Saturday, November 25, 2006

The best concert I ever saw Was... By Anonymous

The best concert I ever saw was Streetheart at the Playhouse Theatre in downtown Winnipeg, (late 1978).

Streetheart was touring in support of their first record, 'Meanwhile Back in Paris'. They were so hot at that time.

It was the first time I ever heard their version of 'Under My Thumb'. That was the best cover of any Stones song that I have ever heard.

One weird thing I remember about that night is that the washrooms were so small people were peeing in the sinks....

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Check out our 'swank' site atSwank's Home

Terrorism or Free Speech? By the Poltical Heretic

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Two men - one from Matawan, New Jersey and the other from Staten Island, New York - have been arraigned on charges that they are supporting a terrorist organization. Specifically, the two - Saleh Elahwal and Javed Iqbal - broadcast Hezbollah's television station via satellite for those who wanted it in the New York City area in exchange for payments that totaled $112,000.

But were they really supporting a terrorist organization or were they merely airing a news or opinions from another, unpopular perspective? These two may have a very strong First Amendment case from which to challenge their arraignment.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Tomi Swick to Tour With The Bare Naked Ladies...

Contributed by Christine Albrecht on November 24, 2006

Hot on the heels of his just completed tour of Canada opening for the Goo Goo Dolls, it has been announced that Warner Music Canada recording artist Tomi Swick will be heading back out across the country in February performing with the Barenaked Ladies. The tour, which begins on January 31, 2007 in Victoria, B.C., will see the bands playing hockey arenas in 17 Canadian markets ending on February 26, 2007 at Mile One Stadium in St. John's Newfoundland.

Of Tomi's performances with the Goo Goo Dolls, critics and fans wrote:

"Thanks to edgy alternative electro-pop and feisty lyrics, songs such as Easy Company, A Night Like This and Everything is Alright seemed to have so much more to say..."

- Ottawa Sun

Watch for concert tickets for February 3rd at GM Place.

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Lemony Snicket... doesn't really appear - or does he?

Contributed by Lezah Williamson on November 22, 2006

The other night we went out to see a talk with the famous author Lemony Snicket, only to be TERRIBLY disappointed when AT THE LAST MINUTE he didn't show up, leaving this chap called Daniel Handler holding the bag. Mr. Handler was EXTREMELY apologetic about the situation and did his best to CONSOLE the audience, but it was NO GOOD. In short order Mr. Handler fled the building in tears...

All kidding aside, we did go to see the famous author, in whichever persona he was that night. I had heard Daniel Handler speaking as himself on the CBC a few months ago, and I found myself laughing so hard I was crying - not really the best state to be in when one is driving, I soon found out. However, on the night in question (Nov. 14), Kids Books in Vancouver had arranged for Lemony Snicket to appear at a local high school (Mr. Handler kept insisting it was a synagogue) in his only Canadian appearance of this tour. The show was sold out quickly and when we arrived an hour before the show, the rush line-up was already longer than the line-up for ticket holders. Clearly this was a must see event.

Time proved us right. After a short (15 minute) delay due to Snicket/Handler being stuck in traffic, the show started with Mr. Handler apologizing for Mr. Snicket not showing up. He was accompanied by a musician, who fled the stage part-way through the show. Handler had a few audience members up on the stage to help him out with some songs, and he circulated freely in and through the audience, liberally coating one and all with put-downs and sarcastic comments that kept those not targeted in stitches.

Although it only lasted 45 minutes, it was well worth the $18 we paid to get through the door. I rate this one a 9.5/10

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Buy Nothing Day - November 24/2006

Devon of

Never mind Valentine's, Groundhog or St.Patrick's Day. Since 1992, Kalle Lasn 's brainchild Adbusters have been promoting an annual celebration known by many as Buy Nothing Day. Fourteen years later Buy Nothing Day is celebrated in 65 different countries. In America, BND occurs on Black Friday (by design), November 24th, when millions of shoppers indulging in their glutenous pre-holiday shopping traditions that eventually spin-out-of-control the closer we get to Christmas Day.

Kalle Lasn on CNN in 2004:

"I think that a lot of people just need to wake up to the ecological, psychological and political consequences of this opulent kind of hyperactive lifestyle that we have built up here. You know, right after the Second World War we only consumed very frugally. And we have increased our consumption by 300 percent. The average consumer today consumes three times more than the average consumer did right after the Second World War 50 years ago."

By the way, you can read the transcript or watch the video . Carol Costello was hosting the interview and in my opinion, she's a flake. She took her orders from above to debunk Lasn and his celebration, but failed miserably as Lasn stuck to his guns. Rock on. Keep your eyes peeled on the six o'clock news for BND is making a bigger impact each year it occurs. Here's hoping your Buy Nothing Day will be the best yet!

Participate by not participating!



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Monday, November 13, 2006

The Best Concert I Ever Saw Was... By Lezah Williamson

The Best Concert I Ever Saw Was...

drum roll, please!

I was asked a question the other day: what was the best concert I had ever seen?

Now, I've thought and thought and thought since then, but still cannot come up with a definitive answer. After all, what criteria do you judge something like this by? Musical technique? Audience reaction? Originality? Best stage show? Costumes? Or maybe it's a combination of all of the above. But what about cross-genre performances? Can you really compare a hardcore punk band to a performance by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra? Or even an indie tunesmith like Sufjan Stevens to the wildly exciting performance of The Go! Team? Can it be done?

I don't know.

What I do know is that I went out on a limb a few weeks ago and said the the recent Sufjan Stevens show I attended was 'the best concert I've ever seen, bar none.' So, am I going against my word now? Am I a big fat liar? Maybe. And maybe not.

What I've decided to do is kind of a retrospective of the musical life of Lezah, concert emphasis. I've decided to pick not one, but rather the top seven concerts I've seen, and list then in no particular order.

So here goes:

Rush and Streetheart, Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver. That's right, you heard it - Rush and Streetheart make the list. Why, you ask? Well, that is the question any sane person would ask, because frankly, it was a crap concert as far as the music went. And our seats were way, way, way up in the nosebleeds, so we couldn't even see anything (but maybe that's a blessing...). So why is this concert in my best of... list? Because it was my first time, and as they say, you always remember your first time. Yup, prior to this show I was a concert virgin. It was this show that started me on the road to ruin that I am still travelling today. And for that, I shall be ever grateful.

Alice Cooper nd The Babies (who, it turned out, never showed up because they couldn't get across the border), Pacific Coliseum, Vancouver. Alice Cooper was the second concert I ever attended, and was much, much, much better than the aforementioned Rush/Streetheart disappointment. Alice Cooper's 'School's Out' was the first record I ever bought, and I still have an incredible soft spot for that make-up wearing, goofy old golf-crazy grandpa. He's old, but he's cool. And his stage show was second to none, complete with ballet dancer, guillotine, and copious amounts of (fake) blood. What could be better, I ask you?

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The Arcade Fire, The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver. Christine and I saw this show together, and when I got back to my 'real' life, I felt compelled to spread the gospel that is The Arcade Fire. This band puts on a musically hedonistic performance that is life-affirming and visually exciting. Even seeing them on TV a few months later at some music awards set me on fire again. So you can imagine my extreme disappointment - nay, despair! - when we bought tickets to see them in Seattle, and stupidly misread the date, showing up a week after the fact. Oy vey!

The Beta Band, Richards on Richards, Vancouver. I had a bit of a lull in my concert-going career for the decade they called the '90s. Maybe it was because the music sucked? Could be. I did go to some shows, but certainly not anywhere near the number I had been seeing prior to that. So when, on a lark, Dave and I went and saw the Beta Band, I tell you - I was thanking my lucky stars. This band brought music back to me. For that I shall be forever grateful (again). This band was largely unknown at the time and was nearing the end of their first North American tour.

One guy who had seen them play New York had been so excited by the band that he hopped in his car and followed them from gig to gig across the nation and up into Canada. I felt like doing the same, frankly. Later that same year The Beta Band were up for Best Live Act at some British music awards, but were robbed - I can't recall who won, but chances are it was someone like Britney Spears. All I can say is, there is no justice in this world.

But The Beta Band was great beyond their live act, as well: each of the band members spun discs before the show, and that was certainly an indicator of the eclectic mix of musical styles and genres that we would be experiencing that evening. Altogether, I saw the Beta Band three (or was it four?) times, and every time they had this knack of starting off in a kind of small way and then building and building and building to the ultimate climax. This show ended with 11 people up on stage (including their New York fan), most playing some variation of percussion instrument, from bongos to steel drums and beyond. It was glorious!

The Go! Team, Seattle. This was a wild night with a bunch of crazy, action-packed bands. Quite frankly, the first two acts were imminently forgettable but they did set the tone for the evening, which revolved around a dance-your-socks-off type of musical therapy, the like of which I have never experienced before or since. Lead singer Ninja had the whole place dancing in such a frenzy that this question actually crossed my mind: Could I contract AIDs from someone else's sweat? Because sweat was spraying everywhere, from everyone - it was unavoidable. This was an out-and-out boogie fest. Not surprisingly, I read an interview with Ninja this fall, and she cited this concert as being the best one they had ever done.

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Matchbox 20 (or is it Twenty? - I don't know, as I'm the ultimate Matchbox 20/Twenty anti-fan out there), George, Washington (gotta love that name!). A good friend of mine was, a few years ago, a huge Rob Thomas fan. For her birthday, she invited us all to go to see the band down in Washington. And we had to camp out. But I don't like camping. And I like Matchbox 20/Twenty even less than I like camping. But I went anyway. For my friend. What happened after was a comedy of errors such that I have never experienced the likes of ever again - nor do I want to.

September 11th being the first disaster, which to many, of course, had far bigger implications but to us merely meant that we had one heck of a time getting across the border. It was 3-4 hours in line, which in turn translated to being 3-4 hours behind schedule, which in turn meant no lunch for little old me. Then we lost our friends, as we were travelling in separate cars - and we never did find them again until the next day, once the dust had all settled.

So Dave and I wandered around at the concert like a couple of lost sheep, bleating and baaahing and just generally not having a very good time. But then our fairy god-father came along, and offered us the greatest seats in the world (their friends hadn't shown up). On top of that, the setting was indescribably fantastic, perched in a nature amphitheatre on a cliff above the Columbia River. And the weather was beautiful. And the smell of the alfalfa wafting in from the fields beside us was so sweet. And, it turned out, although Matchbox Twenty/20 didn't turn my crank, the opening act was surprisingly good. So there were many, many silver linings to this otherwise disastrous day.

Sufjan Stevens,St. Andrews Wesley Cathedral, Vancouver. The current indie darling, Sufjan Stevens recently played a completely sold out (and then some!) show, the whole while wearing an enormous pair of butterfly wings. Need I say more? Just listen to a recording of him, and you will hear exactly what we heard that night - he is a master at his craft, and is probably the most skilful singer/songwriter I've ever heard. His intricate tunes sound as though they would be difficult to reproduce live, but Sufjan is the man. Amen, brother.

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Friday, November 10, 2006

The Goo Goo Dolls / Tomi Swick Concert Review by: Christine Albrecht

The Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver, Capacity Crowd - November 6, 2006

As usual, The Orpheum venue is a beautiful theatre. A perfect place to listen to the Goo Goo Dolls, however, at times one just wants to move around and have fun, whereas a seated venue doesn’t allow for that. Don’t get me wrong, this was not a staid crowd as I experienced with Bonnie Raitt’s concert. (I am still struggling with that review.) This audience was more energetic and more vocal - which I would assume is music to performers’ ears.

Opening performance was Tomi Swick who always sounds in top form. He still reminds me a lot of Tom Cochrane.

Imagine, it’s been 20 years since the band formed in New York in 1986 (then briefly known as the Sex Maggots) but soon formed The Goo Goo Dolls after reading a blurb written in a True Detective magazine. 1998 saw their breakout into mainstream with the song, ‘Iris’. The Goo Goo Dolls have just released their latest (2006) album, ‘Let Love In’, which includes Supertramp’s ‘Give a Little Bit’, along with other known songs. The Goo Goo Dolls consist of Jonny Rzeznik (vocal/guitar) Robby Takac, (Bass/Vocal) and Mike Malinin (Drums)

The band appeared happy to be in Vancouver and did their requisite Vancouver name dropping. Robby, sporting dred locks was in high energy form. I found the set to be short given the repertoire of songs they have to choose from. However they did play Slide, Black Balloon, Smash, Tucked Away, Name, Iris, Let Love In, Feel the Silence, Give a Little Bit as well as an assortment of other popular GGD songs. When Better Days was played, there was a reference made to Hurricane Katrina. Fans really enjoyed the tunes Naked and Broadway, and when the opening refrain of Iris began, it was game over for hearing Rzeznik. The crowd enthusiastically (and quite well I might add) sang every line of the song. It was a song that obviously touched many people on different levels. You could see some crying, some laughing, some hugging and so on. Ahh, the power of music.

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As keyboards are integral to the music, it was nice to see some extra bodies on stage with a keyboard and guitar. It helped fill out the sound somewhat. The only downside of the evening was when I remembered that ‘Dred’ Robby sings. He sang lead on Black Balloon, Smash and Tucked Away. Robby sometimes growls through a song as if he has a mouthful of marbles, and he’s not too happy about it either. Ah well, it was only for a couple of tunes.

Jonny joked about the amount of hate mail they got for the song ‘Name’ which guaranteed it airplay. Surprising, as the song ‘Name’ is an instantly popular song for the fans.

I didn’t get a chance to interview The Goo Goo Dolls, but the one question I’ve always wanted to ask is why their song titles do not generally ‘set up’ the song for the listener. Perhaps next time through.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Write A Six Word Story

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Lady G writes: Can you write a story using only six words? There is a site that invites you to do just that. I have tried to come up with one, but no luck as yet. Give it a try. Check out the ‘short stories’ section on

We'll be brief: Hemingway once wrote a story in just six words ‘For sale: baby shoes, never worn.’ and is said to have called it his best work. So we’ve asked sci-fi, fantasy, and horror writers from the realms of books, TV, movies, and games to take a shot at the six-word story, themselves. Some examples of stories submitted:

Failed SAT. Lost scholarship. Invented rocket.

- William Shatner

Computer, did we bring batteries? Computer?

- Eileen Gunn

Vacuum collision. Orbits diverge. Farewell, love.

- David Brin

Gown removed carelessly. Head, less so.

- Joss Whedon

Automobile warranty expires. So does engine.

- Stan Lee

Go to the link below and explore your limited, yet profound, vocabulary.

Yoplait® Donations Towards Breast Cancer Research

As I was reading through some t-blog sites, I came across ladyg.tblog. She wrote a couple of posts that I felt would be of interest for swanktrendz readers.

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The first article deals with fund raising, via Yoplait® products, for breast cancer.

Every lid matters, because every lid gets us closer to our goal of giving $1.5 million to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. For every lid we get, we'll donate 10 cents to the Foundation, up to $1.5 million. And we guarantee to donate at least $500,000.

Working together, one lid at a time, we can get there. So, this is a chance for each of us to take part in the search for a cure. Doing your part couldn't be easier.

• Beginning in September 2006, look for the pink lids on packages of Yoplait® Original, Light, Thick and Creamy, Light Thick and Creamy, Whips!, Yoplait Smoothies, and Nouriche.

• Save them, wash them, and mail them in before December 31 2006. 

Yoplait® is committed to the fight against breast cancer. And we know you are, too. So let's work together. For every pink Yoplait yogurt lid you send us, we'll donate 10 cents to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation through our Save Lids to Save Lives® program.

So here's a chance for each of us to bring the world a little closer to a cure. Yoplait will donate up to $1.5 million and we guarantee a donation of at least $500,000. Every lid matters. Especially yours. Send Lids to:

Save Lids to Save Lives

P.O. Box 72716

Rockford MN



To read another contribution of Lady G’s, go to the link below.