Nadia: Reminders

Nadia LogoI mentioned last week, there are some days, even weeks that simply by way of existing, make it hard to stay positive.  A hard few days at work, where thanklessness and bitterness overwhelm the desire to work hard and stay motivated will bring anyone down.  Lately, technical difficulties with my Examiner page have made it even hard to get excited to sit and write a music review, which really sucks.  When even the job you’re passionate about starts to get tiresome, you know something has to give.  Last week, when I was beyond frustrated, tired, cranky and really just “over IT” (IT being everything), the musical gods must have been looking down on me with pity and generosity in their hearts.  I was given not one, not two but THREE amazing music related opportunities, all of which turned into some of the greatest moments of my fledging music journalist career.  They also served as much needed reminders of why I am doing what I do in the first place.

The week started off with a serious case of the Mondays.  Anyone who has ever watched the movie Office Space knows what I’m talking about.  Anyone who has worked a corporate/office type job also knows what I’m talking about.  Getting out of bed on a Monday morning is a trial on its own, and arriving at work only to stare at blurring numbers on a screen and hear MBA speak and corporate buzz words all day long can wear down even the IMG_3079 (Custom)cheeriest of us.  My case of the Mondays was cured by a dose of The Darkness Monday night.  I already raved about how amazing that show was last week    but upon going through all my photos and writing my review after that column went up, I was reminded of that lovely fact, and now I’m reminding all of you.  The Darkness is a band that has to be seen live to feel the true force of their talent.  They are a musical juggernaut – all power chords, heavy bass lines and LOUD drums.  And Justin Hawkins’ vocals, that seem to good (and too high) to be true recorded, are beyond impressive.  But it’s the visual presentation that really drives the point home – these guys not only know how to rock, they know how to put on a great show.  You simply can’t tear your eyes away from that stage.

When I started writing music reviews, I never intended to become a photographer.  I still wouldn’t call myself a photographer per se.  The only thing I’m able to shoot with any decent results is a rock concert.  If I try to take a picture of a human standing still, or an object standing still, somehow it turns out fuzzy, blurry, and ugly.  But over the past two and change years, I’ve managed to take some pretty good photos with my little Canon Rebel that serve as visual companions to my words.  Sometimes it’s a chore, sometimes it’s a pain, but other times it’s an absolute joy.  Shooting the Darkness fell under that last category.  Justin Hawkins and company are a photographer’s dream to shoot.  Not only are they naturally photogenic by way of being attractive young men, but their eccentric fashion sense, their wacky personalities and inherent ability to move, pose and play like the rock stars they are make for some fantastic photos.  That night, the Darkness reminded me of why I picked up a camera in the first place – to forever capture moments of a show like that one.  Check out photos here.  And hey, if you want to like my facebook page while you’re at it, well, that’d be swell J

After the Darkness show on Monday, going back to work Tuesday and Wednesday felt so LAME.  Imagine staring at an excel spreadsheet with visions of the ab-tacular Justin Hawkins running through your head.  It was painful to say the least.  Things began to change when I received a message from one Darryl Hurs (Indie Week founder and booker extraordinaire at the Rivoli) telling me to come on down and cover the CAPACOA show case taking place in the Rivoli back room.  I’d known that Lee Harvey Osmond was a great band, but I hadn’t ever seen them play, and had only heard a song.  My friend Bobby had actually told my about the show, and he being a trustworthy source of music I figured I’d head out on a Wednesday night to check things out.  Bob (Segarini), being a friend of Lee Harvey Osmond frontman Tom Nadia Phil Tom Wilson and BobWilson, and Phil Taylor from power pop quartet Xprime joined us for what turned out to be an unforgettable night of music. Nadia, Tom Wilson, Phil Taylor, and Bob. Picture: Bobby Singh, FOH Photography.

ben caplanMusical Mountain Man Ben Caplan opened the showcase but seeing as I seem to be cursed when it comes to his shows, I missed his undoubtedly unreal set.  Lee Harvey Osmond was on stage when I arrived however, and immediately I knew I’d made the right decision coming to the show.  A country blues rock explosion, Bobby was right when he said that this band was awesome live.  The deal was sealed when Wilson pulled from his Junkhouse catalogue and brought me back to the nineties with his former band’s hit “Shine.”

If you were a teenager in Toronto in the nineties, Junkhouse was one of those bands that just got into your consciousness.  Even though I hadn’t heard “Shine” in ages, the words, lyrics and music came back to me right away, and as I sang along I remembered how much I’d love that song, and how great it was even years later.  Just when I thought I’d had my musical moment of the night, Bob told me that the Trews were going to be wrapping up the night.  I’d seen the Trews play a very intimate acoustic set when I first started covering shows, but had to miss their most recent show back in December Trwes 2much to my dismay, so this was a great surprise.  The Trews are another one of those bands that need to be seen live, though in an extremely different way.  In a small setting, when sitting with their guitars in their laps; that’s when the Trews are at their best.  The harmonies between the MacDonald brothers (Colin and John Angus) cannot be beat; it’s clear they’ve been singing together since childhood.  It’s a band that gels together perfectly live, and they’re a joy to watch.  They also played two of my favourite songs “Hold me in your arms” (Colin’s voice sounds just as strong live as on the record – amazing), and “Highway of Heroes” a song that gives me chills every time I hear it, especially live.  It was a fantastic performance and a wonderful trewstomsurprise, but if it wasn’t fantastic enough, for their last song the Trews invited Wilson and Caplan back on stage.  They proceeded to blow the crowd’s collective mind with a cover of “The Weight” by the Band.  I could never do it justice with a description; I can only tell you that moments like that performance are a perfect reminder of why I’m trying to make it in this business.  The pure joy at witnessing that kind of musical moment, it’s worth all the hard work in the world and struggle this business comes with.

I’d have been pretty lucky if the CAPACOA showcase had been the highlight of my musical week.  Good planning had already ensured that I’d be attending not one but TWO Soundgarden concerts, having procured tickets to both sold out shows at the Sound Academy here in Toronto.  I was already fairly losing my mind with excitement at the prospect of Soundgarden in my hometown again, when I got an email from the lovely folks at Livenation confirming my application to cover the Friday show.  That’s right, I’d been IMG_3449approved to cover a SOUNDGARDEN show.  To say I was thrilled, excited, ecstatic, all these words couldn’t begin to describe how freaked out I was.  Not only is Soundgarden my favourite band, but as you all well know (if you’re read anything I’d written), but they are the band that made me love music, and therefore begin writing about music in the first place.  To me, this was not only the biggest deal of my career, it was also a sign, an indicator of how things are somehow unfolding as they were meant to.  When it came time to get into that pit with the other photographers I couldn’t hold in my excitement; it was written all over my face and my tense pacing.  Even fans at the front of the crowd were telling me how happy I looked – I have a terrible poker face.  And let me tell you, when the houselights went down and the band came on stage, it was all I could do not to lose my shit.  I’m pretty sure I “Woo’ed” extremely loudly.

Those first three songs (no flash) were one of the best experiences of my life.  It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  My pictures could have been a giant blurry mess – I had no idea, nor did I care in that moment.  I enjoyed every second of it – it’s something I’ll never forget.  And the bestIMG_3579 part?  After I was done shooting, I still had a whole Soundgarden concert to rock out to as the batshit crazy, die-hard fan that I am with my crazy diehard fan friends.  And if THAT wasn’t enough, I had yet another show to go to the following night.  Being able to pair the coolest experience of my music journalist life to two back to back shows with my a favourite band; it was a twofold reminder of why I do what I do.  It reminded me that I do this for the opportunities and experiences I’d never have if I wasn’t trying to be a music writer, and it reminded me of how much I love music, and how that passion fuels me.

Not too shabby of a week, I’d say.

(Thanks to Bobby Singh of Front of the House Photography  for the Rivoli photos, and to my little Rebel for the Darkness and Soundgarden Photos).

Until next time,

Xo

Nadia

=NE=

Nadia’s column appears every Tuesday

Contact us at: dbawis@rogers.com

DBAWIS_ButtonNadia Elkharadly is a Toronto based writer with a serious addiction to music. Corporate drone by day, renegade rocker by night, writing is her creative outlet.  Nadia writes for the Examiner (.com) on live music in Toronto and Indie Music in Canada.  She has never been in a band but plays an awesome air guitar and also the tambourine.  Check in every Tuesday for musings about music, love, life and whatever else that comes to mind.

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