Where’s The Love? – Hanson at the 2014 CNE Bandshell

Hanson CNE Bandshell 2014If you had told me 17 years ago that someday I’d go to a Hanson concert and then come home to write about it, I’d have called you crazy.

But here I am.

Thursday night Taylor, Isaac and Zac Hanson took over the CNE Bandshell stage and made it theirs. The largely (but not exclusively) female crowd started popping for them even before they came out to play, screaming every time the preview video clip would Taylor Hanson CNE 2014 Torontocome on the screens at the side of the stage. And when they did come on stage – Damn! The cheering and screaming crowd was standing immediately, from the front, all the way to the back of the benches.

The set started with Fired Up and continued with a mix of new and old material including Where’s The Love, Penny And Me, and A Minute Without You. Each song drew a louder reaction, with singing and dancing and hand waving included on every track. Over and over Taylor called for the crowd to shake it, and they did. All night.

About half an hour in the boys left the stage briefly and came back out to play a short acoustic set that didn’t stop the fans from cheering, but certainly got them engaged in the singing. The 3 song intermission included…

Instagram via @amaaandamc

Instagram via @amaaandamc

• Madelaine
• Strong Enough To Break
• With You In Your Dreams

Did I hope that MMMBop was going to part of that acoustic bit, maybe. But it didn’t break my heart not to hear it that early.

Note: The Seasons, who opened for Hanson on Thursday night, did a great job with their half hour on the Bandshell stage and shouldn’t be forgotten. They were endearing and adorable and played and sang like they belong on stages all over the place. Job well done.

After the acoustic instruments were put away the brothers Hanson got loud again and played the rest of their hour and a half set with all kinds of energy – that was matched by the audience every step of the way.

Instagram via @josiesavestheday

Instagram via @josiesavestheday

They played straight through to 10 with songs like This Time Around, Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’, If Only, and (bringing everyone to their feet in a moment of 90’s pop music nostalgia) MMMBop. I cannot sufficiently express the collective joy that the CNE crowd displayed when that song started. Hanson has been singing together since 1992 – they have 3 top 20 hits, countless fan favourites and are still on the road some 22 years later – but MMMBop still gets the loudest reaction from the fans who loved that song in 1997 and still do today.

The set closed with In The City which had the crowd shaking it once more – and proved that Hanson really did own that stage and the crowd for each and every one of the 90 minutes they were on it.

And when they left the stage – the fans called for more. So they obliged with a long, fun, surprising cover of AC/DC’s It’s A Long Way To The Top (If You Wanna Rock & Roll). If you had told me that Hanson would close the show with a cover and given me 1000 guesses, I’m pretty sure none of them would have been AC/DC. But those boys played it hard, sang it loud, and gave everything they had left.

Instagram via @tiffany0806

Instagram via @tiffany0806

After the music there were thank yous and bows and waves and all of it made Hanson seem a little more grounded and thankful than many acts. It was nice. And a terrific way to end a concert that surprised me from start to finish.

Would I see Hanson in concert again? I don’t know. But like I said, I never thought I’d see them even once in the first place.

Stay tuned for more from the CNE before it closes down for another year…

Stay awesome!

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Welcome to the Neighbourhood – Float Toronto Now Open in West Queen West

Float TorontoJust this week a new self-care service opened in Toronto – and they can’t wait to see you.

Located on the south side of Queen Street West between the Gladstone and Drake Hotels, Float Toronto is the newest addition to the Toronto holistic health scene and it is already seeing their 5 deprivation tanks filling up with appointments daily.

Homer Deprevation TankNote: When Trish first told me about Float and the tanks I immediately thought about Homer and Lisa and their misadventures in the tanks on The Simpsons. So if that’s what you were thinking, you’re not alone!

We chatted with Jesse Ratner-Decle about Float Toronto, what made them open up shop, how it all works and why floating is so good for everyone.

For Jesse it all started in 2011 with his first float. Living in Vancouver (his hometown) at the time he and his step-brother drove an hour and a half to a home operated Chinese massage and holistic medicine shop with a tank in the basement. And as it says on the Float website – “Many people fall in love with floating after just one experience in the tank – we’re no exception to that rule.”

Fast forward to summer 2014, the opening of Jesse and co-owner Sean Lavery’s own shop, which just happens to be one of the largest on the entire east coast.

Yes, Float Toronto was slated to open 2 months ago but, as they do, things happened. We pointed out that they have already built a great community in social media using Instagram, Twitter and especially Facebook to spread the word. Jesse told us that Facebook has become an important tool to share information about the centre as well as floating and the benefits that it provides to people.

Float and BoltNote: Jesse also wanted to pass on a big thank you to everyone who has supported Float Toronto as they have prepared to open the centre and bring floating to the people of Toronto at their new Queen West home. He also wanted to extend a thanks to Bolt Fresh Bar for being awesome neighbours (across the street) and for being extremely helpful in every aspect of opening up the centre. A quick look at Float Toronto’s social media will show you that there’s a lot of love between these 2 local businesses. They’ve also had great support from other floating centres and the floating community, especially Float On in Portland who have been a great resource for Jesse and Sean.

So, what is floating and what’s going on at Float Toronto?

What Is FloatingFloating takes place in a sensory deprivation tank filled with salt water. With no distractions, music, people, conversations, phones, tablets or anything else that we’re so used to being part of our every waking hour, floating gives you the chance to stop and reset – it’s the ultimate disconnect.

Here’s the breakdown of a 90 minute session at Float Toronto.

Sessions are split into 3 sections…
1) 10 minute shower and prep period.
2) 60 minute float.
3) 20 minute shower and wrap time.

Rooms are supplied with fresh towels for every session and showers are stocked with body wash, shampoo and conditioner. Jesse pointed out that in the pre-float shower it is best to use a fragrance free product, and then in the post-float shower you can go ahead and use something that makes you smell pretty and feel fresh. Float Toronto is currently using Dr. Bonner’s products, which are cruelty free – and will make you feel fresh and pretty.

And to answer ours (and probably your) next question – yes Float Toronto is very sanitary.

After a session the room and tank are out of order for a full 30 minutes while the room, tank and shower are wiped down with a cleanser and the water is filtered from the tank.

Float Toronto Instagram 1Here’s how it works: The water is drained completely out of the tank and through a particle filter, then through a UV light that kills all bacteria that could even think about being in the water. The water is also treated with hydrogen peroxide to ensure that it is clean and safe and healthy for every floater who enters a tank. Each tank goes through 3 to 5 filtration cycles in the 30 minute break and is primed and ready to go at 93.5F for the next session.

We asked Jesse about floating and how often people should float and if there’s a too much. The short answer to that last part – no. He told us that it really is like practising anything else, the more you float, the better you’ll get at it. You will find positions that you like. You’ll be able to get into the frame of mind you want to be in. The relaxation and calm will come easier. And you will enjoy your float more and more.

Note: Trish floated on opening night Monday and has already booked her 2nd float. She can’t say enough good things about the experience of being in the tank and told Jesse that it exceeded her expectations.

Speaking with Jesse it’s easy to see that he loves floating and everything that goes with it. In his own words, “We want to share floating with people and we really mean that.” He also told us that one of his favourite things is seeing the looks on people’s faces when they come out of the room after their float. He knows how well this works for the people who choose to make it part of their life, and he wants to spread the word that it can work for anyone who is interested.

Float Toronto logoFloat Toronto is currently open 5pm to 1am Monday – Friday and 11am to 1am Saturday & Sunday – and if you think that floating is for you… you should probably call or pull up the online schedule now because slots will be filling up fast and if the early returns are any indication – it’s going to be like that for quite some time. Weekday hours will be extending in the future, stay tuned to Float Toronto’s Facebook for details.

Thanks again to Jesse for the chat and for being so cool with Trish and I when we stopped by.

Check out Float Toronto online at these links…

Website: float-toronto.com
Online Schedule: floattoronto.floathelm.com/booking
Facebook: www.facebook.com/FloatToronto
Twitter: twitter.com/float_toronto
Instragram: instagram.com/float_torontoFloat Toronto Jesse Ratner-Decle

Float Toronto Room

via Float Toronto on Facebook

Float Toronto Tank Room

via Float Toronto on Facebook

Float Toronto Front Desk

via Float Toronto on Facebook



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Drinkin’ Buddy – Gord Bamford at the 2014 CNE Bandshell

Gord Bamford 2014 CNE HeaderSaturday night at the CNE Bandshell we got to see Tebey perform and get the Toronto crowd into some country music. But he was there on a mission – to warm up the crowd for a man who has won himself 16 Canadian Country Music Awards and turned become a true star in music, Mr. Gord Bamford.

We saw Gord just a few weeks ago at Boots & Hearts but weren’t able to see the whole set because of the schedule – but Saturday night there wasn’t anything taking me away. And I’m glad because I dug the set and all 20+ songs that he performed.

Gord Bamford On Stage 2014 CNEFrom the start of the set it was clear that he was happy to be up on stage – and it made sense when he told the crowd (much to my honest surprise) that it was his first ever Toronto show. This is a dude who has opened for Reba, but he had never played in Toronto. Blows my mind.

Bamford started strong with I Would For You, Life Is Good, Farm Girl Strong, and Is it Friday yet, his pacing was excellent and had the crowd engaged. But it was a small group of fans that really got more than they bargained for and offered the highlight of the show.

Early in the show Bamford looked out at the crowd and pointed out a young fan with a sign and told him to hold onto it for later. And when later came that little boy, 3 of his other little dude friends and a small girl were all lifted up onto the stage. Bamford spoke with all of them and flipped through what ended up being a scrapbook that the little boy had put together, entirely dedicated to Gord Bamford’s life and career.

Gord Bamford Young Fans 2014 CNE BandshellWith the kids on stage Bamford sang Little Guy (written for his son) and stood with the boys while he did. But that wasn’t the end of it. The little girl’s sister was in the crowd and upset that she wasn’t up with her, so Gord had her lifted up and he pulled the 2 little girls away from the group to sing My Daughter’s Father (written for his 2 little girls) with them in the spotlight. It was incredibly touching and had me choked up.

As mentioned, the set was packed with more than 20 songs, most of which I knew the words to sing along to – and I wasn’t the only one. There were a bunch more just like me, and some who knew more words than I did. And as the set wound down with When Your Lips Are So Close, Stayed Til 2, and Blame It On That Red Dress the cheers stayed loud and happy.

Gord Bamford even gave the crowd and extra bit of love with an encore built of 3 awesome covers: John Mellencamp’s Small Town, Train’s Hey Soul Sister, and Alabama’s If You’re Gonna Play In Texas.

It was a solid set front to back… and if given the chance, maybe on his upcoming small venue tour, I would love to see him on stage again.

Thanks to Trish for the pics – she’s got a bunch more that you can see on her blog HERE!

Stay awesome!

Gord Bamford Kids 2014 CNE BandshellGord Bamford 2014 CNE BandshellGord Bamford and Band 2014 CNE


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#ALSIceBucketChallenge – Completed!

Joshua Murray ALS Ice Bucket Challenge HeaderThis morning I took on the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after I was nominated by both my little brother Christopher and my cousin Shannon over the weekend.

So with the help of Brian (in charge of water) and Chris (in charge of the camera) I completed my Ice Bucket Challenge on the front lawn at the office.

I also made a donation at ALS.ca and encourage you to check out the website to learn more about ALS and to make a donation if you are able and feel so inclined.

Thank you to everyone who has continued to raise awareness and funds through this challenge – you’re doing a good thing!

Keep being awesome!

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Wake Me Up – Tebey at the 2014 CNE Bandshell

Tebey CNE 2014 Bandshell BannerSaturday night the CNE Bandshell went country for the first of two nights during this year’s fair.

Singer, songwriter, and charmer Tebey was the first to take the stage and did a fantastic job of getting the Toronto crowd into the night’s 3+ hours of good country music.

Tebey CNE 2014 Bandshell ReviewThe dude looked relaxed and comfortable up on the stage in his jeans, white t-shirt and trucker hat. There’s a low maintenance, high energy feel about Tebey. He’s fun and likes to talk, but didn’t talk too much – and it was clear to see that he loves to be in front of the crowd.

With songs from his new album Two, and his debut offering, The Wait, the Peterborough/GTA boy put on a fun set. And he did an excellent job of placing his Top 5 hit Wake Me Up (a cover of Avicii’s smash single) in the middle of his set to make sure he really, really had everyone hooked before he brought it home with the rest of his set.

Tebey wrapped up his time on the CNE Bandshell stage with a great 3 song combo that included a cover of Kip Moore’s Beer Money and his own singles Now I Do and Somewhere In The Country.

When it was all said and done I was sold on the 2012 Boots & Hearts SiriusXM Emerging Artist Showcase winner – and I hope we see him again sometime soon.

Check out more photos of Tebey and the 2014 CNE from Trish HERE!

Tebey CNE 2014 Bandshell Big Screen

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