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In The Tent Of The Tea Party

Culture, Events, Music, Reviews

April 6, 2017

A spattering of Vancouver rain clatters against the concrete of Granville Street. A drumbeat without rhythm. Heavy. Is the dampness that pulls at you the rain? Or is there something else clawing at your soul? Something in the air tonight?

Trading on a legacy of sex, drugs, and black magic, The Tea Party crave a darker part of your soul. Especially Transmission (1997). Transmission is a gate, the music the path, and tonight? Tonight, The Tea Party will be our guide.

In 1997 three kids from Windsor resolved to produce “the darkest rock and roll album Canada had ever heard.” At the time, the Canadian charts were dominated by imports like the Spice Girls, No Doubt, The Backstreet Boys, and Pop Compilation Albums. For every the Tragically Hip or Our Lady Peace, there was a Sarah McLachlan or Celine Dion.

Often called “Moroccan Roll”, The Tea Party draw on sounds and instruments from across the globe, with a fixation on Middle-Eastern Mysticism and Music. Hearing live the music of my childhood, of my heroes, fulfills. Great musicians performing their greatest works out weighs the gimmicked nature of anniversary tours. Jeff Martin plays the guitar like an Olympic athlete. While a painting ages in his attic, he pulls out a bow and makes his strings sing. Jeff Burrows gives the drums an animalistic enthusiasm. Stuart Chatwood applies bass and keyboard, adding texture on texture, painting in sound.

This album offers a snapshot into the 90s that I never really knew personally. My older brother came of age during the heyday of Nirvana and the Wu-tang Clan while I was still playing Charlotte Diamond on repeat. That great musical revolution, heard through hollow walls as my brother learned long solos and discovered new sounds. I missed it. Too young. Too shy. It wasn’t until one hot summer in 1999, the world on pause, awaiting the new millennium, bored in the basement, I watched MTV countdown the top 20 videos of the week. Between undulating pop stars and incoherent rappers lay something beautiful: “Heaven Coming Down” from the album Triptych (1999) pulled me into The Tea Party’s world.

With the singular obsession of a pre-teen girl, I devoured their back catalogue as best I could. A copy of Splendor Solis (1993) from the back of an HMV. The Edges of Twilight (1995) borrowed from my brother. And, finally, Transmission, from a dusty corner of an A&B Sound. Looking for a way to understand the world, I stumbled into a different kind of understanding. That magic still lingered on the edges of the world. If only your eyes were open you could see it all.

If listening to Transmission is like finding a stack of Picasso sketches tucked in the back of the garage, hearing it live is a gallery exhibition. A sea of people, falling back on who they grew from. Aging rockers, former goth kids, angry angsty teens, and lost souls. “Army Ants”, pulsing, sends a wave across the crowd. “Psychopomp”, dragging the enraptured souls to the underworld and back again. “Babylon”, walking a tightrope between sex and violence until finally- “Release”…

“Release” resonates with me. Reminds me of why I’m here, of the journey the last few years have been. Of all I’ve lost and gained. Of missed chances and pain… I cry. There is a sincerity to it. A beauty. Even Martin takes a pause. To thank us, all of us, for creating such a moment. The moment passes – back into “Temptation” we go.

An intermission only to pull us back into Martin’s impossible world. Speaking openly of their heroes, the band slipped covers into the middle of their own work. U2’s classic “With or Without You” (1987) appeared in “Heaven Coming Down” (1999). Parts of “Under Pressure” (1982 Queen, David Bowie) kept appearing. The 20-minute version of “Sister Awake” included “Paint it Black” (1966, The Rolling Stones) as well as their encore.

So, here we are, 20 years later, do we still need an album like Transmission? What does an album mean in an age where Artists live and die download by download?

I think we’ve forgotten the importance of telling a good story.  The journey sacrificed on the altar of destination. Music is a product. Artists are commodities. Instead of autotuned perfection, give me skill. Give me the raw emotion and passion of a psychopomp.

The next city to host the Tea Party tent will be The Roxy in Los Angeles, CA on Saturday, April 8th.  After that they’re going to the Star Events Centre in Sydney, NSW, on Friday, April 21st. If you can’t make either of those dates, you can click here to see the rest of the tour, or click here to see their incredible selection of music

 

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Lindsey Stirling rocks the Vogue in Vancouver

Music, Reviews

May 21, 2014

lindsey stirlingThere’s something magical about seeing someone caught in the perfect euphoria of doing what they’re supposed to do.

It’s electric; there’s a buzz that fills the crowd and the air, hovering around all of us as we gather to see an icon of the modern age: Lindsey Stirling, violinist, dancer, musician. We arrived an hour before the doors even opened and the line up was already three blocks long, circling around the Vogue Theater in downtown Vancouver.

As the door opened the buzzing grew louder, the line staggered in an effort to control the crowd. The security people were polite, professional, letting everyone know the lay of the land before we ever got to the door. We all knew what was going to happen, and that made getting in simple. No rushing, pushing, or jockeying for position – just quick and excited filing in, we all of us expectant and waiting. (more…)

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MC Frontalot – Nerdcore Hip-Hop’s Final Boss

Interviews, Music, Showcase

April 10, 2014

MC Frontalot is oft-touted as the Godfather of Nerdcore Hip-Hop, a term he coined back in 1999 to describe his own musical stylings. Many cite him as a major catalyst in the explosion of geek-flavored music in the past decade. Regardless of how much credit the real life Damian Hess wants to take, there is no argument that MC Frontalot has been a huge inspiration to many artists worldwide and helped shine some mainstream attention on geek culture.

Now, Frontalot is preparing to release his sixth studio album, but kindly took some time out to chat with us here at Living Myth Magazine: (more…)

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Kawehi’s Robot Heart

Interviews, Music, Showcase

April 2, 2014

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They say a great cover song can make you. Well that may be true as a recent cover of Nirvana’s classic Heart Shaped Box has cast a lot of eyes on one-woman band Kawehi. The video, showing Kawehi mixing and performing the song live from her dining room, exploded overnight. It was quickly featured by news and entertainment site SourceFed and also named a Staff Pick on Vimeo. The performance went viral and made the artist scores of new fans.

But there is more to the Hawaiian-born singer/songwriter than a few borrowed songs. Kawehi has five releases of her diverse original work under her belt with a sixth, Robot Heart, on its way. With all of the recent buzz, the Kickstarter for Robot Heart ended up just shy of ten times its original $3,000 goal.

Kawehi took some time out to talk to us here at Living Myth Magazine about her career, her new successes and the forthcoming EP. (more…)

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Amy Jo Johnson

Interviews, Music, Showcase

December 3, 2013

While many still recognize the Massachusetts native from her earliest role in the long-running Power Rangers series, Amy Jo Johnson has gone to several roles in film and television over her twenty-year career, including hit series like Felicity and most-recently the Canadian police drama Flashpoint. She had also gone on to establish herself as a singer-songwriter with 2001’s The Trans-American Treatment and the live-offering Imperfect.

The multi-talented performer hasn’t stopped there, however. Johnson has now added writer and director to her list of credits with the production of two short films, as well as releasing her latest album Never Broken.

I had the chance to ask a few questions of the now-adopted Canadian about her very busy last couple of years: (more…)

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Dreamz: Waking You Up

Interviews, Music, Showcase

October 16, 2013

Dreamz - logoTo many of their fans online, they were already Team Andrew, but earlier this year, frequent collaborators Andrew Huang and Andrew Gunadie (aka Gunnarolla) cemented a pop music partnership and formed Dreamz. The Toronto-based musicians and YouTube personalities introduced their new duo with several covers of classic boyband songs and have recently released the video for their debut single “Come On” with a second coming shortly. Dreamz delivers some fun and lively melodies that manage to be both old school and contemporary with a healthy dose of the pair’s wit and charm.

We’ve had a chance to speak to both Huang and Gunnarolla about their solo work, but let’s touch base with them on how Dreamz came to be:

(more…)

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