January 13, 2018

Best of: Top 25: My favourite concert photos of 2017

So a lot of humanity decided to double down on stupid in 2017. What are you going to do? There’s no cure for it. And America may be becoming the world cancer. And people have to learn to respect each other and treat each other right. Shouldn’t be difficult, but somehow it seems that it is.

But we have music. And most of the experiences around it are filled with joy, love and positivity. I personally find that I need music in my life, and especially the live music experience, to make my heart right, and to give some balance, and to make me feel like a complete being.

Artists are often tortured souls, with feelings they can’t and won’t contain, with stories to tell, visions to share, a different worldview, a sense of being out of place, of not fitting in, of sadness mixed with passion, of being different, but a desire to share and find like-minded souls. Thank you to the artists brave enough to listen to their guts and to take the risk to put themselves out there. It’s not easy to be that vulnerable and work that hard for art. I often wish I had done more to put my own art out there.

Take a look at my other Best of 2017 lists: My 50 Favourite Songs of 2017 and My 20 Favourite Albums of 2017
I love Scotland's Biffy Clyro. Their show at The Phoenix in Toronto was incredible. I'm pretty pleased I managed to get this action shot of singer Simon Neil. From the moment I snapped it, I've loved it. Check out the rest of the photos from this show here.
Mother Mother are always fun to shoot. This shot came from their show last summer at Riverfest Elora. It breaks all kinds of rules, and I can't stop looking at it. That must mean something. The rest of the photos from this show are here.
You don't see a lot of accordion players in bands these days, and you certainly don't get as many who can look as cool playing it as Gogol Bordello's Pasha Newmer. It's another shot from Riverfest Elora that I just can't stop looking at. The rest of the Gogol Bordello shots from this show are here.
Ah, summer, how much I love thee. And I love I Mother Earth, too. This shot came from IME's end-of-summer show at The Ex. Edwin's enthusiasm and energy are captured perfectly here. The rest of the photos are here.
USS got the crowd going full tilt at Riverfest Elora. I love this shot of Jason "Human Kebab" Parsons riding on a wave of the crowd. All my pics of USS at Riverfest Elora are here.
The photos of Pale Waves from their show at The Baby G somehow begged for more contrast. In the end, not much grey remained. I really enjoyed the band's show and how the photos came out. They're all here for your amusement. They're back in town on April 9 at The Velvet Underground. Hopefully, I'll capture more shots of the band at that show.
I knew The Dirty Nil would give good photos based on what I've seen from some of my photo friends. I was not disappointed. The hard part was picking one photo to include in this list. All the photos from The Dirty Nil's Riverfest Elora show are here.
Sumo Cyco are a fantastic live band and an awesome band to photograph. Skye Sweetnam, a.k.a. Sever, and the guys do their best to rock the crowd and I can only try to keep up and capture some of that energy. I loved this shot from their high-energy CMW show at The Bovine Sex Club. All the photos are here.
The Balconies are a fantastic live band with great songs and are wonderful to photograph. I loved this shot from their CMW show at Adelaide Hall. Sadly, the band is calling it quits. Happliy, there are a couple of shows left for us all to enjoy them one last time. Click here for show info. I'll be at The Horseshoe show on February 1; hopefully with camera in tow. All the pics from the band's CMW show are here.
I love Wolf Alice and I've been lucky enough to photograph each one of their Toronto shows. I like this severe crop of singer-guitarist Ellie Rowsell from their recent Danforth Music Hall show. All the pics are here.
Cults was one of the first bands I ever photographed with a proper camera back in 2014. I got to try again when they played Lee's Palace again this year. This is my favourite shot of singer Madeline Follin. The rest of the shots are here.
This year marked my first time attending and photographing Osheaga. I got to spend the weekend in Montreal for a rain-soaked adventure shooting for Canadian Beats. These shots of Lorde, Death From Above 1979 and Rag and Bone Man are some of my favourites. All of the coverage is over at Canadian Beats' site and their Facebook album.
I got myself right up front for Japandroids amazing Danforth Music Hall show. I questioned my wisdom since I'm not much of a mosh pit guy, but the crowd was great and the band allowed me some great photos. This is my favourite from this fantastic show. The rest of the pics are here.
If you've read this blog much before, you know of my love for the music of The Lowest of the Low. I had a perfect spot for their sold-out Danforth Music Hall show and caught many amazing shots, including this one. The rest are here.
Sleigh Bells put out some of the most sonically unique, high-energy earworms that you'll ever hear. They put on one of the most incredible live shows, too. This shot of Alexis Krauss from NXNE Portlands is one of my favourites. I can't wait for their Mod Club show on January 28. I'll be there, hopefully with my camera.
K.Flay puts on one hell of a show. The music and her presence make for a powerful experience. I love this shot from the show this past summer at Riverfest Elora. Check out the rest of the pics here. I'm hoping to be at The Danforth Music Hall on March 15 to experience it again.
Broods singer Georgia Nott is an incredible presence on stage. I embraced the red for this shot from their show at Danforth Music Hall. The rest of the photos from that show are here.
The Pursuit of Happiness has been one of my favourite bands for decades. Their debut album Love Junk spun it's perfect power pop on my turntable and then on my i-devices throughout the years. I loved every second of their show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern for the dive bar's 70th anniversary and I hope to see them again soon. All my photos from this show are here.
Bully rock. They put on a great show at Lee's Palace and this photo captures the attitude and energy of singer Alicia Bognanno. The rest of my shots are here.
I liked this moody shot from Slowdive's Danforth Music Hall show earlier this year. The rest of the photos are here.
I love the interaction between Stars' Amy Millan and Feist during Broken Social Scene's performance at Field Trip this past summer.
I love the brotherhood captured by this shot of Le Trouble from their CMW show at Adelaide Hall. The rest of the photos are here.
As night fell, the trees behind the stage at Riverfest Elora revealed greater and greater evil. I captured this photo but was too terrified to get closer. All my Riverfest Elora pics are available from this post.

Best of: Top 50 of 2017: My favourite songs of 2017

Best of: Top 50 of 2017: My favourite songs of 2017: best of, sir sly, charly bliss, bully, casper skulls, death from above 1979, dizzy, favourites, japandroids, k.flay, kendrick lamar, pale waves, royal blood, st. vincent, sumo cyco, the districts, the national, waxahatchee, wolf alice,  sleigh bells, bitch falcon, mother mother, hippo campus, broken social scene, weaves, public animal, elbow, partner, spoon, the pains of being pure at heart, the xx, portugal the man, kendrick lamar, dizzy, japandroids, lowest of the low, louise burns, charly bliss, Jason isbell and the 400 unit, gary human, dreamcar, st. vincent, noel gallagher's high flying birds, royal blood
During 2017 I've probably listened to the least music than I have in the past decade. Most of my favourite tunes of the year came from shows I've seen, bands I'm familiar with and many tunes that just happened to hit my ears the right way. Many of the loves of this year have not been deep and meaningful; they've been brief and fleeting one night stands of aural bliss. Forgive me.

Take a look at my other Best of 2017 lists: My 25 Favourite Concert Photos of 2017 and My 20 Favourite Albums of 2017.

50. "And Saints" Sleigh Bells

49. "Syncope" Bitch Falcon

48. "Love Stuck" Mother Mother

47. "Boyish" Hippo Campus

46. "Skyline" Broken Social Scene

45. "Slicked" Weaves

44. "20th Century Strategies" Public Animal

43. "Magnificent (She Says)" Elbow

42. "Play the Field" Partner

41. "Can I Sit Next To You" Spoon

40. "So True" The Pains of Being Pure at Heart

39. "On Hold" The xx

38. "Feel it Still" Portugal. The Man

37. "Humble" Kendrick Lamar

36. "Stars and Moons" Dizzy

35. "Arc of Bar" Japandroids

34. "Television Romance" Pale Waves

33. "Powerlines" Lowest of the Low

32. "Pharaoh" Louise Burns

31. "Violet" The Districts

30. "Glitter" Charly Bliss

29. "If We Were Vampires" Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

28. "Kills to be Resistant" Bully

27. "Ill Ray (The King)" Kasabian

26. "My Name Is Ruin" Gary Numan

25. "Kill for Candy" Dreamcar

24. "New York" St. Vincent

23. "Beautifully Unconventional" Wolf Alice

22. "Holy Mountain" Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds

21. "Anti-Anthem" Sumo Cyco

20. "Hook, Line & Sinker" Royal Blood

19. "High" Sir Sly

18. "Day I Die" The National

17. "Brass Beam" Waxahatchee

16. "DNA" Kendrick Lamar

15. "Planet Hunter" Wolf Alice

14. "Near To The Wild Heart Of Life" Japandroids

13. "There's A Honey" Pale Waves

12. "Blood In The Cut" K.Flay

11. "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" The National

10. "If Before I Wake" The Districts

9. "Lingua Franca" Casper Skulls

8. "Don’t Delete The Kisses" Wolf Alice

7. "Freeze Me" Death from Above 1979

6. "Running" Bully

5. "Black Wave" K.Flay

4. "Never Been Wrong" Waxahatchee

3. "Silver" Waxahatchee

2. "Heavenward" Wolf Alice

1. "Sadboy" Wolf Alice

And if you want to check out my 2017 concert photos of the bands from by best of list, please click the following links:

And older shots of these awesome bands:
Bully at Field Trip
Death from Above 1979 at Panamania and Riot Fest
Casper Skulls at Lee's Palace, again at Lee's Palace and The Garrison
The Districts at Lee's Palace, The Horseshoe and again at The Horseshoe
The National at Field Trip and at Riot Fest
Royal Blood at Lee's Palace
Sumo Cyco at Cherry Cola's
Kasabian at Sound Academy
Louise Burns at Handlebar
The Lowest of the Low at Toronto's Festival of Beer
Dizzy at Hillside
Public Animal at The Garrison and The Horseshoe
Weaves at Lee's Palace
Mother Mother at NXNE

Best of: Top 20 of 2017: My favourite albums of 2017

wolf alice, waxahatchee, the national, bully, charly bliss, japandroids, k.flay, st. vincent, kasabian, the war on drugs, royal blood, diet cig, the districts, kendrick lamar, the xx, partner, casper skulls, noel gallagher's high flying birds, sumo cyco, weaves,
I just have to have music in my life, especially live music. It makes my heart right and gives me balance, and helps me feel like a complete being.

Here are the albums that meant the most to me in a year when I have been sadly more absent from the care and feeding of this web site, and from music appreciation, than I’ve been in years.

There’s a melody that reaches into your soul, a voice that speaks to your values and your very humanity, a beat that makes you smile uncontrollably, and a hook that brings a tear to your eye; a joy that makes you feel whole. It’s love that comes through your ears from the unstoppable passion of another, through their music.

I can’t listen to everything; especially not in a crazy busy year like 2017. A year when work left me mentally exhausted most days meant I couldn’t get all the concert-going and photo-editing in that I wanted and much of my commute-listening was while otherwise mentally occupied with little things like driving. But undaunted I go into the yearly tradition of listing out the albums that made the biggest impression on me in 2017, in order, my absolute favourites at the top.

Take a look at my other Best of 2017 lists: My 25 Favourite Concert Photos of 2017 and My 50 Favourite Songs of 2017.

Wolf Alice Visions of a Life

Waxahatchee Out in the Storm

The National Sleep Well Beast

Bully Losing

Japandroids Near To The Wild Heart Of Life

K.Flay Every Where Is Some Where

St. Vincent MASSEDUCTION

The Districts Popular Manipulations

Kasabian For Crying Out Loud

Royal Blood How Did We Get So Dark?

The War on Drugs A Deeper Understanding

Charly Bliss Guppy

Diet Cig Swear I'm Good At This

Kendrick Lamar DAMN

Partner In Search of Lost Time

The xx I See You

Casper Skulls Mercy Works

Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds Who Built The Moon?

Sumo Cyco Opus Mar

Weaves Wide Open

And if you want to check out my 2017 concert photos of the bands from by best of list, please click the following links:

And older shots of these awesome bands:
The National at Field Trip and at Riot Fest
Bully at Field Trip
The Districts at Lee's PalaceThe Horseshoe and again at The Horseshoe
Kasabian at Sound Academy
Royal Blood at Lee's Palace
Diet Cig at The Drake Underground
Casper Skulls at Lee's Palace, again at Lee's Palace and The Garrison
Sumo Cyco at Cherry Cola's
Weaves at Lee's Palace

December 31, 2017

The Ex 2017: Dear Rouge - Concert Pictures

Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Dear Rouge are a super-fun band. Singer Danielle McTaggart takes command of the stage and you can't help but keep your eyes glued to her as you sing the hooks and dance like mad on a summer night. That's what we all did when Dear Rouge performed at The Ex this past summer.

This was actually my second time shooting the band. My pics from their performance at Riverfest Elora are here.

I loved the big hits in the set like "Black and Gold" and my personal favourite "Tongues" mixed in with new songs that sounded great with big choruses and giant hooks. I'm looking forward to hearing the new tunes as they're released.

They also brought out Zach from The Zolas to do a cover of Bowie's "Let's Dance" during the encore.

Listen up:

"Boys and Blondes"

"Tongues"

"I Heard I Had"

"Black To Gold"

"Best Look Lately"

The Ex 2017: The Zolas - Concert Pictures

The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
The Zolas at The CNE Bandshell at The Canadian National Exhibition - The Ex on August 31, 2017 Photo by John at One In Ten Words oneintenwords.com toronto indie alternative live music blog concert photography pictures photos
Another of my favourite bands, The Zolas, played the CNE Bandshell stage at The Ex this past summer. You could describe their set as a greatest hits set since they're working on new songs and they were opening for Dear Rouge for this gig.

If you managed to miss all the other Zolas gigs I've covered, just click on the following links for shots of them at The Opera House, Riverfest Elora, NXNE Portlands, and Lee's Palace.

I always love a Zolas show and this one was no different. Hope you like the pics, and the set list of tunes below. If you haven't seen the band live, I highly suggest that you do. It's always a great time singing along and dancing to their tunes.

"Molotov Girls"

"Get Dark"

"Fell in Love with New York"

"Ancient Mars"

"Male Gaze"

"Strange Girl"

"Frieda on the Mountain"

"Invisible"

"CV Dazzle"

"Swooner"