vancouver

First Look: Adaline’s “The Noise”

It’s time to admit it. Success in the music industry isn’t always based on talent — a large part also depends on image. Hell, sometimes even image alone can make you, talented or not.

Adaline, however, has plenty of both. The artist, born Shawna Beesley, has more than enough talent to go around. Her live performances and presence overflow with a cool sort of confidence, stylish and hip but not pretentious and overbearing. It’s the perfect storm and a music label’s dream.

This comes across clearly in Adaline’s new music video for “The Noise”, the latest single off her sophomore album, Modern Romantics. The storyline of the video, while a bit abstract, speaks to the context of relationships and looks at the environments where we foster emotional connection. In a city filled with noise and the buzzing of society, where’s the romance?

Of note is director JP Poliquin, who also directed Adaline’s last music video for “Whiter/Straighter.” Poliquin does a great job with “The Noise” and it’s clear he’s a director to follow in the future.

Adaline, “The Noise”
From Modern Romantics (2011)

Adaline – “The Noise”, Modern Romantics (2011)
Director:  JP Poliquin; Production Company:  The Field
Executive Producer:  Cherie Sinclair; Producer:  Jason Aita
DOP:  Todd Williams; Editor:  JP Poliquin
Choreography:  Sidney Leeder
Dancers:  Sidney Leeder, Monica Calzaretto, Milda Gecaite, Katherine Rakus, Randi MacQueen
Male Lead:  Ted Puglia
Hair and Makeup:  Luisa Duran; Stylist:  Muska Zurmati
Label:  Light Organ Records

Feature photo and screen captures by Stephanie Ip.

Advertisements

Come back, baby.

If you’re a musician or a fan of music at all, you know one of the worst things ever is having your gear stolen. Not only is music gear expensive to replace but a lot of musicians develop a special bond with their gear, finetuning it to no end to get that perfect sound.

My friend Graham Madden (of Vancouver, B.C. band Tough Lovers) is missing his pedalboard. It was last seen after their most recent show Nov. 17 at the Media Club. The band took a two-week break before their next practice and that was when they discovered the pedalboard was missing. It had been loaded into the car following the show but seems like it never made it back to the band’s apartment where the rest of the gear was unloaded. It’s uncertain where or when it would’ve been lost in the mix or if it was lifted from the car during load-out.

If you happen to hear of anything or come across something that sounds similar to this on Craigslist or from other folks, please contact him on Twitter at @g_madden or by email. You can also leave a comment on this post. Thanks.

Here’s his message that was posted to Facebook:
“Musician friends: My pedalboard was stolen.
If you have any info on the contents, please let me know ASAP.
The pedals from right to left are:

-Boss TU-2 Tuner
-Jetter Dual Overdrive
-Boss OS-2 Overdrive/Distortion
-Boss DD-3 Delay
-Boss FL-3 Flanger
The pedal board was covered in recognizable burgundy fabric surrounding the pedals.
If you see it anywhere, please let me know.”

Tough Lovers – “Colours”
Exits EP; Released Feb. 4, 2011.

Review: Live at Squamish.

If you know me, you know I love Weezer. Which is why I bought a ticket for Live at Squamish the second they announced Weezer would be a main stage headliner. Done and done.

And sure enough, the show was every bit as wonderful as they always are when I see them live. It was my fourth time in four years and for the most part, I’d expected that they’d play a lot of older songs because of the recent Memories Tour they’d been doing. WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT THEY DID! (Except nothing off Pinkerton… sigh.) They again had Josh Freese on the drums, freeing up Pat Wilson to shred. So radical! Anyway, I won’t go too far into details but I’ll highlight a couple of fun things.

I thought I’d end up going by myself since I couldn’t convince any of my friends to buy a ticket but! A friend of a friend saw my post on the Live at Squamish Facebook group, looking for carpools so she messaged me and here we are. Lindsey also brought a camera so all the photos here are to her credit. Cool!

It was also my first time seeing Metric live and holy smokes. Can Emily Haines ever perform! I think I developed a pretty substantial girl crush on her when she was kicking around on stage with those boots.

While the stage was being set up, Karl Koch, the band’s tech/social media guy, was putting around on stage, setting up cameras and what have you. I was, because I was so stoked and not because I’m a jerk, yelling at Karl the whole time. “Hey Karl! You’re awesome, man! Don’t let the man get you down!” Anyway, people around me had no idea who Karl was and I think I freaked out some folks with how much random Weezer knowledge I tossed out there.

Rivers, as per usual, jumped into the crowd with gusto! Except at one point, he entered the crowd from stage right and I couldn’t see where had gone. Then Lindsey started yanking on my arm and telling me to turn around. And this was what I saw. RIVERS! The closest I’ve ever been to shaking the man’s hand. Instead, I’m pretty sure I grabbed his mic and yelled, “HIP MOTHERF*CKING HIP.” Call it a spur of the moment decision. He was singing “Island in the Sun” and I guess that’s what adrenaline does to you.

(Sidenote: “Island in the Sun” had two music videos, one featuring a Mexican wedding and the other that has Rivers, Brian Bell and Pat Wilson playing with animals in a field. While I love both, I think I like the Animal Kingdom version slightly more if only because it’s cute to see grown men playing with baby animals.)

Anyway, the show was wonderful, Karl got me a setlist and I yelled into Rivers’ mic for “Island in the Sun”… I think it’s safe to say that’s a weekend well spent at Live at Squamish. Like that, my live Weezer quota of the year has been fulfilled. (But for real, I’m nervous next year will be the year where I have to fly to see Weezer play live… but ’til then!)

I’ll also leave you off with a clip of Weezer covering Foster The People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” I’d written a post about Foster The People back in March so to hear my favourite band covering one of my favourite songs of the summer live in concert? It was pretty damn wonderful. Enjoy!

All photos on this page are by Lindsey Bolivar.

EDIT (Aug. 27, 2011): It’s been requested I post a copy of the setlist so here it is!

2011-08-21 Squamish, B.C. – Live at Squamish: Surf Wax America, We Are All On Drugs, Keep Fishin’, Perfect Situation, Pumped Up Kicks (Foster The People cover), Say It Ain’t So, Dope Nose, No One Else, Undone, Beverly Hills, My Name Is Jonas, Paranoid Android (Radiohead cover), Troublemaker, Hash Pipe, I Want You To, Island in the Sun.
Encore: Buddy Holly, Pork and Beans.

Vancouver band Said The Whale’s gear stolen in California

Vancouver band Said The Whale is currently touring through California but unfortunately, have had a ton of their gear stolen. The lock on their trailer was cut off and thousands of dollars worth of gear was stolen. Because they’re still on tour and have a ton of shows coming up, they’ll need to replace everything while in the States. So if anyone can hook them up, please do so! Your best bet to contact them is via Twitter at www.twitter.com/saidthewhale.

Otherwise, keep an eye out for these items:

Gear:

  • CB snare drum (SN: 204656)
  • Simon & Patrick acoustic guitar
  • Harmony Sovereign acoustic guitar.
  • MicroKorg (SN: 018904)
  • 2 x glockenspeil

Guitar Pedals:

  • Ibanez Tube Screamer
  • Danelecro Daddio boost pedal
  • Electro Harmonix “Holy Grail” reverb pedal
  • Electro Harmonix “Memory Toy” delay pedal
  • Boss tuner pedal
  • Diamond bass compressor
  • Korg Pitch Black tuner pedal

Miscellaneous Gear:

  • An assortment of planet waves patch cords
  • Shure SM58 microphone

Fresh Roast: The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe.

Java Hut has a quaint little collection of books for people to browse through while waiting for their coffee. Photo: Stephanie Ip

The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe
Location: 767 West 16th Avenue at Willow Street.
Features: A small library, a TV, wireless internet.
Drink: Javachino ($4.75).
Other: Espresso, drip coffee, tea, smoothies, blended coffee drinks, pastries, wraps, sandwiches.

On a recommendation from a friend, I decided to check out The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe. The name sounded familiar but that might be because it’s a pretty cliche, generic coffee shop name, don’t you think? But of course, my suspicions were confirmed: The Java Hut is not so much a chain coffee shop, but a franchise brand.

Location, location, location

While The Java Hut doesn’t exactly enjoy a prime location on a major street, its location tucked away just off Cambie Street ensures that it’s never too busy or crowded. Across the street from an Italian restaurant and a hair salon, the coffee shop is surrounded by apartments and seems like a great place to go for those who live in the area but not quite a destination coffee shop for anyone who lives beyond five blocks.

Getting the goods

While there’s nothing spectacularly unique about the menu, I appreciate that they’ve got a full display case of wraps, sandwiches, and pastries to choose from. Their menu features breakfast, lunch, and dinner items, along with the usual coffee drinks. They also offer a good selection of cold blended coffee drinks for those hot evenings in the summer when you just need to get out of the house.

I also love the set up of the coffee shop. Located right on the corner of Willow Street and West 16th, the shop has a large wrap around patio with plenty of space for a warm summer night. Inside, there are tables and chairs throughout and even a couple of couches hidden in the back. The shop has a TV, as well as a small shelf of books and magazines for people who are browsing and just killing time.

Java Hut has a wide range of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack choices. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

Recommendation

Since The Java Hut isn’t exactly convenient to get to, it really is just a local community coffee shop for those who live in the area. If you’re willing to make the trip though, it’s a nice place to spend a summer afternoon or to chat up your neighbours.

Keep checking back for the next stop on my whirlwind Vancouver coffee shop tour!

Featured photo of The Java Hut Baker & Cafe by Stephanie Ip.

Fresh Roast: The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar

The Grind serves espresso drinks, drip coffees, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. Photo: Stephanie Ip

The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar
Location: 4124 Main Street at King Edward.
Hours: Open 24/7.
Features: Gallery displays by local artists, free wi-fi.
Drink: Caramel Macchiato ($4.85)
Other: Espresso, drip coffee, tea, smoothies, blended coffee drinks, pastries, wraps, sandwiches.

I’m not really quite sure how The Grind became one of my favourite coffee spots but seeing as how I have a tendency to do trade sleep for meandering conversations about life, it definitely helps that The Grind is open 24 hours a day.

Where else to go?

When I usually head to The Grind, it’s late in the evening and either a friend is or I’m having a nervous breakdown. All we really want is a place where we can rehash our dismal mid-20s experience and brainstorm ways to find gainful employment and survive the carnage of romantic relationships.

Alisa Lokshin, 23, who seemed to be doing just that, likes The Grind for the same reasons.

“I like that it’s open 24 hours so you don’t have to worry about when it closes. You can just be like, ‘Oh, the Grind is open. Let’s go there,'” Lokshin said. “That’s most of the appeal ’cause most coffee places close early.”

Others who visit The Grind, do so because they are “hittin’ the grind.” Students filled the coffee shop on the night that I visited, with most of the tables covered with textbooks, notes, papers, and laptops. The shop seems small at first glance but the counter hides a whole other room that seems to be designated for silent study.

Grind it down

The menu is sparse but has all the necessary staples. Espresso drinks are available, as are drip coffees, teas, smoothies, and blended coffee drinks. While the menu isn’t exactly simplified for the sake of quality over quantity, it caters to the late-night crowd that just needs something to keep them going while pulling an all-night study session.

The same goes for their selection of food. The Grind sells wraps, pastries, squares, loaves, and cookies. While not of stellar quality, again, it’s enough to keep a hungry stomach going through the next few chapters of class readings. Everything is reasonably priced between $1.50 to $6.00.

The Grind features artwork and photography from local Vancouver artists. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

Recommendation

The Grind is definitely not the go-to destination for a coffee connoisseur, but it is a good place to sit and study for a couple hours, especially in the evenings and of course, in the middle of the night. Its location at Main and King Edward is easily accessible and yet, far enough away from the distractions of other busy corridors.

Their free wi-fi is helpful for those working off a laptop and the room in the back helps to separate those who are desperate for silent study time from those who just need a  place to chat late at night.

Keep checking back for the next stop on my whirlwind Vancouver coffee shop tour!

Featured photo of The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar by Stephanie Ip.

Fresh Roast: Kafka’s Coffee and Tea

Kafka's Coffee and Tea sits on the Southeast corner of Main and Broadway in Vancouver, B.C.

Kafka's Coffee and Tea sits on the Southeast corner of Main and Broadway in Vancouver, B.C. Photo courtesy of Kafka's.

Kafka’s Coffee and Tea
Location: 2525 Main Street at Broadway.
Hours: 7 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on weekdays, 8 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. on weekends
Features: Hosts free monthly talks by local artists.
Drink: Vanilla Latte ($4.25)

While I had wanted to stop in for a while and soak in the feel of the place, I was left with only 20 minutes to check out Kafka’s Coffee and Tea. Probably a good thing since the day I visited, there was a small group holding a meeting in one corner and various others reading or studying at other tables throughout the busy shop. The mix of larger and smaller tables makes Kafka’s a great place to study with a group or read by yourself.

Keep It Simple

According to their website, Kafka’s Coffee and Tea is “serious about coffee and not much else.” This is apparent in their stripped down menu and simple decor. Their website details their motive in selecting coffee beans, buying only from smaller farms that don’t use pesticides or fertilizer. Kafka’s ingredients are all “purchased above Fair Trade Value to ensure good wages and working conditions for farm employees,” says their website.

Brew Methods

Their website also lists four brew methods that are employed at Kafka’s: pourover (regular drip), aeropress, syphon, and espresso. While a lot of places only prescribe to drip coffee and espresso, I like that Kafka’s has these other methods for coffee drinkers who are knowledgeable enough to know the differences and subtleties. (Which isn’t me. Maybe one day.)

Vanilla Latte

Having come straight from dinner at Lucy’s Eastside Diner, and about to embark on a two hour school board meeting, I needed some caffeine and sugar to wake up me. Solution! A vanilla latte. I was instantly pleased from the very first sip. While most people are accustomed to the sugary syrup of Starbucks, Kafka’s vanilla latte was definitely more flavour than sugar. Not to mention, they do that awesome swirly thing in the foam! I’m not going to lie — and why would I? — but their vanilla latte is pretty perfect.

A barista prepares a cup of pourover (drip) coffee. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

A barista prepares a cup of pourover (drip) coffee. Photo: Stephanie Ip.

Recommendation

Kafka’s Coffee and Tea seems like it’d be a nice place to kill a couple chapters of your book on a rainy day. Its wide open windows make the shop seem roomy and while I didn’t get the chance to do so on the day I visited, I’d love to just sit for an hour and study or chat over a well-brewed mug of coffee.

Keep checking back for the next stop on my whirlwind Vancouver coffee shop tour!

Featured photo courtesy of Kafka’s Coffee and Tea (Website).

Fresh Roast: Introduction.

Welcome to my blog series on coffee shops around Vancouver!
Keep checking back to read the next installment of the series.

Part 1: Kafka’s Coffee and Teas
Part 2: The Grind & Gallery Coffee Bar
Part 3: The Java Hut Bakery & Cafe

———-

Whenever I prepare a cup of coffee, I try to make sure no one is looking. Why? Well. It’s embarrassing. When people find out how many packets of sugar I put in a single paper cup of coffee, they look at me, horrified and ask why I’m not 300 pounds.

It’s true that I often sugar down the bitterness but maybe that’s a result of growing up in the Starbucks era, when caramel syrup and chocolate sprinkles are common. But extra frills aside, I love coffee. While I’m not a fan of crappy Costco-brand drip coffee, I’ll pretty much take anything. And as it turns out, the rest of the world loves coffee as well.

A fresh brew

The Vancouver Sun announced today that coffee prices hit its highest point in 14 years, with Arabica coffee sitting at $2.6225 per pound, according to ICE Futures in New York. The problem is that inventory of coffee beans in exporting countries have hit their lowest point since the 1960s when the International Coffee Organization began tallying stockpiles. Simply put, we’re slowly drinking ourselves out of coffee in this world.

“There is simply not enough coffee in this world,” said Jose Sette, executive director of the International Coffee Organization. The supply just cannot keep up with the demand.

Quantity over quality

With the market supply of coffee slowly declining, what does this say about the quality of our coffee? Keurig’s one-cup home brewing machines are quickly becoming popular, ranging from $75 to well over $250. These machines use cartridges of pre-measured ingredients to brew single-cup servings of coffee for those on the go. Starbucks’ line of V.I.A. instant brew coffee packages have also prompted coffee lovers to question the company’s true appreciation of the coffee bean’s quality.

While I’m not well-versed enough in the different varieties of coffee available, I drink enough to know that there’s a certain standard that needs to be upheld when it comes to making coffee. The espresso can’t sit too long. Ideally, the coffee pot should be warm before the brew starts to drip. And steamed milk? Well, it’s pretty easy to burn so you’ll need to watch out for that.

Coffee in Vancouver

All politics and economic exchange aside, what do I really know about coffee? Not a whole lot. I know where the most convenient coffee shops are in Vancouver and that’s about it. So throughout the month of February and March, I’m going to explore Vancouver a little by seeking out coffee shops that I pass all the time on my commute. I’ll sit in, enjoy a cup of coffee, take in the feel of the place, and tell you how it goes. Almost like a food critic… but for coffee shops.

So even though the world is running out of coffee, at least I’ll be able to find the quality coffee shops in Vancouver. And hopefully, the quality will make up for the lack of quantity.

Before you leave, check out this video I found on Vimeo a while back. It’s a 4:00 minute video that talks about the process of extracting espresso. I love the way it’s filmed, love the way he talks about the coffee, love the sights and sounds.

Featured photo by Daniel Hurst (Flickr).