Wednesday, March 31, 2010


There aren’t too many musicians that I can list that compare to the mind blowing talents of Matthew Bellamy, singer/guitarist/pianist of British alternative rock band Muse. Up until a few months ago, Muse was nothing but a name to me. Thanks to a special someone urging me to check them out, they are now on my list of top bands and best live shows of all time.

As the lights to the Saddledome faded, 3 tall structures resembling that of office buildings stood onstage. Made of video screens, the pillars showed a line of human silhouettes climbing stairs, only to tumble down when they reached the top. Curtains dropped and in the middle of the structures, Matthew Bellamy and his band mates erupted into ‘Uprising’ and ‘Resistance’, two singles from their latest record, released last year.

The visual effects for this show were some of the best I have ever seen. Live video feed of the band jamming, along with various other video complimented the mood of the song and were streamed through the giant three dimensional screens throughout the show. It was highly comparable to the last Nine Inch Nails tour.

But what Trent Reznor was missing were the lasers. Midway through the show, green laser beams were emitted across the stadium, some straight into the crowd, others from the roof to be deflected off the stage and outward. They were nothing short of spectacular albeit slightly distracting. Regardless, I had seen nothing like it previous to this show.

Even the grand piano Matt played during ‘United States of Eurasia’ and ‘Ruled by Secrecy’ lit up with each key hit.

Some may say that over the top lighting and stage setups are for the less talented bands of the world. This is definitely not the case for Muse.

Matthew Bellamy may currently have one of the strongest, most powerful voices I’ve witnessed, but also brings his superior guitar, piano and even key-tar (we all know how much I love the key-tar) skills to the table, making the rest of the band look a bit meek in comparison.

With their at times operatic sound, it’s really hard to compare this band to any one of their predecessors. They are in a league of their own for a band in this generation in both sound and theatrics. I left this show blown away, much like the giant eyeball balloons dropped over the crowd before the show’s end, only to explode into a flurry of confetti.  Needless to say, Muse is definitely more than just a name now.

March 30, 2010
Saddledome, Calgary

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Young and Free

One of the greatest moments in a young person’s life is the day they are set free from their family home and set out to make a life of their own. Free to eat what you want, go where you want, sleep in as late as you want, with no one forcing you to do chores or be home in time for curfew. Oh how great it is to be young and free.

But most kids don’t realize how difficult it is to establish life on their own. There’s rent to pay and suddenly you realize that your cherished internet and cable actually costs money, and that leaving every light on in the house makes your energy bill sky rocket.

After learning that it’s costing nearly $30 a night to order pizza for dinner, you hit up the grocery store in attempt to make your first meal, only to learn that all you can afford is a case of no name brand macaroni and cheese.

For most young adults, moving out means you’re on your way to post secondary, where you are slapped with student loans to cover the cost of high tuition costs. On top of that you have to buy your own text books and supplies. You’re forced to juggle a part time job in between studying so you can make your monthly vehicle payments, leaving you frazzled as you can no longer afford your cherished daily latte to help you through the day.
Gosh, adult life is sure hard. How are you ever suppose to be able to afford anything?!
Enter Servus Credit Union’s Young and Free program. Not only are they offering a free account to youth between the ages of 17-25, but they are working to help promote awareness among Alberta’s young adults, to help teach them about managing their own finances. 

They have invited the youth of Alberta to submit a video application to win a chance to be the official spokesperson for this amazing program. For a full year, one of our own will be blogging and speaking out about the program and helping their peers learn more about managing their money.

On Friday, March 26, 2010, three finalists will be chosen from all of the applications for the Young and Free Spokester search. Voting will be open to the public to choose who you think should be the voice of the program and lead us to a financially secure future.  I encourage all of my readers, regardless of your age, to check out all the applicants and vote for your favorite. Also, read up on the program and see what you can do to help educate yourself with your money.

With the right hints and tips, you might be able to set up a savings account and put money aside every month for emergencies, or to help you save for that big trip you’ve been planning. You might realize that racking up your credit card might make buying those $100 concert tickets to the hottest summer festival easier, but increases your monthly expenses. The money from those payments could be used for those new kicks you’ve been eyeing up at the mall instead!

We are the generation of tomorrow, we have the power and with the right knowledge, we can do amazing things! By getting educated early, we can set ourselves up for financially stable future, enabling us the financial freedom to reach our dreams!

For more information on the program and to vote for your favorite applicant, check out

Thursday, March 18, 2010

March 12, 2010
Red Deer Centrium

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Crowd Pleaser

Based out of Florida, Against Me! was the only US band mixed into the Canadian lineup for Billy Talent’s recent tour. Not only did they stand out as the only American band alongside the Cancer Bats and Alexisonfire, they stood out as the least interactive. In fact, the only words spoken at their stop at the Centrium in Red Deer were, “How’s it going Red Deer?”

This got me to wondering if they would have added to their performance with a little more crowd acknowledgement, or if it was fine just the way it was.

For the most part I highly enjoy bands that become involved with their fans. Encouraging crowd participation, clapping, singing along, jumping etc., provides a sense of camaraderie between the performers and the crowd and adds to the overall energy and excitement of the show.

Some bands offer personal stories and experiences between songs, sometimes unrelated to anything and other times pertaining to the particular song they’re about to play, their experiences recording the album, or happenings on tour. I find this helps connect the performer with the audience, giving the listeners insight onto the goings on of life in the studio or on the road, or perhaps the inner workings of their mind while writing their songs. I feel the sharing of life’s stories brings the musicians a little closer to earth and reminds us that they often have the same silly stories and strange occurrences that us ‘regular Joes’ experience.

However, not every band chooses to get that intimate with the crowd. I’ve found a lot of bands to include scripted lines into their shows such as the classic “You have been the best crowd on tour so far”. I can’t even count how many times I’ve heard that line. Times like that I wish bands would find a little originality. Pick out something unique about the particular city to comment on rather than generalizing it. Or just stick to the music. After all, that is the main reason we pay to go to a concert is it not?

I don’t have a problem with a band that isn’t outgoing or comedic if the quality of their live performance is high, such as Against Me!. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their set, solely for their music. Sometimes the only thing that matters is seeing some good quality music and appreciating the talent on stage. This is heavily dependent on the band though; a less established band could be seen as boring and impersonal and may not leave a lasting impression on the audience.

Mostly the debate is based on personal opinion. Do you prefer to watch a band that focuses on nothing but the music, or would you rather have the added entertainment between songs?