Daily Archives: December 15, 2014

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Sean Michaels // Underground Sounds

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Yes, you guessed it, a year end episode of Underground Sounds is coming your way, with tune selections from your host Nick Schofield. Not only will Nick be airing hot tunes from 2014, but you can also catch a feature interview with Sean Michaels, author of Us Conductors, winner of the Giller Prize, and founder of Said The Gramophone music blog.

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Concert Review: Generationals + Lowell

By: Michelle Shi

On December 6th (in the midst of finals), Generationals took the humble stage of Bar Le Ritz. The venue, although intimate, was well decorated and inviting. After the show, in a private interview, Generationals talked about musical influences, life on tour, future plans and more.

Lowell, a Canadian singer-songwriter, opened the set. She came out in a huge fluffy jacket and a sheer dress with her name “Lowell” spelled out across her chest. Backed by only a synth, looping machine, and her guitarist, Lowell delivered a variety of fun melodies with bold, quirky lyrics. After her first song, she introduced herself to the audience and busted out a bit of French. However, the looping machine was still going, so everything kept repeating itself. It was a mistake that made the audience laugh; after all, performers are human too. Those tiny moments are what make live performances so special!

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Lowell starts off with a slow song to get the audience warmed up, and then quickly dives into her energetic tunes. Some songs to note are “Palm Trees,” “Cloud 69,” and the ever so catchy, “I Love You Money.” She finished off the night with “The Bells.” Lowell’s songs were filled with layers of shimmering synths topped with memorable, almost primitive lyrics. Her guitarist was always quick to follow her lead and take over on the synth when she stepped out.

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Lowell was a laid-back, easy-going performer that often interacted with the audience. Her favourite dance move was this hybrid jumping-jack/fist pump move. At one point she grabbed an audience member’s head and moved it along with the music. Then, she jumped into the audience and sang her song while dancing with a group of girls. She ended off her performance singing passionately on the floor.

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After a quick turnover, Generationals (comprised of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer along with their bassist and drummer) took the stage. Their groovy dream-pop soundscapes were synchronized with a distorted lightshow that got the audience raving to the amazing tunes.

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Most of the songs they played were off their newest album, such as “Black Lemon” and “Gold Silver Diamond.” But they satisfied their older fans with songs from earlier albums such as “Yours Forever” and “Greenleaf.” Grant and Ted alternated seamlessly between vocals, guitar, and synth.gen 5

Besides their characteristic bouncy melodies and catchy hooks, Generationals is known for being percussively driven. When one of the songs called for a maraca, the drummer had drumstick in one hand, and shook the maraca in the other. When the use of the maraca was over, he innovatively used the handle of the maraca as his other drumstick.

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Near the end of the show, Ted split the audience down the center and finished his guitar solo from the center of the floor. Generationals ended the night with a highly demanded encore. Although the audience yelled for “When They Fight They Fight,” Generationals played other well-known songs such as “Spinoza” and “Trust.”

I got the chance to talk to Ted Joyner, vocalist/guitarist of Generationals, after the show. On stage he was an amazing musician and offstage he was a super down-to-earth guy. He mentioned his favourite album he recorded so far was the “Trust EP” which they recorded while staying in Texas. Some of his musical influences include: Talking Heads, Billy Ocean, and New Pornographers. What’s the best thing about going on tour? “Playing shows, meeting new people, and going to sleep after the show,” Ted said, “and partying,” he added. A lot of the fans were disappointed that they didn’t play “When They Fight They Fight.” Ted explained that they normally have horns playing with them on tour, but unfortunately they weren’t able to find any in time for this show. I asked him about New Orleans (because he’s from there – and because I’m visiting this winter break). Ted told me to check out Frenchmen Street (so if you go to New Orleans, you should too). For the future, Generationals will be continuing their tour throughout the New Year into March. They are also “secretly writing” some new songs and filming new music videos, but that is under the wraps for now!