This was my third time seeing USS - once when they opened for Mother Mother at the Royal Theatre in 2013, and again at the Phillips Backyard Weekender in 2015.
At the Royal Theatre, I had heard 'This Is The Best' (of course) and waited patiently for the song I knew. They played it, and they rocked it, and I was impressed with the rest of the show. Even from super far away (I almost needed binoculars) I watched Ash strum his guitar with passion, and Human Kebab running around going crazy.
In 2015 at the Phillips Backyard Weekender I went specifically for USS. I still hadn't listened to too terribly much of their music, but knew that I liked their sound in the songs I had heard. So I went, with no expectations. I can't recall the set list, but the one song that hit me like a ton of bricks was 'Freakquency'. The sun was setting beside the stage, setting the sky alight with hues of blues, pinks, magentas, and an essence of a warmth quickly disappearing. The crowd was writhing, and sweaty, and I was a part of it. I was a part of it. And so in that moment, and so aware, as Ash crooned to the crowd, "Someday, oh I'm gonna get you back again... rushing through my head like oxygen, never gonna let you go..." Goddamn. I couldn't see the band. I couldn't see ten feet ahead of me. We were packed in like sardines in a can, and as this sun set gloriously, illuminating us briefly and importantly, we moved as one in tune to the music. This was the moment in 2015 that I realized, I love this band. I left with my copy of Advanced Basics, where it remained in slot number 1 on my DVD player (makeshift CD player) and lives there to this day.
Then... Yo Hello Hooray.
In the winter of 2014 as most of you know, I quit drinking, and started focusing inwards and learning to be more present and aware, and most importantly, happy and carefree (as much as possible.)
When I heard Yo Hello Hooray in the spring of 2016 it felt familiar, and looking back, I'm sure I heard it before. But with a newfound awareness I was bringing to my life, it suddenly hit me harder than any drink or drug. Fuck. There it was. I was struggling yet again with depression, and struggling to find bits of happiness, as I tend to during the winters. Then it was a clear and sunny day, it was actually February 12, 2016 (thank you Timehop!) that the sun came out for the first time last year and I went to the beach with my iPod and listened to Yo Hello Hooray, cold and warm, and focusing more on the warmth. The happiness. The optimism. The silver lining. The music. It became my theme song, and as the days grew warmer and warmer, I listened to it louder and louder.
And all of the rest of the damn songs. Everything. I integrated USS into my life, and the more I listened to them, the more the theme of recovery became apparent to me. The more that the lyrics which can be interpreted as cryptic, or poetry, suddenly held so much meaning for me. I integrated my own recovery with the music, and found silver linings in each and every song.
Which I'm very sure is what Ash is trying to convey in the music that the band creates. In an interview with AMotherWorld Ash talks about his struggles with addiction (full interview here) and changing his lifestyle to become more focused on physical and mental health, and recovery. Reading this interview has been such an inspiration to me within my own journey. The correlation of music, and recovery, and how the two can go hand in hand.
For me, the music of USS has become more than that - not simply music, but in each song I find snippets of an anthem of my own recovery. Thank you. To Ash Buchholz, and to Jason Parsons (Human Kebab), for creating this sound that hits me directly in my heart and gives me strength. Thank you.
For me it was fitting that the band would begin the show with Yo Hello Hooray. I had my phone out, recording the lights and intro, waiting for the music to come crashing in, and when it did, it was my favorite song. I jumped when I realized they were beginning their set of the last show on the tour with this track, and my heart skipped a beat and my eyes welled up. I recorded it (iPhone quality, remember!) and remembered to be present and aware in that moment. It had to be a good start. It was a great start.
The first time I saw Caleb Hart perform on his own was about a year ago, almost to the day. I went down to do an open mic at the Breakwater Cafe on a Tuesday and Caleb got up with his guitar and absolutely wowed the crowd. I remember being absolutely blown away by not only his playing, but the power and intensity of his voice and its natural reggae sound. I knew I would be seeing him perform again sometime soon, and I was right.
A few months ago my roommate booked Caleb Hart and his accompanying band, The Royal Youths, for a show at Upstairs Nightclub. I'd seen Caleb play on his own twice at the Breakwater and never with a band. I knew it was going to be GOOD. And it was.
The Royal Youths consist of Caleb Hart on vocals, Rhett Reilkoff on guitar and backing vocals, Liam Mackenzie on the drums, Karl Williaume on bass and backing vocals, and finally Andrew Greenwood on the saxophone. Yep, there's a sax player. How do you think they achieve that perfect reggae-funk sound?
The sound mastered by these guys is a team effort, plainly displayed in their immaculate performances. It's the combination of heart shared by each member of the band, and a flawless synchronicity of talent, skill, and simply soul.
Last weekend at Sugar Nightclub was the Road to Rifflandia contest hosted by Victoria's own do250 featuring four bands. Lazy Ghost, Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths, Small Town Artillery, and The Bad. These four music groups each brought their own unique sound to the stage and competed against each other by performance alone to determine who would win the slot of kicking off the Rifflandia 2016 music festival on the Thursday night. The winning band was determined by who had received the most votes from the audience that night.
To be completely honest, all of the bands truly blew me away that night. It was a friendly competition and each band performed to their absolute best.
At the end of the night the winner was announced, and a huge congratulations to Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths!
They will be opening the Rifflandia Music Festival with their performance at the Anian stage located at 516 Discovery Street, on Thursday September 15th at 8:30PM. I couldn't be more excited to see this band perform again.
I want to thank the rest of the bands for their performances on Saturday, it was a real treat to come down and see some amazing music from -
Small Town Artillery
I totally wish you guys had all won!
Here's a video of Caleb Hart and The Royal Youths performing their cover of Shaggy's 'Angel'. The band flawlessly rocks out every note of the song while Caleb has mastered the vocals of both Rayvon's chorus vocals, and listen to how the crowd goes WILD after the momentary first chorus break, and Caleb immaculately delivers perfection of his Shaggy vocals during the verses. Stunning.
If you're hitting up Rifflandia, be sure to check these guys out at the Anian Stage at 8:30PM to kick off the whole festival.
You can find Caleb Hart on -
And more on his band The Royal Youths on -
Thank you guys (all of the bands) for such a great performance. Looking forward to seeing you guys again at Rifflandia!
My roommate eagerly messaged me on Facebook on Friday night.
"There's a show at Canoe Club! The Wild Romantics!" I thought briefly on it for a moment before my classic YES! I'd heard of the band before, vaguely. I hadn't heard any of their music, but I'm never one to turn down a show. I didn't listen to any songs beforehand, I have a habit of diving into a show completely unknown, no expectations, no idea.
We showed up about a half an hour before the show started and ordered some food. I love the Canoe Club, tucked away at the end of Swift Street in Victoria, it rests upon the ocean and boasts a huge venue, perfect for food and live performances. We sat at the bar, ordered some food, and the band prepared to start playing, setting up equipment. At 9:30 they started playing.
I've been to a ton of shows, it's what I do, and it's what I love doing. Music catches me, whether I'm listening to it, or a part of it. This time I experienced it. I was hooked from the first song. We decided to switch tables and sit at the front to watch the performance, because with the Wild Romantics, the performance is part of their act.
The layered male and female vocals of Evan and Aleisha provide a depth of passion to their unique sound - it exudes sexuality, it tells a story, it gets you hooked. The sound draws you in, but to watch these two interact on and off stage, it truly is a show.
They performed two one hour sets and never faltered. Before, between, and after sets, the band members were flitting about the crowd, making friends, coming to chat with every table - personable and part of the whole experience. By the time the first set was over I was flying over to the ATM to purchase a copy of their debut EP She Could Tell, which is available for purchase on iTunes, or you can stream it on Spotify.
If you can though, I would suggest making it a priority to go see this band.
Their Western Canada tour still has a few remaining dates, two on the Island, two in Vancouver, and then they'll be closing up during Rifflandia music festival this year, which is one of my favorite festivals - and I'll be making sure that I'm going to listen to their EP and be in the front row, dancing away, singing along, and watching the magic that this group produces.
For more info on The Wild Romantics, booking, everything you need to know, you can check out their official website at www.thewildromantics.com
You can also find them on YouTube for more music, and give them a like on Facebook for the latest news.
Thank you guys for absolutely blowing my mind, and the CD. I'll see you guys at Rifflandia!
It's no surprise I love Rock Your Nose. How could I not? My mother has become one of the most inspirational people I know.
My mom, my badass mom (she was always super cool when I was growing up, rocking an open-minded lifestyle) got her nose pierced in 2004. Of course I wanted to get it done too, and so I did - the FIRST time (I've had each side done four times now, eep!) in 2007. I thought it was the coolest thing ever, not many parents have piercings. Piercings are for everybody! I thought it was super cool, and I still do.
The nose stud my mom was pierced with (the second time, you can read about her piercing experience here and the story of how she accidentally ripped out her nose stud) was a plain stud with a stone in it. She did some online shopping and research looking for truly unique pieces and found she couldn't find any. She had started up an Etsy shop in 2008 creating wire-wrapped pieces of jewelry and thought to herself, "What if I made my own nose stud?"
So she did. And another and another. She started getting compliments on her nose jewelry and the decision to open up a second Etsy shop, Rock Your Nose, was an easy one.
And it took off like crazy. People LOVED the unique nose jewelry options available, and they still do. It's been eight years and Rock Your Nose is thriving. In 2010 I got both sides of my nose re-pierced for the fourth and final time and began modelling for Rock Your Nose, and everywhere I go I sport a stud and a ring, courtesy of my mom!
I've had two instances that stick out in my memory vividly of people complimenting me on my nose jewelry. Once in a grocery store, the cashier commented that she loved my turquoise nose stud, and I mentioned I got it from Rock Your Nose, to which she replied, "Oh my god, I've heard of her! I've seen a few people wearing her things, they're so beautiful!"
Last year I was at the beach with a few friends, and struck up a conversation with a girl who had a nose piercing. She was commenting on my opal nose stud, and of course I told her where I had got it. "Oh, Rock Your Nose!" she replied, "I get all of my jewelry from her, she's excellent!" I smiled and said that she was my mother, and this girl was so excited and so shocked. It's been incredibly humbling and amazing to run into people who are fans of my mother's artwork, and I feel so much pride to call her my mom!
And at the end of the day it truly is artwork. The crafting has evolved so much over the past eight years and the product is constantly evolving and growing, with new designs constantly being added. The pieces are lovingly hand-crafted and the pride in each piece truly shows.You won't be able to find jewelry like this at a chain store or outlet. One of the best parts about the pieces from Rock Your Nose is that you are able to customize your order 100% to fit your nose, ranging from choosing gauges from 16-24g (depending on the piece), as well as the diameter of a nose ring, and the end style of your nose studs - L end, screw end for left or right, fishtail hook, or a ball end. Everything is customizable and if you don't see an option, or you don't quite know what size or finish is recommended for you, the customer service end is helpful and the patience evident to ensure that you receive exactly the piece you're looking for.
As I said my mother has inspired me so much. I see her happiness and pride that she takes in her work, her drive, her motivation, her perfectionism, her total commitment to sharing her craft with the world, She pushed me into starting up my own Etsy shop after watching the joy and fun she has had with hers, telling me stories about her repeat customers, and reading her Etsy reviews, everything about what she does is a huge inspiration to me.
Here are a few of my favorite pieces. Click on the images to be directed to the online store at www.rockyournose.com and each piece is available through RockYourNose on Etsy.
Current Coupons and Promos
(prices are in US dollars)
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