Archive for the ‘francy’ Category

Music Mules a.k.a.The Hybrid Music Consumer

July 18, 2009

Written By: Francy

I’m not big on hybrids.

Maybe I’m old-fashioned, but if I want to take a photograph, I use a real camera, thank you very much, not a high-tech nifty camera-phone contraption. With the exception of being able to send fleeting, pointless pics to Twitter now and then, those fuzzy little after-thought camera-functions are useless to me.

Another hybrid I’m not into? The mule. I don’t get it. Donkeys are strong. Horses are fast. Mules are both? Neither? Who knows? I rest my case. Hybrid cars are pretty fantastic. But I can’t afford them, so they don’t count.

There is one hybrid trend that I am a part of though: The hybrid music consumer.

Let me break it down. Some music fans swear by iTunes (and other digital music retailers). It’s fast, it’s cheap, it’s convenient, it’s trendy. Others are trying (perhaps in vain) to keep the compact disc alive. They buy their music in retail stores because they crave that nostalgic tangibility of cracking open the case, holding that cold, crisp reflective disc of magic, flipping through the artwork and reading those microscopic lyrics. Those who start frequenting iTunes (and the like) usually stop buying CDs altogether. And most people who still buy CDs tend to get tragically intimidated when you start saying words like mp3 or iPod in their vicinity. As you read this, you may be thinking: “I’m an iTunes guy!” or “I’m totally Miss Retail Store.”

It’s like Coke vs. Pepsi. Playstation vs. Nintendo. David Lee Roth vs. Sammy Hagar!

But I belong to a different group. I’m a hybrid. If I’m online and want to do some music shopping, iTunes is only a click away. I download it, dump it on the trusty iPod and plug it into the auxiliary input on the car stereo. If I’m at the mall and see the shimmer and shine of a record store, I’ll spend $40 in a heartbeat. I’m able to add a couple CD cases width to my music collection and it’s easy enough to rip the music onto my hard drive. Fantastic.

There are also those who download music without paying for it and others who stream it online at sites like, MySpace or even YouTube. If you belong to those groups, you should know that record companies hate you because you’re not giving them your money. Hurray!

Where do you buy your music? Do you swear by iTunes? Or do you crave that frustrating but ultimately satisfying struggle with the sticky CD wrapper? Or are you like me – Content to buy music however it happens to be available?

I think this makes me a mule.

Oui, Oui! – No Doubt and Paramore in Montreal

June 30, 2009

Written By: Francy

I’m a fan of Paramore and I don’t care who knows it. So when I heard they were going on tour with No Doubt in Summer 2009, I ran to my computer to get tickets.
No good seats in Toronto? Montreal it is!

Last year, Paramore released a live DVD, The Final Riot. I was impressed by their live performance – they seemed to have worked hard at building a show not around songs, but around moments; at featuring each member of the band; at telling stories with music; and showcasing the heart of the band.

They delivered the same experience for the most part in Montreal, but there was something missing: The goose bumps.

I hate to say it, but Paramore showed some immaturity as a band by just playing rock songs for an hour. The lone ballad, “When It Rains” was beautiful and full but ultimately void of dynamics. It would have been easy enough and WAY more effective had they stripped it down to an acoustic guitar, some simple percussion and Hayley’s confident but heart-breakingly vulnerable voice.

Was it all bad? Absolutely not. Paramore’s performance of “Let the Flames Begin” completely blew my mind: As the band jammed feverishly, I half-expected the energy in that arena to bust out through the roof, blast up into the night sky and rip through the moon.

By the time No Doubt hit the stage, the Bell Centre was almost completely full. With a stage that looked like something out of a space movie and a giant digital video screen serving as a “anything’s possible” backdrop, No Doubt lit that place up in a way I was not expecting.

I always thought of No Doubt as just a quirky, weird ska band who eventually traded the horns for synths and club beats. I was dead wrong. When Gwen Stefani prances and slithers across the stage like a feline high on cat nip, she’s doing it because it works.

Like their opening act though, No Doubt could have capitalized more on some would-be moments that were unfortunately allowed to slip by. I would have loved to see a more intimate version of “Don’t Speak”. During “Hey Baby”, everybody on stage was playing a synthesizer but there was never a moment made out of it. When Paramore stormed the stage to join No Doubt, I was disappointed by the lack of structure. Bassist Tony Kanal and guitarist Tom Dumont started generating some guitar-duel heat at one point but let the moment fizzle out instead of thrilling the audience by pushing it to the boiling point.

The performance of “Just a Girl” was a showstopper though with front-woman-of-the-universe, Gwen Stefani, shouting “Are you looking at ME?” rather indignantly before dropping to the floor and cranking out a long set of push-ups.