REVIEW: Oneohtrix Point Never live at W2

Trippiness is a strange musical currency; value is so often predicated on the mind-altering substances consumed by its listeners. Having arrived stone sober at W2 to see Oneohtrix Point Never (Brooklyn-based Daniel Lopatin), this reviewer admits she was only adequately captivated by the synaptic soundscapes on offer Wednesday night. But as someone’s grandma might say: better to be challenged than bored.

Canadian-African poets proclaim the power of spoken word

On the mainstage at the Bushfire Festival in Ezulwini, Swaziland, Canadian-African spoken word artists D’bi Young and Croc E Moses take turns casting adjectives and adverbs into a dense crowd.

The poetry of southern Africa is a different beast than the one that lives in dark bars and sparse cafes in Canada—it garners an elevated level of respect.

PODCAST: South African indie makes waves

South African indie music has rarely crossed the ocean to North America’s mass markets—but the genre is developing, and the sound is big, bright and bold.

Gazelle frontman, Xander Ferreira, says South African indie music is in a renaissance period: “We believe this is the future for African music, for people to gather a scene here first and then go and take over the world.”

Songs for Change

Mbongseni “Bholoja” Ngubane wasn’t always an internationally revered musician. By profession, the soulful songwriter hailing from the kingdom of Swaziland was once a mechanical engineer.

“To me, music is a calling,” Bholoja explained, hours before taking the stage at this year’s Bushfire Arts Festival in Ezulwini, Swaziland.

“It’s not all about being doctors or engineers. I was an engineer, but I’m an artist today.”

Sleepless in Salmo

Contrary to what you may or may not have been told, Shambhala Music Festival is not held in outer space. But considering its remoteness, heart-stopping volume and 10,000 sparkle-encrusted attendees, it may as well be.

It’s a place where crystal healings and beatboxing tournaments happen in confusingly close proximity; where entire rivers are inexplicably dyed fluorescent green; and where motorized couches pass as entirely reasonable means of transport. Hosted on a 500-acre cattle ranch near Salmo, B.C. — about an eight-hour drive from Vancouver — Shambhala is a dance party destination for those craving spooky encounters of an electronic kind . . .

Sham­bhala: the electro festival that never sleeps

Shambhala is arguably Canada’s best-kept party secret.

Nestled in the heart of the Kootenay mountains, the electronica festival brings together some of the world’s most innovative bands and DJs for five days of legendary audio/visual entertainment. Heart-stopping, brain-fracturing beats were broken down in dizzying excess as 10,000 wandering souls engaged in enough sleepless, drug-induced mayhem to make Keith Richards blush.

Whale Calling

The Olympics are coming and not even a $478 million in debt is going to stop it. So, to celebrate the impending 2010 Games, the folks at VANOC have arranged a 50-day cultural festival. Yes, the 2009 Cultural Olympiad is upon us.

With over 400 events scheduled from February 1 to March 21 (85 per cent of which are Canadian) this enormous arts expo promises to showcase a whole bunch of super-talented Canucks. Among the ranks of this year’s Cultural Olympians is a young Vancouver band by the name of Said the Whale. On March 6, the upbeat indie five-piece will play the Biltmore Cabaret along with Montreal-based Karkwa and Lucie Idlout from Nunavut . . .

Sound Advice

Despite a cold and steady drizzle, a crowd some 4,000-strong gathered at the corner of Hastings and Main streets on December 6th for an outdoor concert in support of Insite, Canada’s sole safe-injection site.

Held on the date of Insite’s fifth anniversary, the music and barbecue’s mission was to demand that Stephen Harper’s recently prorogued government keep the site operating. Vancouver rock quintet Black Mountain and Bedouin Soundclash lead singer Jay Malinowski were there to perform right on Insite’s doorstep.