilers guitarist Chris Crash was called up to assist on a cover of the Dead Boys seminal ‘Sonic Reducer.’ And everyone in the audience went crazy, myself included. We sang along too,  and it made for some wonderful chaos. 10 out of 10.

4th Band: Brutal Youth.

An already speedy four-piece,it’s like this band took the exquisite craziness left over from the Rotten’s set and transplanted it into theirs. People were literally climbing over one another to sing the bands lyrics up front, and it was amazing to take it all in. Lead singer Patty O Lantern is an especially energetic performer, so it’s interesting to see that manifest in the audience.  But their set, amazingly, has it’s more poignant moments too. Like in the song ‘Postman’, which is about Alzheimer’s affecting a band members grandparent. 10 out of 10.

5th Band: Class Assassins.

Even though they are from Hamilton’s rival city of Toronto, The Class Assassins are always greeted with enthusiasm. And with such timely lyrics, and great music that provides the right amount of punch, it’s easy to see why. Their music talks about a lot, and they perform wonderfully. It’s a fantastic combination, and that is why I remain a fan. 10 out of 10.

6th Band: The Rebel Spell.

Since last year’s Rebel Fest, I have not been able to get this band’s music off my mind. It’s staunchly political, highly opinionated, and full of irony. And yet, it is not preachy. If anything, it’s insanely likeable. Their set was as incredible as the previous year. They exploded into their songs, and the audience responded like they were hearing Punk for the first time. I could not believe it when they performed my favorite song, as it was not on the set list, but myself and a bunch of others were cheering like crazy when they did. (And some of the more nervy ones, like me, went onstage and sang along.) 10 out of 10.