Thursday, July 21, 2011


     Thousand Foot Krutch's LIVE AT THE MASQUERADE (2011, Tooth and Nail Records) was taped as a CD/DVD combo in front of a crowd of 20,000 at the Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alberta on May 28, 2010.  It contains six tracks from 2009's WELCOME TO THE MASQUERADE and seven hits from previous albums.
     The CD begins with 'Welcome to the Masquerade' which is about getting rid of the masks we wear and making ourselves vulnerable: "I'm not one to scatter ashes/But there's some things that'll melt the plastic/Try and dig down deeper if you can."  'Bring me to Life' is about a person reaching for their full potential: "Bring me to life, breathe air into me/Take me from the darkness that I've been in/'Cause I just want to be free."  'Move' contains this introspective lyric: "You've never been to the place inside, I face my fears/It takes everything I am."  'Absolute' is a passionate cry to God from a lost generation: "We want the truth, give us the Absolute/We need your help, 'cause we've got nothing!"  'The Flame in All of Us' has a melodic chorus and speaks of the toll the world can take on you: "This world has taken me by storm, it makes me feel like running/This place is making me transform until I feel like nothing."  'E for Extinction' speaks of fighting for a better life: "But we won't leave the way that we came/And I know there's so much more ahead/I can barely believe we're here/We won't surrender quietly."  'Scream' is sympathetic to those who are hurting: "I've felt the feelings you've been feeling/Been through the same things/You've been through/And I know how hard it is/To feel like you're all alone."
     'What do we Know' has a sing-along quality to it and offers these words of hope: "But maybe if we pull together we can change/A million lives for the better/And maybe if we prayed a little more/We would stop living in fear from the storm."  'Falls Apart' tells the story of a prodigal: "It falls apart from the very start/It falls apart, seems like everything I touch/Falls apart, everything around me/Falls apart, when I walk away from you."  'Rawkfist' is a party anthem from 2003's PHENOMENON.  'Fire it Up' has a nice guitar solo and is an ode to adrenaline: "I'm in love with the feelin'/Of pressure to the ceilin'/Wake up with intention/To face my opposition."  Two encores are included.  'Already Home' is a ballad of surrender to God: "And I know I haven't always been/Where You wanted me/I'm standin' here, arms out/Broken down/Before You."  'Puppet' is from 2001's SET IT OFF and has a bouncy beat that makes you think of marionettes being manipulated by a puppet master.
     The accompanying DVD is very well shot.  The pyrotechnics and lighting, combined with lead singer Trevor McNevan's great use of the stage, make for a pleasant viewing experience.  I'm rating the CD a 80% and the DVD a 90%.  I recommend LIVE AT THE MASQUERADE to fans of other rock acts such as Skillet and Our Lady Peace.

Saturday, July 16, 2011


     There are singers and then there are musical artists.  Mr. Ron Sexsmith is a musical artist.  His latest album LONG PLAYER LATE BLOOMER (2011, Warner Music) has been shortlisted as a nominee for the prestigious 2011 Polaris Music Prize.  The first track 'Get in Line' has a light country feel to it, and seems addressed to his naysayers and critics: "If you meant to shower me with guilt better get in line/If you're cryin' over milk that's spilt, well take a number and wait in line."  'The Reason Why' is joyful sounding and ponders if there is a reason for everything and concludes we do not always need a reason why: "Hoping for an answer/I glance up to indifferent skies" and "All we would hear is a deafening silence."  'Believe it when I see it' finds Ron working out his faith: "We've just a wish and an empty vessel/A hole to fill with days/On a road where children stray/Then pray there is no hell and as for heaven, well if seeing is believing/I'll believe it when I see it" and "We're bound to waste all our free will and ambition/If we got no vision and we got no spine."  'Miracles' slows things down and evidences faith: "There are miracles appearing in broad daylight to a cynical world so blind/With both of us knowing there's so much to dream of/It's a miracle my love."  Musically 'No Help at All' sounds like a TV theme song from the 70's or 80's.  It details the loss of hope: "Won't somebody tell me what these eyes are for/I can't see a light anymore, I can't see a light anymore/It gets lonesome in that valley/You're on your own/You've got to go it alone/You've got to go it alone."  The title track, 'Late Bloomer', is autobiographical and has a smooth sounding chorus: "I'm a late bloomer/I'm a slow learner/And I've heard the penny drop/I'm a small player with a tall order to come out on top/And without selling my soul/That everyone might know that I'm a late bloomer." 
     'Heavenly' will appeal to fans of the Lost Dogs and is poetic: "The morning wears her/Golden autumn dress/It's a heavenly love that you and I possess."  'Michael and His Dad' is a unique story song about a boy and his father short on cash, but rich in love.  'Middle of Love' is an upbeat Sheryl Crow style tune about being head over heels in love.  'Everytime I follow' features crooner style vocals and speaks of the bittersweet power of memory when it comes to lost loves: "The blues are calling me/Oh every time I follow a tearful memory/Oh every time I follow/But in the midst of emptiness/You fill my heart/With love and music/And tell me where to start."  'Eye Candy' has a playful sound to it and showcases humourous lyrics about shady characters: "Eye candy, ear poison/Oh mother keep your boys in/'Cause uptown came downtown/And now they keep hanging around" and "You should see the way they dance/Rubbing up against everybody's leg/And like a bad masseuse/Everything they do rubs me the wrong way."  'Love Shines' is about hopes, dreams and desires coming to fruition, and echoes musically Ron's 2005 hit 'Not About to Lose': "I've seen what love can do, I understand/It's like the candle glowing in the wine/It fills a heart with silver stars/That's where my love shines."  The closing song 'Nowadays' is sung with a spirit of thankfulness and could be addressed to a lover or God: "Used to be I felt so all alone/Used to be I dealt with devils on my own/But nowadays I hear your song/Ringing through my heart and soul/And when I've had enough/Your love takes hold/I just throw my hands up/And your love takes hold."
     LONG PLAYER LATE BLOOMER is a strong, meaty album.  It is the antithesis of much of the disposable music out there today.  I'm rating it 88%! Thanks to my brother Mark A. Alward for introducing me to this album.