Team Static Zine got to cover NXNE 2014! Check out what our team members got up to during the festival. Here’s Kristian’s experience.
After North By Northeast you’ve undoubtedly seen your fair share of concerts, and if you’re anything like us you’re struggling to decide on your favourite. Kristian put together this test to determine your spirit BANDimal.
Static Zine was recently in Chicago for the Chicago Zine Fest to table the 6th issue, Elsewhere, which is all about other places. Managing Editor Melody Lamb recaps the experience below.
In Jimmy Fallon-fashion, I will now take some time and write some thank you notes to the people, places and things of Chicago.
Thank you, The Bean, for being a giant outdoor mirror. I was able to check my make-up AND take a photo of myself without looking weird.
Thank you, Big Star, for filling our bellies with beer and tacos, all for under $20. You know those commercials where people look at their receipt, think that the cashier forgot to ring in half of their items, and run out before they get caught? That’s exactly how I felt. Except I was too full to run.
Thank you, Uncle Frank, for showing us around the city. I will always look at those bridges and think, “that’s where that Transformers scene takes place.”
Thank you, Chicago Zine Fair, for being a giant pile of talent.
Thank you, cute zine boy, for being the first person to pay for my solo zine, Hello Goodbye. I hope you enjoy my witty stories and don’t judge me too harshly. Also, my Twitter account is on the back on the zine, follow me and be my friend, please.
Thank you, Quimby’s, for stealing all our money. I mean, in return for all of the books and zines, but still.
Thank you, CTA, for tying your subway lines in a knot and calling it a loop.
Thank you, Rock ‘n Roll McDonald’s, for fulfilling all of my wildest fast food dreams. No thank you to the creepy guy working there who stared at me the whole time as I dropped ice cream on my dress.
Thank you, Chicago, for being as wonderful as I (don’t) remember. Four-year-old me might not remember much, but 22-year-old me will never forget the wonderful times we had on this trip. See you again in a few months for Pitchfork Fest!
The first night was simple enough, starting at the Pacific Central station as bands slowly filtered in, with a couple platform shows.
Adaline was up first, performing solo but still managed to keep her electro-pop energy. Playing keys, she also had her drum and bass backtracks present, giving her a full sound. Her strong voice filled the platform, and even though she was a bit quiet, she still ended up winning over a lot of the, er, older folks… that had no idea what they were in store for on the train.
Next was Maurice, who was joined by fellow Victoria musician Lindsay Bryan and Kiana Brasset joined him of violin for a couple songs. His more relaxed, acoustic set suffered a little more that Adaline’s from the low volume, especially with the bustle of more and more people showing up. But songs like the insanely catchy “Mistake” and “All I Ever Wanted” still grabbed people’s attention.
And then finally, everyone boarded the train and it pulled away from the station, slowly taking us from Vancouver to Toronto. The first night was a little subdued, likely due to the fact that we left at 8:30, and everyone was still settling in for the night. But today we’ll see shows from Chris Ho, Adaline, Sidney York, The Matinee, and The Belle Game, as well as a stop in Jasper, AB.
Day two began somewhere in the middle of BC, with some people decorating the Green Couch car and interviews aplenty as the Green Couch people and Grant Lawrence from CBC Radio 3 talked to a few of the bands.
The first performance of the day was in the afternoon, Chris Ho in one of the train cars as we were pulling in to Jasper. Chris was joined by Kiana Brasset and a couple other bandmates for a stripped down, but upbeat folksy set. After a few catchy songs, he wrapped up with an appropriate cover of a certain Aidan Knight song as the train pulled into the station.
The stop in Jasper featured a couple more platform shows as they got the green couch off the train for The Matinee and Sidney York to play a pair of acoustic songs each in the rain. The Matinee went with “L’Absinthe “ and “Sweet Water”, getting a lot of the passengers in the station stomping, and Sidney York got people bopping along to “Mile High Love” and “Dick & Jane.”
Back on the train, car shows started back up with Adaline. Due to some technical problems, she didn’t have a keyboard this time, but an acoustic guitar. She was a little nervous to just be playing on guitar, but soldiered on like a pro. Part way through her first song, a voice from the back of the car joined in, a voice belonging to Adrian Glynn, who joined her for the rest of the set. They harmonized on some of the songs they had worked on in the past, some of Adaline’s and even one of Glynn’s, and for “Whiter/Straighter” they went a capella and got those with rhythm in the car to snap and clap along.
With the intimate space of the last car on the train, and the beautiful scenery disappearing into the distance right behind them, it was a pretty amazing set, and definitely one of my favourites so far.t
After some (delicious) dinner, Sidney York and The Belle Game were playing in a different car – they had four cars total set up for live shows; three smaller and more acoustic and one main Green Couch Car. Sidney York had the full band set up, and a lot of the folks who were on the train not knowing about the project happened by, and it seemed like a good number of them were won over by their enthusiastic and infectious indie pop. Even in a confined space, Brandi was bouncing up and down behind her keyboard and the band was rocking the train.
The Belle Game was next, but as they were literally two notes in they blew the fuse, rendering half their equipment powerless. But they rolled with the punches and played an entirely stripped down set instead. “Sleep To Grow” started the set, and they were joined by the lovely ladies of Sidney York to add bassoon, oboe and french horn to the grandiose ending of the song. They were only able to play a few songs, due to the power issue taking up most of their time, but it was really cool to see them that basic. So far two of the best performances were born from equipment failures.
Later on in the night was a full set from Maurice in the Green Couch car. People packed in, sitting on the floor for more of a rocking set from JP and his band, as opposed to the platform show from the day before. He played for about a half hour and ended with his cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams”, slipping in a couple fun top 40 songs; “Teenage Dream” and “Moves Like Jagger”, all of which had everyone singing along as the train pulled into Edmonton and picked up the last of the bands, Shred Kelly.
And the day wrapped up, music-wise, in the best way it could have; a Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party. It’s nearly impossible to describe the events of the set, but the Green Couch car was absolutely packed with people — many of which were, in fact, topless by the end of the set — and everyone jumping and dancing, shaking the car to the bands incredibly fun dancey pop sounds. There was a lot of singing and clapping along to songs, like their self titled “Top Less Gay Love Tekno Party”, and they were even called back for one more song, a slower, quieter one to wrap up the night.
Tomorrow is another packed day with shows on the train from Shred Kelly, The Matinee, Portage and Main, a stop in Melville, SK and the big free show tonight at Winnipeg at the Forks; the only actual-venue show of the trip!
We pull in (and out) of Saskatoon as day three began with more bustle in the morning, until the next stop in the small town of Melville, Saskatchewan where there was to be a platform show. The train was running late, however, so there wasn’t chance of a full show, but they opened one of the doors on a baggage car for newly acquired Shred Kelly to play a whirlwind set for nearly the whole town, including The Mayor!
The afternoon saw more cabin shows with Portage & Main and The Matinee, both stripped down. Portage took advantage of the setting and played some of their slower songs, like “Rocky Mountain Wanderer” (despite being in the middle of the prairies) and The Matinee crammed into the back of the Park Car, at the very end of the train. They had some assistance from Kiana Brasset on violin (and Grant Lawrence on woos) as they serenaded the car in front of the vast prairie landscape disappearing behind them.
The scheduled show at the Forks in Winnpeg didn’t quite go as planed. The train rolled in late making a much more rushed than anticipated; instead of the two-hour show, we were only in town for less than half an hour. Chris Ho played a few songs, followed by an obligatory set from the appropriately named Portage & Main, including their rocking (and train themed) newer song “Sweet Darlin”
It was then a game of hurry up and wait as we rushed back to the station but the train still wasn’t quite ready, so there were a few impromptu songs in the station; first Zach & Adrian, then Maurice and finally Lindsey Bryan.
We pulled out of The Peg and it was right back to the music with Shred Kelly rocking their self proclaimed “stoke folk.” Their great energy and enthusiasm was bolstered by co-vocals from the lovely Sage McBride and the blurry fingers of Tim Newton’s banjo picking, breaking a string in the middle of the set – which was immediately re-strung as the drummer and bassist filled the potential awkward pause. The wrapped up their set with “Tornado Alley,” which built to a huge, amazing ending.
Portage and Main was up next for another full out rock set, backed by Pete and Mike from The Matinee on drums and bass respectively. The banter between John and Harold was their usual self-deprecating joking; playing off each other well and the aforementioned train-themed “Sweet Darling” nearly blew the roof off the train car. They ended with a massive sing along to “Oh Carolina” with the entire car belting out the chorus.
And The Matinee closed out the night in a way only they could, with another all out rocking set. They shook the train car as everyone stomped along to “L’Absinthe” and “The Road”, using the walls of the train and random instruments for the usual drum breakdown, but they were urged back for one more, a cover (their third of the night) of Tom Petty’s “Running Down A Dream”
There were a few more scheduling glitches and some miscommunication the third day, and an illness that may have sidelined Sidney York from the rest of the train, but beyond that,
Cari with her daughter who is taller than her by a mile, Allie
Sometimes you discuss your zine with your family. And sometimes you start emailing about it with your hilarious cousin in NY. And then sometimes you get the most amazing responses.
Here are Cari Pokrassa’s ideas for Static Zine:
1. I just read your zine from cover-to-cover. I love it!!
Tom Lowery mentioned a bucket list in his article. Maybe that could be another zine topic. Or zopic?:)
Embarrassing moments also makes an interesting zopic. (I can’t help myself.)
Mine: In college, I “accidentally” wore a toga to a party that wasn’t a toga party. My friends played a mean trick. Turned out, I was the best dressed person at the party. Had a leaf reef adorning my head. And my toga was a tapestry wall hanging. Gotta love it. Thirty years later; I remember the moment like it was yesterday. I just don’t remember where I put my glasses from two hours ago. Yes … my self-amusement knows no bounds, as I’m sure you can tell after our girl’s night out.
2. I finally got a chance to check out your new web site. So cool.
And you know what I was thinking re: the bucket list topic … You’ve had an issue of “firsts.” Well, this would be an issue of “lasts.” Get it? Cute, right?
How’s about crazy haircut stories? I’ve got a bunch … like the time I got my hair cut (or rather butchered) when the stylist was breaking up with her boyfriend over the phone as she was cutting my hair. Worst haircut ever. Or the time I wound up in the hospital emergency room from cutting my own bangs. One 1/4″ strand of hair got stuck in my tear duct. It was pulled out by a crotchety old doctor with a pair of forceps. “Don’t blink, or you’ll go blind, ” he said. (Scariest haircut ever!)
3. I love your ideas, too. [re: the story of our lives]
So, it got me thinking … in 1976 there was this made-for-TV movie starring Sally Field entitled “Sybil” about a woman with multiple personality disorder (mpd). In keeping with your zine theme, the story of my life would be a take-off on this movie. Not that I suffer from mpd, which evidently no longer exists, but I do have this chameleon-type personality that can conform to whomever I’m with at any given moment. A psychic once compared me to a lava lamp. Anyway, one time while working at Newsweek Intl., a colleague noticed that I was speaking in a British accent to someone in our UK office. Woops, I wasn’t even aware that my voice had changed. Getting back to my movie, the cast of characters would include Marlo Thomas, star of TV’s 1960s comedy “That Girl,” Talia Shire, Rocky’s wife Adrian in Rocky 2 specifically; in Rocky 1, she was way too nerdy!!!, Tina Fey, (yes, she looks younger than me–thank you Allie for pointing that out–and she IS younger than me; I googled it) and Zoe Deschenel (a girl can dream, right). All these woman, much like in “Sybil” would play me and my many personas. I’ve chosen these woman because at one time or another someone has said I look like them. Yes, I realize there are some “stretches” in this list. For example, when I was 10-years-old, I used to beg my mother to tell me what TV or movie star I resembled. She, of course, said that I didn’t look like anyone famous. But I nudged her to the point of complete and utter annoyance; she reluctantly said, Marlo Thomas. Done. I got my answer, was happy about it, and never asked again.