I enjoyed a fun and personal assignment this week when I previewed Video Games Live for Vue Weekly.
When veteran composer Tommy Tallarico dared in 2002 to produce Video Games Live—an audiovisual spectacle featuring symphonic music—no one in the business thought it would work.
Tallarico recalls the game publishers, symphonies, and concert venues telling him “people who play video games don’t go to a symphony, and the people who do go to a symphony certainly don’t play video games. You’re crazy, kid. Get out of here.”
But 11,000 people showed up to his first show in Los Angeles, silencing the doubters and starting a wave of momentum that still rolls today. Video Games Live now holds a Guinness World Records for the most concerts performed by a touring symphonic production (450, and rising), as well as the record for most concurrent live viewers at a symphony: 752,000 at a concert in Beijing, China in 2015.
“No time ever in the history of music have millions of young people around the world come out to watch a symphony,” Tallarico says. “Before Video Games Live, it never happened.” Read more
Alongside the first conscious moment I can recall as a toddler playing Chrono Trigger (trying to catch the password-rat in Arris Dome,) the haunting bass line of the derelict 2300AD labs is the first piece of music I remember. So to interview Tallarico about his numerous arrangements of equally great video game music for Video Games Live was a special moment I won’t soon forget.
Video Games Live tickets almost always sell out, but if you’re in town and can make it, hopefully I’ll see you there!
Kobo Town is an incredible Canadian calypso band, and I got to preview its upcoming concert for Vue Weekly.
When Kobo Town comes to play, they deliver a high-energy show with calypso classics and reinterpretations of the genre.
After moving to Canada as a teenager, Trinidadian songwriter Drew Gonsalves named the band after the historic neighbourhood in Port of Spain, Trinidad: the birthplace of calypso.
Gonsalves grabbed inspiration from all around him for the band’s latest album Where the Galleon Sank—whether by listening to hits from Trinidad and Tobago Carnival, working with legendary performers like Calypso Rose, absorbing ideas from French culture, or spotting quirks in Kobo Town’s home-base Toronto. Read more
I worked as a reporter at the Leduc Repweekly newspaper from the start of June until the end of August 2017. The newsroom was small, but my audience was engaged. My writing and photography also served several municipalities, appearing in the Devon Dispatch, Beaumont News and several other small papers. I was worked to the bone, but I learned a lot in the process. Here are some of my favourite stories from the internship.
I returned to my musical roots again this week when I previewed the Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival for Vue Weekly.
The annual Heart of the City Music and Arts Festival will take over Giovanni Caboto Park again this Saturday and Sunday as it highlights inner city artists for the 14th year in a row.
Charity Slobod, an organizing board member for the festival, has helped run the event for six years, and she says its primary goal is always the same.
“The main focus, and the most important point, is really giving a platform and helping inspire inner city musicians, artists, slam poets—you name it,” Slobod says. “If you sing it, you can play it, you can be on our stage.” Read more
I played with a high school rock band (Goodluck Jonathan) at the festival in 2010, so it’s great to hear that it is still growing and supporting artists in Edmonton’s core.
Feist is a performer that’s renowned for visual flare in her live performances as well as her musical prowess. Her closing set on Thursday night of this year’s Edmonton Folk Music Festival did not fail to live up to that legacy, and despite a few horrid moments roused by the audience members that joined her on stage, she put on a show that I’m convinced I couldn’t see anywhere else.
Feist didn’t perform her songs straight off of her record. Instead she sang variations of her tracks. This is a practice I wish artist would adopt more frequently. Asking your audience to join in with the chorus once in a while in fine, but talent really shines when you can manipulate your studio tracks into something different, but equally great.