Live Review: Bob Dylan’s Americanarama Tour

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I saw Bob Dylan last night in a show unlike any I’ve ever seen. I went with my father because he was the one who introduced me to Dylan. The concert was at the Molson Amphitheatre on a hot summer night. The opening acts were Richard Thompson, My Morning Jacket and Wilco. I was blown away by My Morning Jacket. Their sound was clear and impactful, but with just enough dissonance to make their set feel surreal. Wilco had an easy folk rock sound. They brought Feist to the stage to do a few songs including “Suzanne” by Leonard Cohen and “Cinnamon Girl” by Neil Young. My Morning Jacket joined in on “Cinnamon Girl” too. They were great openers for the Americanarama Festival of Music.

And now for the man of the hour.

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One cannot go to a Bob Dylan concert with expectations or anticipations. As many have learned throughout the history of his shows, a set may go on for hours or may only last for one song. He may play songs no one has ever heard, or make the songs that are known unrecognizable. He played for about an hour and a half, and actually played some songs I knew, though he made “All Along the Watchtower” and “Blowing in the Wind” different from any version I’ve ever heard.

After the show, I ran into Max Kerman from Arkells. Arkells is one of my favourite bands and I was excited to see him at the same concert I was at, but I was hesitant to approach. I needed a clever line. A story about DJ Starr, perhaps? As last I said, “So this is what you do when you aren’t touring.” It turns out, he is ever bit as charismatic and down to earth as he seems on stage. He introduced himself to my dad and I. When my dad told him he took my tickets for the Arkells show last February, Max asked me why I couldn’t make it. I told him I went to Nicaragua the next day, and he asked me about the trip. We closed the conversation we our thoughts about the concert. I said, “Bob Dylan is like modern art. You don’t have to understand it to be moved by it.” We said our good byes, my dad and I headed home, marvelling at the evening. At Bob Dylan concerts and in life, one can only expected the unexpected.

Song of the Day: Hurricane by Bob Dylan

Graffiti Tour of Toronto

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One of my favourite things to do while I’m working in Toronto is to go for walks through different neighbourhoods. I’ve been to cool areas, eaten at great restaurants, and shopped at some of the best stores. (If you want directions to a store that sells $10 plaid shirts, I’m your girl.) But as many people who love to wander through cities have experienced, I have ended up in some areas that you would not want directions to. I’ve turned a street too early or wandered a bit too far, and quite frankly, I have ended up in some areas that one should actively avoid.

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In addition to some colourful characters – a homeless man around the St. Lawrence Market took to me, so I had to avoid the area for a while – I’ve come across colourful walls. With that, I bring you my urban art and graffiti tour of Toronto.

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The above photos are from the Kensington Market area from a day when I had a few hours to walk around before I met up with a friend.

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This is one of my favourite walls in Toronto, backing onto a parking lot by OCAD.

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I happened upon this beautiful mural when I got lost a few weeks ago. It was late afternoon on a Friday, and I encountered interesting locals along my journey. I’m not sure what’s more surprising, the number of people I saw drinking around churches, or the fact that they didn’t seem to want me to join them. As much as I love the art, my friends and family have kindly requested that I do not return to the area, regardless of whether or not I’m invited to join the whisky sipping multitudes around the local Presbyterian church.

Journey safely my friends.

Song of the Day: Sweater Weather by The Neighbourhood