Concert Reviews

Concert Reviews

J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only Tour
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J. Cole: 4 Your Eyez Only Tour

 

It’s been about a week and a half since the J.Cole hit up Toronto for the 4 Your Eyez Only Tour. I’ve been listening to Cole for a quite awhile, but never got around to catching him live. The last time he was in Toronto was for Drake’s 6ixth Annual OVO Festbut I wasn’t able to score tickets.

Before J.Cole hit the stage, Anderson .Paak hit the stage with his band. He has such smooth vocals both when recorded and in person, and he is killer on the drums. He stood at centre stage initially, but then he made his way over to the drum kit and stayed there for the rest of his set. He performed “Suede”, which is one of my favourites. I especially have a soft spot for him because he has a song titled “Khadijah.”

Then, the opening notes of “For Whom the Bell Tolls” off of 4 Your Eyez Only were heard. Cole came out wearing an orange prison jumpsuit with the words “Property of ________” on the back, reminding us that it is not his story, but rather an Everyman tale of sorts. In between well-timed videos and personal anecdotes, J. Cole performed every single song off the album. Yes, you read that right. He also performed classics from earlier days, including “Power Trip,” “No Role Modelz,” “Wet Dreamz,” “A Tale of 2 Citiez,” and “Lights Please.”

The room was filled with such crazy energy, and you could tell that everyone felt uplifted. Although I had seen Kendrick Lamar just a few days before, for the second time, I felt that J. Cole put so much more effort and passion into articulating himself to his fans, and performing every song from the bottom of his heart. I felt like that was the case when I saw Kendrick back in 2015, but I felt that it was more of a gimmick this time around, and almost rushed.

If you didn’t get a chance to catch it the first time on HBO, there is also a short film that accompanies J.Cole’s album. It is such a real and powerful story, one that has stuck with me. Click here to watch it in full.

The DAMN. Tour
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The DAMN. Tour

The DAMN. Tour has been described by critics as a “centre-stage ass kicking” by critics. The acclaimed album DAMN. by Compton-born rapper Kendrick Lamar, has gone double platinum since it’s Good Friday release.

In terms of the album, I would describe it as a very complete piece. His alter-ego “Kung Fu Kenny” comes through a lot of the tracks and carries right over into the show.

Before Lamar hit the stage, Big Baby D.R.A.M. and Travi$ Scott came to the stage. Dram, famous for the catchy hit “Broccoli,” serenaded the crowd in the opening minutes and closed with the track. About 10 minutes passed before Scott was on the stage. He went all the way to his tapes and brought it forward to Birds in the Trap Sing McKnightHe also performed his latest single, “Butterfly Effect.”

Travis couldn’t be kept on the ground. He mounted a large bird (which was fitting) and hovered over the audience while he performed some of his greatest hits, like “Antidote” and “Goosebumps.” He was enjoying himself so much, he performed “Goosebumps” four times.

AIN’T NOBODY PRAYING FOR ME. 

This is the phrase that rang out over and over. It was found on the screens, in the air, and on the majority of the concert merch. Kendrick spliced in videos of him fighting with martial arts, where he was known as the Black Turtle. He called out a fan that challenged him saying that Toronto wouldn’t remember, and then used it as a segue into tracks from his debut album, Good Kid M.A.A.D. CityThe 2012 release is what really put Lamar on the rap scene as a force to be reckoned. It made his flow, interludes, and content famous.

    

 

 

Matthew Good at Maxwell’s
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Matthew Good at Maxwell’s

On Monday, March 6, I left my co-hosts to hold their own in the studio for After Class. Matthew Good made his way to Waterloo as part of his sold-out Canadian tour called “I Miss New Wave.” There were about 700 people there, but the size of Maxwell’s Concerts & Events made it an intimate experience regardless.

Before Matthew hit the stage, the audience was entertained by a recorded opera ballad. After this, with lights to match, there was an audio clip of some kids chanting, “K-I-C-K-A-S-S! That’s the way he spells success!” Although I didn’t fully get the connection at first, it became clear to me as the show went on. Although happily married with children, Good still takes pride in kicking ass on stage. Matthew told stories about some of the guitars that he used, including one that was meant for Keith Richards, even though he had never touched it. Richards apparently took one look at the guitar and decided that he no longer wanted it.

With a career spanning 25 years, Matthew Good has quite the musical repertoire to choose from. He played crowd favourites like “Hello Timebomb” and “Load Me Up,” played some less routine tracks in the middle, and beautifully ended with the juxtaposition of “Apparitions” and “Weapon.”

In my opinion, Matthew is on tour to show appreciation for his fans, both young and old. He has been making music since before I was born, and it’s something that I’ve connected with my partner over. By the same token, we can sit in the car with his parents and listen to Matthew’s music, and have an entirely different experience as a result. However, in the end, our appreciation for it is something that we all have in common. He is not one of my favourite artists, by any means, but I certainly appreciate specific pieces of his work, and what he has done for Canadian music as a whole.

To see more of what is going on behind-the-scenes of the tour, follow @matthewgoodgram on Instagram.

In addition, to see what was going on in the studio last night, click here.

 

Album Reviews/Concert Reviews/News/Shows/Gutteral Radio
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The Pit – Back after a Short Reprieve

Heyo, Zack here, and Welcome to the Pit!

Things got a little hectic the past couple weeks, but I am back once more, ready to deliver quality programming to you!

Last weeks episode featured a song by a band, Aepoch, good friends if mine, playing some of the best technical death metal I’ve heard in a long time. You can listen to their entire EP on youtube, just follow this link:

https://www.youtube.com/user/AepochMetal

I spoke about James Hetfield saying some very, very dumb things, you can read those statements in full here:

http://www.blabbermouth.net/news/metallica-james-hetfield-i-dont-know-why-we-waited-so-long-to-make-a-new-album/

http://www.metalsucks.net/2016/11/08/what-would-cliff-burton-have-thought-about-the-music-metallica-made-without-him-james-hetfield-weighs-in/

 

It is this moment, and opportunity, I would like to speak about the DAPL pipeline once more. I have been following the movement since it started, carefully watching, and what I see is more than just a native rights issue, I see a deeply infected, rotting democracy. Police, armed with military grade gear, clashing with unarmed, peacefully protesting Native Americans. The police accuse the protesters of being aggressive and violent, actions, and attitudes, I have yet to see emerge. I have seen many a cop, covered in body armor, carrying assault weapons loaded with rubber bullets, and  as aggressive as the eradication of Native American culture. I have seen the armored trucks, the wounded protesters, and the destruction of Native American heritage sites. These things I have seen are not common knowledge, in fact it appears to me that the government and media, intent on its “forward” march have done all they can to divert attention away from it. Fires have been purposefully set, and we are to believe, ludicrously so, that those who only tried to defend the land, and their livelihood based upon it, set those fires. The disgusting North Dakota police, cowards all, would have us believe the destroyers, the aggressors, are the Native American protesters. What I implore, what I beg, is for awareness of this issue, true awareness. This is exactly what democracy was created to fight, to fight inequality, to give voices to the majority, and the minority. Not all can make pilgrimage to the states to protest, to show physical support, but we can at least talk of it, and all the issues this pivotal, historic happening. Everything wrong with our society is being put up on display, for us, and the world, to see. If you can, please donate to the gofundme page, winter is coming, and with it, the greatest challenge the protesters face. This about the environment, protecting the drinking water of millions of people, and trying to make amends for the historic wrongs of heedless expansion our society has yielded. One day it may come, where it is all of us, standing as one against the creeping vines of oppression, seeking to corrode the foundations of society, and drag us to the earth once more. Until that time, we must find the way to unity, we must support each other in brotherhood, and we all must fight against the wrongs we inflict upon each other.

Thanks for listening, please keep watching, and never stop opposing those who would seek to take all you, all we, hold dear. Heres the link for the gofundme, send what you can, if you can, every bit I am sure, is appreciated.

www.gofundme.com/amodernghost

Zero Problems: The Magnificent Coloring Book World Tour
Concert Reviews
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Zero Problems: The Magnificent Coloring Book World Tour

Chance the Rapper took his Magnificent Coloring Book World Tour to Toronto for two sold out shows on September 27th and 28th. Chance’s theatrical performance at TD Echo Beach on Wednesday was animated with giant puppets, gospel singing and featured a calculated balance of songs from his third mixtape, Coloring Book, and earlier hits such as “Cocoa Butter Kisses” and “Favorite Song.”

The set illuminated an internal struggle for Chance the Rapper to remain humble. Life-sized puppets were featured as various alter egos, past loves and reminders of what truly matters in life. Carlos, a tiger-like mascot, was behind the DJ booth and regularly chimed in to remind Chance to stay true to his roots and encouraged the rapper to perform older songs. The crowd cheered when Carlos uttered the infamous line, “You don’t want zero problems, big fella” from the hit “No Problem.”  The recorded track also features Lil’ Wayne and 2 Chainz. The presentation of puppets wasn’t done just yet. A group of puppets arose as a gospel choir midway through the show for a church-like performance of “Blessings” fusing the artist’s clever Hip-Hop lyrics with gospel singing. Chance proved that lyrical rap and raw talent could get the crowd on their feet.

Chance’s musical talents and passion were evident from start to finish, but I particularly felt most connected with the rapper’s performance of “Same Drugs.” He sat alongside a life-sized puppet who seemingly represented a past lover. The performance was emotionally-driven with Chance’s crisp yet distressed vocals.

The rapper’s latest release, Coloring Book, was critically acclaimed for intermingling the sounds of gospel and hip hop. Features included superstars like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Young Thug, Jeremih, and 2 Chainz, and the raw talents of the Chicago Children’s Choir. The much anticipated collaboration with Kaytranada is rumoured to be released shortly.

Kanye West: The Saint Pablo Tour
Concert Reviews
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Kanye West: The Saint Pablo Tour

If I had to describe the Saint Pablo Tour in a phrase, it would be “delightfully minimalist.” For anyone that knows anything about Kanye West, you might find it strange that I am describing the show as minimalist, but Kanye used two things, and used them well. He had no opening act, and nothing but a floating rectangle for a stage. He had a light strip that spanned the length of the floor, and planned its light very well. It provided visual intrigue through angles, and set the tone or provided ambience; whatever West wanted at that time. It didn’t matter where you were, you got a taste of Kanye. By not having a set main stage, he was able to truly lead the crowd, and provide some level of intimacy for all.

Anytime I see GA for the Air Canada Centre, I cringe. Sure, you’re on the floor, but you still have a seat to “sit” in. My boyfriend and I went to the ACC for Day 2 of Drake‘s Seventh Annual OVO Fest / Summer Sixteen Tour on August 1st of this year. We were not on the floor, but not a single person in that venue spent any time in their seats as soon as “Summer Sixteen” was cued. However, for the Saint Pablo Tour, there was not one chair on the floor, and Kanye spent the duration of the show floating over the crowd. We were very close to the floor, and it was mesmerizing to watch people follow the platform that Kanye stood on, while partying underneath it and around it.

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For me, seeing Kanye West in concert is something that I have wanted to do since the release of his first single “Through the Wire” in 2004. Sure, I was only ten years old but even then, the music and creative genius of Kanye West was something that resonated with me, especially as a young musician myself. I saw the track as a message to creative minds to keep creating and keep pushing themselves, no matter what sort of boundaries are presented.

Kanye didn’t take the stage until 9:37 p.m. Before that, we waited in line for probably the most original concert merch I have seen to date, let alone had the privilege of purchasing. Normally when you buy a concert tour tee, it has all of the dates and location listed on the back of it. These t-shirts are exclusive because they say the date of the specific show that you attended on the back. If that isn’t a tangible memory, I don’t know what is.

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I know it sounds cliched, but this show was life-changing. It was incredible to watch one individual perform with such passion, vision, and precision. He opened with “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” and included the original gospel song that was sampled for that, making it the most epic concert opening I have ever experienced. West flowed right into “Pt.2”, then right into “Famous.” After all was said and done, all he had to say was, “That was just the intro. Welcome to the Saint Pablo Tour.” He took no breaks aside from letting the audience enjoying a lighting transition show, and performed at least one track from nearly every album. We got features, including his verses from “Pop Style” with Drake and “tHat Part” with scHoolboy Q. Every second was an intimate experience of epic proportions. Paradoxical? Enigmatic? Original? All of the above.