Monday, April 12, 2004


  • concert review: Stereolab w/ Clearlake @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto, Ontario - April 10, 2004

    This was an early show so apparently Clearlake went on shortly after the doors opened at 6pm [my guess is they went on around 6:20 pm]. But by the time my friend and I got to the venue, it was about 7 pm and we walked in just as the band were playing the last few bars of 'Almost the Same' which ended their set. Too bad I missed their set. Coincidentally, I just saw the video for and heard the song 'Almost The Same' the day before on The Wedge and I was totally in love with it; hints of brit-pop but with more shoegazer-ish guitar[although not as feedback-ridden], maybe a touch of Morrissey/or is that Martin Rossiter of Gene in the vocals.

    Had I seen the recent articles in Eye Weekly and Now, maybe I would have made more of an effort to catch Clearlake's set. Maybe next time.

    [Download the mp3 and video for 'Almost the Same' from Domino Records.]

    After about half an hour, Stereolab took the state to the applause of an enthusiatic Toronto crowd. This was my first time seeing the band live[after having wanting to see them live for at least the last 5 years] and they did not disappoint. They played songs off their newest CD 'Margerine Eclipse' and the band was surprisinly(and pleasantly) very danceable at times. It was nice to see Laetitia on stage, somewhat, grooving to the music. I couldn't possibly name all the songs they played but a couple of the highlights for me were:

    - 'Cyberle's Revenge' which reached an awesome conclusion as the band reached the peak of a crescendo and then ended the song;

    - 'La Boob Oscillator' which was is one of my favourite Stereolab songs, and Laetitia's french vocals on this song were absolutely sublime.

    Technical problems did occur with one of the keyboards just before the start of one of the songs. The band congregated around the keyboard and for the next several minutes, proceeded to check every knob and every cord connected to it. At one point, Laetitia picked up a cord, looked out across the audience, presumably to the sound guy and asked "Does this have anything to do with it?"; I couldn't help but chuckle. :-) But then things were fixed, and this drew some hootin' and hollerin' from the patient crowd.

    So overall, I found that the band chose a good selection of melodic tunes, rather that the drone-y, more repetitive ones. The background screen visuals also kept things interesting as on-stage banter was really kept to a minimum. The background visuals ranged from a stormy sky, to a cartoon, to a scene from an art-y film, and to some psychedelic imagery. It was all really, in a word, cool.

    Stereolab played for a good hour and a half, and came out for a one-song encore. So in the end the $24.00 I spent to see just Stereolab, was well worth it. In any case, my friend and I are making the trek to the Coachella festival in California at the end of the month where we'll get to see Stereolab again and a whole bunch of other awesome bands!

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