Dave Duncan

"Eat Well, Stay Fit, Die Anyway"

Archive for the 'Music' Category

Pulling tunes from the air

Since we packed up for our move back into our new house, our “living room stereo” has been squirreled away in a box collecting dust. Our CD collection was happily tucked away more than year earlier, and we haven’t missed them at all. That’s because, like nearly everyone else, we’ve discovered the wonders of non-solid state media.
Between my podcasts and Spotify, all I need is my phone or laptop and a good BlueTooth speaker or an AUX line into something that can play. More choice, less changing discs and you aren’t limited to the albums you already have in your library.
That being said, there’s still some stuff tucked away among those CDs that I won’t find anywhere else (U2 live bootlegs, weird remix CDs, my homemade mixes), so once we put our living room back together, you can bet there will be a place for all that stuff. In the meantime, I don’t feel like I’m missing much.
The downside to this is that I have hundreds of CDs that might never get listened to again, so why keep them? The answer to that is sad but simple; no one else wants them and tossing them in the garbage would be a huge waste. I’ve already moved them all into a series of CD books, and once I know that I don’t want to keep the jewel cases, I can at least recycle those.
Here’s hoping that CDs don’t have a second coming-of-age like vinyl did and I’m about to cheat myself out of a “retro kickback” payday.

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MusicConnect Toronto

If you’re going to be in downtown Toronto tonight and you love music and/or emerging media, you should most certainly check out MusicConnectTO.  Aside from some fantastic prizes and kickass panelists (click on their names to see their bios), it’s also a great window into the types of media networking and information events that you can find in Toronto if you just keep your eyes peeled.

This city is quickly earning recognition for its grassroots start-up and technology community.  I lump them together because there’s so much overlap, it’s hard to tell where one stops and the other begins.  An event like the one tonight (of which BTD is a sponsor) is a great opportunity to check out the scene and it doesn’t hurt that you can win a Sirius Satellite Radio and subscription, a trip to Cleveland to see the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame or a guest spot as co-host with Craig Norris on CBC Radio 3.

I hope to see you tonight, and be sure to register in order to have your name entered into the prize ballots.

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We Can Dance

I don’t know if the universe is trying to tell me something, but in the last 24 hours, I’ve heard the song “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” nine times, and through a wide variety of sources.

It’s been on TV, in a store, even playing in a car beside me at a stoplight.  I have no concrete plans for this weekend, but I get the distinct impression I should be working harder as we approach it.  I mean, EVERYBODY’S working for the weekend, right?

Or, does the song mean that everyone will be working during the weekend?  I’m so confused.  Why can’t all songs have a clearer message, like “Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats.  They make it clear that if you don’t dance and your friends don’t dance, you’re no friend of theirs.

So I guess my mission for the next few days is clear; I have to get that song out of my head by listening to “Safety Dance” non-stop.  If I lose my mind (and I will), tell my loved ones I did it out of respect for clarity in lyrics.  Remember me.

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Mojo and the King Sunshine band

For all you out there who were wondering if Mojo passed his annual physical, barring anything abnormal in his samples (blood and, er… the ‘other’) he’s been diagnosed “Awesome”.  He’s gained a bit of weight and now tipping the scales at just over 60lbs, but it’s healthy weight gain (mostly muscle) associated with his transition from puppy to grown dog.

As a quick follow-up to his eye surgery from last year, his eyes look great and there’s no sign that he’ll suffer the ill-effects of Entropion for the rest of his long and active life.  Woo hoo!  Sadly, verifying this didn’t include a canine version of an eye chart, which would have been pretty awesome.

If you’d like to meet our little guy, the odds are pretty good that he’ll be joining us tonight for a free concert in Yonge and Dundas Square featuring an awesome funk band Danielle and I heard waaaay back when we were dating.  King Sunshine will be playing in the square around 9:30pm and did I mention the show is free?  Well, you’ll get more than your money’s worth as they put on an intensely high-energy show. You can check out samples of their stuff on their MySpace page.

If we don’t see you tonight, have a great weekend and enjoy some great summer weather without the oppressive humidity.

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Oh, What a Night!

It would be an understatement to call this weekend a busy one.  Danielle’s dad and stepmom arrived by train from Montreal on Friday afternoon and we spent Friday evening talking (in our patented blend of French and English) and catching up, as well as celebrating a VERY overdue Christmas by opening all our gifts.

On Saturday, we enjoyed a fantastic breakfast of homemade Sausage and Egg McMuffins before heading up to the Toronto Centre for the Arts to see “Jersey Boys“.  We bought Danielle’s dad tickets for Christmas, and picked up our own at the show.  By the way, if you ever want to see an awesome musical for cheap, head to the theatre two hours early on show day and pick up ‘obstructed view’ tickets.  Ours were $20 each (no fees or taxes) and we sat about 10 rows from the front and could see nearly everything.  It’s a great, cheap night out.

The show itself was unbelievable.  It tells a fantastic and compelling story with amazing musical performances, hilarious and heartbreaking acting and amazing set design where everything changes all the time without the story stopping or slowing for a second.  There is quite a bit of authentic ‘Jersey’ language (that is, swearing) and viewers should be warned that Joe Pesci is one of the characters, but those are the only offensive things in it.

On Sunday, we headed to both High Park and Yorkville to show off the city (with our dog) and then a trip to Union Station to drop off our visitors.  Danielle and I spent the evening watching the Superbowl at home and heading to curling, where we got a default win when our opposing team decided not to show up.

Now I’m relaxing at my desk with a sore throat and The Four Seasons greatest hits stuck in my head.  Not a bad start to the week, really.

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It’s All in the Background

If you’re on Rogers Digital Cable (or any package that’s fancier) or Bell’s equivalent and you’ve ever gone surfing through some of the higher channels, no doubt you’ve noticed some music stations nestled between the radio stations and pay-per-view.  I think on both systems it’s called Galaxie and I am a huge fan.

Whether I’m sitting at my desk answering emails, IMs and writing marketing copy all day (Jukebox Oldies), washing dishes (Chill) or wrapping Christmas presents (Traditional Holiday Classics), it’s great commercial-free music that takes me away from my iTunes playlist for a while and reminds me of some great music from the past and stuff I’ll listen for the in the future.

For an extra kick on dark days, I’ll fire up the classic rock channel and pretend I’m driving a Thunderbird 120 km/h through some small town in the north, the windows down and the wind in my mullet.  It’s great fun.

Yeah, so that’s it.  I just wanted to send a shout-out to Galaxie for keeping me entertained when I’m not listening to a SilentTalkie podcast, CBC Radio or iTunes.  Thanks.

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U2: First Night in Toronto

What can I say about my ninth U2 concert?  Well, I guess I can say it was my ninth.  That’s a good place to start as it gives me a pretty solid reference point for a short review.

In short, it was a fantastic concert with great songs and visual effects that had your eyes popping out of your head.  It’s my second time seeing them in a stadium and I don’t think it’s their best type of venue.  I saw them at the SkyDome for PopMart back in 1997 and felt the same thing… too much distance from a band that likes to personally connect with the audience.  Plus, it’s difficult to work decent sound in a stadium, especially with the roof open.

However, the stadium gives them flexibility to play with their stage design, and much like PopMart, this one was something to behold.  The Claw (as it’s called) was practically alive with all the movement, pyrotechnics and crazy lighting, not to mention the video screen.  It was rad, for lack of a better word.

I was sitting up in the nosebleeds, so while I was missing the close-up feel, I was able to take everything in at once.

The song choice and order was kind of flat in relation to my other eight concerts, especially their choice of opener and closer.  The performance of Ultraviolet; Light My Way was out of this world, but the rest were sort of lacklustre, leaning heavily on the effects on stage and screen to pump them up.

Having Elvis Costello in personal attendance also meant that there were a few too many EC covers thrown into the songs.  One or two would have been great, but there were a few.

All in all, it was a fantastic concert, as I said.  You’re guaranteed a great show with U2, but I’m sad to say (as I said last night to Danielle, Jared and Par) that this show ranked a nine of out of nine, with Elevation and ZooTV taking a big tie for the top spots.

One personal highlight was cuddling and swaying with Danielle to With or Without You.  I think maybe this review is tainted because I hoped they would play even just a snippet of All I Want is You which was our first dance as husband and wife.  Still, it was romantic, but you expect that from a U2 show.

As a sidenote, Snow Patrol were pretty bad openers, but that’s also expected at a U2 show.  When I saw Garbage open for them on Elevation, I was surprised they rocked so hard and put on a great opening act after seeing bands like Third Eye Blind and Gavin Rossdale’s non-Bush venture bring the pain.  The saddest part was the lead singer actually pleading with the audience to act like they cared about his band.  So sad.

So, it was awesome and if you’re going tonight, skip the opener and have a great time!


Electrical Expertise Required

Is anyone out there a wiz with electronics?  If so, I could use some help with a small guitar project.

My effects pedals are all driven by 9v batteries, but these things eat them like candy.  I could buy a 9v adapter for each pedal, but then I would have a mess of cables and an entire power bar devoted to driving these things.  I’ve looked around online at power supplies for pedals, but figure that building one might be cheaper.

Each pedal is 9v and has between 30 and 100 mA of draw.  What I’d like is one power supply I plug in and then 9v adapter cables that run from that to the pedals.  Since some pedals don’t have 9v adapter inputs, a few cables would have to have the male ends for a 9v battery hookup instead.

So, what would it cost to build something like that from spare parts or from the various buckets at a place like Active Surplus?  Am I just better off buying one of the power supplies many people get for pedal rigs?


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