Posts Tagged ‘Canada’

VW Dreamin’…..

Mon ,04/03/2019

How fun!

BaT Auction Success Story: Family Adventures in a 2003 Volkswagen Eurovan Weekender

candybowl

Montreal!

Tue ,20/10/2015

had a great week in Montreal, Canada last week. First time there, lots to see and even more to *eat*. Some highlights:

1) Old Montreal – very cool, very euro, and the weather made seeing it all very easy (sunny and warm). Plus the huge Notre Dame cathedral in the middle was pretty impressive, too.

2) Mount Royal – huge wooded park in the northern part of the city, literally a ‘mountain’ rising up from surrounding neighborhoods. We walked all over that thing, amid some rain but still very pretty and you can see for miles once up there (even though not really a ‘mountain’ by Western standards :). the park was originally designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, whose son John Charles was the lead designer of Seattle’s own Washington Park Arboretum – nice local connection…!

3) Eating:

Brasserie T (kerewin found out about this place because Anthony Bourdain had been there a few times before);

Schwartz’s Deli – amazing smoked meat sandwiches, we should have gone twice!

Bagels – I was the only one to get to eat these (kerewin can’t do gluten) but mmmm…….! Also it’s worth noting that Montreal-style bagels have a taste and technique all their own.

Les Enfants Terribles – amazing food and great service.

4) Just plain fun. Everywhere we went it was interesting to explore, my only slight regret is that Billy Connolly was coming to town Oct 23, so we missed him – that would have capped off a great second week!

Merci beaucoup, Montreal….au revoir. Here’s some pics….

candybowl

Rush – Beyond The Lighted Stage

Tue ,04/01/2011

So finally was able to watch my library copy of Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage. This is a documentary of the Rush story, from early-70’s beginnings to present (2010). It also has some bonus stuff on the second DVD, deleted scenes, and some rare concert footage from VERY early on (the original three playing at Toronto high schools, which at the time were the ‘tour’ given the band wasn’t 21 so not in bars).

All in all, this is a good show, and has a nice mix of fandom (e.g. other musicians talking about why Rush mattered to them or to music generally), musical history of the band (album histories and capturing a bit of events at each one) and sporadic concert footage spread throughout. While I could have done without Gene Simmons (is that guy in EVERY rock documentary these days or what?) his comments are actually restrained and kind of funny, and Geddy Lee also gives KISS their due in terms of how much they helped Rush early on.

One thing that is also noticeable is how nerdy a band they really are. They even joke about how early on, their fans were nearly all men. Then later on, still nearly all men. Only in more recent years have they seemed to gain female fans of any amount – which is good, but I doubt it had much effect on their musical direction or appeal – still way nerdy compared to most bands. They really don’t sing much, if at all, about the usual rock ‘topics’ – sex and drugs – something that got them a lot of crap from UFO while on tour in the UK/Europe (funny anecdotes from Geddy on that).

It’s also interesting to note how Alex/Geddy were the founders and have the history together all the way back to grade school, whereas despite Neil Peart having now been in the band around 40 years, he is still (jokingly) called ‘the new guy’, because he was the second (and only since) drummer. The sequences with him are somewhat different than the other two – he’s definitely a different breed of cat, much quieter – nice guy, but definitely more intense and a bit ‘brooding’ vs. the other two.

I knew that Neil’s daughter had passed away in a bad car accident while they were on tour many years ago, but didn’t know that his wife had passed on not long after too. What a terrible, sad experience – they relate how they thought it was the end of the band – they really didn’t do anything for almost 5 years before Neil came around and wanted to get things rolling again. I’m glad he came through it, but it sounds like it took a long, long time.

I think a couple additional things might have improved this film a bit, though. For one, I would have liked a closer look at their composition process – how do they sit down and come up with stuff, what does it look like? They talk about this a bit but not in real detail, more high-level.

Second, I know that Geddy and Alex write the music for the most part, and Neil writes the lyrics in many cases. How does his writing process work? He is a voracious reader, and it’s obvious his lyrics come from all that reading – but how was he ‘inspired’, etc.? While he’s a pretty private guy, at least a minimal conversation about it would have been pretty cool.

Also, some anecdotes about specific songs might have been neat – you can see a few in the liner notes on some albums (e.g. Red Barchetta is based on a sci-fi story, etc.) but say, where other songs come from? Some are obvious (LimeLight, Subdivisions, etc.) but others?

At any rate, it’s always interesting to see what the band guys are really like – are they ‘normal’ people, self-absorbed jerks, wankers, or? Rush are definitely the former, and have largely maintained cool heads throughout their long career – cheers to them!

candybowl