Saturday, March 10, 2007

Same Fabric As Fabric

concert review: Under Byen, Frida Hyvönen, Ohbijou (part of Canadian Music Week) @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), March 8, 2007

Ohbijou @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

It was much nicer to see Ohbijou on a smaller stage, but then heck anything smaller than the Rose Theatre in Brampton when I last saw the band was bound to be better. To be up close and to have their dreamy pop tunes(augmented by strings, horns, guitar, keyboards and Casey's swooning vocals) wash over you is wonderful. There was some interesting percussion like when a member of the band started tapping out rhythms on a what looked like part of an air vent. Thankfully, there was some banter from Casey, even her mentioning that it was International Women's Day and prompting a shy 'woo' from her. I still think the band have to work on expressing more emotion on stage, maybe smile more often, but I guess I can't fault them for concentrating on creating good music. And the rush I get every time I hear "St Francis" in all its orch-pop glory is unsurpassed.

Frida Hyvönen @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Previous to the show, I'd probably only heard a song or two of Sweden's Frida Hyvönen(her record "Until Death Comes" released through Secretly Canadian) and hadn't given it a second thought but I'll say live, just her and her electric piano, she puts on an entertaining show. Protypically Swedish, she is blonde and leggy and even if she gave off a certain eccentric/flaky vibe, there was no doubt that when she wants to she get's in a zone and expresses a lot of sincere emotion in her vocals and piano playing. The obvious(but also quite appropriate) comparison is Tori Amos, as Frida's vocals/piano playing were infused with a dynamic quality. But if Tori was/has been accused of a certain pretentiousness at least in her vocals, Frida's are far less affected but passionate nonetheless.

Under Byen @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Topping off the evening in fine fashion was Denmark's Under Byen(signed to Paper Bag Records) in Canada. There was a smorgasbord[ok, it's a Swedish term, I know] of musical influences in their music that at various times reminded me of Sigur Ros[instrumentation], Bjork[vocals] and trip-hop[rhythms]. I see that me and Eye Weekly's Liisa Ladouceur were on the same wavelength. I wish their vocalist would stand out at the front of the stage though rather than being flanked by the band around her, but it was a interesting setup. The double drumkit setup(with a male AND female drummer) to the right of the stage was spectacular. Overall, the way the vocals, percussion, strings, keyboards, and other instrumentation came together combined with the great screen projections / light effects was simply amazing. According to their setlist, they only played eight songs, but over the course of an hour it was a more than satisfying introduction to the band.

Here are my photos from the entire night.

Check out Chromewaves for his review and photos.

Update: Chartattack graded Under Byen, Frida Hyvönen, and Ohbijou's performances.

MySpace: Ohbijou
MySpace: Frida Hyvönen
MySpace: Under Byen

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