Author Archives: Ben Maxwell
Well, it’s been a long, long, time.
Short version: We did not choose to go to Morocco as planned in September. Instead we headed west to Denver. We emptied the storage space and got rid of 90% of the items in there and put the rest in a pod.
We bought at car, loaded the dogs up and drove cross country.
And now we’re here.
Then we went to New York to meet John Oliver.
Spent Thanksgiving in Aspen
Saw some cool sunrises & snow from the apartment
And life goes on…
After Canada… more travel
It was a whirlwind after leaving the Great White North, with a stop back in Vermont for a recap visit with friends and an amazing concert featuring Trombone Shorty and Gary Clark, Jr.
Then on to Boston to visit other friends and attend an “Off The Eaten Path” food and history tour of the North End (read my review here) & 4th of July Fireworks…
A few days in Philadelphia/NJ area to clean out our storage space in prep for leaving for Casablanca, then back to Baltimore.
We stayed with family and did our own little Charm City tour with stops at the legendary Cafe Hon, and Miss Shirley’s.
Then we headed back to Cayman for a little over a week to visit our old stomping ground… and even more catch-ups with old friends. And a massive Aladdin-themed cake done by a dear friend and the staff of the Ritz-Carlton.
Upon returning to Baltimore, we settled in for the get-set-for-Casablanca segment by getting the pets cleared to fly and sorting through Every-Single-Thing-We-Now-Own-On-The-Planet in the basement of my folks’ place.
Ahead of us was the task of getting the USDA clearance up in Robbinsville, NJ and then waiting until the 11th…
Except for one small thing…
We left Vermont on the 25th and headed up to meet another Cayman friend in Montreal. She was coming from Toronto and we both managed to park our cars on the street on the one specific hour out of the one specific day of the week where parking is prohibited due to street cleaning. One would say, “What are the chances?” but really, it was inevitable.
After a lovely night of searching up and down Avenue du Mont-Royal E, we feasted at Le Sieur D’Iberville which included, of course, poutine…
Not the best, but not the worst we’ve had. The burgers were okay as well. A little later that evening, we had cocktails at La Distillerie where I experienced a Flyé coffee on tap… Fermented coffee. Delicious.
There were other wonders to behold in old Montreal, mostly food and drink related.
And some not…
Summer Break, Makes Me Feel Fine
After Firefly, the rest of this summer so far has seemed to have simultaneously flew by and stood still.
It seems that we aren’t quite able to catch our breaths even though we are on holiday. It’s not in a bad way, it’s exciting and awesome to be traveling the east coast and catching up with old friends, there’s just a lot of sorting out stuff that needed to/still needs to happen.
So, in keeping with that, let’s go as much as possible up to now to do what needs to be done…
Thank you to New York area rest stops for having these machines:
and to Pancho’s Mexican Restaurant in Clifton Park, NY for the linguistic assist.
Finally arriving in Vermont to rejoin up with old Cayman friends, John & Mandy, we strolled around Winooski Falls and saw a rainbow, drank some good wine along with a nice chocolate truffle, went on a tour of Ben & Jerry’s, and tried to keep Vermont weird.
A few days later, we headed to Montreal, where fate decreed that we were to park in a spot, where parking is prohibited during the one hour of the one day per week that the city does street cleaning, Merci beaucoup.
At least the street trash was pretty.
Coming next, Poutine, Sangria, Charcuterie, Bagels and more…
Recap: #Firefly2015 Day 4 – 21 June
Oh, the trials and tribulations of a four-day music festival. It was outstanding thus far, and got even awesomer by the end of Sunday.
The hurricane cancellations made it so that legendary producer/DJ Steve Aoki was rescheduled for 2:30pm on one of the side stages. There would have been no way on the face of the planet that I would have been able to see him at the original time, late on Saturday night, so this was a very cool turn of events.
I finally got to see a crowd get “CakeFace”d.
And it was outstanding.
My only disappointing musical artist appearance was Benjamin Booker, whom I had much higher hopes for. It’s not that I don’t think a well placed swear word during a set is bad, but if you’re constantly cursing at the audience and you’re a professional, you need to do it right. So I had to walk away from that stage and find solace in a better place…
That place was the Ben & Jerry’s stand where I combined my two loves, ice cream and live music while walking over to see Broods (who were great).
And not that I wasn’t into seeing Bastille, but their originals and this cover of TLC was very cool.
Finally, the artist I was most looking forward to was set to play on the stage that was the worst, in terms of mud to dirt/rock ratio. I don’t understand the logic of how the organizers worked the Pavilion Stage, but they need to work on that for next year.
It was no secret that in addition to Gary Clark, Jr, Tove Lo was at the top of my list. Not to brag, but I had a feeling her album “Queen Of The Clouds” was going to be big and I still think there’s more room for her to get even more popular. She opened with “That’s My Gun,” then went on to perform most of the record, including, “Not On Drugs.”
The crowd was super-pumped for the rest of the show. Blasting thru “Stay High,”
A few other tracks led to these awesome moments from “Talking Body,” (which we’ve heard on the radio multiple times per day since the show…)
But this was my favorite moment from the entire four-day festival:
And that was that.
Awesome time… Best first music festival experience I could have had… Good & bad.
Recap: #Firefly2015 Day 3 – 20 June
All the days are blending together now. I’ve waited too long to do all of this writing but forcing myself to do it now somehow seems like the right thing to do.
On Saturday the 20th, my Firefly lineup was, if I may say, awesome. I almost couldn’t have planned it any better.
Woke up and got moving early enough to catch this magical moment…
Then eventually headed over to see Andrew McMahon In The Wilderness. Who was amazing. His entire performance was great, and even though “Cecilia & The Satellite” is the hit, I really liked “Canyon Moon.”
Next, was one of my top three artists I wanted to see… Gary Clark, Jr. I’ve been waiting to see him for a while, and honestly didn’t think I’d get the chance (and was able to see him twice in 10 days or so, which was special).
Surprisingly enough, the next artist on my list wasn’t on many other peoples. Can’t figure out why other than not enough airplay or publicity, but i have to say, I really did Zola Jesus. And the people that knew about her, were just as happy as I was to be able to get up close & personal. I found it extremely ironic that she was performing on the Forest Stage and her album is called “Tiaga,” the Russian word for forest.
Not to put too much of a downer on the headlining artists, but this is how close I got to Foster The People singing “Coming Of Age:”
I left the festival grounds shortly after taking that video, and it was a good thing, too, because there was a hurricane alert pushed to all of our phones via the Firefly app.
So they ended up cancelling the late night shows and rescheduling for Sunday… Which I’ll get to next.
Recap: #Firefly2015 Day 2 – 19 June
It was a Friday and I had designs to attend a very conservative four artists, choosing to pass up the headliners of Morrissey and Paul McCartney. Some would call that sacrilege, but I knew that Morrissey would be doing most of his new album, which although very good, would not be what most people would be expecting and it would be kind of crazy… And Not for nothing, but I’ve seen Sir Paul a few times and didn’t want to battle the crowd.
Before heading out, I walked over to The Hub and walked around to check out the even more alternative scene. There were food trucks selling all kinds of stuff including these guys, The Gouda Boys.First up was Clean Bandit on the main stage and they were phenomenal. I knew that they would be. The main stage/early time artist dynamic is interesting because these are performers that not only have headlined their own shows, but could still be thought of as niche. More on that later.
Here’s Clean Bandit doing a litte of their hit “Rather Be”
I had every intention of catching Wolf Alice next, but somehow I faffed around and went to Echosmith instead. It was hot out.
I thoroughly enjoyed their set and their song “Cool Kids” really kicked it up a notch.
And since Walk The Moon was at the same stage, we just hung out in the small VIP area until the next set started. I have to say that the band is much more than their “Shut Up And Dance” chart topper.
It was then that I tried to see Odezsa at the Pavillion stage which ended up being a complete mudfest with a crush of cush-kids. It’s hard to understand the pull of taking photos of two dudes hitting drum pads, no matter how much I liked them. Not really my scene so I bolted out and passed by Big Data on my way to another VIP section.
And that was Day 2… More soon….
Recap: #Firefly2015 Day 1 – 18 June
My first music festival was a success in spite of having a very busy schedule and missing a few of the artists I had wanted to see. I mean, what’s one to do with all that amazing music?
Here was my timeline…
Starting on the night of Thursday, 18 June I was able to see Hey Rosetta! Their hit, “Kintsukuroi” was excellent, and they also did a smashing cover of Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
After that, I managed to catch a little Ryn Weaver, who was charming and put on a great performance of “Octahate.”
Thursday was more of a get-to-know what’s where and get sorted so it wasn’t a late one.
Vermont, Day 2
Waking up in Vermont at John & Mandy’s place found me checking the Fitbit and seeing it was past 7:30am. The latest I’ve slept in a long time…
Now begins the task of going back in time to catch up on the rest of the journaling of this trip back to the USA and on to Morocco in August.
Last night we walked around Winooski. Weather was supposed to be bad but no storms made it up here.