I want to be a #JLCReviewer on Feb 20th for Simple Plan (and guests)

1st – I apologize for the lack of blogging as of late, the new job has been keeping me slightly busy and my personal blogging has taken a back seat.

2nd – I know that this is a wee bit early, but I am passionate about being the #JLCreviewer for the Simple Plan concert on Feb 20th, so I thought I would start now. Well actually I started with a tweet last week.

2012 marks the 10th anniversary of Simple Plan and I’ve been a fan for all 12 years.

I remember when “I’m Just a Kid” came out. I fell in love with their sound and their lyrics. I am a HUGE fan of Canadian music, so when I find a Canadian band I love, I cling to them. The majority of the concerts that I have been to have had Canadian Acts headlining or, in the case of Simple Plan in the early years, opening.

Simple Plans’ first album “No Pads, No Helmets … Just Balls” live in my my CD player (yes in 2002 we used CD players and discman’s) and was on constant repeat. Simple Plans’ albums for me are albums that I love every track. I of course was a huge fan of the released tracks “I’m Just a Kid”, “Addicted”, “I’d Do Anything” and of course “Perfect”.

In the summer of 2003, less than a year after the JLC opened, the JLC hosted Labatt’s hometown bash. My sister bought me two tickets for my birthday and I went to the concert with my best friend from high school, along with my sister and her now husband who had also got a pair of tickets. Simple Plan was an opening act for this show. They were still fairly new on the scene and a lot of the crowd was at the show to see Nickleback and Korn. I was up singing along to every single song. My sister, through a texting contest, won wrist bands to go into a VIP backstage area. As I was a HUGE fan of all of the acts at the Hometown bash and the tickets were a birthday present, my sister gave me and my best friend the wrist bands to go backstage. While backstage my best friend and I met Pierre and Chuck, who were gracious enough to talk to us, sign my VIP badge and my best friend’s bra. They were the only members of the bands that we were lucky enough to meet back stage and that memory has stuck with me. I still have the VIP badge with their autographs.

At the end of the end of the show, I started a tradition that I tend to follow when I attend a concert. I buy a piece of memorabilia. From this show I bought a Simple Plan Hat (which I may post a picture of in a later blog, or twitter). That night after the concert my best friend and I went out to a bar with my sister and brother-in-law and we wore our Simple Plan hats proudly into Molly Blooms.

In second year university, I was lucky enough to see Simple Plan for a second time. A friend of mine from school had got a group of us tickets for the Kissmas Bash at the HSBC centre in Buffalo. Simple Plan only played a couple of songs, mostly holiday and a couple of hits, but I was a proud Canadian screaming my head off for the somewhat unknown Canadian act in the American Arena. I had many people looking at my oddly for knowing every word and screaming so loudly for an act that they did not really know.

In my third year at Brock, Simple Plan released “Still Not Getting Any” which became my go to album to get me through the hardest year of my life. In third year I was a Don (RA) in residence, but I was going through a difficult time personally. Shortly before I left for school my grandpa was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. I was incredibly close with my Grandpa, he was one of my biggest supporter. While he was a flawed man, he loved me more than almost anyone else. He would do just about anything for me and believe in me no matter what. On Oct 16th, 2004 my Grandpa lost his battle. Losing him broke my heart. My world fractured and it took time for me to put the pieces back together. “Welcome to My Life” the first release from “Still Not Getting Any” became one of my themes for that year. 10 Days after my Grandpa died Simple Plan released “Still Not Getting Any”. Knowing how much I loved Simple Plan, and how hard of a time I was going through, one of my co-workers picked up the latest album for me when they went to the mall the day of its release. I cannot tell you how many time that CD was played from begging to end that year. Anytime I needed a pick me, an energy boost, to not feel like I was alone, that CD got played.

Over the years the Simple Plan albums have not only been in my main music library, but they have had a playlist all to their own. Some days I just need the energy and the message of those songs to make me feel better and inspire me to attack the world head on.

On February 12 of 2008 Simple Plan released their self-titled album and you better believe it was quickly purchased. Another album from Canadian band that I loved, that I could listen to beginning to end on repeat. When I found out that Simple Plan was coming to the JLC in 2009, I immediately bought tickets. I think I may have even done it during class, using WiFi on my laptop, I could be wrong though. In August of 2009, my roommate from Second Year joined me at the concert. It was a phenomenal show, though I have started to feel a bit out-of-place. I have been a Simple Plan fan since 2002, when I was 18. In 2009 at 25, I found myself sitting in a row in front of 2, I would guess, 8 year olds and their mother. JLC staff kept asking me and my friend to sit down, which I can understand, but still it was kind of annoying. Throughout the show we were up, dancing, screaming and singing along (until we were told to sit). We were going through every song taking note of what hadn’t been played yet. So when it came to the ‘end’ of the performance, we knew there had to be more to come because certain key songs had not yet been played.

From this concert I came away with a T-shirt, that has now seen better days, as I wore it for the better part of a year non-stop and a wrist band, which I will more than likely wear to this concert, should I get to attend.

And now in 2011, they have released their latest album “Get Your Heart On!”. Again I have fallen in love with their album, at first I wasn’t entirely sold based off of the singles, but once I had the album downloaded (the second my pre-order was available) I feel in love with the album. Every time there is a new album, I dream of seeing them live. On the drive in to work one day, I heard they were coming to London. I think I may have heard the radio station give away a pair of tickets and I was sad that I was not the lucky recipient. Anyways …

Now it is 2011 and it will be 2012 when they return to the JLC and I would give anything to be there. I started a new job recently and due to how busy I was (and still am) at work, I missed the opening of ticket sales and by the time I remember tickets were on sale the best I could get was Row S ūüė¶ which is disappointing. I haven’t purchased tickets yet, because I keep hoping I will get lucky and find something better than Row S in the first level.

I am a huge fan of Simple Plan, but not just them! I am also a HUGE Marianas Trench fan! How could I not be? I was raised around Barber Shoppers (just wait this will make sense) so I have a healthy appreciation for four-part harmony, how often will you find a pop-rock-punk act that has the ability to pull off impeccable four-part harmony? I think I missed “Shake Tramp” initially but I was brought it by “Say Anything” and “Decided to Break it”. I remember I taped both songs off the radio (I know so old school, I was a dork) and the videos through the VCR. I absolutely LOVED those songs and the sound of Marianas Trench. Josh Ramsay has an incredibly unique voice. They were a little Canadian band, so I was totally on board to support them. I feared though that they hadn’t survived their debut. There was a long hiatus between “Fix Me” (their debut) and “Master Piece Theatre” (Sophomore¬†album), I think it was about four years, but it was well worth the wait. The entirely album is impeccable. This is still an album that I will play from beginning to end on repeat. I absolutely love it.

When Marianas Trench was announced as an act by Western Fair in 2010, I purchased tickets. Again, I felt slightly out-of-place at 26 surrounded by a bunch of teenagers, but I did not care. I was a fan in my early 20s when they started out and while I may be the elderly end of their fan base now, I’m still ok with it. I sang along to every song, yelled, screamed and fantasized about Mike Ayley, who was smokin’ hot that night (Ok yes, dorky Canadian Celebrity Crush, but hey he’s close to my age, so it is all good).

It was an amazing show! It tried to rain, but it gave up, it was crowded at times and people were a bit pushy, but hearing them perform live was unbelievable. That album was so intricate I was curious how they would pull it off in a live show and they did. It was amazing. They exemplify why I love Canadian music. American acts tend to have the money to manipulate their sound. American acts can be talentless schmucks, but Canadian acts, if they want to succeed and have a shot at an international career, they have to have the supreme talent like the guys of Marianas Trench do. Even my Dad can appreciate these guys. Punk-Pop-Rock might not be his thing, but he appreciates the four-part harmony these four guys can pull off impressively well.

At this end of this concert, I waited in a long crowded line, in front of the Western Fair ¬†‘sales shack’ (this is something that desperately needs to be improved) and bought a t-shirt (it is in pretty good condition, because well, it is fairly low-cut when I put it on, so not good to wear out in public).

I believe the opening act of this show may have been These Kids Wear Crowns, who are also opening the Simple Plan show, so I’ve seen and know fairly well 3 out of four of the acts performing and I will learn about All Time Low before the show comes.

I have been following two out of four of these acts since their debut. Their music has and continues to play prominently in my playlists.

I would be ecstatic to be a #JLCreviewer for this concert. I think I would make a strong reviewer because I have seen these guys perform before and in the case of Simple Plan I have seen them at various points across their 10 year career and can speak to the evolution of their music and identity.

I will continue to write about this concert and promote my name as a candidate to be a #JLCreviewer for this show because it means a lot to me. Hopefully some of you who know me and know how much I play this music will support my quest to be a reviewer!

Thanks for reading!


Soundtrack to My Life – Part 1

This past weekend I attended the Soundgarden concert at the JLC, thanks to the kindness and generosity of the JLC who gave away several pairs of tickets on Social Media Day.

When I was told there would be a set of tickets waiting for me at Will Call, I decided to refresh my memory and revisit some of Soundgarden’s earlier material.

The height of Soundgarden’s success was around 1994 with the album Superunknown. They later broke up in 1997. So their glory years were basically from the time I was 10 ¬†to 13.

I knew several of the songs, but not as well as a number of people, including the long-haired, bearded man sitting next to me at the concert.

It was a great concert, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I thank the JLC for the opportunity to attend the concert. I always love going to the JLC for a concert, that marks the fifth (I believe) concert that I have been to at the JLC and I look forward to attending many more.

Listening to some of the Soundgarden songs took me back, and really got me thinking about some of the songs I listened to on repeat over the years that I have missed having in my iTunes. Now some of these are real oldies, some are more recent, but all are songs that I have really enjoyed over the years that I thought I would share.

Childhood favourite:

This song came out on August 1st of 1985. This is one of the three songs I really remember for my early childhood, and this was by far my favourite. I remember dancing around the house to it while cleaning on Saturday mornings and making my parents replay it over and over again.

We Built This City – Starship

The other two songs I from my childhood that meant the most to me were Starship’s Sara for obvious reasons, though they spelt Sara wrong, and Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, also for obvious reasons (I have brown eyes, well hazel, but anyways).

The first cassette (yes I said cassette) I remember owning was Bryan Adam’s Waking Up the Neighbours, and let me tell you, kids my age looked at me funny for always bringing it to class parties, because I was pretty much alone in my love for that cassette. It had so many great songs though, including (Everything I Do) I Do It for You, which of course was from the Robinhood: Prince of Thieves¬†(which I was too young to watch at the time).

One of my favourite songs from that album though was this song:

Bryan Adams: There Will Never Be Another Tonight

As a child, I had a huge unexplainable crush on Richard Marx. I loved the song Right Here Waiting (which debuted in 1989), it was beautiful and I still love it. So combine my crush on Richard Marx to my obsession with Disney Movies and you get this song:

Richard Marx & Donna Lewis: At the Beginning With You – from Anastasia (1997)

A year later, a trio of brother burst onto the scene and took the world by storm, one Mmmbop at a time. I loved Hanson and I won’t lie, I do own their subsequent album after Mmmbop, and their VHS.

I could torture you with Mmmbop, but I won’t, instead:

Hanson – Penny and Me

So are you questioning my music taste yet?

High school I fell in love with three bands, two of which have all but disappeared and one that still releases some new material.

Vertical Horizon – Everything You Want

Nine Days – Absolutely (Story of a Girl)

Lifehouse – Everything (this was on repeat constantly)

High School had a lot of different music over the years, but by Prom, this summed up how my group of friends was feeling. There was a group of probably about 10 of us. 8 girls and 2 guys. 6 of the girls (not me) had feelings for one or the other of the two guys, which made for some serious drama in my last year of high school. So by prom, this was our theme:

Mary J. Blige – No More Drama

I am not someone who enjoys drama, so I was begging please no more drama!

First year university brought a lot of music. I went to my first concert (I know late concert bloomer). My sister bought me tickets to see OLP when the JLC opened. I went with my sister, her boyfriend (now husband), my high school best friend and my first best friend. Before the concert I managed to fall down the Market stairs and skin about 10 layers off my right palm (I am right-handed, so this was just great), but I had an absolute blast at this concert, enjoying the oldies, but enjoying performances from their most recent album, including:

Our Lady Peace: Somewhere Out There

I discovered this really great band that I absolutely fell in loved with. They are still producing music, but never really seemed to crack mainsteam.

Trapt РThese Walls  (I love this song, but there is no actual video for it)

Third year was a really difficult year for me personally and the next couple songs are the ones I associate the most with that year.

Simple Plan – Welcome to My Life

This next song, I associate with my best friend. During the hardest year of my life, the first year we knew each other, he was my rock, I could always count on him and we’ve counted on each other ever since.

Default – Count on Me

The next two songs still bring tears to my eyes and break my heart just a little, I’m crying even as I write this and find the videos. These are two songs we chose to play at my Grandpa funeral, after he lost his battle with Lung Cancer. I was really close with him and he was someone who always believed in me and supported to me.

Josh Groban – You Raise Me Up

Sarah McLachlan – I Will Remember You

These are just some of the songs that have made an impact on my life, there are thousands more. I will periodically add blog posts with songs and videos that I love, but I hope you have enjoyed my first one.

Additional post will include songs from:

Breaking Benjamin
Eagle-Eye Cherry
Third Eye Blind
Lisa Loeb
Grace Potter
The Fray
One Republic
The Pretenders
Forty Foot Echo

And so many more …