Another @amandapalmer Post – Now With Added Melon!

Philip HarrisChatter, MusicLeave a Comment

If I don’t get back to writing soon, I’m going to have to turn this into an Amanda Palmer fan blog but anyway… Amanda Palmer and her band, The Grand Theft Orchestra, played at The Commodore in Vancouver last night as part of their Theatre is Evil tour and despite the temptation of the Garbage gig that was happening at the same time, I ch-ch-chose Amanda and her Grand Orchestra. Amanda Palmer Their set featured a mix of new songs (the highlight being the amazing Killing Type which is an even better song live) and old including a couple of Dresden Dolls classics; finishing off with a masterful rendition of one of my favourite Amanda Palmer songs – Leeds United. There were also no less than four support acts – Zoey Boekbinder, Ronald Reagan (Boston’s premier 80’s pop saxophone duo) and two sets by members of The Grand Theft Orchestra – some stunning bass playing by Jherek Bischoff and a couple of songs by The Simple Pleasure featuring guitarist Chad Raines. Amanda Palmer and Ronald Reagan If that wasn’t enough, at each stop on the tour, The Grand Theft Orchestra is supplemented by a string quartet and horn players crowd sourced from whichever city the tour is … Read More

The Tale of the Sad Gen-X-er

Philip HarrisChatter, MusicLeave a Comment

Amanda Palmer‘s fantastic Kickstartered album, Theatre is Evil, came out last week and as with most of Amanda’s music you can ‘pay what you want’ for it on her website – and what you want can be $0. It’s an approach she’s taken pretty consistently since breaking up with her label and it seems to serve her well. The theory is that it’s more important to get long term fans than short term profits, those fans will pay back your investment in them tenfold at a later date. It’s an admirable policy if you can afford it and given the success of her Kickstarter project (with over $1.1 million raised) it seems to be working but I was reading through Amanda’s Tumblr site a few days ago and came across a post that, frankly, made me sad. You can read the whole thing here (look for the first comment from Thom Martin) but here are the relevant bits. “…it’s about perceived value. I have TBs of music. Mostly “free”. I’ve bought music online because I exhausted every way to try to download it free…Make me, the typical Gen-X-er give you money after the music is already out by sending me something useful like a … Read More

Back From The Dead

Philip HarrisBooks, Chatter, Events, Movies, Music, StoriesLeave a Comment

Time flies when you’re living in a self-imposed creative wasteland. It’s been three months since my last real update and since then I’ve been to several plays including two musicals, seen a couple of fantastic musicians live listened to a lot of great new music, backed loads of kickstarter projects, watched some hockey but not as much as I would have liked, eaten in some nice restaurants, injured my foot, run a marathon and signed up for a second one, watched some really good films (and awesome videos), seen the batmobile, read some great books and a lot of short stories but written nothing. The Evil Dead Claim Another Victim*  However, a couple of weeks ago we went away to Desolation Sound for a short break to recharge and I ended up writing the first drafts of a couple of new stories – This is Not the Apocalypse You’re Looking For and Artificial Wife. Desolation Sound  That burst of creativity (and the amazing location) swept away the cobwebs and since then I’ve been masterminding a plan to get writing back into my regular schedule. The first step was to clear out all my almost finished stories so I’ve spent the last few days revising Origami Man, Rainshine and … Read More

Molly Lewis – Live in Vancouver

Philip HarrisEvents, Music2 Comments

No actual writing this week, just more planning, but we did go to our first musical event of the year last night – a gig by Molly Lewis. The first thing I need to mention about this particular show was the venue – a real live human being’s front room. Okay, we weren’t all sitting round the fire in great grandma’s Victorian armchairs or anything like that – this was a loft in Vancouver after all – but there was a sofa and a computer and food in the kitchen and somewhere, a cat. It was also the perfect location to see the charming Molly Lewis play. If you aren’t familiar with her, she plays the ukulele (and sometimes, a kazoo) and sings about Mr T, Stephen Fry, MySpace and beards. Basically, she’s George Formby for the iPhone generation. She also isn’t sure how many songs people expect at a $5 show. In this case the answer was ‘we don’t really care’. I would guess there were about 30-40 people there last night but a lot of them already knew each other so it felt like a group of friends hanging out rather than a gig. Molly’s a great singer and her … Read More

In a Vinyl Cafe Far Far Away

Philip HarrisEvents, Music, Video GamesLeave a Comment

Busy week this week. On Wednesday we went to the Vinyl Cafe Christmas Concert. The tickets were an early Christmas present from my wife but neither of us really knew what we were going to see. It turned out to be a really fun show; a mix of stories by Stuart McLean and music by Hawksley Workman. The Vinyl Cafe stories feature record store owner Dave, his wife Morley, their two children and in the case of the three stories Stuart McLean read on Wednesday, some ferrets, a car wash and a hockey game.  The stories reminded me a bit of old British comedy shows – there’s an innocence to them that you don’t see very often any more. Don’t get me wrong, I like the sophistication of today’s comedy (the good shows anyway) but it was fun to just sit back and be entertained by some good old fashioned fun. I ended up buying Hawksley’s latest CD – Full Moon Eleven – and I have it playing now. His website says his music defies category and I have to agree so I’m not going to try to describe it. Instead, you can listen to his music on YouTube. This … Read More

Doing the Santa Shuffle

Philip HarrisMusic, RunningLeave a Comment

Yesterday was our last race for 2011 – The Santa Shuffle. It’s a 5km fun run round Stanley Park and the seawall and this year was the third time we’d taken part. The weather was great (one of those amazing Vancouver mornings we didn’t get last weekend) and we timed our arrival perfectly so we didn’t need to stand around in the cold for too long. Despite having run the half marathon last weekend and promising to “take it steady” we actually ended up finishing in around 25 mins 30 which is our fastest 5km yet. The post race refreshments (beef chili and some granola bars) were good as well so it was a successful event all round. One of our local HMV stores is closing down – presumably falling victim to the relentless advance of digital content – so in the afternoon I dropped by to take a look at their 60% sale. It turns out that it’s mostly a 10% sale (although if you want a Metallica clock then you can indeed save 60%) but I did pick up a copy of Murder by Death‘s album – Red of Tooth and Claw. I first discovered Murder by Death (or … Read More

She Wants Peter Murphy

Philip HarrisEvents, MusicLeave a Comment

At some point this blog will stop being about events I’ve attended. But not today. I got into Goth music by accident in my late teens and it quickly became the soundtrack to my life and although I have somewhat more varied tastes these days, Goth is still where my heart is. Bauhaus –  one of the first British goth bands – were a key part of that soundtrack and although they split up years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to see them on a couple of reunion tours and still listen to their music. So, when I heard that Bauhaus lead singer, Peter Murphy was coming to town, along with LA based She Wants Revenge I had to go. She Wants Revenge set list The evening was actually a double headliner show with She Wants Revenge also playing pretty much a full set. I’ve seen them in Vancouver before and liked them enough to buy both their albums. They’ve got a bit of a British Goth feel to them that appeals to me and I’m obviously not alone – they had a lot of very vocal fans in the audience last night and it was a great start to the evening. They mixed in some … Read More