Sunday, July 31, 2005

Length of Love

InterpolDepraved Fangirls wrote a wonderfully poignant, warts-and-all commentary about why she loves Interpol. I'm not a big fan of Interpol, but it's her general ideas that can be applied to -insert favourite band here-. She expressed that there's a difference between loving a band and just being a fan, and I can't remember the last time someone put it more eloquently. I tell you, go read the post. I'm not sure if I've reached that level of devotion for ANY band(maybe Sloan at one time) but at least I'll know it when I get there. Ahem...and I can recall one other depraved fangirl in Toronto who probably feels as much devotion for Interpol as Depraved Fangirls does. Oh yeah, Interpol's at Kool Haus in Toronto on September 28th. But you already knew that. [blog link from angryrobot; photo from http://../]

Ear To The Ground Festival organizers posted over at stillepost that Early Bird weekend passes($40) are now available for purchase at Soundscapes in Toronto.

Here's a couple of Matt Pond PA live shows that I turned up during a Yahoo! search[downloads courtesy of The Black Dog]:

  • The Bug Jar, Rochester NY, May 14 2002

  • Broadway Joe's, Buffalo NY, November 4 2002

  • Death Cab For Cutie make the cover of the new issue[summer 2005] of Under The Radar.

    Here's a torrent of an mpeg video of Metric at the Art Rock Festival in France on
    June 03, 2005, where they performed acoustic renditions of "Combat Baby" and "Love Is A Place". It's a slow download right now. Hopefully it'll all be worth it in 17 HOURS. [torrent link from Largehearted Boy]

    Friday, July 29, 2005

    All Used Up

    The guys beating the heck out of Patrick Pentland's car!Watch behind-the-scenes footage[under 'multimedia'] of Sloan's "All Used Up" video, and watch the band beat the heck out of Patrick's car!

    Exclaim! speaks to its August issue's cover boys, Cuff The Duke, who's new self-titled second album, will likely make my top 10 list for 2005.

    Vancouver's Westender speaks to Teenage Fanclub. I'm still on a high from Teenage Fanclub's show this past Monday at The Mod Club. Download a torrent of a live acoustic session The Fannies did 1993-12-06 at Patriot Center in Fairfax VA, part of the HFSmas Nutcracker Ball.

    Between Thought and Expression has a 2-part mp3 download of The Arcade Fire's set from this year's Lollapalooza.

    Looks like the efforts to bring Sufjan Stevens to Hamilton ON are in full gear. Hope this happens, because I'd definitely go to Hamilton, on top of the Toronto show which I already have a ticket for.

    Wednesday, July 27, 2005

    It's All In My Mind

    concert review: Teenage Fanclub w/ The Rosebuds @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), July 25, 2005

    Norman and Gerard of Teenage Fanclub @ The Mod Club: photo by Mike LigonI can check off Teenage Fanclub from my list of must-see shows because I FINALLY got around to seeing them live when they played an intimate mid-sized club show Monday night at The Mod Club in Toronto in front of a nearly packed house. The openers were Merge Records' The Rosebuds who I knew nothing about. Having heard only samples off the Merge site, then hearing them live I thought they were a decent, if somewhat, schizophrenic live band. Their name conjures thoughts of indiepop and yes there was that side to them, but on the other side, they had songs that featured a beat, garage sound. I'm a sucker for good pop songs and I thought they hit their stride when they concentrated more on their pop tunes, which featured a bevy of good things like pretty melodies, attractive male/female vocals and confident, yet tasteful, instrumentation. It was a little off-putting to go from that, to a garage-beat ditties which seemed little more than an opportunity for the band to rock out. I had the perception that the band, who were playing in Canada for the first time, might have thought that they needed to rock out in order to please first-time listeners, but believe you me, give Toronto fans pretty melodies and we'll be drooling all over ourselves.

    After what seemed like an eternity of soundchecking, Teenage Fanclub finally strolled onto stage. I'd managed to get near to the front of the stage. It was interesting to see the band's core members after all these years: Norman Blake, no longer the shaggy haired slacker I remember him to be and now sporting a clean-cut look, Gerard Love looking as boy-ish as ever, and Raymond McGinley who seemingly has grown out his hair in direct contrast to Norman's clean-cut look. Overall, they didn't look like the young slackers I remembered them to be when they appeared on Saturday Night Live back in the early 90's. It's funny that, although I've sort of kept up with their music releases I've been completely oblivious to how they've physically transformed. Not that they're old men but having had that romanticized image of them as young punks, part of the romance was lost seeing their older selves. But to be fair, haven't we all aged? The physical aspect aside, I was totally ecstatic to be seeing The Fannies live for the first time, and considering that their last couple of shows in Toronto were at bigger venues, I was even happier to be seeing them in a small intimate venue.

    The setlist from the show can be found here. It was a veritable greatest 'hits' set, as The Fannies played tunes spanning most if not all of their albums. My favourites included "About you", "The Cabbage", "Starsign", "I Need Direction", "I Don't Want Control", "Don't Look Back", "Neil Jung", and encore-closer "The Concept". The guitar sound, Raymond's in particular, was pretty clear in my opinion but I found the vocal mix to be a little muddy, especially with Norman's mic. In contrast, when Gerard took reign of vocal duties on his own mic, such as on "Don't Look Back", I recall his vocals being alot more clearer. I don't really have any point of reference other than their albums to compare their live set but I did perceive a slight level of restraint with the instrumentation, especially on rockers like "The Cabbage" and "The Concept". Overall, these are only minor complaints and I'd say that The Fannies delivered the goods for the most part. If I really wanted to file a complaint, it would have to be for all the songs they DIDN'T play. (I REALLY wished they played "What You Do To Me", "Hang On", and "Radio") Otherwise, it was a great set and I'll be replaying these songs in my head for days. [photos from the show]
    Yesterday, I managed to make it down to the sweltering interior confines of Soundscapes in Toronto to catch an instore performance by Cuff The Duke. They played a bunch of new tunes like "Belgian or Peru" and "Take My Money And Run"(dedicated to everyone who's ever worked a shitty job) as well as some older ones. They're so young but to hear how musically confident they were was amazing. I didn't realize it until yesterday but frontman Wayne Petti reminds me physically of actor/comedian Seth Green. He's funny too, but not nearly as much of a smart ass. Thankfully. I caught the segment E-Talk Daily did on the band tonight. They showed clips of the band's instore performance[I was wondering whose camera that was in the store.] According to the band's website, they are featured on the cover of the new issue of Exclaim!; the website isn't updated yet but the print version should be available now.

    Thanks to Just Keep Bloggin' for the heads up that Feist: Live at Rehearsal Hall will air on Bravo! Canada on August 9th at 9pm.

    Download decent quality video of Feist's live performance of "Mushaboom" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, courtesy of From Blown Speakers.

    Tuesday, July 26, 2005

    Life Stories For Minimum Wage

    Cuff The DukeTeenage Fanclub's show at The Mod Club in Toronto yesterday was awesome, but it'll take me at least another day to sort out my photos and write up my usual review. When did "Bandwagonesque", my first foray into the world of Teenage Fanclub, come out? "1991", you say. Wow, and about 14 years later, I've now seen them live for the first time. I'm feeling old. But on to today's links(while I go ponder the meaning of life.) ;-)

    Interpol will be back at Kool Haus in Toronto on September 28th for an all-ages show. Tickets, $30.00, onsale July 30th at 10 am through the regular outlets. Kool Haus? Well at least it's not The Docks. I' still not gonna go though. [ticket info from rootmeansqueare]

    Scotland's cow-punks Sons and Daughters will be playing Lee's Palace on September 5th!!!!!! Tickets are only $9.00!!!! Onsale at the usual outlets on July 27th. [info from Lee's Palace ]

    Mocking Music examines the C86 scene as both a genre of music(indiepop) as well as literally a cassette collection of tracks of indie artists at the time(1986, in Britain). Mocking Music also has links to mp3's of all the tracks that were compiled on the C86 cassette which had been given away free with an issue of NME back in 1986.

    Thanks to Largehearted Boy for pointing out that Arcade Fire fansite Us Kids Know has a bittorrent tracker for the band's live shows and rarities. Sign up and browse the shows available. And if ye taketh, please shareth.

    Just a reminder, Cuff The Duke, Soundscapes instore, today 6:30 pm. Save me a spot near the front. Yes, the boys' new self-titled album is out today, and I believe you can buy it today at Soundscapes for $9.99. Run, don't walk. [top photo from http://../]

    Monday, July 25, 2005

    Night At The Nufonia

    concert review: Kid Koala, part of Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture @ Harbourfront Centre(Toronto, Ontario)

    video screen @ Kid Koala show @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike LigonIn advance of Kid Koala's Harbourfront show this past weekend which was part of the Dim Sum: Sampling Contemporary Chinese Culture festival, The Toronto Star[Bugmenot] profiled the DJ who's been causing waves in the music scene, both on these shores and abroad. After having seen Kid Koala perform at Harbourfront this past Saturday, I can see why Canada chose him back in 2004 to go to China as part of a Canadian embassy-sponsored tour. He's the personification of Canadian modesty and at the same time an illustrious example of our Canadian music talent. Or as was stated by Francis Acquarone of 010 Productions in The Toronto Star article, "Eric[aka Kid Koala] is a great ambassador for Canada."

    It was perfect timing that my friend and I got to Harbourbront just a minute or two before Kid Koala was announced onto the stage. It was probably one of the higher capacity crowds I've seen this year at Harbourfront. There was a four turntable setup onstage, and the visuals were augmented by two video screens on either sides of the stage which gave us closeups of the main two turntables which Kid Koala manipulated. There was a great variety of influences heard during the set. The most popular tracks were the hip-hop flavoured tracks which featured crowd-pleasing samples from songs such as Beastie Boys' "So Whatcha Want", Tears For Fears' "Shout", The Cure's "Close To You" plus less familiar tracks from A Tribe Called Quest, M.I.A.["Fire, Fire"] and Bjork. It was really mesmerizing to watch Kid Koala mix and scratch. During one jazz-influenced track, I couldn't fathom how he manipulated a record to sound like it was a horn solo. He dedicated his most serence version of his next track to his mom and said something along the lines that she never understood what he did until she heard his version of "Moon River": her only question now was "why?". Taking an old recording of a female-sung "Moon River", Kid Koala deconstructed it and assembled it back, incorporating subtle scratches, echo, desolate guitar notes and other fun effects. At the conclusion of the song, he dedicated it to all the women over forty. :-) Touching upon his Chinese heritage, one of his tracks incorporated a Chinese folk melody with hip hop beats and scratches that hopefully pleased modern music fans and the old-country folk alike. Near the end of the set, Kid Koala displayed a closet(?) affectation for heavy-metal and hard rock, first starting with a speed-metal, mix-and-scratch embellished creation which then segued into a track which featured sampling from Rage Against The Machine. There were a couple of slower tracks which dragged on a bit and overall it was hard to tell how much the crowd was into the set but that ambiguity was answered by the crowd's enthusiatic chant for an encore after Kid Koala finished the set, walked off stage and the MC of the evening came back onto the stage. Thankfully, he came back onto the stage to play several more tracks[including a new track which he said he collobarated on with Dan The Automator and Damon Albarn] but only on the condition that if he's going to play more, people are going to have to dance. I couldn't tell if anyone up front was dancing but I could see alot of smiles on people's faces around me. If we weren't all as enthusiastic as that fan who had out-of-the-blue jumped up onto the stage during the set and hugged him, at least I think the feeling was mutual.
    If Juliana Hatfield has this much to say about the state of her career, the making of the new album "Made In China", the concept of selling out, and love and life in general, well then I can't wait to hear her new album. It should be a good one.

    The New York Times[Bugmenot] spends some time with Feist hanging out in Brooklyn. [link from Largehearted Boy]

    I could't work up the motivation to drive to Hamilton last Friday night to check out the Final Fantasy/Great Lakes Swimmers/The Rest show at The Casbah. Thankfully thompsmr over at stillepost recorded Final Fantasy's set[download] including Owen's version of Mariah Carey's "Fantasy"[download]

    For your downloading pleasure, a torrent of Broken Social Scene's set at the Intonation Festival in Chicago on 2005-07-16.

    KEXP broadcasted live from the Triple Door in Seattle this past Saturday to present a live session from Sufjan Stevens. The particulars of the event are as follows: Saturday July 23, 2005, 4:35 pm PST. Check out the session through KEXP's streaming archive by date and time. I listened to the session yesterday and the tracklisting was as follows[I am thoroughly looking forward to Sufjan's show in Toronto at Trinity-St. Paul on September 10th!]:

  • "Casimir Pulaski Day"

  • "The Tallest Man, The Broadest Shoulders - Part I: The Great Frontier ..."

  • "Prairie Fire That Wanders About"

  • "Jacksonville"

  • "Chicago"

  • "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts"

  • "John Wayne Gacy, Jr."

  • Saturday, July 23, 2005

    Rock N' Roll Fun

    Sleater Kinney

    Preceding their opening slot on Pearl Jam's current tour which hits Toronto at the Air Canada Centre on Monday September 19th, Sleater Kinney will be headlining the Bandshell Stage of the Ear To The Ground Festival on Sunday September 18th!!!!!!! If that wasn't enough, more acts are still to be to confirmed! [photo from http://../]

    Thursday, July 21, 2005

    Poison Safe

    concert review: controller.controller w/ VHS or Beta, Camouflage Nights @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), July 20, 2005

    If there was one thing I realized yesterday at Lee's Palace: yes they have air-conditioning! That wouldn't have been apparent if you were at Monday night's Pernice Brothers show. The air-conditioning must have been on the fritz. Even if thinks heated up during controller.controller's and VHS or Beta's set, at least the air-conditioning kept it reasonably comfortable. (I'd like to conserve energy as much as the next person, but when it comes to air-conditioning, I'm an energy whore.) Apparently, Camouflage Nights were a last minute addition to the night because I don't remember ever seeing them being advertised as openers. Of course, I missed their set.

    VHS or Beta @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonFresh from a slot at New York City's Siren Music Festival came VHS or Beta. Their music was a good compliment to controller.controller's. Whereas controller.controller's influences tend towards more classic post-punk influences such as P.I.L., The Slits and Joy Division, VHS or Beta have some British alternative, indie, and shoegazerish qualities that are quite refreshing. VHS or Beta displayed a good dose of danceability courtesy of the wicked bass guitar arrangements but also showed a sense of melody courtesy of the sometimes-shoegazerish guitars and the lead vocalist's vocals which harkened back to a late 80's British alt-rock aesthetic. Keeping things solid on the backend were the drummers persistent drumming style and the keyboardist's spacey drones and supplementary percussion. The most succinct description I can make of VHS or Beta's music is to think of them as a cross between The Cure and Gang of Four. At least that's what their music reminded me of. If some of the members emo haircuts were kind of a turn off at first, they turned out to be a decent band at least. Additional brownie points for an asian guy being the lead vocalist. Myself being asian, it's comforting to find more and more asians in indierock. Respect. Although, the lead vocalist's attempt at a joke totally tanked. [Does the joke of a band saying "it's nice being in Montreal", when they're in Toronto, still work these days?] Maybe there's a reason why 'we' aren't comedians. ;-)

    controller.controller @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonScrew the whole getting-out-of-Lee's-Palace-weeknight-shows early because the whole night was off schedule. controller.controller were scheduled to come on at 11:15 pm but VHS or Beta's set was already off schedule so that meant controller.controller probably didn't come on until at least after 11:30 pm. Even though controller.controller had recently played an opening set at Sneaky Dee's at the beginning of the month, the Lee's Palace show felt much more special, and almost like a homecoming. This was probably due to the fact that Lee's Palace is a little bit of a larger venue than the usual hole-in-the-wall venues that they've usually played. For a Wednesday night there was a good size crowd on hand. They played a selection of their old "History" favourites as well as a bunch of new tunes. The new tunes were great including the Gang-of-Fourish punk-funk of "City of Daggers" which featured brief moments of pouty shout-out vocals by guitarist Scott Kaija. "PF" sounded like a "History"-era track but I still liked it. They also played another new tune which had a buzz-y, almost Ramones-y feel to it. I think the band sounded a little more casual and loose this night, although that attraction was counteracted somewhat with a slightly harsh sound. It probably didn't help that I was near a speaker(and was wearing ear protection) but when a friend of the band came onstage to sing background vocals on one song(if I recall was "Disco Blackout") her vocals sounded distorted. I don't think I'll ever get tired of their music, but I think I'll stand away from the speakers next time.[photos from the show]
    One Louder chimes in, and has photos from the Hard-Fi show yesterday at Rothko in New York City. Hard-Fi opened tonight for Stars' radio-contest-winners show at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. And no, I didn't win a ticket. Update: Hard-Fi were a no-show yesterday, according to suckingalemon's comment.

    Angry Robot has some interesting commentary on the album art for Echo and The Bunnymen's "Ocean Rain" which happens to be one of my favourite album covers EVER!

    Lookie here, a black and white photoset of Broken Social Scene.

    Wednesday, July 20, 2005

    City of Daggers

    controller.controller @ The Underground(Hamilton ON): photo by Mike Ligoncontroller.controller performed a live session for Montreal campus radio station, CJLO, yesterday. Unfortunately, the session has not yet been archived, but a post over at stillepost says that you can check out the band's live session they did for the station back on October 30, 2004. Download mp3's of 3 new songs including "PF", "Poison Safe", and "City of Daggers", plus older favourite "Disco Blackout". The band with openers VHS or Beta are playing Lee's Palace tonight, and yes I will be there! [note: The photo at left is actually one I took of them at a show in Hamilton, ON at The Underground back in December 2004]

    Stars will be live at the Edge Studios tomorrow July 21st at 6:10 pm for an interview with Dave Bookman. Stars are playing one of those "Next Big Thing" concerts tomorrow at The Drake Hotel, for which you'd need to have won tickets from the radio station in order to attend. Which counts me out. Staines, West London, England band Hard-Fi are openers. Oooh, it's killing me right now.

    More bands have been added to the lineup for the inaugural Ear To The Ground Festival happening in September at Exhibition Place. It's going to be hot!

    There are still some holes to fill, but the Stage Schedule for this year's Taste of the Danforth is now up. The 9:45-11:00 pm slot on Friday August 5th, the 8:10-9:00 pm slot on Saturday August 6th, and the 6:30-8:00 pm slot on Sunday August 7th are still to be announced. The Lowest of The Low will be playing the headlining 9:30-11:00 pm slot on August 6th. Country rocker Mike Plume performs the 5:00-5:40 pm slot on August 6th. Toronto singer-songwriter Royal Wood will perform the 3:50-4:40 pm slot on August 7th. Oh and if you like Greek music, there'll be alot of Greek music.

    SHOT says you can stream Cuff The Duke's new self-titled album over at their website. The new album will be released July 26th. Also available over at the website is an mp3 download of one of the new songs called "The Future Hangs". Check the site in the future for more mp3 downloads. In addition to the Soundscapes instore scheduled for July 26th which I mentioned a couple of days ago, the boys also have some new tour dates including one in Toronto at Lee's Palace on September 9th.

    Download a torrent of a a live FM broadcast of Feist performing in Berlin, Germany on November 11, 2004.

    How about a torrent of a live show by The New Pornographers performing at the 400 Bar, MN on 02/08/02.

    Or else here's a torrent of a DVD recording of The Arcade Fire performing at the Hollywood Bowl on June 26, 2005, including their duet with David Byrne on "This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)".

    Popmatters speaks with indie-country artist Laura Cantrell. Coincidentally, after having purchased a used copy of Ms. Cantrell's "Not The Tremblin' Kind" a month or two ago, I finally got around to listening to some of it yesterday. Now if only her tour would come to Toronto.

    Tuesday, July 19, 2005

    Amazing Glimmer

    concert review: Pernice Brothers w/ Paso Mino @ Lee's Palace(Toronto, Ontario), July 18, 2005

    Joe Pernice of Pernice Brothers @ Lee's Palace: photo by Mike LigonThis was the first show I've been to at Lee's Palace since they finished their renovations. The major change is that the bar is now set up against the back and back left side walls. Where the bar used to be situated[in the middle of the floor at the back of the club] is now an empty space. I like it. The extra space should come in handy for higher capacity-drawing acts. So on to the show. I got to the club while openers Paso Mino were already playing. They were playing a nice subdued country-ish tune. There was a little bit of a Neil Young influence in their subsequent rockier material. I quite liked their no-frills yet interesting set of country-rock tunes. Just a question, however. Is Paso Mino's lead vocalist, toronto singer-songwriter Afie? Afie actually opened for Joe Pernice's solo show at the Horseshoe this past May and I could've sworn Paso Mino's vocalist was the same gentleman.

    It was only about a twenty minute wait before The Pernice Brothers promptly began their 10:40 pm headlining set. By that time, the heat in side Lee's Palace was downright uncomfortable. If there was air-conditioning, well then it didn't seem to be working that night. Joe, of course acknowledge the heat, and said that they'd to try to get through their set as efficiently as possible, an made a reference that him and sweating isn't a good thing. Perhaps the uncomfortable conditions were a factor in the average-ness of the evening. Of course, an average performance from the Pernice Brothers is still ten times better than some artists but when you expect greatness, it's a little disappointing to accept.

    I'd only purchased the Pernice Brother's new cd "Discover A Lovelier You" last week but I hadn't had a chance to listen to it yet. So other than hearing a couple of their new tunes off the 'net as well as what I could remember of Joe playing some of these new songs at his solo show in May, hearing these new tunes within this band environment was pretty satisfying. People keep on mentioning a rockier direction on the new album as if it were a bad thing. But don't let that scare you off as if to say the new album's a full-on, rock record. It's not. It's still a pop record. If the rock is what you're after, then you wouldn't have to look no further than James Walbourne's vibrant yet tasteful guitar arrangements. From what I remember, the Pernice Brothers played a bunch of the new tunes including "Saddest Quo", "My So-Called Celibate Life", and "Amazing Glow" which were all amazingly melodic. Older, uptempo tunes like "The Weakest Shade of Blue", "7:30", "One Foot In The Grave", "Working Girls", and "Sometimes I Remember" were some of my favourites of the set. Reaching back to the first album, "Crestfallen" in this live setting seemed more restrained than its string-embellished album counterpart.

    My only criticisms would have to be in reference to vocals. Several examples spring to mind. During "The Weakest Shade of Blue", I sorely missed hearing the background "ah"'s during the "don't cry baby" part of the song. During "7:30", the vocal "ba ba ba ba ba" outro was so severely low in the mix that the only way I could tell if that part was being sung was to watch keyboardist/guitarist James Walbourne's mouth. In general, I noticed a lack of that general lush pop vocal I've come to expect. Blame it on the sound guy, and maybe Joe sounded a little hoarse at times, but for example, Joe's vocals on "Water Ban" just didn't have that spine-tingling lush pop sound I was hoping for.

    Not a bad set, and quite good overall, but it didn't reach the blissful heights I had hoped for. I think I just miss Laura[Joe's wife] and Mike[Bellitsky] being part of the group. But, hey life goes on. [photos]
    Oh, Summer Life points out that Ladytron have just signed to Universal Records and will release their latest album, "Witching Hour", in September.

    Endearing Records is going through a website redesign. In the meantime, check out the beta site to see how the new site'll shape up. I quite like the new design. It's alot more organized, to say the least. To be honest, the old site design was an eyesore.

    chartattack reports that The Arcade Fire have bought a small church in rural Quebec and plan to build a studio there, where they hope to begin work on their second album later this fall.

    Monday, July 18, 2005

    Natural Progression

    Masia OneIt came as surprise to have the one and only Masia One recently leave a comment on this older post of mine. I thought it'd be criminal not to share her thoughts with all of you.

    She said,

    "What's going on.

    My point of Asian women being exoticised in mainstream media has more to do with exposure only relating to them pouring tea, hiding behind their strong man, giggling school girls...and have names like Jade and China Doll 69 lol.

    I have no problems with Asian women coming out and giving Xtina and Britney a run for their money - but be hot shit cause you are, and not because you're a lawn ornament for someone that jerks off to oriental porn.

    Do you know how many 11 year old asian women dream of one day becoming Car Models? There is a problem here.

    peace homes.


    [photo from http://../]
    Toronto soulstress, Esthero's live session for MPR 89.3 The Current from July 15, 2005 is now archived on their site. She performed "If The Mood", "Gone", and "We're In Need Of A Musical Revolution".

    There's news over at ANTI- that Daniel Lanois and Tortoise will be teaming up for a series of tourdates. Tortoise will be playing their own set in addition to backing Mr. Lanois during his set. Sounds interesting even if I don't count myself a big fan of either artist. Check out ANTI- for tourdates. Only one Canadian date has been announced so far at Commodore Ballroom in Vancouver on October 17th.

    Cuff The Duke will be playing an instore at Soundscapes in Toronto on July 26th to celebrate the release of their new self-titled CD, released that same day. I forgot what time the instore is, but I think it's after 5pm or so.

    In advance of next weekend's Hillside Festival, Cuff The Duke's Jeff Peers and The Arcade Fire's Win Butler and Tim Kingsbury will be interviewed on Guelph's CFRU radio program The Mich Vish Interracial Morning Show! this Wednesday July 20th, sometime between 7am and 9 am EST. Listen online. [info via stillepost via CFRU]

    Check out One Louder's links to other bloggers who went to this year's Siren Music Festival. Oh, Siren you've evaded me once more. I swear, next year.

    Sunday, July 17, 2005

    Song of The Siren

    Siren Music FestivalBrooklynvegan, Out of Focus, One Louder, The Problem of Leisure, and heartonastick[check out the photos of The Dears] have a rundown/photos of day one of the 2005 Siren Music Festival while Spablab, Dip Dip Dive, The Problem of Leisure, You Ain't No Picasso, and Kirstie[check out the Broken Social Scene photos] chime in on day one of the Intonation Music Festival in Chicago. Both festivals are happening over this weekend.

    One Louder had a Siren Music Festival-themed post yesterday and linked to audio treats of some of the artists playing the festival you may have not heard of yet. I keep reading that Morningwood is going to be big.

    Download a torrent of a live show of Feist at this year's Montreal Jazz Festival. [thanks to Blane over at the Arts & Crafts Broken Telephone forums]

    From Blown Speakers has an mp3 download of Broken Social Scene performing "Major Label Debut" during an XFM live session.

    Yesterday was a friend of mine's bachelor party. It was a cloudy yet still sweltering, smoggy day and first on the agenda was some paintballing. I've gone paintballing once before in an outdoor environment and had a blast. This time it was an indoor facility with no air conditioning and the visibility was too dark. After two hours, we'd had enough. BTW, I took a direct paintball hit in the chest, and even with coveralls on I still got a minor bruise the size of a chestnut. There was a good turnout for the dinner portion of the bachelor party, which was at a great Chinese buffet restaurant. I bet you can guess where we went after to dinner to end the festivities.

    Saturday, July 16, 2005

    We'll Collect The Moments One By One

    Feist on Late Night With Conan O'BrienMaybe it's the handclaps, the added trombone, the recorded-off-the-floor drumming, the purring keyboards, or the camera closeups but Feist's performance of "Mushaboom" on Late Night With Conan O'Brien was the BEST performance I've EVER seen of that song. I finally got to see it over at Feist's official website under 'Videos'. My search for a torrent of a high quality video clip of the performance continues. High-speed internet users can download WHOLE Conan O'Brien shows over at Conezone according to a commenter over at From Blown Speakers, including the show(July 7, 2005) that Feist appeared on. If you don't happen to catch the hyperlink to the download, the show's likely been uploaded to the ftp archive.

    Watch Martha Wainwright's new video for "When The Day Is Short" over at her official website.

    Sloan speaks to chartattack about opening for Foo Fighters on their upcoming Canadian tour and his total ineptitude for giving career advice(heads up, Feist reference!).

    chartattack also catches up with The Hidden Cameras' Joel Gibb about the new album "Awoo" which should come out in February or March of 2006, as well as the newly released 7-inch on Gibb's record label Evil Evil which contains lo-fi, four-track demos of songs that'll appear on the new album.

    Pimps of Gore spotlights Uncle Tupelo with a generous helping of live mp3's for your downloading pleasure. Pimps of Gore goes on to say "I wonder if they'd ever consider releasing their final concert on CD. The bootleg -- a fantastic soundboard recording from their 5/1/94 show at Mississippi Nights in St. Louis -- has been floating around for years. Video footage has also been spotted, and recently a fan dubbed the sound from the CD over the lackluster audio for the original film." Anyone know where I could obtain either or both of these artifacts?

    Pollstar's known for bouts of inaccuracy. Anyone think the listing for The Constantines playing with The New Pornographers at The Docks in Toronto on October 9th is a mistake? Pollstar is also saying that The Constantines are suppose to play dates with The New Pornographers in Philadelphia(Oct 14th) and Atlanta(Oct 17th) as well. I won't hold my breath that these dates are actually correct.

    Yesterday, I didn't have the strength to either check out Kaki King in Hamilton or The Deadly Snakes' midnight set at the Horseshoe in Toronto so I just stayed in. Like chromewaves, it's a bachelor party weekend this weekend, only for me it's for a friend of mine and it's scheduled for today, including some paintballing, then dinner, and finally the usual evening bachelor party mischief. See ya Monday.

    Thursday, July 14, 2005

    Ladies and Gentlemen

    The Ladies and GentlemenPopmatters speaks to Toronto's Thomas D'Arcy aka The Ladies and Gentlemen. The band's now a five piece. I'm gonna have to give the music a closer listen as the electro-tinged pop(not quite electro-pop) samples at the official site are pretty infectious. The Ladies and Gentlemen's album "Small Sins"(recorded by D'Arcy in the basement of his home this past winter) was just released July 12th through Vancouver's Boompa Records. [photo from http://../]

    Billboard reports that Junior Boys' next album will be released hopefully early in 2006 via KIN/Domino. Junior Boys' Jeremy Greenspan describes the new album as "a bizarre combination of Italo-disco, new wave (as usual, but with a heavier influence of Simple Minds, Magazine, Ultravox and others that we love) and strangely, the pervasive influence of classic Tin Pan Alley/Gershwin-esque songwriting. [It] sounds bad, but its definitely coalescing into something new."

    Coast to coast, from our nation's weeklies:

  • The Dears speak to The Montreal Mirror.

  • Guitar extraordinaire, Kaki King speaks with Hamilton, ON's View Magazine. [btw, she plays Hamilton's Pepper Jack Cafe tomorrow and I'm torn between whether I should check her out or go see The Deadly Snakes at the Horseshoe]

  • Stuart Berman of eye reviews Neko Case's July 7th Harbourfront show which I went to.

  • Feist speaks to Vancouver's Westender.

  • Here's a torrent of a live session of Julie Doiron performing on Dutch radio, VPRO 747 AM.

    Welcome to the M!dwest! has posted mp3's of the live session Sufjan Stevens did for Morning Becomes Eclectic yesterday.

    Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Sinking Ships

    Two Koreas @ The Boat: photo by Mike LigonHaving only been to Toronto venue The Boat once(to see The Two Koreas & The Diableros: [my review]) I was pretty excited to discover a cozy new music venue to go to. Just steps from the heart of Kensington market, it has a nautical theme going on with port holes on the wall to give it that feeling of being aboard a ship. What really excited me was the non-existent stage which really could make for an intimate performance as the artist/band(in my case when I saw Two Koreas & The Diableros) would be performing at eye level with the audience. It's a little disappointing to hear the talk on Stillepost about the calling of a boycott of the venue due to an incident of sexual harassment by the owner towards a female patron after hours. The thread at Stillepost is reaching record-length proportions and I haven't even read all the comments but there seems to be a division between people calling for the boycott and others saying a boycott is ridiculous. From what I've read there was an incident of inappropriate touching: not a full on grope but something more along the lines of a flirtatious "brushing sort of contact". Some comments raise the question of whether there should be a sliding scale of sexual harassment while others say that when dealing with the bar scene, you're always going to encounter shady characters. The question of whether she was flirting comes up. But really does it matter whether she was? It's really quite a moral dilemma for bands and music fans alike. Should an incident like this be a factor as to whether one continues to book with/patronize an establishment? As far as I know, there hasn't been any legal action taken. For me, I think it'll all come down to a matter of principle and personal comfort. I'd continue to go to The Boat until I personally observe conduct I don't agree with(and on principle would have to discontinue going there) or if I just didn't feel comfortable going there. ...Although, this patron review of the venue, doesn't necessarily help.
    According to rootmeansquare, Ted Leo/Pharmacists return to Toronto for an all ages show at The Mod Club on September 29th. Tickets, $15.00, onsale on July 21st at Rotate This, Horseshoe, and Soundscapes.

    Also on sale July 21st are tickets for Antony And The Johnsons with Coco Rosie who'll be playing in Toronto at Trinity St. Paul on October 1st, tickets $21.50.

    You Ain't No Picasso has a link to a video download of The Decemberists' performance of "We Both Go Down Together" from their appearance on last night's Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Thanks also to YANP for pointing to The Confabulators who offer a torrent to a higher-quality video of the same performance.

    Sufjan Stevens will be performing a live session for Morning Becomes Eclectic tomorrow[July 14th], 11:15 PST(2:15 pm EST).

    Watch the semi-animated video for The Dears' "22: The Death of All the Romance" which is available from July 13th to 17th on MySpace.

    Welcome To The Midwest has graciously posted mp3's of Stars' recent live session for KEXP!

    Yet another torrent available of a live show by The New Pornographers, this time being their show at The Gothic Theatre in Englewood, CO on 2003-06-03.

    Rotate This is now listing tickets for the October 9, 2005 New Pornographers show in Toronto as being at the (much-hated) Docks. Tickets are $22.50.

    Said The Gramophone offers a little anectdote(as well as an mp3 download) of what I'd have to say is my favourite Sloan song ever, "Deeper Than Beauty"!

    Monday, July 11, 2005

    You Are The Light

    Jens LekmanJust bits and pieces today. Enjoy.

    Old news to some but there's a new Jens Lekman fansite, Maple Leaves, which pretty much outdos the official site, at least in terms of style. At Jens' offical website, there's an mp3[see July 2/05 post] of Jens performing a cool acoustic version of "You Are The Light". [fansite link via Think Small; photo from http://../]

    MPR: 89.3 The Current has now uploaded onto their site the live session Feist performed for them on 7/8/05. She performed some nice solo renditions of "One Evening"(swoon, hmmm), "Secret Heart", and "Mushaboom".

    Blane at the Arts & Crafts Broken Telphone forums has seeded a torrent of Broken Social Scene's set at this past weekend's Ottawa Blues Festival[specifically from July 9, 2005]. Blane mentions that he'll also be seeding a torrent in the near future of Feist's live show from this year's Montreal Jazz Festival. Sweet.

    Arts & Crafts says Broken Social Scene will be playing the Hillside Festival, on Sunday July 24th. This must have been a late addition, because this is the first time I'm hearing about this. And this sucks, since today's update at the Hillside Festival website says that ALL tickets are now SOLD OUT.

    Jason Collett and guests will be playing a show at The Mod Club on August 5th. Tickets $12 at Rotate This and Soundscapes. It's an early show; doors at 7pm.

    According to emerge, stellastarr* will be at the Horseshoe on September 10th. Tickets on sale this Saturday July 16th.

    One Louder informs us that Cleveland radio station WBWC will broadcast 18 straight hours of Flaming Lips songs as part of the station's "2005 Summer Marathon Series." This goes down on July 28th, from 7am to 1am and will feature studio tracks, b-sides and rarities. You can listen online at

    Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Feel Good Lost

    concert review: Broken Social Scene, part of Celebrate Toronto Street Festival opening celebrations @ Yonge-Dundas Square(Toronto, Ontario), July 08, 2005

    Broken Social Scene @ Yonge-Dundas Square: photo by Mike LigonThis past Friday night, the opening celebrations of the Celebrate Toronto Street Festival occurred with a free concert lineup down at Yonge-Dundas Square. I got down to the Square around 9pm as Great Big Sea were performing the last few songs of their set. You'd have thought they were the headliners of the night as the sea of people stretched across the Square all the way to the Eaton Centre. Even if I'm not a fan of their music, the crowd seemed to enjoy them. When Great Big Sea's set ended, I made my way slowly towards the stage and ended up towards the left side of the stage about 5-10 feet from the fenced-off VIP section.

    As the sun went down, the roaming street theatrics of Les Girafes Urban Operetta took over. From a distance, it was visually quite majestic seeing the herd of towering red giraffe creations(manned by two persons, with one person on stilts) traverse the street around the square towards the Eaton Centre then back towards the centre of the Square where the majority of the Operatta took place. Against the backdrop of an avant-garde, ramshackle musical score, it was actually quite interesting. According to this press release, "the music samples primitive and electro-acoustic sounds varied with traditional folk music, European waltzes, African, techno and circus and even samples from Michael Nyman's Drowning by Numbers." Yes, I'll agree with some of you that it went on way too long. Maybe I'm just not an opera fan, but the operatic part of the performance was kind of cheeseball. And the male opera singer's insane vocal outbursts of "girafes!" was just weird.

    During Les Girafes Urban Operetta's performance, I managed to make my way almost to the fence of the front-stage VIP section. In preparation for Broken Social Scene's set, the staff started clearing out the folding chairs in the VIP section and my guess was that they might be letting people in. Yes, I was correct and fortunately I was one of the lucky ones to make it into the VIP section! Every thing after that was gravy. Yeah, Broken Social Scene only played maybe half an hour or so but I was so close to the stage that the performance felt longer. They played some of my favourites like "Cause=Time", "Pacific Theme", "KC Accidental" and a soon-to-be favourite "Superconnected" which I hadn't heard them perform since I saw BSS last summer twice, at Olympic Island then Harbourfront. The only disappointment was the exclusion of "Anthems For A Seventeen Year-Old Girl" especially with the surprise appearance of Stars' Amy Millan who was in the house. Also in attendance were Stars' Torq Campbell and Evan Cranley, who along with Amy, all had just come in from a flight from Stockholm, Sweden. I appreciated Evan's great trombone playing especially on "Pacific Theme". It was nice that they could make into Toronto especially for the show.

    During the show, I happened to be standing near a couple of moms and their young daughters and this show was apparently the girls' first rock concert. How cool is that? A couple of the girls even managed to snag a couple of the band-autographed parking tickets(!) which Kevin Drew was handing out to the crowd. I told 'em to hold on to those autographs because maybe they'll be worth something one day. Too bad the show couldn't go on longer due to the 11 pm city-imposed curfew but hey, for a free show and me being up near the front, it couldn't have gotten better than this. [photos]
    The Big Ticket has a video which he took of Feist performing an acoustic version of "Inside and Out" at her solo show at Varsity Theater in Minneapolis this past Friday July 8th. Check out his lovely photos from the show as well.

    For a limited time only, From Blown Speakers has available an mp3 of Feist performing "Mushaboom" live on Late Night With Conan O'Brien on July 7, 2005.

    A torrent is available of a video recording of Death From Above 1979's March 11, 2005 performance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. Also available is a torrent of an audio recording of DFA 1979's show in Hamburg, Germany on July 2, 2005.

    A couple more New Pornographers' live shows have turned up through including:

    - @ Abbey Pub, Chicago IL, 2002-23-02
    - @ Cat's Cradle, Carrboro NC, 2003-08-27

    Frog Eyes with Xiu Xiu and Yellow Swans will be playing in Toronto on September 8th at X-space. Check out Kork for the rest of the lineup's tour dates.

    Also from Kork, Saturday Looks Good To Me have also announced some new tour dates. There are some TBA's listed for September 13, 14, and 16 and the tour dates announced so far are all on the east coast, which makes Toronto a definite possibility.

    Lastly, a friend and I made it out to the Beats, Breaks and Culture festival at Harbourfront yesterday evening to catch Quantic Soul Orchestra's set at the CIBC stage before catching one song of We Are Wolves at The Brigantine Room. I was hoping to see OutHud's set, but we got there late. The James Brown-influenced/Acid Jazz grooves of Quantic Soul Orchestra were good and their female vocalist had a great voice but I didn't really find them outstanding. The punky-electronica of We Are Wolves fared better with me but my friend and I left after one song. I wish I caught more of the festival, especially the screening of the documentary "Moog"[I know it's on DVD, but it would have been cool to see it on a big screen]. Lal played The Toronto Star stage this afternoon but I missed that also, although I plan to catch 'em when they play a free show at the Yonge-Dundas Square on August 12th.

    Phew, this was a long post. Expect the lean-and-mean approach this coming week.

    Friday, July 08, 2005

    This Little Light

    concert review: Neko Case and The Sadies w/ Corb Lund Band @ Harbourfront Centre(Toronto, Ontario), Jul 07, 2005

    Neko Case @ Harbourfront: photo by Mike LigonYou know, ever since I finally caught Neko Case live earlier this year at the Phoenix, I regret having missed her on her previous excursions through town. Now I'm determined to try to catch her each and every time she comes to Toronto(or vicinity). I thought Harbourfront would be an interesting venue. A metropolitan area lakeside venue doesn't necessarily conjure images of down-home country performances but it turned out to be quite decent. The crowd mix was an interesting combination of indie-types, yuppies, older folk and other assorted music fans, and I didn't spot anyone that necessarily fit the country-music stereotype. The New Country 95.3 was sponsoring the event, but as I overheard someone near me express, does that radio station even play Neko Case? Maybe they have on occasion, but aren't they a 'new country' station? I got to Harbourfront in plenty of time to grab a great seat near the front. Patience is a virtue, and I'm glad I got there early to grab a good spot, but damn those metal seats are uncomfortable after a while.

    Openers, the Corb Lund Band came on a little after 8 pm. They had none of the interesting wardrobe that say Neko Case's Boyfriends, The Sadies have. My initial guess of their country music would have been more along the lines of what you hear on CMT and to a certain extent that was true. However, their music turned out to be a pleasant surprise. For the most part, the music hit its marks well with generous doses of pedal steel and twangy guitar, and equal amounts of twangy(but not too twangy) lead vocals from Corb Lund. The guitar player was pretty versatile with a great arsenal of sounds from the usual twangy arrangements to a great slide-guitar technique. The most interesting contribution instrumentally was the stand-up bass, the bassist with great finger plucking rhythms but at one point also pulling out the bow for an almost classically-influenced arrangement. Lyrically, Corb was a hoot singing songs about drinking whisky and beer, getting a pickup truck out of the mud, and a song about his horse. Although the music of Corb Lund and his band of "Hurtin' Albertans" is a little more hokey than I usually like my 'country' music, their musicianship is undeniable and there was enough lyrical wit to place them a cut above the usual country fare.

    If Neko never makes it to the Grand Ole Opry, at least this performance felt like what I might imagine it would be like. If Neko's tours of small and midsize clubs(like her show at the Phoenix) came off like down-home country barn-burners, in contrast, there was something almost majestic seeing Neko Case and The Sadies up on the large stage of Harbourfront. The Sadies(well, at least the Good brothers) were dressed to the nines with their modest but cool suits. In contrast, Neko was alot more casual with her red t-shirt, sporty slacks and black low-cut Converse. She was very girl-ish, almost unassuming, but as the opening notes of her vocals shot through the PA system, there was an other-worldliness quality that commanded the audience's attention. Seriously, on especially the slower ballads like "Make Your Bed" for example, I literally got goosebumps. Highlights of the night included "The Tigers Have Spoken", "Train From Kansas City"(an audience request) and the scorching "Rated X". Neko and The Sadies also played a selection of great new tunes which should appear on her next album, which I think is scheduled for this fall. All in all, a very satisfying show on a beautiful summer evening by the lake. [photos]
    The Tofu Hut has an interview with Feist. [via Brooklynvegan]

    Download a torrent of Broken Social Scene's free show at Harbourfront in Toronto from last summer(Aug 27, 2004). [via Brooklynvegan via Largehearted Boy]

    The Big Ticket has an mp3 of Ted Leo/Pharmacists performing a cover of Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device" as well as an mp3 of a full band version of "Loyal To My Sorrowful Country" which Ted originally performed solo on the "Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead" EP . The rest of the Ted Leo-themed post is also quite insightful.

    Wednesday, July 06, 2005

    Drive By Truckers

    Image hosted by Photobucket.comThe Molson Indy goes down this weekend(July 8, 9, 10) in Toronto at Exhibition Place. During my lunch break while I was walking south on Yonge St., the party got started with a seemingly-impromptu convoy of big rigs(transporting the Indy cars) driving down Yonge St. I won't be going to the Molson Indy, but I just needed an excuse to post my first camera-phone photo[Unfortunately, I wasn't fast enough on the draw to take a photo of the Molson Indy girls. ;-) ]

    According to Pitchfork, stores that have the new Sufjan Stevens CD "Illinois"(with the original Superman cover) will be permitted to sell those copies but unfortunately once they are out of stock, stores will not be able to order more from Asthmatic Kitty. The album with the revised cover will likely be released around August. The Big Ticket has images of both the original cover and the revised cover as well as an mp3 of "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" for your downloading pleasure.

    If you're lucky like me, you'd have noticed today that the downtown Toronto locations of Sam The Record Man and Sunrise Records both had a bunch of copies of Sufjan's new album with the original artwork. [The downtown HMV only had 1 copy this morning]. Of course, I had to buy it right away. Anyone else snag a copy?

    A torrent of Broken Social Scene's set from Olympic Island on June 26, 2005 is available through [link from Largehearted Boy]

    Just browsing the dimeadozen torrents tonight, and there are several torrents of live shows from The New Pornographers that have just been seeded including:

    - @ Richards on Richards in Vancouver on June 21, 2001[torrent also includes bonus CBC Radio Radiosonic live session from 2000]
    - @ Island Festival in Oslo on August 9th, 2002
    - @ Echo Lounge in Atlanta on August 28th, 2003

    MPR: 89.3 The Current has archived the live session Bob Mould performed for them yesterday. Songs performed include "Hoover Dam", "Paraylized", "I Apologize" and "See A Little Light". Be sure to listen to the interview portion of the session when Mr. Mould talks about blogging. Of course, you can read his blog.

    Some upcoming local shows at the Horseshoe Tavern of note include the Three Gut 5th anniversary party(and I guess 'retirement' party) on August 19th and the Carolyn Mark CD release party on August 27th. Ticket info for both shows TBA.

    Just a reminder for tomorrow night that Feist will perform live on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. Also tomorrow night, Toronto soulstress Esthero will perform live on Jimmy Kimmel Live. [info from The Late Night TV Page]

    Download for free, The Flaming Lips soundtrack to "Fearless Freaks". [link from Brooklynvegan]

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Hard To Beat

    Hard-FiThanks to A Girl Called Eddy's Erin Moran for pointing me towards Staines, West London band Hard-Fi. Erin expressed in her most recent website news update that Hard-Fi's "Hard To Beat" is the best single she's heard all year; as she puts it "Clashy, disco-y, irresistable". It's a terrific single: The Clash influence is more "Combat Rock"/"Rock The Casbah" than early period Clash which is just fine with me. And when the chorus kicks in with an almost Daft Punk-inspired keyboard lick, the songs hooks are undeniable. I like both early and later period Clash but the pop sheen of "Hard To Beat" will likely drive away early-Clash aficianodos(and possibly staunch indie rockers) in droves. Too bad for them. It's a totally fun song. While you can, download an mp3 of "Hard To Beat" over at bliss-pop[under the June 2005 playlist].

    Grab an mp3 of Hard-Fi's "Cash Machine" via No Frontin'. Very Clash-y, very hip UK-sounding, and very catchy. If I'm not mistaken there's a nice touch of melodica which adds a very cool-sounding element to the song.

    Read some recent articles on the band from Guardian Unlimited and The London Line.

    Finally, check out the archived live session of Hard-Fi's performance for BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe on June 22, 2005 when they played acoustic versions of "Tied Up Too Tight" and "Hard To Beat".

    Hard-Fi's debut album "Stars of the CCTV" was released today in the UK; I haven't come across any North American release date info yet.[photo from The London Line]
    Watch the music video for Morcheeba's new single "Lighten Up" which was released today.

    According to Scott of controller.controller, the band's new record'll be out this October.

    Can't make Carolyn Mark's show at Harbourfront in Toronto on August 12(part of the T.O Twang Fest)? Well, I came across this info on the Mint Records site:

    Sunday August 28, 2005: Ward's Island Jamboree, Toronto ON (with Carolyn Mark, The Jayne Waynes, Swamperella, and Joanne Mackell)

    Mint Records artist Atomic 7 will also be playing the Jamboree.

    Sunday, July 03, 2005

    Typical Girls

    concert review: Ari-Up and The True Warriors w/ controller.controller, Grasshopper Soundclash @ Sneaky Dee's(Toronto, Ontario), July 2, 2005

    Ari-Up and The True Warriors @ Sneaky Dee's: photo by Mike LigonYesterday evening I was pondering whether I should just stay in and nurse the cold I had(specifically, a pesky bout of chest congestion; and not necessarily helped by the previous night's chilly outdoor Feist show) or go and check out the show at Sneaky Dee's. I decided to choose the latter. I'm happy I did, but physically it was more than a little draining. I managed to make it through controller.controller's short set alright. Maybe that beer helped. As always, controller.controller sounded terrific, playing a mixture of old favourites like "Silent Seven" and "Disco Blackout" as well as a bunch of similar-sounding, but great new tunes. Like a group of explorers returning from an expedition, I noticed that the guitarists in particular had gone shaggy in the personal grooming department, what with Scott Kaija forgoing his coiffed 'do for a far shaggier look and Colwyn Llewellyn-Thomas growing out the facial hair. The band steamrolled through the set with not much stage banter but that was alright with me. Maybe lead vocalist, Nirmala was just trying get through the set and avoid eye contact with the drunken 40-ish looking idiot who kept on going to the bar then pushing his way back to the front of the stage. That aside, their set was a good lead-in to Ari-Up. As Nirmala had said, it was very surreal that they were opening for Ari-Up(whose original band The Slits were so influential to controller.controller's music).

    I'll admit that I've been truly oblivious to Ari-Up and The Slits' music. I'd only heard of The Slits back in the 90's when Luscious Jackson cited them as an influence but unfortunately I never got around to sampling their music. Luckily, I had remembered downloading mp3's of The Slits' debut LP "Cut" and was able to sample most of the album before the show yesterday. So I didn't feel totally out of the loop when Ari-Up and her band The True Warriors played several of The Slits' 'punky-reggae' classics interspersed throughout the set like "Shoplifting", "Love and Romance", "Typical Girls" and their deconstructed cover of Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through The Grapevine"(featuring a punky member of the audience taking a mic to sing along). Ari-Up also performed a bunch of tunes that she said would be on her new solo disc, ones that were specifically influenced by dancehall reggae, a direction that Ari-Up expressed that The Slits would have likely taken. Apparently, there are talks of a Slits reunion. This was a very high energy show, if not for the danceable/pogo-able punky-reggae songs but also for Ari-Up's outspoken personality and sexual bluntness. Alot of the crowd were dancing including several members of the audience getting up on stage for an old-fashioned freak-out session. Oh, and there were a couple of drunken dudes, who were initially entertaining to watch in a look-at-the-funny-drunk-guy sort of way, but whose antics quickly grew annoying.[For more on this, head over to Always Familiar] Really, drunk people are NOT funny. A hot sweaty club, the smoke of some nearby lit-up weed and my nagging congested chest was all that it took before I started feeling downright clausterphobic. At a couple of points during Ari-Up's set my lungs were almost begging me to leave but I managed to stick it out somehow until the main set ended around 2 am. Screw the encore, though. I had heard enough by 2 am and I really needed some fresh air so I took off for home. News of a Slits reunion is exciting because it's gonna be hot. Hopefully they pass through Toronto.

    ps. No photos except for the one above. Half the time, I was just trying to keep my lungs filled with oxygen. ...I'm doing much better today, though.