Madison Violet, up Close and Wonderfully Personal

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With musicians who have been around for as long as Madison Violet, who have racked up so much critical acclaim throughout the years, and who have such a broad collective range of vocal and instrumental talent, you know that any performance of theirs is bound to be incredible. Even so, I was thrilled at just how much of a joy it was to host them in our home. Such was a stop on their latest tour in support of their new (and absolutely stunning) album, Everything’s Shifting.

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Live and Local with Kamloops’ Mother Sun

55594266_2309097012466415_6987901486965456896_oIn the year or so of its existence, McArthur Castle has welcomed musicians from all across Canada: Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Québec, British Columbia. But we had yet to feature anyone from Kamloops, the city in which our living room venue is based. So when we spotted local band Mother Sun in the Side Door booking system that we’re so fond of using, we were eager to connect with them. And are we ever glad we did!
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A Piercing Desire

52774257_10157307327102280_6875730401621442560_nSo I pierced my eyebrow (again!). The first time I put such holes in my visage was on my 17th birthday, way back in 2004. At the time, I loved the barbell-style jewellery embedded in my skin, but tragically it only lasted half a year. One day a friend of mine leapt upon me in jest, and his curly shoulder-length hair got caught up in my facial bling. Thus, it was torn out in a painful bloody dripping mess, and for several years I didn’t bother to replace it.

But all the while I lamented its loss, and now and then considered getting pierced again. I would encounter others with eyebrow piercings of their own, and would nostalgically tell them how I used to be like them. I would occasionally harangue the mentioned friend for his role in the piercing’s untimely removal, but when he would offer to pay for its replacement I would decline. It was something I continually longed for, yet I kept convincing myself it wasn’t worth the bother.
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Texan Graupel and Zebra Muscles

We arrived in Austin at a weird time. To begin with, we got there just in time for a cold snap. With daily temperatures not quite reaching highs of 10 degrees Celsius for our projected stay, and plummeting near to freezing at their lowest, it was awfully chilly for February in Texas. Coming from Kamloops, British Columbia, however, where the weather at that same time was hovering around -20 without wind chill, it was a pleasant reprieve to be able to walk around outside with hoodies and light jackets instead of full-blown winter apparel. And there were plenty of cool places to pop into whenever walking the streets and parks did get a bit too chilly.
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Immeasurable Worth: You Are NOT What You Eat

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So there’s this Scale Smash Challenge going on, and while for practical reasons I probably won’t take a sledgehammer to my own mass-quantifying device, the cause that this movement represents is one that I do strongly support. Its purpose is to raise funding and awareness for mental health initiatives, with a particular focus on eating disorders. In advocating such an important initiative, and since not accepting the challenge myself, the very least I can do is share my personal perspective on the subject.
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The Candlelit Nocturnes of Laura Reznek and ursidae

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As recent operators of home-based music venue McArthur Castle, my wife and I are continually learning better ways to optimize sound, lighting, promotion, seating, etc. At our latest show, for instance, we learned that taper candles give off a surprising amount of warmth—more so in combination with body heat than could be compensated for by opening all our windows and the front door (apologies to any member of the audience who got a little sweaty!). But they sure did look classy burning on the original brass fixtures of our 1800s piano, and provided a fitting ambience for the folk-noir style of Vancouver/London singer and multi-instrumentalist Laura Reznek.

Laura and fellow artist ursidae visited our home for a performance booked by Side Door as the latter stop of a weekend “K” tour between Kelowna and Kamloops. The two had separate sets prepared to showcase their respective songs, though the concert felt like one extended glorious performance, with each providing musical support to the other.
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Music from the Maritimes: Rachel Beck and Adyn Townes in Kamloops, BC

20181010_203132It had been awhile since my wife and I last teamed up with Side Door to host some choice contemporary music at our home, but with the business of summer over and the outside chill of autumn upon us we were ready to fill our living room again with the warmth of kind strangers and beautiful noise.

Enter artists Rachel Beck and Adyn Townes (he previously known as Andy Brown), both of whom have had hits featured on the CBC (check out the former’s “Reckless Heart” and the latter’s “Run”).
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West Coasting

Judging by the stagnancy of this blog one might deduce that I had hardly done a thing this summer. Not so!

There were camping trips, a family reunion in Penticton complete with channel tubing and a wine tasting bicycle tour, my most inspirational journey yet to Shambhala Music Festival, a brief unwitting stint as an honorary member of the Silver Starlets aerial act, etc. But when immersed in such moments it’s easy to forget to photograph them, and their memories are vividly satisfying enough to need no jotting down.

Nonetheless, I do experience a consistent compulsion to write, and finding myself with time to do so now I feel I should at least document in brief the chiefest of my summer doings. It began with a train.

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