Poutine, Beer, Drizzle and Hopsin in Downtown Winnipeg

I’m in Winnipeg right now visiting family and last night my brother and I went to a rap concert at the Garrick Centre in downtown Winnipeg. We arrived in downtown pretty early so we had time to wonder around and look at shops and stuff. Winnipeg changes slowly and has a lot of buildings that have been standing for many decades. If you’re into urban architecture, you might like this area. On the other hand, Winnipeg has been struggling to rejuvenate the downtown area in terms of increasing foot traffic. Most people tend to drive THROUGH downtown but don’t often stop there to window shop or dine. It’s too bad because there are some great restaurants, galleries, and other interesting things in the area.

First we came across this really cool parkade. It almost looks out of place in an urban centre as it looks more like an industrial warehouse. Winnipeg used to have a lot of industrial buildings in the downtown area and many of them were simply converted into other uses rather than be torn down for something newer and shinier. Many see it as a charming quality of this city.

We found this cool art gallery called Fleet Galleries. What was neat about this place was that it was all really open and nobody seemed to care if you walked to the back room where the work studio was. There were a lot of cool pieces in this gallery so I posted a collage of a few of the areas that interested me.

We still had time to kill after walking around a bit so had had some beer and snack food at King’s Head Pub. This is a great place where a wide variety of people gather for a casual atmosphere of beer, snacks and billiards. I had a Fort Garry Dark Ale and some poutine.

After eating, we walked in the drizzling rain over to the Garrick Centre and had to wait in line for about half an hour to get in. They had some kind of arcane system where if you had bought a ticket online, there was no handy code on the phone they could simply scan to let you in. This place had a multipage printout of all the people who had bought tickets online. You had to show them the credit card you used to buy the ticket and then they’d find your name on the list. Once inside, the opening act was already underway but that’s okay because they weren’t really our cup of tea. I won’t even mention the name.

Next was a rapper named Token. His flow is a bit similar to Eminem at times but he needs to work on enunciating better. I enjoyed some of his stuff and I think he’s got potential to be much better in the future. I think lyrically, he could work on nuance and subtlety. Hopsin was the main event and he was lyrically the strongest. He was also very comfortable with the crowd and is clearly a seasoned professional. If he comes to your city and you like rap, be sure to check out his concert.

Have a wonderful Easter weekend everyone! 🙂

Metallica in Hong Kong

On Friday, January 20th, my wife and I went to AsiaWorld-Arena to see Metallica in concert. It was our first time seeing Metallica in concert, Metallica’s first concert in Hong Kong, and my wife’s first time listening to Metallica. That’s quite a few firsts. I’d like to commend my wife for venturing into unknown musical territory for her dear husband.

To our delight and amusmement, it turned out that there are thousands of Metallica fans in Hong Kong and it seemed to be a sellout crowd. We could be rest assured there would be a great and lively atmosphere.

We got to the arena with enough time to pick up a couple drinks at 7-11, go to the washroom and find our seats with a few minutes to spare. They were selling beers but they weren’t really letting people bring cups of beer inside and it was slightly overpriced anyway.

The concert was supposed to start at 8:00pm but it started a few minutes late. That was fine as a lot of people still hadn’t come in from the lobby yet. Finally, the lights dimmed, and the video screen in the center began playing the final scene from the movie Unforgiven. Immediately following that, Metallica started with their classic song, Unforgiven.

All the band members were on point throughout the whole concert. They certainly put on a brilliant live performance. There were several guitar solos but perhaps the most notable one was by Robert Trujillo. That guy is a true man on fire with his guitar.

They played several of their classic songs, some from their latest album and then back to the classics again. They went off the stage around 10:30 to “end the concert” but came out for an encore after a nonstop round of applause and cheers for more. They played a couple more tunes and finally concluded to a standing ovation. It’s probably the best concert I’ve been to so far and my dear wife enjoyed it too! Come back soon Metallica!