All posts by Taija Anderson

[Seen. Chewed. Reviewed.] Front Rot at Riot Fest (day 2).

Sept 17th, 2022 – Mannequin Pussy performing during day 2 of Riot Fest in Chicago.

Day two of Riot Fest brought a new type of energy. The Misfits wouldn’t take the mainstage until 9 pm but that didn’t stop fans from showing love through clothing and makeup. By the time JXDN took the stage, it was clear  Misfit T-shirts were the trend of the day. 

JXDN, singer and TikTok personality, has gathered quite a dedicated fanbase since his entry into music back in 2020. Droves of fans braved the heatwave and planted themselves at the mainstage long before his set time to be as close as possible to their current fav. 

Luckily for them, Yungblud would take that same stage just hours after. With a new album released earlier that month, there was a new excitement to the performance. Of course, the UK rocker knows exactly how to give the crowd what they want. The staples, dancing, twirling, jumping and whatever else one could think of were most definitely present in Yungblud’s set, but amid the frenzy, he stopped the show to shine a light on the fight for women’s rights in Afghanistan. 

The Joy Formidable has a way of building a moment you crave until it’s over…and then crave it more. Their music has always been perfect for capturing a feeling and turning it into a moment to be transported back to with each listen. Their live shows are a way to immerse yourself in that place and cling to that collective feeling only they can create with their sound. The band has a way of commanding attention. The sound pulls you in, their stage antics begin energetically and build until they are thrashing, seemingly lost in their own sound along with fans. 

Meanwhile, all the Canadians were piling into what felt like a secret Alexisonfire showcase. Of course, it wasn’t JUST Canadians, though the army of Pup T-shirts did add to that assumption. The St. Catherines band is more often seen playing venues like The Budweiser Stage, however, Riot Fest offered fans an intimate live show. Performing on one of the more modest stages gave an extra flicker of excitement. As the sun began to lower, the antics and trashing began. The band sang the sundown and fans moshed the evening into the night.  

[Seen. Chewed. Reviewed.] Front row at Riot Fest (Day 1)

September 14, 2022- My Chemical Romance plays Riot Fest in Chicago.

Riot fest returned to Chicago for another year of rowdy rock. This year’s headliners, The Misfits, and Nine Inch Nails drew quite the crowds, however. It was My Chemical Romance’s long-awaited return that made the weekend legendary.  

Of course, the three-day festival lineup was stacked. A great balance of nostalgia emo, Taking Back Sunday, The Joy Formidable and Alexisonfire coupled with the new generation of rockers YungBlud, Jxdn, and Renforshort to name a few caused a melding of worlds. No matter the generation, black clothing, coloured hair, and, despite the heat wave, leather were the common connectors. And well, of course, music. 

My Chemical Romance

There is no question My Chemical Romance was the show to see. The sea of overexcited fans (me) could hardly contain the momentous occasion we’ve all waited two years for. The four emo legends emerged with kind smiles, aside from frontman Gerard Way who appeared last dressed as a babushka. The faint laugh was drowned out by the first note and gasps of excitement as everyone’s inner 12-year-old self-lost their ever-loving mind. 

The first song was a blank, it wasn’t until “Na Na Na” began that the realization that my emo kinds were mere feet performing genuinely sunk in. Thankfully security was there to clear away the overheated folks. After a quick pause between songs, the band was sure to safely calm the crowd before riling them back up. 

Foxy Shazam

Foxy Shazam is known for wild shows and being an experience not to miss and their performance lived up to the hype. The wonderous energy didn’t end with frontman NAME. Each member had their moment to steal the show, perhaps the most memorable of which being NAME grabbing his keyboard and jumping into the crowd. Crowd surfing with a keyboard may have been the most memorable moment of the unforgettable set. 

Wargasm

Wargasm played at the same time, but they drew quite the crowd of their own. The UK rockers (Sam Matlock and Milkie Way) stopped by Riot Fest to show everyone exactly why they need to be on everyone’s radar. The duo braved the heatwave, Way in a bikini and bullet belt to showcase the perfect melding of rock and electro.

INTERVIEW WITH MIESHA AND THE SPANKS

Calgary heavy rockers Miesha & The Spanks are back with their​ latest release entitled Singles EP. #CMIAE artist Miesha Louie spoke with CMI via email about the record’s origins, adapting from an ever touring live band to releasing music under lockdown, balancing creativity and new motherhood, and exploring what it means to be a “Mixed Blood Girl”.

Q: HOW DID THE SINGLES EP COME ABOUT? 

A: The plan when we started (pre-pandemic) was to have 4-5 standalone singles, more like a compilation record than an album. But then we were interrupted, and suddenly there was this life-changing experience influencing the writing. When the EP should have been finished, more good songs kept popping out of us that fit together and we didn’t want to cut. So, we let more songs sneak on than maybe we would have otherwise, without the pandemic shifting things around.  

We released Singles EP with a series of pre-released singles starting back in July. When we started, we really weren’t sure what was going to happen with touring and festivals or anything. We figured our best move was just to start moving music and getting it out there. When “Unstoppable” came out, we hadn’t even finished recording the EP. The campaign became about radio pitching and music videos instead of tour dates, and even now I don’t think we’ll be on tour for real until next year. It’s been a different release cycle for us!

Q: WHAT MAKES YOU FEEL “UNSTOPPABLE”?

A:  I always feel unstoppable when I’m playing a really kick–butt super tour–tight set. About halfway through a tour, we like to challenge ourselves and play a game where we don’t stop between songs, and we just play the whole set in one go. When we pull that off, we are completely unstoppable.  

Q: WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT YOU’VE LEARNED TO DO IN THE PANDEMIC WHEN YOU “WANNA FEEL GOOD”

A:  Throughout lockdown, I’ve really been enjoying walks with my dog down to the river. I live close to Bowmont Park (in Calgary), and down the rocky beach there’s this spot where the Bow River splits, and I don’t know what it is but there are some special vibes there. A lot of my voice memo song ideas come when we’re out there. 

Q: IS THERE A PARTICULAR TRACK YOURE MOST PROUD OF ON THIS EP? 

A: “Mixed Blood Girls” took a lot out of me and I’m happy with the music and the lyrics and the production. It’s also connected me with more of my community and that means so much to me and Steve Lamacq played it on BBC6! I had a clean version made, but because there was profanity, I didn’t really expect it to get much airtime. I was wrong! I’m proud that something I made is meaningful to other people while still getting some small critical acclaim.  

I’ve always written personal music and shared mostly from real-life experience, except for this huge part of who I am and where I come from. I’ve always identified as Indigenous, but I’ve never shared what that meant to me, or what my life was like being mixed, or what my relationship was with my culture, community, and family. I guess it was always in the back of my head that I would eventually get there, but when I heard a poem called “Mixedblood Girls” by Rain Prud’Homme, it really inspired me to get writing. Because her poem hit me so hard, it finally resonated with me that maybe my story would connect with someone else as well.

Full interview on Canada’s music incubator.com

You Need to Hear: Ida Maria “I’m Busy”

Ida Maria is back with a track true to her indie rock roots, “I’m Busy.” It’s been a while, over ten years, since fans have gotten to see this side of Maria since the perfection that was Katla back in 2010. Taking a break to focus on gospel and collaborating with other artists like Andrew Green this latest track is full of the feminist rock dynamic that made fans fall in love with the Norwegian punk rocker. As always the track is full of empowerment, catchy melody, cheeky lyrics and is a must hear for anyone looking for new tunes for the summer.