October 15 2009
Polaris-nominated experimental alt-rocker Chad Vangaalen made hundred of hipsters swoon last night at the Rio Theatre on Commercial Drive.
Playing an intimate set in quasi-candlelight, Vangaalen delivered his usual, hauntingly beautiful vocal talents reminiscent of a younger, more optimistic Neil Young. Clad in a vintage 1970s outfit, complete with flared pants and a moorlock-styled mop of a wig, the singer songwriter played songs mostly from his critically acclaimed album Soft Airplane, which has become somewhat of a modern classic to those who favour poetic contemplations of death, decay and the sweetness of the human condition.
Highlights included an energetic, distorted performance of “Inside the Molecule,” an homage to grungy guitar rock of the 1990s, typified by the image of the lazy teenager rising “early in the afternoon.”
He finished the set with an eerie but sedating performance of “Molten Light,” which has been dubbed creepy and morbid by some, and sentimental and poetic by others. All in all, it was a beautiful show.
Check out his video for “Molten Light,” which Vangaalen animated himself.
The winner of the $20,000 prize for best Canadian album has gone to Fucked Up for their 2008 work The Chemistry of Modern Life. The highly controversial group, originally from Toronto, plays high-energy punk rock with virtosity and lyrical intellect.
Fucked Up, image courtesy of Matador Records
The lead singer, Damian Abraham, has even worked with Jello Biafra, singer of the Dead Kennedys who is a generational beacon for the new-wave punk era of the 1980’s.
The punk quintet beat out other more well-known Canadian acts such as the pop wonder Metric, refugee hip-hop artist K’Naan, soulful rockers Great Lake Swimmers and pop experimentalist Chad Vangaalen.
However, you’ve got to admit that punk music has always had a bit of a select audience. Not everyone enjoys the rampant, almost machine-like speed of their delivery — much less appreciate its oft political or social messages. Punk music, at its best, comes from the downtrodden, the least socioeconomically empowered. So what does this say about Canadian music lovers when a punk band has won such a prestigious, popularizing award?
Personally, I’m a fan of anything punk. In fourth grade, I listened to Green Day‘s Dookie nearly every day, and have always loved the intellectual, leftist teachings of Bad Religion.
The tail end of the summer offered little promise as I was spending all of my time in front of the computer, but getting very little done. It had something to do with True Blood, Rod Serling from the Twilight Zone (original), Mad Men and Big Love. I’m not ashamed anymore.
On September 20th, I’ll be covering the Arctic Monkeys show at the Malkin Bowl in beautiful Stanley Park. A tidy review should quickly ensue.
Friday October 2nd will see us some beautiful (and rather bizarre) images of our good friend Deadmau5, an award-nominated DJ currently enjoying fame on the radio waves with his song “Move for Me” which was made in collaboration with Kaskade, another premium spin doktor. Can you say big mouse outfit?
Deadmau5 photo: courtesy of MySpace
Polaris prize-nominee Chad Vangaalen is gracing the Biltmore Cabaret on October 2, and I promise to capture the haunting expression he’ll have when he sings “Molten Light,” god willing he will play that eerie tune.
I’m also working on getting some face time with Matthew Good, so I’ll keep you posted on any developments that way. He’s playing at the ritzy Centre for Performing Arts, with opening band Mother Mother, who you should all know and love by now…