hip hop / rap

2018 iHeartRadio MMVA Nominees

The iHeartRadio MMVAs are coming – and with the announcement of the 2018 nominees, it’s time to get a little bit more excited.

This year’s nominees come from all genres, all over the world, and represent popular music in the long tradition of the MMVAs. And while it’s great to see representation from all over… it’s awesome to see Shawn Mendes leading the way with 7 nominations (plus a nomination for director Jay Martin for the In My Blood music video). High fives also go to Canadians Alessia Cara and Drake for their five nominations.

The 2018 iHeartRadio MMVAs will be hosted by Awkawfina on Sunday, August 26, live on CTV. Fans on location in Toronto and watching on TV will see performances by Mendes, Alessia Cara, Meghan Trainor, Halsey, 5 Seconds Of Summer, Kris Wu, and Marshmello ft. Anne-Marie.

With that list of talent on stage, plus the nominees and presenters in attendance, the 2018 MMVAs are going to be hot.

Check out the full list of nominees, vote your favourites in the Fan Favourite categories, and get ready for the big show!

2018 MMVA Awkwafina

2018 iHeartRadio MMVA Nominees

Video of the Year

Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Halsey – Bad At Love
Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – 1.800.273.8255
Drake – God’s Plan
Childish Gambino – This Is America
Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry

Best EDM/Dance Artist or Group

Sofi Tukker
Loud Luxury
Calvin Harris

Best Director

Jay Martin – In My Blood (Shawn Mendes)
Karena Evans – God’s Plan (Drake)
Karena Evans – Nice For What (Drake)
Hiro Murai – This Is America (Childish Gambino)
Arturo Perez Jr. – Say Something (Justin Timberlake)
Didier Charette – APES**T (The Carters)

Best Pop Artist or Group

Meghan Trainor
Shawn Mendes
Alessia Cara
Ed Sheeran
Camila Cabello

Best Rock/Alternative Artist or Group

Imagine Dragons
Portugal. The Man
Foo Fighters
Arcade Fire


Best Hip Hop Artist or Group

The Carters
Post Malone
Cardi B
Kendrick Lamar
Childish Gambino

Best New Canadian Artist

Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
The Beaches
New City
Johnny Orlando

Artist of the Year

Camila Cabello
Ed Sheeran
Cardi B
Shawn Mendes
Post Malone

Song of the Summer

Drake – Nice For What
Loud Luxury – Body
Marshmello ft. Anne-Marie – FRIENDS
Bebe Rexha ft. Florida Georgia Line – Meant To Be
Cardi B, Bad Bunny & J Balvin – I Like It
Zedd ft. Maren Morris & Grey – The Middle

Best Collaboration

Shawn Mendes + Khalid – Youth
Bebe Rexha + Florida Georgia Line – Meant To Be
The Weeknd + Kendrick Lamar – Pray For Me
Kendrick Lamar + SZA – All The Stars
Zedd + Maren Morris + Grey – The Middle
Marshmello + Anne-Marie – FRIENDS

2018 MMVA Shawn Mendes

Fan Favourite Categories – VOTE NOW!

Fan Fave Video

Drake – God’s Plan
Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Childish Gambino – This Is America
The Carters – APES**T
Alessia Cara – Growing Pains
Logic ft. Alessia Cara & Khalid – 1.800.273.8255

Fan Fave Artist

Ed Sheeran
Shawn Mendes
Camila Cabello
Alessia Cara
Taylor Swift

Fan Fave Duo or Group

Imagine Dragons
Maroon 5
The Chainsmokers
5 Seconds Of Summer
Sofi Tukker

Fan Fave Single

Post Malone ft. 21 Savage – Rockstar
Shawn Mendes – In My Blood
Ariana Grande – No Tears Left To Cry
Selena Gomez ft. Marshmello – Wolves
Camila Cabello – Havana
Ed Sheeran – Perfect

Fan Fave New Artist

Kris Wu
Cardi B
Billie Eilish
Why Don’t We
Hayley Kiyoko
Dua Lipa

Fan Fave Much Creator

The Mike On Much Podcast – Mike Veerman, Max Kerman & Shane Cunningham
SneakerTalk – Christian Cantelon
Jaclyn Forbes
Candace Leca
The Baker Twins – Shannon Baker & Shauna Baker
TheDanocracy – Dan Rodo

Post Malone at Toronto’s RBC Echo Beach

On May 27th and 28th, Post Malone came to Toronto and played two soldout shows at RBC Echo Beach.

The New York born, Texas-raised rapper/singer/songwriter/producer got a good taste of our May heat wave, but it didn’t slow him or the crowd down. Touring to support his sophomore album, Beerbongs & Bentleys, which was released in April, he delivered a mix of new material and songs from his last album, Stoney.

Post Malone’s performance can only be described as captivating. Toronto fans have been waiting a long time for a chance to see the rapper up close and in person. And they weren’t disappointed.

Post Malone in Toronto at RBC Echo Beach 2018

We have to mention how appreciative he was, taking time to thank the crowd repeatedly, with sincerity. He told stories about fans, described the meaning of songs, and gave us some background on how he ended up in the music business.

Post Malone at Toronto's RBC Echo Beach photos by Adam DeGross

Around the halfway mark Post Malone grabbed a chair and an acoustic guitar and delivered some quieter material, including, Stay and Feeling Whitney. And then, in a move clearly meant to change the mood, he proceeded to smash the acoustic guitar on the stage. This dramatic act was then followed by more upbeat songs, and then his final song of the night, the giant hit Congratulations.

Post Malone at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross Post Malone at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross

Post Malone’s tour continues until September with the rapper crisscrossing the globe. You can check out additional tour dates here.

We’ve got a few backstage/behind the scenes photos for you and a bunch more performance photos. We’d like to thank Adam DeGross, photographer, Post Malone’s team, and Live Nation for the images.

Post Malone Backstage/Behind The Scenes Photos

Post Malone in Toronto at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross 2018 backstage Post Malone in Toronto at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross 2018 backstage Post Malone in Toronto at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross 2018 backstage Post Malone in Toronto at RBC Echo Beach photo by Adam DeGross 2018 backstage

Post Malone Performance Photos

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Post Malone at RBC Echo Beach Setlist

  1. Too Young
  2. Better Now
  3. Takin’ Shots
  4. No Option
  5. Big Lie
  6. Deja Vu
  7. Psycho
  8. Candy Paint
  9. 92 Explorer
  10. I Fall Apart
  11. Up There
  12. Feeling Whitney
  13. Stay
  14. Jonestown (Interlude)
  15. Go Flex
  16. rockstar
  17. White Iverson
  18. Congratulations

New Music Spotlight with Shawn Mendes, Classified and More

New Music From Shawn Mendes, Classified, Train ft. Cam & Travie McCoy, Coleman Hell, CHVRCHES, and Lindsay Ell

We’re back with another edition of the New Music Spotlight. And this time we’re bringing you pop and country selections that have us singing along non-stop.

Check out the Canadian, American, and Scottish selections and leave a comment telling us which of these new tracks are going to land on your playlists.

Ready? Let’s do this!

Artist: Shawn Mendes
Hometown: Pickering, ON
Genre: Pop
Related: Justin Bieber, Niall Horan, Demi Lovato
Song: Nervous
Notes: From his brand new self-titled album, Mendes comes out swinging on Nervous. With 14 tracks on the album, this is a great entry point. Hit play, listen to the young Canadian pop star as he works through another pop smash.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Shawn Mendes The Album Banner

Artist: Classified
Hometown: Enfield, NS
Genre: Hip Hop
Related: Sweatshop Union, Grieves, K-OS
Song: She Ain’t Gotta Do Much
Notes: Classified’s She Ain’t Gotta Do Much may be the most relatable “looking for a girl” track that we’ve heard in a long time, especially in hip-hop. It’s humble, it’s catchy, and we’re here for it.

“She ain’t a boss bitch, she’s the boss bitch. Literally, her job is to run the office.” 

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Classified She Ain't Gotta Do Much banner

Artist: Train ft. Cam & Travie McCoy
Hometown: San Francisco, CA
Genre: Pop
Related: Matchbox Twenty, Sister Hazel, The Goo Goo Dolls
Song: Call Me Sir
Notes: Train recruits country star Cam and rapper/ singer-songwriter Travie McCoy to add a little something fresh to Call Me Sir. In the YouTube description, we get a message from Pat Monahan, “It’s a true story and I love what these 2 bring to the song. Hope everyone will like this one as much as we love performing it. Love, Pat”.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Coleman Hell
Hometown: Thunder Bay, ON
Genre: Pop
Related: Shawn Hook, Scott Helman, Arkells
Song: Hold On Me
Notes: Coleman Hell continues to show us who he is and what he wants his sound to be with every release. Hold On Me is catchy, with lyrics and a beat that fit together perfectly. And as we wait for the full-length follow-up to 2016’s Summerland, we’ll be listening to this one often.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Coleman Hell Hold On Me banner

Hometown: Glasgow, SCT
Genre: Pop
Related: MS MR, The Naked And Famous, HAIM
Song: Graffiti
Notes: From the brand new album, Love Is Dead, CHVRCHES makes us want to move with Graffiti. It’s a winner, and we have a feeling that we’ll be singing along to this one for a while.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

CHVRCHES Love Is Dead Banner

Artist: Lindsay Ell
Hometown: Calgary, AB
Genre: Country
Related: Meghan Patrick, Carly Pearce, Jess Moskaluke
Song: Gravity
Notes: The release of The Continuum Project includes covers of all 12 tracks from John Mayer’s 2006 Continuum. And while we could have picked any of the songs to share here… Gravity was the one that we were looking forward to most, so here it is!

Related: The Continuum Project – Lindsay Ell Album Review

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

2018 Calgary Stampede Concert Series Lineup Announcement

The Calgary Stampede returns from July 6 to 15, with a ton of music in their 2018 concert series, keeping the tradition that started in 1912 alive and well!

This year, the 10-day festival is bringing some serious talent to the stage. With country, pop, rock, and more lined up in the Virgin Mobile Stampede Concert Series, on the Coca-Cola Stage, and at Nashville North. There are already more than 50 acts announced for the Calgary Stampede music scene, and we’d be willing to bet that a few more names will trickle in and be playing between July 6 and 15.

We’ve taken a look at the full schedule to see what’s coming, and have broken it down by day and stage so you can see, and make your plans if you’re going to be in Calgary, or want to start planning the trip you didn’t know you were going to make.

Stay tuned for more Calgary Stampede news and coverage – we can’t wait for things to get started!

Calgary Stampede Virgin Mobile Stampede Concert Series Logo

Virgin Mobile Stampede Concert Series Lineup

Brad Paisley
Friday, July 13, 2018

If you’ve never seen Brad Paisley live, now is the time. The Guitar slinger and hit-maker will tear it up in Calgary. And with a list of hits and fan favourites longer than you can name off the top of your head, there will be no shortage of opportunities for the crowd to sing along and enjoy themselves at the show!

Brad Paisley-Country Thunder-SydneyButtersPhotography

Luke Bryan
with Tim Hicks
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Luke Bryan is an entertainer. We’ve seen it, and you should too. The Georgia native hits the stage with a bunch of songs that you’ll all want to sing, and a good-timin’ attitude that’s infectious. Enjoy!

Boots and Hearts 2017 - Luke Bryan

Coca-Cola Stage Lineup

Headline Shows

The Dirty Nil
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Elle King
Elijah Woods x Jamie Fine
Friday, July 6, 2018

Broken Social Scene
Yukon Blonde
Saturday, July 7, 2018

Daniel Caesar
Busty and the Bass
Sunday, July 8, 2018

The Rural Alberta Advantage
Monday, July 9, 2018

Our Lady Peace
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Sheryl Crow
Caitlyn Smith
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Walk off the Earth
Jocelyn Alice
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Virginia to Vegas
Friday, July 13, 2018

Too Many Zooz
The Funk Hunters
DJ Shub
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Billy Talent
The Static Shift
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Day Acts

Brad Sims // Lucas Chaisson // Jess Smith
Friday, July 6, 2018

Mark Times // Wine Soaked Preachers // Blake Berglund
Saturday, July 7, 2018

School of Rock South Calgary // Mandy McMillan // Kirsty Lee Akers
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Amy Nelson // Matt Blais // Mariel Buckley
Monday, July 9, 2018

Island in the Sky // The Ashley Hundred // Kaley Bird & The Flat Whites
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Karac Hendriks // Mikaila Cooper // Tanya Ryan
Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lucette // Amelie Patterson // Lyra Brown
Friday, July 13, 2018

The North Sound // Citysleep // Sykamore
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Dextress // Altameda // Johnson Crook
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Nashville North Lineup

Headline Shows

Gord Bamford
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Friday, July 6, 2018

Meghan Patrick
Saturday, July 7, 2018

Randy Houser
Sunday, July 8, 2018

Monday, July 9, 2018

The Road Hammers
Tuesday, July 10, 2018

James Barker Band
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Washboard Union
Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Dungarees
Friday, July 13, 2018

River Town Saints
Saturday, July 14, 2018

Leaving Thomas
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Day & Night Acts

Jason Greeley

Dani Strong

Tristan Horncastle

Drew Gregory

Foxx Worthee

Tanya Ryan

all concert announcements and lineups subject to change

Sango at The Danforth Music Hall for CMW 2018

On Thursday night, Sango performed at Danforth Music Hall as part of his ITCO Tour. Along with Sango himself, there were performances by Lou Phelps, Marr Grey, and Kaelin Ellis for the CMW show as part of Canadian Music Week in Toronto.

Sango performed a moving set filled with surprising remixes and heavy rhythmic baselines.

He definitely kept the crowd engaged and moving to the beat. The performance was filled with good vibes and a great atmosphere. And Sango, along with his openers Lou Phelps, Marr Grey, and Kaelin Ellis, made a night of positive energy and feel good music in Toronto!

Photos of Sango at The Danforth Music Hall, CMW 2018

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Photos of Lou Phelps at The Danforth Music Hall, CMW 2018

Lou Phelps Danforth Music Hall Lou Phelps Danforth Music Hall Lou Phelps Danforth Music Hall Lou Phelps Danforth Music Hall

Photos of Marr Grey at The Danforth Music Hall, CMW 2018

Marr Grey Danforth Music Hall Marr Grey Danforth Music Hall Marr Grey Danforth Music Hall

Roy Woods at the London Music Hall Photo Review

On Thursday Night, Roy Woods performed one of his final shows on his Say Less Tour, at the London Music Hall. The venue was packed with eager young fans waiting to see the Brampton local. There was a showcase of other local Canadian talent consisting of special guests, Booggz and Tripsixx.

Woods doesn’t disappoint when it comes to his live performances. His amazing vocals were complemented with a intensity and charisma that brought the stage to life while he performed. The crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

If you have a chance to see him live don’t pass up the opportunity.

Roy Woods lives up to the hype.

Photos of Roy Woods

Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall Roy Woods London Music Hall

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Photos of Booggz

Booggz London Music Hall Booggz London Music Hall Booggz London Music Hall

Photos of Tripsixx

Tripsixx London Music Hall Tripsixx London Music Hall Tripsixx London Music Hall

New Music Spotlight with Sugarland, A Perfect Circle and More

New Music from Sugarland Featuring Taylor Swift, A Perfect Circle, Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion, Monowhales, Bif Naked, and Flatbush Zombies Featuring Joey Bada$$

We’ve got a fresh New Music Spotlight for you and this time around we’ve got music from Canada and the US. We’re all over the board genre-wise this week with music from country, alt rock, indie/pop/rock, electro-pop, and rap.

And we would be remiss if we ignored the fact that it’s 4/20, so we’ve added a fun Flatbush Zombies video in at the end.

Enjoy and let’s do this!

Artist: Sugarland featuring Taylor Swift
Hometown: Atlanta
Genre: Country
Related: Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, The Band Perry
Song: Babe
Notes: A beautiful collaboration from artists who came up in the industry at the same time. Babe is the story about the end of a relationship. And the story is perfectly told.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: A Perfect Circle
Hometown: Los Angeles & Jerome, AZ
Genre: Alt Rock
Related Artists: Deftones, Chevelle, Nine Inch Nails, Tool
Song: So Long, And Thanks For All The Fish
Notes: Fans have been waiting 14 years for new material and with the release of their new full-length album Eat The Elephant, fans will not be disappointed. The music is different, 14 years is a lifetime for some and what you’ll find here is more mature. Rolling Stone said, “Eat the Elephant is a moody, sensitive portrait of a band that decided to grow up and make a record that reflects where they are now as artists rather than trying to recapture the past.”

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion
Hometown: Canada
Genre: Southern Rock
Related Artists: Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Allman Brothers, A Thousand Horses
Song: Holy Smoke
Notes: A new band with some very familiar names, Black Mountain Whiskey Rebellion is a musical collective of long-time music friends and associates including Mitch Merrett, Corbett Frasz, Erik Dylan, Greg Carroll, Mike Little, plus special guest Clayton Bellamy (The Road Hammers).

Holy Smoke is their debut single and we feel like it’s a great representation of the album. It’s got a southern, country rock feel that we can definitely get behind.

Links: Facebook / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Monowhales
Hometown: Toronto
Genre: Indie/Pop/Rock
Related Artists: The Beaches, Dear Rouge, July Talk
Song: Real Love
Notes: I love this song and I love this video. The music is catchy, the lyrics are relatable, and the chorus is stuck in my head. Every time I play the video for Real Love, I marvel at the guitar work, and I can’t help but bang my head in rhythm. The video is fun and unique. The imagery is colourful and spectacular. From the checkerboard scene to the weird little head flick in time with the music, the video is entertaining as hell.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

Artist: Bif Naked
Hometown: Paris, New Delhi, Toronto
Genre: Rock
Related Artists:
Song: Hot Box Girls
Notes: Brand new music for multi-platinum artist Bif Naked, Hot Box Girls is a rousing punch of rock and roll. It’s classic Bif Naked with a fresh new twist.

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

New Music Spotlight 420 Bonus Artist

Artist: Flatbush Zombies Featuring Joey Bada$$
Hometown: Flatbush, Brooklyn
Genre: Rap
Related Artists: Danny Brown, Earl Sweatshirt, The Underachievers
Song: Vacation
Notes: Released for 420, the video is a spectacle to watch. Keep an eye on the captions, they’re gold!

Links: Web / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Spotify / Apple

EverAfter Music Festival 2018 Lineup Announcement

EverAfter is gearing up for their fourth early June EDM music festival with the announcement of their 2018 artists.

With an international list of artists, this year the festival has added a drum and bass stage. They’ve just added to the previously released line-up to include back-to-back performances from Downlink and Space Laces. The festival runs from Friday, June 8th to Sunday, June 10. There are camping packages available, and VIP upgrades.  And based on previous years, you can count on a good time.

Kitchener’s Bingemans will once again host the festival, welcoming thousands of fans over the weekend.

In case you missed the original line up announcement, EverAfter will be bringing us Canadian EDM powerhouse Excision, along with many other highly regarded performers,  Claude VonStrokeFlux PavilionDoctor PIllenium, and many more. You can see the full line up here.

“Our goal is to make Ever After bigger and better every year.  From stacked line-ups, bigger stages, to unforgettable performances, we want to make this festival the ultimate weekend getaway for music lovers everywhere,” says Ever After’s organizer Gabriel Mattacchione, President of Beyond Oz Productions Inc. “Our mandate has always been about giving festival goers the best experience possible. I believe we have so far and look forward to growing it more every year.”

Also new this year is a partnership with PK Sound, in an attempt to keep the noise levels around the festival down. PK Sound uses new technology which allows their sound engineers at to manually control the direction of the sound. This will help to concentrate the sound to the area within the festival only. This is great news for Bingemans’ neighbours.

EverAfter is more than just music. It’s an opportunity for festival-goers to experience theatrical performers, theme inspired dancers, state-of-the-art stage productions, exclusive VIP lounges. And if that isn’t enough, there’s a waterpark, midway, games, and variety of vendors and it’s a wonderful way to kick off festival season.
Stay tuned for more info and announcements from EverAfter as we get closer to the festival.


Click Here for ticket info!

EverAfter Lineup

Northern Touch Gets A Raptors Remix

The link between hip-hop and basketball is strong, and in Toronto, it just got a little stronger with an update of a 20-year old classic.

In 1998, Rascalz, Kardinal Offishall, Choclair, CheckMate, and Thrust came together to record and release Northern Touch. The track is arguably one of the most important hip-hop tracks in Canadian history. You could look back at the last two decades of rappers from north of the border and question how receptive the charts and mainstream audiences would be for any of them without this landmark song.

Since winning the Juno for Best Rap Single of the Year, Northern Touch has lived many lives. Generations of music fans that were there for the original release have never forgotten or stopped loving it, and new generations of Canadian hip-hop fans have found it. We can all only hope that this new remix, a nifty tie-in to the 20th anniversary of the song, acts as an introduction to even more fans.

Note: On June 24, 1998 Vince “Air Canada” Carter became a Raptor in a draft-day trade for Antawn Jamison. So if you’re looking for a Raptors 20th anniversary to celebrate alongside Northern Touch, there it is.

And now, as the Toronto Raptors get started on their 2018 NBA playoff run, Kardi is back with an updated version of the song dedicated to the team and designed to help up the hype for a country of basketball fans.

Teasers for the track have been seen for weeks on TV as Sportsnet has pushed the NBA playoffs, and in just 20 seconds of the song, Raptors fans and hip-hop fans were hooked and begging for the whole thing.

In those teasers, we heard name drops for DeMar DeRozan, Kyle Lowry, and Jonas Valanciunas. We heard the familiar beat and cadence that took us back to 1998. And we were ready to hear more.

Note: Because of Drake’s involvement with the Toronto Raptors as the Global Ambassador, some may say that he should be releasing a playoff hype track for the team. But let’s all be honest with ourselves, when it comes to Northern Touch, its 20th anniversary, the nostalgia, and the love that comes with it, Drake is better off singing along from his courtside seat this spring.

The Northern Touch Raptors Remix officially debuted before Toronto’s first game of the playoffs (round one versus the Washington Wizards), and it was probably the most anticipated moment of the pre-game festivities.

After the teasing and the hype (for a hype song, a little ironic) there was a chance for a letdown.

That didn’t happen.

The video brings us a mix of Kardinal reworking the original chorus of Northern Touch, and some well-positioned hype talk that focuses on the past and present of the Raptors’ playoff narratives. In the end, with all of the pieces put together, the remix does its job.

Note: I LOVE the shot at Paul Pierce. As a Raptors fan, I HATED him as a player.

Related: Q&A: Kardinal Offishall on his new ‘Northern Touch’ Raptors remix

Because we’re talking about music, somebody out in the world is going to be of the opinion that the remix shouldn’t have been done, or that it takes away from the legacy of the original track or some other argument that I haven’t predicted… but I don’t care.

Kardinal Offishall has delivered the right song and the right emotional lift for the right time with the right fit!

Check out the full version of the Northern Touch Toronto Raptors 2018 Playoff Remix, and then hit play on the 20th anniversary Juno weekend performance of Northern Touch AND the original music video that we all remember from the glory days of Much Music.

Enjoy! Let’s Go Raptors!

Northern Touch Raptors Remix

Rascalz + Kardinal Offishall, Checkmate, Thrust, Choclair | Northern Touch

Northern Touch – Official Music Video

2018 Juno Awards Winners and Wrap

The 2018 Juno Awards were handed out in Vancouver over the weekend, with artists from all over Canada recognized for their accomplishments in music.

At the Saturday night gala and the Sunday night awards show, all genres were represented while the industry and fans celebrated and honoured emerging artists and legendary talents together in the biggest celebration of music in the country.

At the top of many lists is the emotion that came from Gord Downie’s posthumous awards for Artist of the Year, Songwriter of the Year (with Kevin Drew), and Adult Alternative Album of the Year. The loss of Downie is one that is still being felt by family, friends, and fans – and his legacy will continue to live on, with these awards as the exclamation point added to the album that was released just 10 days after his passing.

It is also exciting to see Juno wins for young artists making their way to the top. James Barker Band, The Beaches, Alvvays, Lights, Grimes, and more had various career accomplishments coming into the weekend. But regardless of their differences, they all now share the distinction of being Juno Award winners.

Congratulations to all of the winners, we can’t wait to see what happens on March 17, 2019 in London, Ontario at the 48th annual Juno Awards.

Before we get to the list of winners, here are some photos we’ve taken over the last few years of 2018 winners The Beaches, James Barker Band, The Glorious Sons, A Tribe Called Red, The Dead South, and International Album of the Year winner, Kendrick Lamar.

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2018 Juno Award Winners

JUNO Fan Choice

Shawn Mendes

Single of the Year

“There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back”, Shawn Mendes

Artist of the Year

Gord Downie

Group of the Year

A Tribe Called Red

Breakthrough Artist of the Year

Jessie Reyez

Breakthrough Group of the Year

The Beaches

Songwriter of the Year

Gord Downie and Kevin Drew

International Album of the Year

DAMN., Kendrick Lamar

Album of the Year

Everything Now, Arcade Fire

Country Album of the Year

Game On, James Barker Band

Adult Alternative Album of the Year

Introduce Yerself, Gord Downie

Alternative Album of the Year

Antisocialites, Alvvays

Pop Album of the Year

Skin & Earth, Lights

Rock Album of the Year

Young Beauties and Fools, The Glorious Sons

Indigenous Music Album of the Year

Medicine Songs, Buffy Sainte-Marie

Contemporary Roots Album of the Year

Bone on Bone, Bruce Cockburn

Traditional Roots Album of the Year

Illusion & Doubt, The Dead South

Electronic Album of the Year

Mass Manipulation, Rezz

Metal/Hard Music Album of the Year

Voice of the Void, Anciients

Adult Contemporary Album of the Year

Nobody But Me, Michael Bublé

Comedy Album of the Year

I Wanted To Be A Dinosaur, Ivan Decker

Blues Album of the Year

Time to Roll, MonkeyJunk

Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

First Day of My Life, The Color

World Music Album of the Year

Where the Galleon Sank, Kobo Town

Vocal Jazz Album of the Year

Turn Up the Quiet, Diana Krall

Jazz Album of the Year: Solo

Root Structure, Mike Downes

Jazz Album of the Year: Group

The North, David Braid, Mike Murley, Anders Mogensen and Johnny Aman

Instrumental Album of the Year

Stubborn Persistent Illusions, Do Make Say Think

Francophone Album of the Year

Paloma, Daniel Bélanger

Children’s Album of the Year

Hear the Music, Fred Penner

Classical Album of the Year: Solo or Chamber

Chopin Recital 3, Janina Fialkowska

Classical Album of the Year: Large Ensemble

Chopin: Works for Piano & Orchestra, Jan Lisiecki with NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester

Classical Album of the Year: Vocal or Choral

Crazy Girl Crazy, Barbara Hannigan with Ludwig Orchestra

Classical Composition of the Year

“My Name is Amanda Todd”, Jocelyn Morlock

Rap Recording of the Year

“Shooters”, Tory Lanez

Dance Recording of the Year

“Closer (ft. Laurell)”, Nick Fiorucci

R&B/Soul Recording of the Year

“Freudian”, Daniel Caesar

Reggae Recording of the Year

“Greater”, Kirk Diamond

Jack Richardson Producer of the Year Award

Diana Krall and Tommy Lipuma

Recording Engineer of the Year

Riley Bell

Album Artwork of the Year

Marianne Collins, Ian Ilavsky and Steve Farmer

Video of the Year

“VENUS FLY”, Grimes

International Achievement Award

Arcade Fire

Canadian Music Hall of Fame

Barenaked Ladies

Humanitarian Award (Formally Allan Waters Humanitarian Award)

Gary Slaight

Walt Grealis Special Achievement Award

Denise Donlon

CBC Music Festival 2018 Lineup and Ticket Announcement

The CBC Music Festival is coming back for a sixth year in 2018, and with a stacked lineup of Canadian talent, it’s sure to be a good time!

17 artists have been announced for the one day music festival at Echo Beach on May 26, with Juno Award winners, July Talk set to headline the festivities. Fan favourites including A Tribe Called Red, Yukon Blonde, The Rural Alberta Advantage, and one of our personal favourites, Caveboy, will also be on stage, filling the day with great Canadian music.

Note: The lineup also includes The Launch season one artist, Logan Staats and 2018 CBC Searchlight winner, aquakultre, as two of the emerging talents that will take the stage.

Tickets for the 2018 CBC Music Festival go on sale to the general public on Friday, March 23 at 10am via Ticketmaster, with general admission passes set at $39.50 plus fees. With this many bands on the bill, that’s a great value. But for families, it gets better. Children (12 years and younger) are free when accompanied by a ticket holding adult, with a two child per adult maximum. So if you’re a family that loves music, this is a great way to kick off the summer festival season!

And, with a CBC Kids’ Zone, Food Trucks, and more planned to add to the music, the value keeps getting better!

If you can’t make it to Echo Beach for the festival this year, CBC has got you covered. The day’s events and music will stream online via cbcmusic.ca and the CBC Music Facebook and YouTube channels, offering music lovers across Canada the chance to join the crowd virtually and enjoy the show.

With more news, artists, and announcements to come in the coming weeks, it seems certain that 2018’s CBC Music Festival is positioned to be memorable.

Now, check out the first 17 artists announced for the 2018 CBC Music Festival, and stay tuned for updates as we get closer to the May 26, 2018.

2018 CBC Music Festival Lineup

July Talk
A Tribe Called Red
Charlotte Day Wilson
The Rural Alberta Advantage
Northern Touch All-Stars
Yukon Blonde
Busty and the Bass
The Jerry Cans
Milk & Bone
Fortunate Ones
Logan Staats
Johnny Balik
Midnight Shine

Caveboy at NXNE 2017


CBC Music Festival 2018 Poster

Field Trip 2018 Announces Female Driven Lineup

A Toronto Festival Season staple since 2013, Field Trip has released their their 2018 lineup, with 25 acts announced to play at Historic Fort York & Garrison Common.

Field Trip has always been a friend to indie and small label artists, putting them on stage in front of Toronto area music lovers to grow their fan bases, and play for their diehards. This year will be no different, with an assortment of acts coming to the festival.

A major point of excitement for us, and a point we’ve already seen celebrated on social media, is the number of female artists, and bands that include women, on the 2018 bill. Of the 25 acts announced, 13 include women for a 52% total. While that may not seem like it should be a big deal, it is. With female artists still looking to find equality in their chances to play festival stages (or get radio spins), it is wholly encouraging to see Field Trip make the effort to host a more equal representation on stage.

Along with their main musical lineup, Field Trip will once again offer expanded entertainment in 2018.

The comedy stage (traditionally set up in the Barracks Building) returns in 2018 and promises to bring a funny crop of local stars and emerging comedians. Stay tuned for more details there.

Field Trip 2018 will also bring back the Analogue Gallery Sound Image Exhibition, showing off great Canadian concert photography, including shots from previous Field Trip performances.

Day Camp will also be back, giving families the opportunity to enjoy themselves with kid-specific entertainment options, and a fully immersive intergenerational play space!

There’s a whole lot to be excited about for Field Trip 2018, but it all comes back to the lineup. So, have a look at the 25 acts that have been announced, and leave a comment telling us who you are most excited to see at Historic Fort York & Garrison Common, June 2 & 3.

Field Trip 2018 Lineup

🔊 Metric
🔊 Yeah Yeah Yeahs
🔊 Bahamas
🔊 Alvvays
🔊 Noname
🔊 Allan Rayman
🔊 Jacob Banks
🔊 The Barr Brothers
🔊 Japandroids
🔊 Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
🔊 Middle Kids
🔊 Charlotte Cardin
🔊 Deer Tick
🔊 Cuco
🔊 Reuben and the Dark
🔊 Pierre Kwenders
🔊 Allie X
🔊 Haerts
🔊 Dizzy
🔊 Partner
🔊 Gabrielle Shonk
🔊 Liza Anne
🔊 Chris Larocca
🔊 Maddee
🔊 Ellevator

For Field Trip 2018 ticket information, including presale and public sale dates and times, CLICK HERE!

Trish’s 10 Most Listened to Albums of 2017!

One of my favourite things to do, as we get to the end of a year is look back. It’s a great time to reflect, a great time to look forward and a great time for Top 10 lists.

Note: I suggest that you listen, while you read.

Recently, someone said to me, “I don’t know how you find time to listen to music.“. My response was, “I don’t know how you live without music in your life every day.”. For me, music is a constant. It lifts me when I’m down, it drowns out the noise of the world when it’s too much and it gives me hope.

2017 has been an interesting year for me music-wise, and I think my Most Listened to Albums list reflects this.

Following Joshua’s lead, my list isn’t in any order and I’ve added an honourable mention section at the bottom.

Let’s do this!

 Imagine Dragons: ƎVOLVE (2017)

Most played track: Thunder

I’ve been a huge fan of Imagine Dragons since the release of their debut album Night Visions. Having been lucky enough to have caught the band live for both the Smoke + Mirrors and ƎVOLVE tours, it was an easy call to put this album on my list.

When they started teasing this album in 2016 I was excited, and when they released Believer on February 1st, I listened, and I was over the moon. It gives us the awesome signature drums we associate with the band, plus there are so many words in this song, and Dan sings them like it’s nothing (trust us, is a huge deal), and their use of “the drop” in this song is perfection.

The track Yesterday is one of my favourites and a big part of that is because of the experience of hearing this song live, with tens of thousands of people singing along. I still get goosebumps and tear up every time I hear this track.

And yet, when I head to Spotify, Thunder is always my first choice. There’s just something about it that I love.

ƎVOLVE debuted at number two on the US Billboard Top 200, ending up at number one in both Canada and on the US Rock chart. It’s gone platinum in the US and Austria and gold in France, Italy, Poland and Sweden. Singles Thunder and Believer both charted in the top 5 and Whatever it Takes has over 112 million views on YouTube.

Imagine Dragons also captured a spot on my Highlights and Top Memories of 2017 post.

Imagine Dragons - Evolve Cover Art

 Oddisee: The Iceberg (2017)

Most played track: Built by Pictures

The Iceberg opens with minimalist horns and finger snapping, and just like that, you’re in.

Oddisee, with Good Compny behind him, has put together the perfect combination of a super talented live band paired with important political hip-hop.

I’m the first to admit that I’m late to the Oddisee party and I’m doing my best to catch up. The Iceberg has some of my favourite lyrics of the year including this one from Hold it Back.

I make more than my sister
Cause I was born as a mister
And I ain’t never been to college, and she graduated honors
Yet the bosses think that I’m a better fit, huh
– Oddisee

The album is funky, abundant with thoughtful lyrics and stories that give us a snapshot of life, and although I couldn’t find it on any Billboard charts, it struck a chord with me. Give this one a listen, there are 12 tracks, and I can bet at least one of them will stick with you.

Oddisee - The Iceberg cover art

Johnson Crook: The Album (2017)

Most played track: Hardwired

This Toronto-based band is familiar to you if you’re a regular reader. We’ve been tracking the guys since we first came across them as Boots and Hearts Emerging Artist entrants. Since that time we’ve gotten to know Noel Johnson, Trevor Crook, Nathan Crook and Jared Craig pretty well. We’ve watched them hone their craft and come into their own.

The Album is the first full-length offering from Johnson Crook, and it’s a rich collection of stories, harmonies, textures and melodies. It gives you a little bit of everything and wraps it up in a tidy package. You’ll find fun upbeat party tunes, anthemic songs and tender, soft and sometimes sad love songs.

Putting this album on the list was an easy choice, I have a copy in my car, and I listen regularly on Spotify. Choosing a most-played track, now that was the tricky part. It’s rare that I put this album on and don’t listen straight through and my favourite song changes based on my mood. In the end, I went with Hardwired mostly because I feel it and I think you will too.

I’m going to say it again; you should be listening to Johnson Crook. The band got a nice little bump in their streaming numbers when Spotify included their dark and sorrowful song Shadows on the Folk 2017 Playlist. They’re in some pretty special company on that list.

Johnson Crook The Album cover

Midland: On The Rocks (2017)

Most played track: This Old Heart

There’s something campy about Midland. And by campy I mean great. They don’t take themselves too seriously, they’ve found a way to mix classic country with today’s more modern sound, and it’s working.

With a September release date, you’d think it would be tough to get on a year-end list, but I’ve had a chance to hear Midland live twice this year, first at Toronto’s The Dakota and then again at Boots and Hearts. These guys are super talented, and I’m glad that they’ve taken time from their busy schedules to work on music together. It’s amazing.

In case you didn’t know, Midland is lead singer Mark Wystrach who was an actor and underwear model, bass player Cameron Duddy who’s an MTV Video Music award-winning video director (Locked Out of Heaven by Bruno Mars) and lead guitarist, Jess Carson. They come together with luscious harmonies and great guitar work, and we get the feeling of a honky-tonk loud and clear.

On The Rocks has a beefy 13 tracks and after This Old Heart, I’d include Electric Rodeo, Drinkin’ Problem, Check Cashin’ Country and Burn Out to my list of favourites.

This Old Heart is a great story song and one that I embraced wholeheartedly.

Andrew Hyatt: Iron & Ashes (2017)

Most played track: Most of Me

I first saw Andrew Hyatt in 2015 at Burlington’s Sound of Music, and I saw the spark of what was to come.

Since then Hyatt has gone on to release his first full-length album, and he’s started a professional relationship with Dallas Smith, with Smith is now acting as Andrew’s manager. This change saw him heading out on tour with the Canadian Country star and releasing a brand new single, Do It With You, which is brand new music. This has us looking forward to even more new music.

Iron & Ashes is a record about changes and life. It includes three tracks from his EP Never Back Down including Goodbye Gone, Running on Empty and my most played track, Most of Me. There are twelve tracks and they run the spectrum including some heartbreaking stuff (She Ain’t You), some fun, upbeat party songs (MGR, That’s How I’m Livin’) and songs that are fresh and hopeful (On Me, Laid Back And Easy). 

If you’re a fan of country, rock or even pop, give this one a listen.

 Joey Bada$$: ALL-AMERIKKKAN BADA$$ (2017)

Most played track: ROCKABYE BABY (feat. ScHoolboy Q)

The latest offering from New York’s Joey Bada$$ dropped on April 7th, 2017. So far we’ve seen three singles – Devastated, Land of the Free and Temptation. If we’re looking at numbers, and we are, AABA peaked at number 5 on the Billboard Top 200 chart.

There’s a distinct split on this album, the first half, that he refers to as “The Heroes Side,” is laid-back. It’s melodic, and while the music is less dark, the subject matter is anything but. The second half, which Joey refers to as “The Vindictive Villainous Side,” is a collection of tenacious songs.

The album is rife with controversial topics including oppression and the consequences of that oppression, police brutality, and to my delight, Donald Trump. There are lots of other artists featured on AABA including J. Cole, Chronixx, ScHoolboy Q and more.

My favourite track on the album is Rockabye Baby featuring ScHoolboy Q; there’s something about the piano part that gets stuck in my head. The lyrics and yeah, there’s a “Fuck Donald Trump”. This song makes my body move; the chorus is impossible to ignore. I love his delivery, and with this album, he’s created a fan in me.


USS: New World Alphabet (2017)

Most played track: Work Shoes

New World Alphabet is the fifth studio album for USS. It’s full of catchy choruses paired with thoughtful and provoking verses. It’s classic USS and the first single, Work Shoes, is my most listened to track. Jason and Ash have been making music together now for 10 years, and there’s a maturity about this album.

The guys did a very cool kick off to their tour with six shows in the six. They started at the Cameron House followed by The Mod Club, The Opera House, Rivoli, Adelaide Hall and finished up the six at The Danforth Music Hall. It was a fun, exciting time and fans of USS were thrilled.

USS - New World Alphabet Album Art

Lindsay Ell: The Project (2017)

Most played track: Waiting On You

I love this album, and I especially love Waiting On You. I find it impossible to not sing along when this song comes on. It’s rock and roll, it’s bluesy, but it’s still country.

The record, produced by Sugarland’s Kristian Bush is produced beautifully, and it’s full of positive messages and love.

The Project is twelve songs, and it includes previously released promo singles like Good, Criminal, Space, and Worth the Wait as well some brand new songs. It’s a put it on and leave it album. It’s a great listen anytime.

Lindsay Ell - The Project Cover Art

James Barker Band: Game On (2017)

Most played track: Chills

This EP and especially this song were impossible to ignore. It was everywhere, and I played it a ton on Spotify. In fact, Chills was my most played song of 2017.

This is great songwriting paired with great delivery. James Barker wrote the song with Travis Wood, Gavin Slate and Donovan Woods who are kicking out country hits like nobody’s business. Chills was the third single released from Game On and the band’s first number one.

The band toured with Dean Brody during 2017, and they’re set to headline their own tour starting January 11th in Halifax with Meghan Patrick and Jojo Mason. We’ll be chatting with them soon, and we’re expecting there will be new music coming!

James Barker Band - Game On cover art

Ferraro: Losing Sleep (2017)

Most played track: Losing Sleep

Losing Sleep is the first full-length album from the Cameron House’s Ferraro brothers. It’s got an old time rock and roll feel and while prepping for my interview with the band before this year’s NXNE, it got stuck in my head. And it stayed there. I’m a fan of 50’s music, and there’s a hint of that here, but the music doesn’t feel dated. It’s fresh, fun and full of amazing harmonies.

This record also falls into the put it on and leave it category for me. Ten great tracks and while the title track Losing Sleep gets my most played track nod, Shake It Off and Coffee & Smokes are close behind.

Ferraro - Losing Sleep Cover Art

Honourable mentions

Barney Bentall: The Drifter and the Preacher, Cage the Elephant: Unpeeled, Crown Lands: Rise Over Run, Dallas Smith: Side Effects, JJ Shiplett: Something to Believe In, Jess Moskaluke: Past The Past, Lady Antebellum: Heart Break, Matthew Good: Something Like a Storm, and last but definitely not least a single, that I couldn’t leave off my year-end list – Goodnight, Sunrise: Remember Now.

Header photo by Edu Grande on Unsplash

Trish’s Highlights and Top Memories of 2017!

2017 was a year loaded with lots of hard work, unbelievable experiences, and of course, music. I got to meet, and spend time with some amazingly talented people. I got to listen to live music from my favourite artists and bands, new and old, and I had the pleasure of being able to share it with all of you. Below are my five live performance highlights for the year.

Every day I’m aware of how privileged I am to do this job, to bring together my love of music, writing and photography and to live a life where music is everywhere.

Were you at any of these shows? Let me know in the comments.

Hip Hop Set of the Year

Oddisee at Lee’s Palace, Toronto (May 27, 2017)

It’s not very often I take a pass on free music and photo access but in this case, I didn’t even apply to shoot and review the Oddisee show.

I’d been listening to The Iceberg since it’s release in February and was so looking forward to just being a fan. It was a beautifully warm May day and I met up with people I knew in line who were just as excited as I was. It was a sold out show and Lee’s Palace was packed to the back with fans of 24-year-old Amir Mohamed el Khalifa. Opening for Oddisee was Good Compny, his band, and they were brilliant. Showing off their amazing musical skills the band got the crowd ready for Oddisee to take the stage, and take over the crowd.

From the second he took the stage, Oddisee connected with us and he didn’t let go until he walked off the stage. Going into the show, I was pretty comfortable with the songs and thought I knew all the words, but there were people in the audience, singing every single word and he noticed. If this is a new name for you, and you have any interest in rap, hip-hop, jazz or even pop, you need to give his music a listen. I promise you won’t regret it.

Note: This is my only club show set highlight.

Oddisee performance taken from Facebook

Rock and Roll Set of the Year

Cage the Elephant at WayHome, Oro-Medonte (July 28, 2017)

I’ve been a fan of Cage the Elephant since their debut release in 2008 but they’d kinda fallen off my radar.

That completely changed this July when I saw them live for the first time. Wow! This show gets my Rock and Roll set of the year highlight for all the right reasons. It was full of hits, it delivered the new music from Unpeeled, it was loud, it was vibrant and it was the most energetic set of 2017. There was running and jumping and there was confetti, all perfectly timed and amazing.

As a photographer, this set gave me everything I could have hoped for and it also gave me my favourite image of the year. I smile every time I think about this set, that’s a win in my book.

Whole Wide World: Cage The Elephant at WayHome 2017

Emotional Moment Set of the Year

Imagine Dragons at WayHome, Oro-Medonte (July 29, 2017)

Right smack in the middle of WayHome, I had the most emotional moment I’ve ever experienced at a live show.  That encounter was delivered by Day 2 headliner, Imagine Dragons. And I wasn’t alone.

While in the photo pit, amongst 25+ other photographers, Dan Reyolds reached out and touched my heart. It was electric. It was the music and it was the message, “Spread peace, spread love.”. It was real and it was heartfelt.

If there was a masterclass on how to deliver three opening songs for photographers, while not taking away from the crowd, Imagine Dragons could lead this class. They gave us everything including smiles, jumps, close-ups, add in Dan leaving the stage and getting behind us to lean on the barricades, so that he could get as close as possible to the crowd, all the while singing his ass off. It was spectacular showmanship and we ate it up.

As we left the pit, there was chatter between photogs exclaiming, that they gave us everything we could have hoped for. Full disclosure here – I cried twice during the first three songs. This isn’t a normal thing, normally I’m working, I’m in work mode and while I enjoy the music and experience, it doesn’t normally affect me like this. Kudos to Imagine Dragons for connecting on a level I’d never experienced before.

Whatever It Takes: Imagine Dragons at WayHome 2017

Country Set of the Year

Keith Urban at Boots and Hearts, Oro-Medonte (August 11, 2017)

After a super hot steamy early August Friday, the weather took a little turn, and by little, I mean from cloudy threatening skies to a full out tornado warning.

Tens of thousands of people, who’d been waiting all day for headliner Keith Urban to take the stage, were surprised to be told that they had to leave the stage area and return to their tents. After quite a delay, the thunder and lightning passed and everyone was allowed to return to the stage area. Fans ran for the front and Keith opened the set with Long Hot Summer and proceeded to put on a show like nobody’s business. We were not surprised when his name appeared on the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year nominee list, this was easily one of my top five highlights of the year.

Urban played a full set, in spite of the delay, and thanked us all for coming back, like we wouldn’t. During his set, two more showers made their way through the area but he carried on like it was business as usual even giving us a sassy, “Rain ain’t nothing but a thang”.

Keith Urban is an amazing guitar player, fantastic singer and I’d stand in the rain all day for another performance like this one.

Ripcord: Keith Urban at Boots & Hearts 2017

Classic Set of the Year

Midnight Oil at Budweiser Stage, Toronto (August 25, 2017)

In the category of bands, I forgot how much I loved, I give you Midnight Oil.

Following two amazing opening bands (The Living End and Matthew Good), Midnight Oil turned up at the Budweiser Stage on a warm August night, and blew it up!

The energy level was intense, the messages were genuine and the music brought it all together. They played all of their hits and everyone sang along, including me. Peter Garrett moves and sings like a man in his 20’s and the band’s lyrics are just as relevant today as the day they were written. In addition to being my classic set of the year, they’re also my Aussie set of the year.

Midnight Oil, Matthew Good and The Living End at Toronto’s Budweiser Stage

Thank you to the artists, the teams that help bring us together, and thank you to our readers. Thank you all for supporting us and thank you for filling my life with music. I’m looking forward to 2018 and more highlights.

We’re All In This Together: Stopping Bad Concert Behaviour

Last week, shitty behaviour at two concerts, half a world apart, turned into internet stories featuring two Canadian musicians with a lesson that needs to be learned by music fans of all genres in all cities.

On Tuesday, November 14, Dallas Smith’s Side Effects Tour took over the Encana Events Centre in Dawson Creek, BC – and in Smith’s words, here’s what happened.

Tonight I got to watch girls and guys punching, pulling hair, groping girls ect ect. Disgusting Dawson Creek. Most fans were great. Others ruined it. Grow the f**k up.

And on Wednesday, November 15, at Sydney’s Marquee nightclub a similar incident was recorded by a fan at Drake’s show in Australia. From the stage Drake called out a male fan for groping women in the crowd.

That’s two incidents, on opposite sides of the globe, 24 hours apart. This isn’t about Dawson Creek, it isn’t about Sydney, it’s about shitty behaviour and assault at concerts.

What followed for Smith was a Twitter storm that was picked up by news outlets, radio station websites and more. And, in my eyes, most problematically, there was push back and defensiveness where there should have been support and action. People with voices, big and small, were more interested in defending themselves and a city than dealing with the problem.

One of those responses, defensive in nature and ignoring the problem, came from Dawson Creek Mayor, Dale Bumstead who posted these words on Facebook…

My heart, my stomach, my body hurts when someone makes a discouraging comment about our city. It hurts even more when people in our community feel the opportunity to join in and share in the statement. You cannot underestimate the importance of your reputation. An event that impacts the Cities reputation can have long lasting effects. Maybe a significant economic opportunity is lost because a business leader reads the media reports and says “shouldn’t go near that city” Maybe another major event like U17 says better stay away from there. Maybe a new Doctor says, not there I heard they …….
These can all have a direct and significant impact on each and everyone of us.
Reputation IS everything.
We work hard day in and day out to build our communities reputation as a community that has a great quality of life.
Very sad day for me right now [crying face emoji]

I get it. We can all understand defensiveness and standing up our city. Hell, that’s his job. But where was the acceptance that something bad happened in his city? Where was the support for the victims of the reported hair pulling, fighting, and sexual assault? Where was the community when some of its members needed it most?

Now, I’m not here to put the Mayor on blast. And I’m not even here to call out Dawson Creek – because this isn’t about Dawson Creek, and it’s not about country music. Just like it isn’t about Sydney and hip-hop. It’s about understanding that, as communities, we need to care about each other. We need to look out for each other. And when someone does something shitty at a show, or in any setting, we need to hold them accountable, not circle the wagons to defend ourselves and make ourselves feel better and look innocent.

I’m a straight cis white male, so I’m trying to stay in my lane here. And I can tell you, from personal experience, that there are times when I see a post online that generalizes the behaviours of straight white men and my instinct is to think or say “not me, not all men”. Defensiveness: I get it. But then I realize that those posts are rooted in deeply personal experiences by the people that write and share them – and I know that someone who looks a lot like me was the reason that the post exists. So it may not have anything to do with me directly, but in a way, it does.

Let’s throw an example together.

After the concerts in Dawson Creek and Sydney, at least one woman went home and told her friends or family, or herself in the mirror that she had been assaulted. And when she describes who assaulted her, it’s going to be a male country music or hip-hop fan in Dawson Creek or Sydney. She’s not saying that all male country music fans in Dawson Creek or all male hip-hop fans in Sydney assaulted her. She’s not vilifying all males, country music fans, hip-hop fans or people in those communities – but the truth remains that someone that fits that description assaulted her.

Here’s where you come in. Do you…

A) Say, “Don’t blame all men because one guy acted shitty”
B) Say, “Don’t blame all country music and hip-hop fans because one of them acted shitty”
C) Say, “Don’t blame all of Dawson Creek and Sydney because one concert goer acted shitty”
D) Say, “That’s terrible, I hate that it happened, we need to be better and do our best to make sure it never happens again in Dawson Creek or Sydney or anywhere else.”

If your gut answer is A, B, or C, you’re not a bad person. But if you don’t ever get to D because you’re so busy digging your heels in on any or all of the other answers, you’re ignoring the actual problem, you’re ignoring the assault that happened, and you’re excusing the actions of the shitty male country music fan in Dawson Creek and the shitty male hip-hop fan in Sydney.

You can change male to female. You can change country music and hip-hop to rock or pop. You can change Dawson Creek and Sydney to Toronto or Melbourne. The example holds up.

Assault at concerts and festivals happens. If you’ve been to enough shows you may have witnessed it. Sometimes it’s a fight in the crowd between two guys who run into each other and a drink gets spilled. Sometimes it’s a fight between two women for the same reason. Sometimes it’s a guy groping a woman and thinking that he can get away with it. Sometimes it’s worse. The sad truth is, the incidents in Dawson Creek and Sydney weren’t isolated.

And if it’s ever going to get better, we need to start taking responsibility for these actions and each other, not deflecting to make ourselves feel innocent or persecuted for someone else’s shitty actions.

Unless you are a person who has acted shitty and assaulted someone at a concert, you shouldn’t feel attacked by anyone calling out that kind of behaviour. If you are against shitty behaviour but feeling defensive, you should probably ask yourself why you’re more concerned with yourself right now instead of a person that was assaulted. And if you care about people who are assaulted but are still feeling defensive, you should care more about them then the reputation of your community – especially in the immediate aftermath.

We are all really good at worrying about ourselves. We are all really good at not wanting to look bad. We are all really good at distancing ourselves from problematic issues that happen in our communities. What we need to be better at is not running away from a problem so we can feel good about ourselves, or hide from a problem to avoid feeling bad about ourselves. We all need to be better at identifying problematic behaviour in our communities and working to eradicate that behaviour.

As music fans, we all belong to communities. In Toronto I can identify faces at country shows, rock shows, pop shows, hip-hop shows… we see the same people at different venues for different artists, there to watch music because they love music. And when a country fan or a rock and roll fan does something shady or shitty at one of those shows, it falls on the Toronto community of that fandom to stand with each other, protect each other, and support each other. The moment one of those communities throws its hands in the air and says “it’s not our problem that one fan did a bad thing” – it’s all gone to shit and the word community means nothing.

We are all stronger as a community. We are all better as a community. We are all together as a community. But if we don’t act like it… it doesn’t matter.

Music fans across all genres need to know that this kind of thing happens, and that it’s not okay. We need to know that the people who carry out these reprehensible acts of violence and assault should be punished and held accountable by law. We need to stand together and ensure that we don’t shrug our shoulders and say “there’s nothing we can do”.

It shouldn’t be on entertainers to call this behaviour out from the stage or on Twitter. And while it can be helpful, and certainly respectable when they do, it should be on us.

If you ever witness someone physically or verbally assaulting a fan at a concert or festival, take action. If you don’t feel comfortable confronting the assault, go get security. If you do feel comfortable confronting the assault, be careful – and have someone else go get security. If you witness an assault and the person who committed the act has left the area, be there to support the victim – and have someone get security. And if you’re at a concert with someone committing any kind of assault – call them on it, make them stop, don’t turn a blind eye.

We know it’s not all concert goers. But one is too many. And we all need to stick together and do the right thing to make sure that it doesn’t happen.

When we stand together, we are strong. When we turn our backs on the people in our communities in their times of need, we are weak.

We need to be strong.

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