Monday, July 31, 2006

Blah Blah Blah

concerts: Vitaminsforyou @ Harbourfront(July 28, 2006); Madrid, Sleeping Kings Of Iona, Fjord Rowboat @ Savoy(July 28, 2006); Elena Juatco(part of Toronto Mabuhay Summer Festival) @ Metro Convention Centre(July 29, 2006)

Been sort of feeling the blahs about going to concerts lately. I make a list on the sidebar about all the shows I'd like to go see but then it seems like I end up not going because I don't feel like it or I'm not up to it. Lately it's been the latter. I just aggravated my cold/allergies over the weekend and this f!*king hot eather isn't helping. I did make it out to a few shows over the weekend fortunately.

After work on Friday I headed down to Harbourfront to catch Vitaminsforyou's set as part of the Winnipeg-themed From The 'Peg Festival. Because of the rain earlier in the day, the set got moved from the outdoor Toronto Star Stage to the indoor Lakeside Terrace. A small but appreciative audience was on hand to catch Vitaminforyou's dense-sounding electronica-based pop music. I think he owes a great debt to New Order, although Vitaminforyou's beats tend to be more furious and trancey, and maybe somewhat busy at times. I'd prefer the vocals to be more upfront because they tend to get buried in the mix, but at least the melodies shone through most of the time. One pleasant surprise was his cover of The Doughboys' "Fix Me". I can't forget to mention the Burton Cummings paper masks that he encouraged everyone to wear, well at least towards the end of his set. Forgive me for not taking part, but I hadn't picked up the mask at the beginning of the set because I didn't realize what they were for. Sue me.

Later on that night, I made it out to a venue I hadn't been to before which is Savoy in Toronto which used to be Torch Bistro. Apparently, they'll be booking indie rock shows there now, at least part of the time. Set on the second floor, with the window at the back of the band stage overlooking the nice brick building across the street, I thought it was a pretty cozy venue. Four bands were playing that night. I missed first openers The Early Morning and only caught a couple of songs from Fjord Rowboat. The two shoegazerish tunes from Fjord Rowboat definitely piqued my interest and I intend to check them out in the future. Up next were Buffalo, NY band Sleeping Kings Of Iona who I'd first checked out(and were impressed with) during North by Northeast. They played a brief set of their moody indie rock embellished nicely with keyboards, beats and other electronica influences. I enjoyed their varied sound(ranging from droney prog-rock, to Junior Boys-sounding electro-pop, to electronica instrumentals) quite a bit, although it was a shame it was such a brief set. I'd originally intended to split before Madrid but then decided to stick it out. I saw them open for The New Deal once and I'm glad that I stuck around this time. Their music reminds me of a less dubby version of King Cobb Steelie, atmospheric and rhythmic all at once, and they're skilled musicians. The sounds emanating from that bass guitar were fantastic. I could say more, but I think I'll leave it at that. A good night all around. I'm looking forward to more shows there.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it out to the free Weakerthans show at Harbourfront on Saturday night as I'd originally planned. Instead, I was getting back to my roots(my Filipino roots, that is) at the Toronto Mabuhay Summer Festival happening at the Metro Convention Centre. I must mention that I was born in Canada, don't speak my native tongue, and I feel somewhat detached from my culture. It's nice to go to these things and realize what a rich culture my people have. It's funny, but the male MC was very Canadian, and that put me somewhat at ease. My friend and I ate some of the food, checked out some of the booths, then watched some of the entertainment, of which culminated with a performance from Elena Juatco(a Filipino girl who was in the top 10 during 2004's Canadian Idol). Not being a big fan of Canadian idol, I was surprised how much I enjoyed her vocals. Her set consisted entirely of cover songs, ranging from "Take Another Little Piece Of My Heart" to Fiona Apple's "Criminal", to "Ball Room Blitz", to a song from 80's band Heart. Her band consisted of her brother and his bandmates, who I believe their band's name is Jealous Minds. I'll forgive her for the obvious Avril Lavigne similarities[her wardrobe style, a little of her vocal style], but man did she really rock that mic. And I'm not just saying that because she's cute.

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