Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Harrisonburg College Music Festival

MACROCK XII: The Annual College Music Festival Returns to the ‘Burg April 3 & 4 - March 26, 2009 - The WeatherVane Online
Ripped jeans. Faded rock t-shirts. Large white vans pulling boxy trailers covered in bumper stickers and filled with guitars, drums, amps, cd’s and t-shirts. Crowds of young kids with matching neon event wristbands yelling in anticipation and admiration. Loud singers with even louder guitars.

These are a few of the sights and sounds of the Mid-Atlantic College Radio Conference (MACRoCk). The annual weekend festival, which takes place on April 3 and 4, draws fans and bands to Harrisonburg for a celebration of independent music. From hip-hop to hardcore, bluegrass to experimental and everything in between, the two-day event covers a vast array of the indie music landscape.

From its creation twelve years ago, MACRoCk has been trying to connect bands, labels, and fans through concerts, workshops and panels. Started in conjunction with JMU, the event is now a collective effort of staff at local college radio station WXJM, local volunteers, and downtown businesses.

Ben Schlabach, an EMU alumnus whose band Mild Winter will be playing at MACRoCk for the second year, has been going to the festival for several years. “I’ve been personally going to MACRoCk for like eight years or so,” said Schlabach. “There are lots of cool bands that people haven’t heard of. A lot of smaller bands working really hard in the music scene.”

Over 80 bands are slated to play this year’s festival. Many bands are Virginia natives, but several are traveling long distances to play in Harrisonburg. Liquid Limbs from Gainsville, FL and Cast Spells from Chicago are just two bands that penciled MACRoCk into their touring schedule. North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio are also being represented at the event.

“It’s a little bit of a hometown pride thing,” said Schlabach. “It brings kids to Harrisonburg and shows them that Harrisonburg has a pretty good scene.”

Restaurants like the Artful Dodger, Blue Nile, Clementine Cafe, The Little Grill, and Franklin’s Cafe and Wine Bar join Court Square Theater and Lucy Simms School in hosting the shows.

Aside from concerts, the festival features discussion panels made up of various band members, radio personalities, and community organizations. The panels, held at various places around town, deal with topics like independent publishing, careers in radio, graphic designing, community improvement, and “behind the music” tales from band members.

Another weekend event aimed at linking bands, labels, and other members of the independent music community is the label expo. Artists, labels, booking agencies and public relations companies will have booths and stands discussing and showcasing their products and services.

MACRoCk celebrates its twelfth year on the weekend of April 4 -5. Shows start on Friday at 5 p.m. and on Saturday at 2 p.m. and continue past midnight.

Pre-sale tickets for both days are available for $15 at macrock.org. Tickets can also be purchased separately for Friday and Saturday at the box office at Court Square Theater.

More details including a full band list and schedule are available at macrock.org.
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Monday, March 23, 2009

South by Southwest Festival

TheStar.com | Music | Texas fest more than just a lot of noise
AUSTIN, Tex. – The music industry is in a perpetual panic and the world in general seems to be heading down the toilet, but the vibe at the South by Southwest festival has – will wonders never cease? – been as sunny and positive as ever this year.

Officially, registration for the music side of the festival was down a tad this year, while the stable film and surging "interactive" components took up the slack. The streets, however, were still a riot of errant noise and boozy misbehaviour – police estimates put the number of visitors in town for SXSW and Spring Break well in excess of 100,000 per day – Austin's clubs and concert halls were bursting at the seams and there were a whopping 2,000 acts in town to play. So, you know, it's doing all right.

Belts might be tightening around the globe, but they were definitely loosened a little during the five days that North America's largest and most closely watched music festival blew into town. Free stuff was still abundant – you can't turn a corner in Austin during SXSW without someone handing you a CD, a beer, a plate of grilled meat, a pack of smokes or a pair of flip-flops – and the innumerable satellite parties on the fringes of the actual festival have gotten utterly ridiculous in scale.
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Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Food4Music 2009 Metal Showcase

As a former Vancouver musician, and having gear stolen on a few occasions, I feel for these guys. If ever there was a time to support your local indie bands this would be it. Helping out the food bank is always good karma too, so get your ass down to the Cobalt on April 11th and do your part!

Bands Team Up to Help Support One of Their Own

VANCOUVER, BC – Food4Music 2009 – On Saturday, April 11th, Vancouver-based Entertainment Company, Food4Music, known for its successful fundraisers for local Food Banks around North America, is extending their services to help out a local independent band, Flood of Fire, recoup stolen gear from a recent theft. This fundraiser will feature performances from Flood of Fire, Reckoner and Venomous Tusk and will feature a performance from Canada’s only female fronted tribute band to Black Sabbath, Sister Sabbath. www.sistersabbath.com

All fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item which will be donated to Vancouver’s local food banks. All ticket/door proceeds will be donated to Flood of Fire www.myspace.com/floodoffire to assist them with the cost of replacing their stolen gear. Fans will also have a chance to participate in the 50/50 draw for cash winnings, in which 50% of the proceeds will be donated to local food banks.

Place: The Cobalt
Date: Saturday, April 11, 2009
Time: 9:00PM

Food4Music Events Inc. is a music entertainment company featuring live music acts helping to raise proceeds for local food banks. Our main objectives are to support local artists through gained exposure, help strengthen the community through charity involvement and assisting local businesses via sponsorship roles. Food4Music books benefit shows in both Canada and USA featuring many different music genres.Food4Music has raised over $13,640 in cash proceeds plus more than 2,000 pounds in food donations for North American Food Banks while showcasing some of the nation’s finest talent.

Food4music would like to give a special thanks to Brutal Entertainment for their promotional support, Europe Bound Travel Outfitters for donating prizes and Sister Sabbath for donating their performance as a show headliner.
For complete details about the show or Food4Music Events, please visit www.food4music.com or www.myspace.com/food4music.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Indy Hostel - Cheap Indianapolis Hotel, Music, and Events

Check out Indy Hostel, a cheap hotel in Indianapolis for a great place to stay when passing through, or staying a while. I was just looking through some of their events listed on their web site and this place is pretty cool. They put on shows for sing/songwriters, local and from around the world. Nothing better than rolling into town, hitting the shower, followed by a few beers and some great music.

It reminds me of the old Niagra Hotel back in Vancouver except well..... nice. I remember back in the day I played a show at the Niagra opening for the Dayglo Abortions. What a show! I think Gob may have played as well, but it didn't matter. Once Dayglo's hit the stage all bets were off. I still remember them busting into "I Wanna Be an East Indian", much to the displeasure of the one East Indian fellow in the audience. Actually to be fair I think he wasn't all that bothered by it, it was more the drunken white red necks that just decided to give him a hard time. Other than that minor lapse, it was a fun, drunken show/evening. At least until I got to my car after the show only discover it had been broken in to. That sucked. My brand new cd player was gone, bastards. Insurance covered it, but not before a long drawn out fight with ICBC.

Anyway, back to Indy Hostel. This place would be very cool to play or visit if you are passing through Indianapolis. Very friendly folks run the place, they always know what's going on around town and more things to do. Check them out and drop them a line, even it's just to say hi!

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Spork Kills, The Fathers of Surf Rap

Check these guys out, very cool, and very unique! Never thought I'd see the day surf and rap fused, but hey here it is! Now I know what you're thinking; Dick Dale meets Snoop Dog! Now, yes I agree that would be pretty sweet. But I think this may even top Snoop and his "nothin' but a g thang" with a surf backdrop.

Seriously though check these guys out! Nothing like I've ever heard before:

AP (Associated Press) Sept, 2008

"Madness! It can't be true!" This was the headline in world news when it was announced that someone had finally found a way to fuse rap and rock without sucking. The year was 2004 & unsuspecting indie rap renegade, Louis Dorley née louis logic, was about to step foot into another routine overseas collaboration, this time with Copenhagen production syndicate Nobody Beats the Beats. As fate would have it, the engineer who was to record this magical session fell ill and was replaced by flamenco guitarist extraordinaire, Laust "Juelz" Jeppesen. It was a classic case of loathe at first site when the two discovered they shared the same disdain for the monotony of 1994 rap revivalists. Three hours and one run of the mill rap song later, plans for a secret summit were orchestrated to invent something the hip hop world hadn't seen in years: The Next Cool.
In attendance at this freak show power summit were Jeppesen, Dorley and former hitman turned teen idol, Rolf Sigurd Heat. The discussion began simply enough with the objective to shun all things reeking of regimented rapping and banal beat-smithing. In no time the ill fated trio had whipped up a helping of original, sample-free, live music smacking of an early Roots album outtake. It was then that they realized they must go further. Their travels took them into unfamiliar territory, hacking their way through the overgrown forest of 50's and 60's white music "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" style.

At first, it was the ooze of sleazy lounge lizard jazz, which gave way to circus like waltzes and even histrionic Anglo spy scores. Then, born in the wake of a series of personal tragedies, sanctimonious late night speeches about reaching true potential and ice cold beers, the first Surf Rap song in the history of mankind materialized. Naturally, as was the case with man's first walk on the moon, something so exciting could not simply be explored once. Or rather, it could, but this trio was determined, neigh, bent on reshaping the rap game into something silly enough to enjoy once again. So it was that in this the year of our lord 2008, Spork Kills would rise to fame as the Fathers of Surf Rap.

Now Available:

Spork Kills "Beaches Love Us" EP
(featuring "Night of the Hip 'N Dead" Video)

Spork Kills

Monday, March 02, 2009

Playa Dogs - Farewell Tour

Well, it's only been 3 weeks since we first took the stage at Bad Boys Beach Bar in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico and we've already had our farewell show. It reminds me a bit of when I played in a band Selvatone many years ago. We spent the better part of a year making a record, gigging, and promoting ourselves as much as possible only to plan out big CD release show. The show was a great success, and a tone of fun but it was also our last show! But that's a whole other story.

Back to the Dogs, or Dawgs, or even Dawgz as I've referred to them now on this blog. We spent this past week fine tuning a couple tunes that we played over the last 2 weeks, Smokin' In the Boys Room, and La Grange. But the best was yet to come. We decided to take on our most challenging and best song so far. Billy Idol's Rebel Yell. I used to play this song with The Misconducts, and we used to kick the shit out of it, but we never really learned all the little changes properly. That wasn't The Misconducts way. We liked to do songs our own way, but again that's yet another story.

Rebel Yell got better and better throughout the week, and as of Friday's practice it was really starting to take shape. We ran through it quickly Saturday afternoon and it was the best we had ever played it. That was until we hit the stage at Bad Boys Saturday night. We opened up with it, and it rocked. Not only was it the best we had played it all week, I think it was the best song we played over the 3 weeks of performing! We followed it with Smokin' and ended off for the third Saturday in a row with La Grange. It rocked! Special thanks to Carl for adding some mouth harp on both Smokin' and La Grange.

Unfortunately all good things must come to an end, and Eric (our temporary guitar player) will be leaving this Thursday, heading back to the home of those no-good outta be tossed out of the NHL, Minnesota Wild. He'll be back next year, and we'll be sure to reform then. In the meantime we're holding open auditions for a new guitar player. Here's the deal, you must rock, rock, rock! It pays nothing, bring your own chicks, drugs and/or booze. You must NOT live to play "Hotel California", "Old Time Rock n Roll", or "Mustang Sally". Other than that, all you need is to know a few chords and how to rock!

In all seriousness though, it was a lot of fun with Eric, great guy and even a better player. Hopefully our next axe man will be just as cool!

The memories will live on though, as over the last week of practices, I was rolling tape. Not tape literally, but you know what I mean. I've got several versions of all the songs we've learned down already except for Paranoid. We plan on getting together one more time this week before Eric leaves and hopefully we can lay down a good recording of all 4 songs. If it happens I will be sure to post some mp3's for all to enjoy.

And.... as you can see above, there were a few photo's taken from this past Saturday as well as a video of Rebel Yell! Apparently all the photo's of me were too obscene to publish so I never saw them. Either that or their weren't any, I'm not certain. The video is a bit rough as there were some camera malfunctions during the performance as per Rick:

"My camera would stop recording every sixty seconds, so I had to splice together five segments. Try to ignore the "hiccups" every minute "

None the less it's pretty good and shows us rocking out! Hopefully we'll be back at it soon enough, but until then long live the Playa Dogs!