Lady Gaga Monster Ball

A Concert Review

Lady Gaga Monster Ball

“They told you you weren’t pretty enough, couldn’t sing well enough, couldn’t fill a stadium, couldn’t win a Grammy...” ~Lady Gaga

I'll admit that last night when I attended the sold out Lady Gaga show at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa with my girlfriends, I wasn't the biggest Gaga fan of our group. A 'monster' I was not. Sure I like her music - it's catchy, it totally makes you want to dance and sing - but I wasn't a full fledged parishioner of the 'Church of Gaga'. I was one of the uninitiated in the crowd.

I went because I was curious to see what kind of show Miss Gaga would put on. And oh my gawd did the woman deliver. Brilliant and awesome doesn't do it justice.

The woman can sing and damn well at that (and yes she sings - no lip synching here)'s more controlled and powerful than you could ever imagine. She dances - go go dancer to the core- but she also has that magical ability to make you forget all the bullshit in your life for just a few hours as you take in all that she has to offer. And for a 24 year old that is very much an impressive feat.

The 'Monster Ball' show is a clear homage to Madonna (even beyond the comparisons of Gaga's latest single to Madonna's 'Express Yourself') - from the set design, the detailed storyline, the produced videos in between songs, the interaction with dancers and the audience, the cursing, the groping, the gospel inspired moment, the costume was a full out production from start to finish.

Like her idol, Lady Gaga was born to entertain the masses.

Grant it a lot of the show didn't make a lot of sense but for the sold out crowd no one really seemed to care - between the giant spider monster , Gaga's outfits and the shiny metal Jesus statue with flames shooting out of his back - there was a lot to distract from the not so coherent concert plot.

But the show also provided a message of compassion and understanding - for all those who are deemed different, misunderstood and left out. Lady Gaga is their safe haven. She embraces them all and makes them feel welcomed. And they do.

I swear I have never seen so much latex, leather, wigs, ass cheeks and boobs in Ottawa in all my life. And this was coming from the fans in the audience.

Who knew Ottawa had it in them?

I finally understood the appeal of Lady Gaga as that complete package deal last night - yes her artistic licence in her contrived attention getting appearances on red carpets and in her videos may have come in the past with the labels 'freak', 'weirdo', 'crazy', 'attention whore' but I get it now.

She's just being who she is and she is making no apologies for who she is - you either buy into her mantra of 'be yourself and be proud' or you don't.

And her fans, they get that message loud and clear and they love Gaga for spreading the word. And Gaga loves her fans in return. And together they make each other believe that anything is truly possible.

Her latest #1 hit 'Born This Way' is in part an anthem for all her fans - especially the ones who are singled out for being 'different'...and it's a great lesson and message especially for all those kids growing up who are still trying to conform and fit into what they perceive to be that 'acceptable cookie cutter mould'. In the end all those efforts to be popular, 'normal', 'straight', beautiful, perfect and skinny is just a veil...a the person that you are to the core. And all that Lady Gaga is trying to get across is no matter what you are just be brave and be comfortable in the skin you were born in and embrace it...insecurities and all. Sounds like pretty sage and sound advice to me.

So yeah I've very much converted to the Church of Gaga...she's a petite blonde powerhouse - she knows how to entertain and you can't help but to stop what you're doing and watch it all unfold. Your jaw dropping every single time. Just the way she likes it. She's fierce that way.

Sure she's bizarre - but she's engaging, hearltfelt and sincere. There's depth to her...and in a world of vapid lyrics and misguided pop stars and Hollywood starlets she's a breath of fresh air. Hers is a party that you want to last all night long.

My only complaint about the show? The ladies behind us who asked us to sit down because we were standing and dancing and they couldn't see. Insert repeated eye rolling here.

For the record we kept on dancing and singing. I mean hello who sits at a Lady Gaga concert - it's blasphemous to do so.

Oh and Lady Gaga had the most killer boot collection ever during her costume changes. So Gaga when the tour is done, and assuming you're a size 7, you can send those boots my way. 


The Good Lovelies

City Music Meets Country Music

The Good Lovelies

Funny, witty and upbeat with a touch sass is the perfect description for Canada's Juno Awards winners, the Good Lovelies.

How the Good Lovelies (Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmore) got together is a bit of a mystery: Sue remembers meeting her band mates during a limbo competition, Caroline thinks they met at a chess tournament, but Kerri is convinced they first crossed paths during a bar fight...

Whatever the story may be, the ladies immediately realized they had something special, so Caroline Brooks, Kerri Ough and Sue Passmorehit  the road on a mission to charm Canadian audiences coast to coast.

The Good Lovelies just released their third album 'Let The Rain Fall' - and it's the perfect cure to the 'OMG I am so done with Winter already' state of mind with it's sunny and upbeat city meets country musical stylings and three-part harmonies.

I had a chance to ask one third of the Good Lovelies...Kerri Ough...about their musical sisterhood, pampering and fashion.

1. Your music is described as folk-roots mixed with western swing...growing up what music/artists did you listen to that influenced your style?
We quite like the genre choices people make for us. We find it very difficult to identify one single style since we are three songwriters. We listened to so much music growing up it's hard to pinpoint one influence.

Caroline's most listened-to album when she was younger was probably Paul Simon's Graceland - Sue listened to anything from jazz standards to hip-hop (and everything in-between) I and (Kerri) listened primarily to what was on the radio and eventually The Barenaked Ladies and the Beatles and all sorts of choral music.

2. There is a great vibe from the three of you...great upbeat energy and sass that comes across in the videos and live performances. It's obvious that there is a great friendship did the three of you come together? Do you feel you each bring something different to the table?
I think part of what makes our band work is that our friendship came first. We have great respect for each other and that really lends itself to a high-energy live show. We definitely bring the goofiness out in each other, and as we spend more and more time together, we get weirder and weirder (just kidding.) We do have a great time together.

3. You're touring Canada, then heading to the US, UK and Australia to promote this new album...what 3 things can't you leave home without when you hit the road?
Caroline would likely say: her crossword book, running shoes and ear plugs. Sue would say: her hair dryer, slippers and her camera... and for me: my iPod, my glasses and something to write in - with a pen attached. (Of course, we all want our cowboy boots, our laptops, our favourite pyjamas, dozens of socks and so on and so forth...) Needless to say, our bags are very heavy when we leave home.

4. You have a free day to do you pamper yourself?
When we get to spend a day at home we all get pretty excited about making a home cooked meal for ourselves. I like to go to the gym, do my laundry, walk around Toronto and go to my favourite coffee shop. Sometimes it's nice to just stay in and enjoy the comforts of home you can't always get on the road. If we're talking truly pampering ourselves, in a dream world free massages, facials, hair cuts, manicures, pedicures - the whole nine yards would be okay with us.

5. 'The Good Lovelies' music mix: Name 5 songs/artists that you can't get enough of right now...
Right now we're listening to:

Kerri - Wooden Sky, Bon Iver, Deep Dark Woods, Luluc, Lady Hayes
Caroline - Anais Mitchell, Joel Plaskett, Jenn Grant, Deep Dark Woods, Bahamas
Sue - Old Man Luedecke, Royal Wood, Beatles (White Album), Fleet Foxes and also Deep Dark Woods

6. Checking out photos and videos, it's evident that as a group you have a great sense of style (very eclectic). Do you have any favourite places that you love to shop at?
This is a question I think we could all spend time embellishing on. For me (Kerri) I love the Queen Street shops in Toronto. I often find something I love at Girl Friday. Sue got a wicked dress at Cabaret that she wore to the Junos. I don't want to forget any of the stores, but I know I will.
Frou frou is another great shop... It's safe to say we like to go out and see what's out there to keep our stage clothing interesting for audience and for each other.

7. Love, love your version of 'Crabbuckit' - such a refreshingly different spin on the song...what was it that made you decide to cover the song?
Do you know the Gourds version of "Gin and Juice" - it's one of those great covers that takes the original hip-hop tune, and turns it into an equally awesome bluegrass song. Well, when we came across Crabbuckit in our playlists we thought it would be fun to see what the Good Lovelies would do to that song. So we gave it a shot and embellished the harmonies on K-Os' original and give it a retro "Good Lovelies" feel.

8. And finally if you could have a drink with anyone dead or alive - who would it be/why?
Wow - this is a big question and my mind is freaking out a bit at the possibilities. I would love to have a sandwich with David Bowie and just talk to him about his day.. Nothing crazy, I just want to hang out with him. He's just one of those musical icons that lasted through decades of music and remains relevant - that's no small feat.
I phoned Sue to get her answer for this one - she said if she could pick anyone, she would like to have dinner with her grandfathers. She never knew them and thought they'd have a lot to tell her about their lives and their families.
I was unable to reach Caroline today for her answer, due to illness, but ask us this question the next time we talk and I guarantee she'll have three or four people in mind.

Before they pack their bags and head to the UK, Autralia and soiuth of the border, you can check out The Good Lovelies on current their Canadian tour:

Mar 5 – Thunder Bay, ON – Finlandia Hall
Mar 7 – Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre
Mar 10 – Sault Ste Marie, ON – Loplops
Mar 11 – Powassan, ON – The Golden Sunshine Club
Mar 12 – Penetanguishene, ON – Brian Orser Hall
Mar 23 – London, ON – Aeolian Hall
Mar 24 – Waterford, ON – The Old Town Hall
Mar 25 – Guelph, ON – Dublin Street United Church
Mar 26 – Port Hope, ON – Capitol Theatre
Mar 29 – Aurora, ON – Cultural Centre
Mar 30 – Wilno, ON – Wilno Tavern Restaurant
Mar 31 – Wakefield, QC – The Blacksheep Inn
Apr 1 – Kingston, ON – Octave Theatre
Apr 2 – Toronto, ON – The Great Hall