Ottawa Bluesfest cut short after stage collapses during severe storm

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It was the final day of Ottawa Bluesfest on Sunday. Cheap Trick had just finished trudging their way through their eight billionth performance of “I Want You” when we festivalgoers saw a flock of birds above the main stage suddenly lose control of their flight path and were whisked away like garbage. A black cloud was fast approaching, looking like something straight out of a shitty disaster movie and initially treated as such: “Hey, look at that horrifying sky approaching us. Let’s watch what happens.”

Moments later, we were all collectively shitting our pants when that black cloud descended on Bluesfest like a precursor to the apocalypse, whipping fans with 120 km/h winds and littering the festival grounds with flying branches, garbage, beer cups, and Robin Zander’s comically over-sized hat.

We weren’t really panicking, though, until a huge crack was heard near the main stage, and thousands of festival attendees watched their dreams of seeing Death Cab for Cutie literally collapse into a heap of stage material, lights, and corporate sponsorship banners, as the main stage could not bear the force of the winds. Thankfully, the stage collapsed away from the audience. You can see both the collapsed stage above and the video of it happening below.

There are conflicting reports right now, but anywhere from two to five people were injured, including one in critical condition. However, Bluesfest’s official statement is that there were “no serious injuries on site.” Expect my review of the festival soon.

• Ottawa Bluesfest: http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca

Ottawa Bluesfest cut short after stage collapses during severe storm

It was the final day of Ottawa Bluesfest on Sunday. Cheap Trick had just finished trudging their way through their eight billionth performance of “I Want You” when we festivalgoers saw a flock of birds above the main stage suddenly lose control of their flight path and were whisked away like garbage. A black cloud was fast approaching, looking like something straight out of a shitty disaster movie and initially treated as such: “Hey, look at that horrifying sky approaching us. Let’s watch what happens.”

Moments later, we were all collectively shitting our pants when that black cloud descended on Bluesfest like a precursor to the apocalypse, whipping fans with 120 km/h winds and littering the festival grounds with flying branches, garbage, beer cups, and Robin Zander’s comically over-sized hat.

We weren’t really panicking, though, until a huge crack was heard near the main stage, and thousands of festival attendees watched their dreams of seeing Death Cab for Cutie literally collapse into a heap of stage material, lights, and corporate sponsorship banners, as the main stage could not bear the force of the winds. Thankfully, the stage collapsed away from the audience. You can see both the collapsed stage above and the video of it happening below.

There are conflicting reports right now, but anywhere from two to five people were injured, including one in critical condition. However, Bluesfest’s official statement is that there were “no serious injuries on site.” Expect my review of the festival soon.

• Ottawa Bluesfest: http://www.ottawabluesfest.ca

Microsoft to release Xbox music service, promising optimized sound for your parents’ basement

According to NME, Microsoft is launching a music service for the Xbox 360 console, creatively called Xbox Music. And since most gamers’ hands will be busy thumbin’ joysticks and pumpin’ penis, Xbox Music will utilize the Kinect motion-sensor controller to allow voice-activated searches for music.

Imagine a world where you can play Call of Duty 9: Who Gives a Shit and scream “Fuck me in the ass!” followed by Justin Bieber automatically playing on your speakers. That fantasy is now a reality with Xbox Music, and the only thing left is for your mom and dad to spring for that Mountain Dew vending machine and you’ll be set!

Over 11 million songs are expected to be included in the launch of Xbox Music, most of which will be Linkin Park remixes. Xbox Music will launch sometime this fall to coincide with whatever cockblocking video game you’ve already preordered.

• Xbox: http://www.xbox.com

The Flaming Lips and Weezer maximize “funnoyance” by playing side-by-side sets

The year is 1994. A young Rivers Cuomo, fresh off the success of Weezer’s self-titled debut, approaches a young-ish Wayne Coyne at an Arby’s. “Hey, in about 17 years, do you want to play two shows in which we literally play on the same stage together,” the fresh-faced Cuomo asks. Coyne, basking in the afterglow of “She Don’t Use Jelly’s” surprise success, inquires, “You mean a situation in which we both set up at the same time and we take turns playing songs?” “Yeah, that’s what I mean, but we could also play some stuff together,” says Cuomo. “Sounds radical,” declares Coyne, while taking a massive chomp out of a Big Montana.

After years of waiting, the prophecy has come true. For their co-headlining shows at Holmdel, New Jersey’s PNC Bank Arts Center and Wantagh, New York’s Nikon at Jones Beach Theater, the two bands will play side-by-side sets. “I asked Wayne if he has an extra bubble I could ride in,” remarked the present-day Cuomo, fresh off the existence of last year’s Hurley (TMT Review). Both shows will be opened by Yeasayer, who will NOT be allowed on stage for the big Flaming Lips/Weezer collision, because they are jerks. No, I’m sure they’re really lovely people and maybe they’ll pop in during the headlining sets, but who can really say?

• The Flaming Lips: http://www.flaminglips.com
• Weezer: http://weezer.com
• Yeasayer: http://www.yeasayer.net

William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops to be performed in NYC for 10th anniversary of 9/11

When William Basinski’s Disintegration Loops collection was released in 2002, it reached an audience that normally might have been unreceptive to the kind of hushed, largely static music within, but because of its thematic (and sonic) link to the events of a few months prior, these haunting, fragile recordings affected a lot of people and served as a peaceful meditation, memorial, and reminder. When we looked back at our favorite albums of the 2000s, Disintegration Loops came in at #10, and Keith Kawaii had this to say about its historical/personal significance:

Disintegration Loops was a perfect example of an album’s narrative completely shaping its perception. Like most, I was introduced to the work through its connection to 9/11, and the imagery of Basinski blaring his loops across a smoke-filled New York skyline has never left me. I can only assume that my own experience with those loops was common: they became an aural monument to the tragedy of 9/11, a crystallization of the events through sound. Connecting this sprawling piece to such a horrible act was a very human impulse, spun from the desire to compartmentalize an experience and covet a linear narrative that might obscure the chaos of real life. In my mind, the work instantly became something “more” than four albums pressed to and released on CD. It served a personal and collective experience in a way that records rarely do. Through loss, the mythology of Disintegration Loops was perpetuated, and its simple yarn allowed typical album/culture trappings to fall away. Basinski’s method of looping sounds endlessly — and letting the aleatoric results comprise the finished work — further separated the artist from his art; in fact, it appeared as non-art, the antithesis of ego, filled with illusions of eternality instead of opportunist rockisms. For me, that sheen of endless purity has allowed an inherently flawed pretense — that Disintegration Loops was somehow above the work of a single man — to serve a deeply cathartic purpose: reliving tragedy without the full sting of reality.

This upcoming September marks the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and as a remembrance The Wordless Music Orchestra will be performing “dlp 1.1” — the 63-minute first track off Disintegration Loops I — in Manhattan at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. This performance is part of a larger “Remembering September 11” concert, with renditions of Ingram Marshall’s Fog Tropes II, Osvaldo Golijov’s Tenebrae, and Alfred Schnittke’s Collected Songs Where Every Verse Is Filled with Grief also happening before the main event. It all starts in The Temple of Dendur exhibit at 3:30 PM and is free with museum admission; should be amazing. Check out the entirety of “dlp 1.1” below.

• William Basinski: http://www.mmlxii.com
• Wordless Music Series: http://wordlessmusic.org

George Harrison documentary to premiere on HBO this fall, finally shed light on what the fuck he was thinking when he wrote “Blue Jay Way”

For half a century, everyone in the world got by just fine thinking they knew everything they needed to know about The Beatles’ most Eric Clapton-enjoying member, lead guitarist George Elizabeth Harrison. In the beginning, he was known as the Quiet Beatle. Later on, he became the Sitar Beatle. By the end of the the band’s career, he was the “I just bought a Moog, lads; lets shoehorn it into this last record” Beatle. Finally, with the dawn of the CD era, he was the Skip-this-track Beatle. All the scholars agreed that this was the end of Harrison road. What more could there be to know about the esteemed author of “Piggies”?

But now, as John Lennon himself once sang, “the times they are a-changin’.” As Rolling Stone reports, a new documentary about the life and times of George Harrison is fixing to premiere on HBO in October. It’s called George Harrison: Living in the Material World, and it will reportedly feature a wealth of highly invasive home movies, unseen footage, and lit-cigarette-for-no-reason interviews with Paul “Macca” McCartney Ringo “Dickie” Starr, Yoko “Hold On” Ono, George “Fifth Beatle” Martin, Phil “Sixth Beatle” Spector, and Eric “HarrisonFan45” Clapton. The film was produced by Harrison’s widow Olivia and Martin Scorcese, who hadn’t really heard of these Beetle guys until pre-production, stating that he instead preferred Glen Miller as his summer of love soundtrack. A book meant to accompany the film that features photos, letters written on blotting paper, and embarrassing diary entries will hit stores in September in advance of the documentary, which is set to air in two parts on October 5 and 6. Check out George’s website below for more info, and get ready for the Autumn of George.

• George Harrison: http://www.georgeharrison.com
• HBO: http://www.hbo.com