a log of cd's purchased + shows attended + other stuff.
vnv nation @ le national

ah, i almost forgot to blog about this: the vnv nation show at le national, on wednesday, july 15. i drove to donwtown right after work, meeting with rox and her friend alex.

the first act was ayria, from toronto. i had checked out some of her music when i saw her name in the lineup for kinetik festival, and liked her most recent album. live, she was accompanied by two other musicians. the music sounded pretty much the same as on the studio release. she tried hard to work the crowd, but i felt the stage was a bit too large for her act, and the venue was a bit empty during her set.

the second openers were war tapes. meh. not sure how they fit with the rest of the lineup, since they were more of a rock band. a couple of their songs reminded me of, um, the bravery, which is not such a good thing. i do applaud the singer for his energy, as he shoved his face into the audiences' and shouted his lyrics.

(it turns out war tapes had some gear stolen right after the show that night. seems like the n-th time i hear about gear theft in montreal. wtf?)

i would not call myself a vnv nation fan, since i've only heard their albums once. but i do like the kind of electro/lite-industrial music they produce. it's kind of happy, and nice to dance to. i was surprised at how humourous the singer is, as he cracked jokes in between songs. good stage banter.

i am not familiar enough with their material to recognize any songs. i took a picture of the setlist; here's what they played:

pro victoria
in defiance
tomorrow never comes

the great divide

encore 2:


cd purchases: i got ayria's most recent album "hearts for bullets", in the deluxe version, which includes a bonnus disc, a sticker, a postcard, a mini-poster, and a cheap plastic bracelet. i also got vnv nation's most recent "of faith, power and glory".


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beirut @ metropolis

on saturday of the last weekend (july 11), there was the beirut show, that was part of the jazz fest (even though they are not jazz as all). i went with rox and glo.

rox has already posted a detailed entry about the show, so i'll be lazy and post a few pictures instead.

the openers were the dodos. i had never heard of them before. i found them alright. for some reason, their music made me think of twee-pop (mostly because of the singer's soft-ish vocal style), but more upbeat.

we had already seen beirut before. this time, it was at a bigger venue, but there seemed to be less musicians on stage... and zach condon sang a song in italian; i realized that no matter in which language (english, french, italian) he sings, i cannot understand the lyrics.

they only played one song from the "realpeople holland" disc, "my night with the prostiture from marseille". i really liked how they translated the electronic sounds to the accordion.

a clip of "postcards from italy":

they ended with "la llorona". i realized that not only does that track make a good album opener, it also makes a great show closer; it's so dramatic.


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regina spektor, dumas

before the beirut show last week, during the afternoon, i went by hmv to get regina spektor's new album, "far", that was released last month. i got the cd+dvd version, of course.

while at the store, i also saw dumas' new album, "demain", a continuation of the series. from the overall picture, it seems like there will be another release.

even though it's been a week, i haven't had much time to listen to these new purchases yet...


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the ok thing to do on sunday afternoon is to toddle in the zoo

on my last day in shanghai, in the morning, i visited the mall near the hotel. there was a bookshop there with a music section. i checked out their selection: hk+taiwan pop, japanese+korean pop, western pop, chinese classical/folk.

i noticed that for the western music, these were all chinese versions, with chinese translations of the titles on the packaging.

it was similar for the hk+taiwan pop; the titles were all in simplified chinese. in this section, i spied the debut album "在動物園散步才是正經事" ("the ok thing to do on sunday afternoon is to toddle in the zoo") by my little airport. it was the only cd worth getting for me.

a lo-fi minimal twee pop kind of album, with songs mostly in english.

sample track: edward, have you ever thought that the end of the world would come on 20.9.01

in my opinion, their cantonese lyrics are far superior.


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i had flown to shanghai with a connection in toronto. unfortunately, the toronto-shanghai flight was delayed by six hours. so i had some time to kill at the airport.

at one of the shops, there was a small music section. i saw tiga's latest "ciao!". i had seen his mock interview (part 1, part 2) a couple of weeks ago, found it funny, and had been meaning to check out the new album. so i bought it there.

i had loved his debut full length. this second album is a bit 'meh' in comparison. the so-called lyrics are laughable. there are a few fun tracks, such as "beep beep beep" and "shoes", but the rest is nothing groundbreaking.


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ihha 2009

last week, i was in shanghai to attend the ihha 2009 conference for work.

most of my days were spent at the convention center.

night view, front:

day view, river side:

the convention center was located in the hotel where i was staying. from my room, i also had a good view of the river:

along with the conference, there was an exposition held at another location, the soviet-style exhibition center:

the city of shanghai was gearing up for expo 2010. everywhere i went, i saw their blue mascot. what the heck is that thing supposed to be?

i had one day when i was free to do some sight-seeing. i started by visiting a pedestrian section of east nanjing road:

afterwards, i walked southwards, until reaching fuyou road, where i suppose is the beginning of old town:

i walked towards the yuyuan gardens. the surrounding neighbourhood was all pedestrian, with many shops, a tourist area:

the old style architecture seemed kind of artificial. certain sections were being restored:

for lunch, i had one of those "soup buns" i saw at many food stalls:

on my last day in shanghai, i took one last walk on the riverside promenade, next to the hotel. from there, i had a good view of the city center across the river. it was a bit grey that day:

at a nearby supermarket, i bought some snacks, some lays chips, in flavours i've never seen before:

overall, the conference was certainly an eye-opener, although i was not able to follow along with all the presentations. i will need to read the technical papers for more details.

the weather was too hot for me. good thing i stayed inside for most days.