Aug 26, 2007

Back to Reality...

The worst thing about returning from a holiday is facing the reality of the real world. No more comfy hotels, no more new sights and sounds, no more carefree days of pleasure. But I am back, so I thought I would share with you some of the things I have been up to. Firstly, Portland, Oregon. A city quickly becoming a personal favourite. Now it's not a city with major tourist attractions, in fact it's comfortably medium sized. But it is a city with plenty of big time sophistication, but without the crowds. It is undeniably friendly, has great food and shopping and lots of great neighbourhoods to explore. It is also becoming a mecca for great music. Unfortunately one of the best music stores I have ever visited is about to close its doors on August 31. Music Millennium in the Northwest District will be no longer, due to rising rents and falling CD sales. Sad, but seemingly inevitable in this age of digital music sales. Anyway I had a wonderful time in Portland and was able to see Bishop Allen at the Doug Fir Lounge (they were great fun) and attend a day at the Pickathon music festival. This festival was truly special, a great setting and Po'Girl and Horse Feathers were truly sublime. I plan to write a more in depth review of this festival in the coming days.

Now Toronto feels like a big city. I really enjoyed my short stay there. It is very easy to get around, there is plenty of great shopping and being in Canada, there are always plenty of great bands coming through. Very clean and friendly, it is certainly a city I could easily return to.

Sunset on Lake Ontario. On the way to Wolfe Island from Kingston. Kingston was a wonderful surprise. For a short time the capital of Canada, this small city has oodles of history and charm and a gorgeous setting. This was fitting because the Wolfe Island Festival was truly exceptional. Of course the freakish talents of Wolf Parade were the stunning highlight. It seems completely unfair for one band to have not one, but two such uniquely talented songwriters. This day was truly special to me and I will give a complete review very shortly.

Montreal. A slice of France in North America. Plenty of history, yet very modern, this city has plenty to offer. Of course there are so many wonderful bands coming out of there at the moment, so a trip there is definitely worth it. I managed to catch The Winks and Oh No Oh My, together, whilst I was there. Both were excellent. Also the city has a wonderful subway system. Sydney, are you taking note?

The rest of my trip was a journey through the great west of the USA. Spectacular scenery, small town Americana, history and enormously friendly people were a refreshing way to end my holiday. Pictured above are Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, bison in Yellowstone National Park and the magnificent Grand Tetons in Wyoming. Yellowstone, the world's oldest National Park is truly a spectacular sight. Words or photos can never do it justice. I also visited Salt Lake City (those crazy Mormons), Jackson Hole, Cody (founded by Buffalo Bill), the Badlands of South Dakota and Deadwood (the setting of my favourite TV show). Whilst keeping in touch with some parts of the music world, I know I have missed plenty. Of course Okkervil River and New Pornographers have released albums, so I look forward to getting to know those records better, as well as everything else that has been making news.

3 Comments:

  • At August 27, 2007 , Anonymous Sean said...

    Welcome back! Glad you had a great trip. The western US is such a great place to explore.

     
  • At August 28, 2007 , Anonymous babymammal said...

    Thanks so much for the reviews of the Wolfe Island festival. I whole-heartedly agree that Wolf Parade - and their off shoots - are the best band on the planet. It was a wonderful surprise to see a bit about Portland as well. It's my home town. I've traveled all over the globe to some of the best and brightest cities - New York, Paris, Prague, etc - and I'd trade them all for Portland. Even though I'm unable to live there these days.

     
  • At August 29, 2007 , Anonymous jase said...

    would be real interesting trying to cross through the middle of that park.. haha

    nice pic's!

     

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