Life of Tunes

Posts Tagged ‘concert review

There aren’t too many folks who sit on the fence with Rush. Like many hugely successful bands, people either love them or hate them. I have always been on the side that loves them though I have gone through stretches where I have not listened to them much if at all. Today I was moving some books on my shelf to dust (yes I do that occasionally!) and saw one of my yearbooks from high school. In taking a quick leaf through the tapered pants and big hair I saw a note from one of my friends about how obsessed I was with Neil Peart, the drummer of Rush. While I am biased to drummers often I always thought he was the biggest reason for their success. Neil Peart is an anchor behind the two front men, an amazing lyricist and one of the most talented drummers of all time. In order to avoid hate mail from all of the challengers I am going to move on quickly here, but of course that subject can be debated until the end of time, it’s a personal choice.

Rush - Grace Under Pressure (1984)This friend was referring to a particular day where a bunch of us were gathered around my encyclopedia sized bright yellow Sony Walkman trying to mimic the high hat beat of Red Sector A. Of course I was the ring leader and challenger. It went without saying that I had been listening to this “tape” to the point of exhaustion. It brought back memories of my feeling a little different from others around music and that frustrating feeling of trying to MAKE others love something as much as you do. “They just don’t understand how awesome this is” is along the lines of what I would have been thinking. A few friends were impressed by the seemingly random pattern of beats that I was referring to but they still kind of looked at me like I was the other glove that Michael Jackson never wore.

So I fully expect that many of you will hear this as just another song, others will relate and enjoy. Many of you I am sure will not even listen to Red Sector A because you think Rush is overrated or you can’t stand Geddy Lee’s hair or voice, or glasses or whatever.

I have included the studio track on Grooveshark as well as a live video. As is often the case the video quality isn’t great so to get the real experience I insist you listen to the original track. Don’t forget to follow along with Mr. Peart on the high hat!


The bottom line is that Red Sector A by Rush is a Life of Tunes keeper. C’mon…don’t you get it???

Artist: Rush
Album: Grace Under Pressure (1984)
Track: Red Sector A


What a bloody day. Not literally but my day could not have been worse. I woke up and got kicked in the balls twice within the hour. No not literally. I’ll type slower so you can keep up.  Anyway it was not a happy Monday morning and I was feeling like crap about it for the better part of the day. I am dealing with a few issues that are just getting old if you know what I mean; feeling like I am just going round and round in circles. I am sure there is a song in those words but not the song that really gave me what I needed in dealing with the insanity that was my day.

till theThis was serious business and serious for me often has me thinking of Ray Lamontagne. “Empty” of off Till The Sun Turns Black was spot on for how I was feeling today.  As if on cue Ray sings “And of these cut-throat busted sunsets, these cold and damp white mornings, I have grown weary” , putting beautifully into words just exactly I was feeling to be dealing with BS again.

The course of the song seems to take on the course of my day or perhaps the opposite is true. By mid day I am feeling more grounded and ready for battle when I recall some lines at the end of this fitting song, Empty. “Well I looked my demons in the eyes laid bare my chest, said “Do your best, destroy me. You see, I’ve been to hell and back so many times I must admit you kind of bore me.

Now sitting and reflecting on my day reading the lyrics from start to finish they have a totally different meaning for me. The song I am listening to now is about love and loss, the same song. Odd, isn’t how a great song can do that.

Below is a live version of Ray singing Empty from BBC Four Session.  Listen to the studio version of this awesome track here:


Empty by Ray Lamontagne is a Life of Tunes keeper and just what I needed today.

Artist: Ray Lamontagne
Album: Till The Sun Turns Black (2006)
Track: Empty

What is it with some people and their love or hate of music? I mean, in a way I get it; everyone has their likes and dislikes that’s the way it has always been and that’s the way it will always be. Some people are completely over the top with their “hate” of certain bands. I was in Chapters today and I overheard two “Thirtysomethings” talking about Coldplay. From what I heard the conversation seemed to go something like this.

“Are you kidding me? – they FRACKING suck!”

“In what way do they FRACKING suck?”

“Their FRACKING music moron!” And Chris Martin is such a FRACKING (insert expletive here)!”

“What specifically do you not like about their music?”

“It’s so unoriginal, a FRACKING rip-off”

“A rip-off from what?”

“FRACK OFF! Who cares, Coldplay sucks.”

The depth at which the songwriting and musical arrangement was broken down in this argument was astounding. Of course because I am passionately love music and am sensitive about the music that I like I wanted to jump in and begin a verbal assault but I thought better of initiating my 10 year old into the theater of musical combat at that moment.

rush of bloodIn reality I really could care less if anyone likes a specific band or not. When I love something I want to share it, and it feels great if the person I am sharing it with relates to it in some way as well. People don’t understand why they are so popular, or disagree with some politics, or feel they are too similar sounding to a band that they prefer. Who the FRACK cares! When I listen to music I do exactly that. How does this song make me feel right now? Is the sound pleasing to my ear? Can I relate in some way to what is being sung. The rest is really all a bunch of BS. When I put on Coldplay, 9 times out of 10 I love what I hear and I feel great. If you are worried about what the industry critics say or dude at the CD shop or anyone else for that matter, you have lost the point.

If Coldplay hater at Chapters is reading, here is what I want you to do sir. I want you to shut the FRACK up and just listen to this song without all of your preconceived notions. If after listening to this song you find that you were not moved then state that fact to the musical gods of the universe but do it for the right reasons, not because you heard some other FRACKER mention that they are a sellout one time. If you would prefer to listen to the original studio version of the song you can listen here.


The Scientist by Coldplay is a Life of Tunes keeper, and a song that moves me every time I hear it.

Artist: Coldplay
Album: A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Track: The Scientist

New Music! New Music! New Music!

Know that when I say “new” that I mean new to me of course. I am sure there are many people out there that have been listening to The Boxer Rebellion long before today but for me they are a new discovery a short time ago. I am so excited that I decided to post again shortly after my She Talks To Angels post not too long ago.


Union by The Boxer Rebellion is blowing me away. I have been listening to it nonstop today and all I can say is wow! What an easy like. Some CD’s take a few rounds before they start to feel like home but Union had me listening intently and wondering if the next song was going to be as good as the last. The Boxer Rebellion does not disappoint.

Video is hard to come by with reasonable quality so far with these guys so I am sharing two things with you today. The first is the track that sold me on my first listen this morning, Flashing Red Light Means Go. What a great tune.


Arriving at The Boxer Rebellion website will immediately bring you to a 22 minute “In Session” video as well which is well worth the watch if you have the time. You must hear this band today.  There is not much better than finding new music before you head out for a Friday night and you still have time to download from iTunes or Amazon and burn this or stop at a nearby CD shop to pick it up.

Enjoy this Life of Tunes keeper with friends tonight and happy Friday!

Artist: The Boxer Rebellion
Album: Union (2009)
Track: Flashing Red Light Means Go

Those of you who know me well know that I never shut up about Harry Manx. There are several reasons for that first and foremost being the music. I found Harry’s music during the Wise And Otherwise tour at a folk festival in Ottawa, Canada. It was an amazing day, a warm and breezy summer evening in August 2002.  I was walking into the stage area from the parking lot and there was this hush over the crowd. There had to be at least three or four thousand people there but I swear I could hear a pin drop. As I stepped into the opening of the gate Harry Manx was playing “Crazy Love” just at the intro. I was indeed speechless. I’m not saying the guys Bach or anything – it’s just one of those things. His music was speaking to me. I sat down and listened there in awe of the music, the evening and one of life’s little moment’s.

wiseThere is no way I can recreate that experience for you here today. I can suggest that if you ever get a chance to see Harry Manx that you don’t miss it.  You can listen to Crazy Love below. I have also included a little video that will give you some further insight into Harry Manx as well as some more music.


Harry plays an instrument called a Mohan Veena which is a 20 string modified guitar invented by Vishwa Mohan Bhatt. I have also seen him play an assortment of other guitars and banjoes all exceptionally well.

Crazy Love is a Life of Tunes keeper that holds a special place in my musical journey.

So I have this mixed cd that I pop into the CD player in my bedroom frequently. It’s filled up with tunes that I like to wake up to. Usually the theme here is that it starts off quiet and builds to being noisy enough for me to be no longer sleeping. So I set the timer on my stereo to turn on at 6:30AM lets say and then I am serenaded awake. I popped that cd in last night and then fell asleep dreaming of lemons, puppies, pretty flowers, clouds and crystal meth thanks to a post a friend of mine made on Facebook yesterday.

ok compAnyway, I woke up to the subtle sounds of Thom Yorke strumming his acoustic guitar. That’s a lie actually. I don’t think I actually woke up until he started singing Exit Music (For A Film). What a friggin great tune. I proceeded to repeat that track at least 5 times on my headphones (so I could crank it) before I got up. To date, OK Computer is still my favorite Radiohead album and its one that I can’t get enough of, a staple so to speak.

There are a couple goose bump moments for me in this song. I know, I know I’m a cheese ball but that’s how music effects me I can’t help it. Around 2:50 of the song there’s this grinding distortion sound that kicks in that I absolutely digg. Then of course there is the intensity of the song’s climax at about one minute remaining. I remember when I saw Radiohead live on this tour back in 1997 I also thought it was quite cool that the use of a transistor radio as an instrument was incorporated into the performance. On the original track off of the CD Thom Yorke’s vocals are quite impressive. A funny thing happens to me at this end of this song as well; I inevitably burst out laughing if it is the first time I have heard it in a few days. The last lyric of the song, “We hope that you choke – that you choke”, clearly not meant to be humorous, always catches me off guard. Does that make me strange? Don’t answer that.

The version of “Exit Song (For A Film)” that I have posted here is a live version because when I think of this song, I think of it live. I can highly recommend this track and this CD as a whole. If you don’t have it already, get on with it – today. If you do, then whip it out when you get home tonight and blast this track. Like all music of this variety, lights out between the two speakers is a great way to experience it fully.

This is your Life of Tunes keeper – enjoy!

Artist: Radiohead
Album: OK Computer (1997)
Track: Exit Song (For A Film)

eath and sun and moonToday’s Life of Tunes keeper was a nice surprise on a beautiful sunny day. I was just getting ready to head out to the car and do some work when my shuffle spit out Midnight Oil’s Truganini off their Earth and Sun and Moon album. Wow did that immediately transport me back to the summer of 1993 just after it was released. I played this cd over and over again from the moment I got it. I am not sure when, but I also have fuzzy memories of renting a white convertible to head on a weekend concert road trip and this album being the soundtrack for that weekend. Can you believe it, a white convertible? Ewwwww.  Music is such a part of my memories both good and bad. I often remember where I was the first time I heard a song and memories that I haven’t accessed in years come rushing back. That’s what happened today.

As I listened to this song today it didn’t scream 90’s to me though it clearly is. For me this song is timeless. Anyway back to my story, hearing this track as I was just heading out the door had me digging through my cd cupboard in a panic. I had to be somewhere at a certain time but there was no way in hell that I was not going to be cranking this cd in the car today. I found it and made it to my first appointment with time to spare barely!

Listening to this Midnight Oil cd today also has me thinking about seeing them live around the time of the release, I would guess the summer of 93. What a great show they put on, Lead singer Peter Garrett was as dynamic and charismatic as any performance artist I have seen to date. Listening to his discourse about world issues had me wanting to rush out and save the world. (I haven’t got to it yet – back off!)

I feel so juiced when I hear a song that I love on a warm and sunny day. The gods of music smiled down on me today and sent me a little jewel from the past. I hope you enjoy Midnight Oil’s Truganini it’s your Life of Tunes keeper.

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