Music Monday: My Year in Concerts

As a music fan, I’ve always loved going to concerts. There’s just something about hearing music live that just makes me so happy and feels like everything is right in the world, if only for a couple hours. So for this Music Monday, I thought I’d feature the concerts I went to this year.

1. Justin Timberlake – The 20/20 Experience Tour

JT 2020 Tour

I wrote about my thoughts on this tour back when I saw it, but let me repeat – my dancer’s heart loved every single minute of it.

2. Lady AntebellumTake Me Downtown Tour

Lady Antebellum Take Me Downtown Tour

I’m very limited in my tastes when it comes to country music. Country pop I can deal with to an extent; I can’t handle real southern country twang. When I first heard Lady Antebellum, it was when they released ‘Need You Now’ and I remember thinking these guys are really cool and sound really great. I quickly became a fan, to say the least. After missing out on their Own the Night tour (which I’m still kinda bummed about because I absolutely LOVED that album), I had to make sure I got to see them the next time they were in town, which was for this tour. Though to be honest, I felt really out of place at the concert. Being a minority and a generally awkward person, I’m typically used to feeling out of place. For some reason, I felt VERY odd being one of few Asians at a country music concert (and not wearing plaid – believe me, there was A LOT of plaid). My being-out-of-place aside, Lady A are wonderful live and it was a great concert overall.

3. Gavin DeGraw

Gavin DeGraw

For years, a friend and I had complained about Gavin not doing a show in Toronto. Lucky us this year, he did 2 separate shows. This first show he did was a solo show in support of his Make A Move album. I remember still being sick/jet-lagged from my trip, but I still had so much fun seeing Gavin perform. His opening acts were Rozzi Crane (signed to Adam Levine’s label) and Parachute (a pop-rock band I’ve followed for some time now), both of whom were really solid.

4. Justin Nozuka

Justin Nozuka

It had been years since I’d last seen Justin Nozuka in concert and when I found out he was releasing a new album and coming back to Toronto, I jumped right on it. Personally, I don’t really like the new album; it’s a little too mellow for my tastes. And most of the concert was comprised of the new material so I was a little disappointed that there wasn’t more of the old stuff. I still cherished him performing ‘After Tonight’ midway through the show; it was quite a pick-me-up that got everybody grooving and singing along. I just wish there was a little more of it.

5. Michael Buble – To Be Loved Tour

Michael Buble To Be Loved Tour

I love seeing Michael Buble in concert. I always say this but when you go see him, you get a little bit of a comedy show as well. It’s his natural sense of humour and self-deprecation. Once again, he brought out Naturally 7 (a very cool acapella group) as his opening act, and who later returned to do a couple songs acapella with Michael. And one of my favourites parts of the show was actually when Michael performed part of a song by himself, with no accompaniment and no mic – a feat all in itself considering he was playing in a huge arena.

6. Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw

Matt Nathanson Gavin DeGraw

 

I always love seeing Matt Nathanson in concert (this was my 5th time seeing him) and add to that, getting to see Gavin for a second time within 3 months? Yeah, it was a no brainer. Despite the fact that the show was at the Sound Academy, a venue in Toronto I have associated with bad memories. Even so, I had to go see this double headlining tour of two of my favourites. My friend and I actually got lucky and received a VIP upgrade when we got there, allowing us to go to the second floor of the club. But after about 20 minutes upstairs, we made our way back down to stand with the masses; it just felt weird standing up top and what’s the point of VIP if you don’t even get to meet the artists? Regardless of that, it was a fantastic show!

7. Tyler Hilton

Tyler Hilton

It wasn’t that long ago that my friends and I complained about Tyler never playing a show in Toronto, despite the fact that he was constantly in the area (his now fianc√©, Megan Park, is from London, Ontario). Since seeing him in 2012 for the first time, this was show number 5. I remember Tyler was actually battling a bit of a cold and kinda losing his voice, but he powered through his (albeit shortened) set. AND to make up for the fact that he didn’t do as long a set as he normally does, he agreed to do a meet and greet, taking pictures with fans.

8. Jason Mraz and Raining Jane

Jason Mraz & Raining Jane

For his new album Yes!, Jason Mraz worked exclusively with a wonderfully talented female band, Raining Jane. It was more a collaborative album than a simple Jason Mraz album. That being said, the two took the album on the road, and I got the chance to see them at the historic Massey Hall. Massey Hall is a venue that is known for its amazing acoustics and ended up being a fantastic place for Jason and Jane.

9. Kris Allen and Boyce Avenue

Kris AllenTechnically, it was Boyce Avenue’s show, with Kris Allen supporting, but I was there to go see Kris since I had yet to see him live in concert. Plus, I wasn’t going to say no to a $30 concert ticket. Kris’ set was a short 45 minutes but he managed to squeeze quite a number of songs from all three albums, plus a couple cover songs (Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ and Sam Smith’s ‘Stay With Me’). ‘Monster’, a song from his 2nd album, is one of my favourites from Kris, but man, to hear it live? Kris and his band took it to another level. I even went so far as to compare it to hearing Maroon 5 perform ‘Sweetest Goodbye’ (my absolute favourite M5 song) live. Pure perfection. As for Boyce Avenue, I was familiar with their cover songs but not their original material. Honestly, I thought their originals were a little blah, and I actually got a little bored hearing them perform. Talented guys, just not into them.

10. Justin TimberlakeThe 20/20 Experience Tour (again!)

JT 20/20 TourIt only seemed appropriate that I end my concert year the same way I started it – seeing JT. The guy never ceases to amaze me and I always have SO much fun at his shows. I feel like I’m just gushing at this point, but what can I say, I’m a dancer at heart and loved singing/dancing along.

With 10 concerts, I feel like that’s the most shows I’ve ever been to in a year, and that’s not even including theatre shows, plus TIFF and SDCC. At this point, concert-going is like my life, so I can’t even keep track anymore. Here’s to another fun-filled, musical year in 2015!

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Pop Cultured Summer 2014

Suits (03)

Summer is officially upon us. Sure, by the time May rolled around, Hollywood had already deemed it as summertime, based on the number of blockbusters we already got treated with. (For what it’s worth, how AWESOME was X-Men: Days of Future Past?!) For this avid TV fan, May marked the end of the regular TV season, so summer tends to slow down just the slightest bit, but there’s still so much to watch/see/do. So here is what I’m looking forward to this summer in movies, music, and yes, TV.

JUNE

  • 22 Jump Street: LOVED the first movie and seriously could not wait to watch this one.22 Jump Street
  • Suits S4: The student becomes the master and now it’s Harvey versus Mike. It’s undoubtedly weird to not see the two working alongside each other, but man have they set up some interesting dynamics to work with now that Mike is no longer with Pearson Specter.
  • Graceland S2: From Mike Ross to Mike Warren. I loved watching this show last summer and so happy to see it back this summer. This time, Mike’s got the whole house working to help him on a case.
  • Covert Affairs S5: What happens now that Annie Walker is no longer a “dead” rogue agent? I can’t wait to find out.
  • Michael Buble concert: I last saw Michael Buble in concert about 4 years ago. It was actually the first time I had seen him and was pleasantly surprised by how much fun I had at it. Come for the music, stay for the added comedy show.

JULY

  • San Diego Comic Con!: SO FREAKIN’ EXCITED! I had so much fun last year with it being my first time, I am determined to have even more fun this year.
  • Matt Nathanson & Gavin DeGraw concert: After having complained before about not having seen Gavin DeGraw in concert, this will be the 2nd time this year that I get to see him. The fact that he’s touring with one of my personal concert faves Matt Nathanson is just icing on the cake. Guaranteed to be a great show.Matt&Gavin
  • Jason Mraz “Yes!”¬†album: Why wouldn’t I be excited about a new Jason Mraz album? This one just happens to be a little extra special in that he worked on the album with a group of supremely talented female musicians, Raining Jane.
  • Lucy: The one movie this month that I’m quite excited about is this one, starring Scarlett Johansson as a woman who is accidentally caught in a dark deal that has turned her into a superhuman. Every once in a while it’s nice to see a movie that isn’t a remake, adaptation or sequel.
  • Extant: Halle Berry makes her foray into TV this series, starring as an astronaut who is trying to readjust to life on Earth after a year in space. Her experiences in the past year however, might now change the course of history.
  • Witches of East End S2: What happens to the Beauchamp ladies now that Dash and Killian’s powers have reappeared after the death of their mother and Joanna’s son has crossed realms? Frankly, I can’t wait to find out.
  • The Strain: Guillermo del Toro’s take on vampires is going to be interesting and probably scary horrifying.
  • Begin Again: I saw this movie, when it was called Can A Song Save Your Life? at the Toronto International Film Festival last September. Since then, I have been waiting anxiously to not only see the movie again but finally own the soundtrack. I LOVE the music in this movie and it’s been killing me not having the songs. Soon enough…

AUGUST

  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper as Rocket Raccoon, Vin Diesel as Groot – what’s not to get excited about? Previews for the movie make it seem a lot more light and fun than all the other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and here’s hoping it’s as good as it seems.Guardians-of-the-Galaxy-Movie-Production-Art
  • The F-Word (aka What If? in the U.S.): Daniel Radcliffe stars in this Canadian-made romantic comedy about a guy who seemingly meets the love of his life. The catch? She’s already got a boyfriend so they strike up a friendship instead. See, the F-word in question is friend, as in “the friend zone.” Silly Americans changing the name of the movie for nothing.
  • Step Up All In: Yes, this is the 5th movie in the Step Up series. This one includes actors/dancers from all the previous ones, though don’t be expecting to see Channing and Jenna (unless of course they do a super secret cameo). And let’s be real, I’m just a sucker for amazing dancing.

That’s what I’m looking forward to this summer, in a nutshell. What is everybody looking forward to?