Friday, August 29, 2008

Deserves Your Respect

The Good Soldiers - Hup! Two! Three! Four!Toronto band The Good Soldiers who hadn't played live much locally but whose MySpace intrigued me with their urgent melodic guitar indiepop were a band I'd wanted to check out live. So apparently they had recently released a 4-track EP "Hup! Two! Three! Four!" (produced by Andy Magoffin), are about to lose a member(at least temporarily) and had apparently played their last show(for the next little while) a day ago at Rancho Relaxo. Hopefully, they'll be back in action sometime in the future. [photo from The Good Soldiers' MySpace]

As Pitchfork reports Stars will be releasing a new EP entitled "Sad Robots" on September 1 and will be available for digital purchase exclusively via while the physical version (limited edition) can be picked up at dates on Stars' upcoming tour. Stars are playing York University's Frosh Concert on September 16 - so perhaps maybe they'll be selling the physical CD EP their. Or not.

Kardinall Offishall will headline the Ryerson Frosh Concert taking place at Toronto Islands on the afternoon of September 5. And as I suspected, no Bloc Party. Oh shoot. Full Ryerson frosh lineup here (and apparently only for Ryerson students who must purchase a ticket and show valid Ryerson student id).

Great Lake Swimmers will perform a free set at Yonge Dundas Square on September 11 at 6 pm in support of Michael McGowan’s latest film entitled "One Week" playing at this year's Toronto International Film Festival. View the brochure for TIFF-related events (and not all musical) that''ll be taking place at Yonge Dundas Square.

UK singer Alison Moyet is heading out on a solo tour in October which will stop in Toronto at Queen Elizabeth Theatre on October 5.

New UK post punk band White Lies will make their Toronto debut(?) at Horseshoe Tavern on October 21, along with new VICE recording artists Californians Japanese Motors. It's all part of Edge 102.1 FM's Nu Music Nite.

Dub reggae specialist Mad Professor is apparently in Toronto on October 24 at a venue TBA according to Pollstar.

Jolie Holland releases her newest album "The Living and The Dead" through ANTI- on October 7 and will celebrates its release by hitting the road including a stop in Toronto at the Horseshoe on October 29. More dates here.

Indigo Girls' Amy Ray will be at The Mod Club in Toronto on November 4 to promote her third solo effort "Didn’t It Feel Kinder".

Matt Mays & El Torpedo are at the Phoenix on November 6 to celebrate their recently releaseed new album "Terminal Romance". More tour dates over at their MySpace.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Don't Slow Down You're Gonna Crash

As Blacking Out The Friction and Stillepost have pointed out, VICE will be throwing a free bash featuring Crystal Castles, iNSiDEaMiND, and I Am Robot and Proud at Hart House on September 4. Doors open 8pm, it's a 19+ show and you must send an e-mail to to put your name on the list, though I believe entry isn't necessarily guaranteed and is subject to some sort of capacity, so lining up will likely be a prerequisite.

Speaking of Hart House (which if you didn't already know is located at the Downtown Toronto University of Toronto Campus) will be having an open house (for students?) on September 10 all day which will be capped off with a free show by Apostle of Hustle in Great Hall at Hart House at 9 pm (doors 8 pm). Info here [.pdf file]. I have no idea whether this is open to the general public so try your luck if you're in the area.

As many of you've probably seen the ad in the current print editions of NOW and Eye Weekly, a slew of acts have been added to Virgin Festival taking place at Toronto Island on the weekend of September 6 and 7 - Mark Robertson, The Waking Eyes, Saint Alvia Cartel, Lights, Flash Lightnin', Bad Flirt, and We Are The Take have been added to the September 6 lineup and Shad, Matt Costa, Arkells, Rock Plaza Central, Opopo, Paper Lions, Songs From A Room, and Winter Gloves have been added to the September 7 lineup. Apparently most of these additional bands, plus contest winners Secret Broadcast, are playing as on the third stage(sponsored by Oh! Henry). No offence to these acts, most of who I'm not that familiar with anyway but is this it? Most people were expecting an announcement of at least a few more bigger named acts, considering this is a corporate sponsored event, and really this latest announcment is a little underwhelming.

As this year's Toronto International Film Festival kicks in to high gear, the Canadian Music Cafe will provide some afternoon musical entertainment from September 9 to 11, taking place at Hard Rock Cafe (on Yonge St. across from the Eaton Centre). Unfortunately, the series is exclusively for TIFF delegates and accredited media (and I may try to apply for accreditation which the deadline is this Friday August 29 at 12 pm). Check the aforementioned CMC link for the full lineup, though highlights(at least for me) include Martha Wainwright and Thunderheist on September 9 and Gentleman Reg, Two Hours Traffic, and Jill Barber on September 10.

Speaking of TIFF, there'll be some free performances at Yonge Dundas Square by artists who have films in the festival including Youssuo N'dour performing on September 6 at 8:30 pm and Terence Blanchard performing on September 8 at 8:30 pm. Youssou N'dour has a film entitled "Youssou Ndour: I Bring What I Love" which I think is a documentary and Terence Blanchard will be performing in support of Spike Lee's new film "Miracle at St. Anna" (for which Mr. Blanchard provided the score).

A few posts back I mentioned that Toronto show promoter No Shame have a slew of interesting shows lined up over the next couple of months, and too many to mention, though I thought I'd point out that a few of the more familiar acts, The Coast and Will Currie and The Country French will be at The Drake on September 12. I think it's a TIFF related event.

Via Chromewaves, Jenn Grant will be bringing her soothing indie folk-pop sounds to Hugh's Room (a venue I've yet to visit) for a two night stint on September 27 and 28.

It's come to my attention that the blog hyped/band I've yet to hear/curiously-named Women will be opening for Chad Vangaalen at The Mod Club on October 4.

Edmonton's The Wet Secrets will be at El Mocambo on October 17 with the already announced We Are talk about a high-energy show.

The Wooden Sky have whack of dates through Ontario and Quebec joining Vancouver's Mother Mother(new album "Oh My" out September 16 through Last Gang) for some shows in October and Pascale Picard Band for shows in November and December. Full dates over at MySpace. The Wooden Sky and Mother Mother are in Toronto at Lee's Palace on October 17.

Elliott Brood will be at El Mocambo on November 4.

Sub Pop duo No Age will be at Lee's Palace on November 21.

As far as I knew, tickets originally sold out for the Sigur Ros show at Massey Hall on September 22. I was ambivalent about going to Sigur Ros and wasn't disappointed about the showing selling out but I decided to check out the Massey Hall website anyway over the weekend and was surprised when single floor tickets (albeit at the back and to the left) popped up as available. So I decided to spring for a ticket, setting me back about $60, but I got a seat in Row S on the floor on the left side. Hopefully, this'll make up for not getting a ticket for the recent Radiohead show. Unfortunately, as of today, no more tickets through the Massey Hall website are available. Sorry people.


Friday, August 22, 2008

Looking Ahead to Frosh Week

Summer is drawing to a close and as I've done for the past several years, I've been scoping out the frosh week concert schedules. University of Toronto has had some great acts lined up over the past several years like Sloan, Metric, Stars, The Hidden Cameras, and The Weakerthans and for this year's frosh concert taking place September 5 betweem 4:30pm-7:30pm at the U of T back campus, they've lined up Tokyo Police Club, Cadence Weapon and Basia Bulat. Thanks to Lycanthrophy for the info. I've usually sauntered into past U of T frosh concerts without any problem and suspect the same for this year.

Ryerson University hasn't yet posted the name of it's headliner for their annual frosh concert at the Toronto Island taking place this year the afternoon of Friday September 5 but they they have confirmed warm-up acts Thunderheist, Zaki Ibrahim, and Team Canada DJ’s to be part of the bill. I haven't attended this one in the past so I can't attest to how easy it might be to crash this one. Last year they had M.I.A. and I wish I could have attended that. Pavement Puddle Stars did postulate back in July that Bloc Party might be playing Ryerson's frosh concert this year though it's looking unlikely since the band have a show in Detroit that night. Although, the Ryerson frosh concert is suppose to finish by 6 pm and if Bloc Party were planning to jet over to Detroit they might technically be able to do both shows. Hmmm. (Of course, don't forget Bloc Party will be at the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands on September 6.)

York University has a two day frosh festival dubbed YorkFest taking place September 16 and 17 and a concert will kick off the two-day festival featuring Stars, Sweet Thing, Ruby Coast, Trainlight and DJ Knoxx. The YorkFest website does explicitly state that the show is closed to York members including Glendon, Seneca@York and Alumni though each member can apparently bring a guest.

In other show news:

Sebastien Grainger And The Mountains perform at Burroughes Building on September 6.

The now Montreal-based Baby Eagle will be in Toronto for a show at Tranzac on September 8.

Common and N.E.R.D. will rock the Haus (Kool Haus that is) on September 29.

Pollstar lists London, UK outfit Mumford and Sons as part of the bill at the Rivoli on October 4 with already the already announced Johnny Flynn and Laura Marling.

Attack In Black, Ladyhawk and Shotgun Jimmie team up for a two-night stint at the Horseshoe on November 14 and 15.

Toronto music promoter No Shame has a slew of interesting local shows lined up over the next several months. Really, too many for me to post individually about. Please check out the link.

Morrissey guest DJ'd today on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic to talk about and play the songs that have meant something to him. Yes, I totally forgot to listen in on this today. I'll have to look out for the archived program in the future.

Hey, how did everyone do on getting tickets to the Neil Young/Wilco/Everest show at Air Canada Centre on December 4? I got lazy about preparing for the presales yesterday so opted to hit right at 10 am this morning which I did. I tried for floors but was denied and then went for the cheapie ticket(spent about $69 total) and ended up with a seat in section 320, row 16. Fortunately, it's close to the stage but maybe a little higher up then I'd prefer to be. But the image of having to stand on the floor for upwards of 4 or 5 hours just didn't seem that attractive. And no I wouldn't have spent the in-excess-of-$200 price tag for section 100 seats.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

White Fantasee

More concert announcements for you (the last quarter of the year will be a busy one!):

Slim Twig is at The Music Gallery on September 6.

With Merge Records releasing the new album "Oh (Ohio)" by Lambchop on October 7, some tour dates have been announced including a stop in Toronto on October 6 at The Drake Undergound. Update: Not a full Lambchop show (I was wondering how they'd fit the entire band on such a small stage - it's a Kurt Wagner solo show. Thanks Frank for the top.

Couldn't book the Silver Dollar even he wanted to (considering what happened last time) Jay Reatard will instead play Sneaky Dee's on October 16.

We Are Wolves hit the road this fall for a North American tour which'll stop at the El Mocambo on October 17.

Toronto’s Apostle of Hustle and Inouk singer Tagaq [the two met while collaborating for a CBC Fuse session in Ottawa last year] will be going on a co-headlining tour this fall including stops in London, Guelph, Toronto and Ottawa. They'll be in Toronto for a show at Glen Gould Theatre on November 7. Via Arts & Crafts.

Pollstar is listing a slew of new Nine Inch Nail tourdates, that so far lists the closest show to Toronto being Hamilton at Copps Coliseum on November 14. NIN play Montreal at Bell Centre on November 12, so a good guess is Toronto on the 13th and I did hear a DJ on Edge 102.1 FM mention that NIN will likely come back to Toronto later on this year. I'm not too keen on NIN myself (though they do put on a fine rock show as I recall when I saw them at Sasquatch a few years back) but my brother wants to see NIN again so I'll keep an eye out.

The Acorn and Ohbijou join forces this fall for a North American tour stopping in Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on November 27. The tour is in support of a split 12" with each band covering a song from each other plus each performing their own new song. For now check out Ohbijou's new song "Black Ice" (written about the Queen St. fire which occurred earlier this year) streaming over at their MySpace.

A bunch of the Mint Records gang are hitting the road this fall and in addition to the already announced The Pack A.D. show at Horseshoe Tavern on September 11 one can expect Toronto dates for The Buttless Chaps (at Criminal Records for an instore and a show at The Drake Underground, both on October 10), Vancougar (at Mitzi's Sister on October 17) and Young and Sexy (at The Drake Underground on October 11). The Pack A.D. will also be playing an instore at Criminal Records on September 12 and although no Toronto date is listed at least as of yet, The Awkward Stage will be in the area and if one so chooses can catch them in Hamilton at The Casbah on October 13.

Most excitingly Neil Young, Wilco and band called Everest will be in Toronto for a show at Air Canada Centre on August 4. Save up your money kiddies.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Stay Positive

My Radiohead experience this past Friday went something like this - Day off from work; the plan was to go down later that night to try pick up a scalped ticket for the show at Molson Amp. I accepted that I might not be successful with getting a ticket. Started to feel physically ill (my anticipated disappointment manifesting itself physically?) though it might have been the chili chicken I had for lunch. Took a nap, took a Tylenol and was feeling better. Loaded up my Zune mp3 player (which I've been meaning to post about over the last while - it is snazzy!) with four Radiohead albums ("The Bends", "OK Computer", "Kid A", "In Rainbows"). Headed down to the Molson Amp though realizing I left late and by the time I got near the venue it was almost 10 pm. Thought I was in luck with a young punky looking couple trying to sell a ticket - it looked like a real ticket but there was some funny marking on the back of it and decided that I didn't want to be ripped off and told them no thanks. No other scalpers in sight equals admitting defeat. Oh, well I tried. I can only take comfort in that I've at least seen Radiohead live once and that was at Coachella in 2004. Funny how I can go across the continent to see them but seeing them here at home has eluded me the last several times Radiohead's come through town. On that note, here are other concert announcments I'm sure we'll have a much easier time getting tickets for:

Hip hop group The Beatnuts are at The Opera House on August 29. Info here.

Noah and The Whale are at Horseshoe Tavern on September 23. Considering it'll be a Tuesday night, it's most likely part of the no-cover Nu Music Nite series.

Beck with openers MGMT will be at Sound Academy on October 5, tickets $50.

As to the accuracy of the following I'm not sure, but Flowerbooking indicates that Angela Desveaux will be opening for The New Year at Lee's Palace on October 15.

Via rootmeansquare, Asobi Seksu will be at the Horseshoe on October 20, tickets $10 while Sharon Jones(and I'm assuming her band The Dap Kings) will be at Kool Haus on October 29, tickets $21.50.

Great Lake Swimmers will be at Lee's Palace on October 25. [via Pollstar]

Dungen returns to Toronto for a show at Horseshoe Tavern on October 31.

Fucked Up will be at Sneaky Dee's for a 3-night stint from October 30 to November 1.

Feist and Hayden are are Massey Hall on November 1, tickets $39.50 - CA $49.50, onsale to the public as of 10 am today.

Perhaps this goes against my better judgement to post this but someone over at Stille Post mentions a November 11 Toronto date for The Hold Steady and Drive By Truckers and that we can look for an official announcement today. We'll see. Update: Date confirmed at Drive By Truckers' website. DBT and THS will be alternating headlining spots during the fall tour. Thanks to Chromewaves for pointing this out at Stille Post.

At this point it seems like a slap in the face but Fleet Foxes annouced some fall North American tour dates but didn't include Toronto which you'd assumed they'd have done in order to make up for cancelling their last show back in July (when they were to open for Stephen Malkmus and The Jicks at the Phoenix).

Friday, August 15, 2008

A Certain Feeling

concert review: Bodies of Water, Port O'Brien, The Ghost Is Dancing @ El Mocambo (Toronto, Ontario), August 8, 2008

Meredith Metcalf of Bodies of Water at El Mocambo: photo by Michael LigonPerhaps Toronto's own Bruce Peninsula who performed last Friday night at Whippersnapper Gallery stole many an indie fan from attending the show at the El Mocambo that night, or at least I like to think so considering the relatively sparse turnout for the triple bill of The Ghost Is Dancing, Port O'Brien and Bodies of Water.

Toronto's The Ghost Is Dancing travels the now well-worn path towards a collective indiepop racket utilizing group singing, handclaps, and simple yet effective rock musicianship plus a little trombone. In an indie world that's already full of indiepop collectives (eg. The Hidden Cameras, Architecture In Helsinki,etc...), The Ghost Is Dancing are perhaps only as essential as you want them to be. They do however perform energetically and competently and do live up to the last part of their name(ie. dancing) which both band (well at least some of them) and the audience (at least those near the stage) were doing. It's a shame though that there weren't more people as I could have imagined the band creating quite the frenzy.

Oakland, California's Port O'Brien were a little harder to peg musically in my opinion. In all simplicity they are a rock band, though their sound hints at influences like country, folk and modern indie rock sensibilities. I was reminded of Neil Young and Crazy Horse on one instrumental jam they performed. Other times, they gave off an alt-country vibe especially with the prominent use of banjo on many songs which was performed by lone female member/cutie Cambria Goodwin who physically reminded me a lot of actress Mila Kunis. In terms of indie rock, there was a casual flair to their performance (with the band even inviting members of the audience to choose a percussive instrument from their tickle trunk of instruments and come onstage for their last song), and lead vocalist Joshua Banhart has the sort of imperfect though full-of-character vocals that lends itself to the looseness of the band's sound. And when they want to, like on song "Close The Lid", they deliver fully-charged melodic indie rock like the best of them.

The last time I saw Los Angeles' Bodies of Water live was in March 2008 at Lee's Palace (when they opened for Sons and Daughters) and it's difficult to expand on what I wrote about them back then. What I did appreciate about them back then that I still appreciate now was the dramatic and somewhat schizophrenic nature of their sound of what were in essence pop songs but most of all it was the enigmatic quality of female vocalist Meredith Metcalf who was and still is as expressive in her jubilant and sometimes dramatic vocal style as when she gazed over the audience. I couldn't help think that the band were a little disappointed in the small turnout (it was a relatively short set, and there was no encore) but you know you really have to appreciate a band that sells their CD's for ten bucks (Canadian dollars at that) a pop at the show. I picked up their debut "Ears Will Pop And Eyes Will Blink" and their most recent album "A Certain Feeling". I haven't listened yet to the new one but their debut is one of the more invigorating and unique efforts I have heard in the last few years. Perhaps, the next time they roll through town, more people will have caught on to them.

Photos: Bodies of Water, Port O'Brien, The Ghost Is Dancing at El Mocambo (August 8, 2008)

MySpace: The Ghost Is Dancing
MySpace: Port O'Brien
MySpace: Bodies of Water

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Days Aren't Long Enough

concert review: Festival of Friends (w/ Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Danny Michel) @ Gage Park (Hamilton, Ontario), August 8, 2008

Steve Earle & Allison Moorer @ Gage Park: photo by Michael Ligon

What apparently is one of Canada's oldest music festivals(and a free one at that), Hamilton, Ontario's 3 day Festival of Friends was kicked off last Friday night. Though the majority of the lineup wasn't necessarily my thing (eg. Air Supply headlined the second night), the festival did have the fortitude in getting Steve Earle to headline the first night, with his wife Allison Moorer warming things up with her own set, and topping things off talented Canadian singer-songwriter Danny Michel kicked off the primetime schedule.

What Waterloo, ON native Danny Michel proved to the sparse audience on hand for his early evening set was that he is a consummate performer exuding humour and charm with his witty banter and also having musical chops both as a guitar player and a lyricist. Songs like "Feather Fur and Fin" showed Danny's adeptedness in writing lyrics that just flowed so well with its melodies while a song like "If Gods On Your Side" took a political stance, all the more emotionally resonating during Danny's stark acoustic performance of it. Most of the set however showed Danny
s more sunny, playful side and there was a certain storytelling quality to his lyrics which no doubt made sense of Danny's participation in touring with Stuart McLean's The Vinyl Cafe tour. As a musician he played guitar, creating a robust sound in his picked or strummed techniques, even skillfully reproducing sound effects like a seagull during one song.

Ushering in nightfall, Allison Moorer performed a solo set playing guitar although the most distinguishing element was definitely her soulful vocals. What Allison did successfully was merge elements of pop, country, soul and folk, in a way that it would not do her justice to label her any of these genres singurlarly. Perhaps the loveliest moment was the stark sombre beauty of her performance title track of her most recent album "Mockingbird". She pulled out a couple of cover songs including a soulful take on Rollings Stones' "Sweet Virginia" as well as a duet with hubby Steve on hippie classic "Where Have All The Flowers Gone" which she mentioned that she and Steve will continue to perform as long as US soldiers are still in Iraq, a motivation that forced us to forget the song's ridiculous hippie associations and realize the song's honourable sentiment.

Continuing the evening's lineup of great solo performances, a gruff, bearded Steve Earle took the stage to an enthusiastic response. I'm not really up on my Steve Earle but he seemed to play a mix of his country-rockers, love songs, experimental folk-beat tunes(including a DJ to provide the beats) and some political stuff. Steve had an arsenal of guitars, plus a banjo and mandolin which he continued to switch between throughout the evening. The crowd at this point had swelled to fill the festival grounds in front of the stage and with the family crowd onhand it didn't hold back Steve from throwing out a 'fuck' when he needed to like when a couple of baffoons in front of the stage seemed to almost get into a fight. Steve was also not afraid to express his opinion the US election/politics such as his comments on the North American Free Trade Agreement is only such(ie. no barriers for trade between the US and Cananda) until they find one 'mad' cow in Alberta then ban Canadian beef from crossing the US border - that sent the crowd roaring. Preceding his performance of "City of Immigrants" commented on his pro-immigration stance and that we as voters should be very suspicious when immigration becomes a political issue as its done to distract more than anything else. Such stances seemed to go over well with the audience though it does make me ponder what the reaction would be across the US audiences. Overall, I do appreciate the honesty and integrity that Steve Earle brought to his performance. It's all the more surprising that it was Canadian country radio station The New Country 95.3 sponsored the event. Although if Steve Earle is considered the 'new country', I'll happily go along. If love songs were more your thing, Steve did invite wife Allison up for a lovely performance of "Days Aren't Long Enough". Ok, so maybe he is a softie.

Photos: Danny Michel, Allison Moorer & Steve Earle @ Festival of Friends - Gage Park - Hamilton, ON (August 8, 2008)

Check out a review and photos over at It's Not The Band I Hate....

MySpace: Danny Michel
MySpace: Allison Moorer
MySpace: Steve Earle

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Walk On By

Some concert announcements and reminders just to get everyone caught up:

Kid Koala is at Boiler House in the Distillery District on August 16, tickets $11.

Caught news over at Stille Post of UK artist Eboney Bones making her North American debut at The Drake on August 21. Intriguing stuff - I must explore more. She has a song called "Don't Fart On My Heart" also:

Video: Eboney Bones - "Don't Fart On My Heart" (music video)

Two musical acts who have been quiet as of late, You Say Party! We Say Die! and The Rapture will be in Toronto at Burroughes Building (639 Queen St W) on Aug 27, tickets $17.50. Just a heads up that The Rapture are ONLY PLAYING A DJ SET.

Speaking of being quiet, Tricky makes a long awaited return to Toronto for a show at Phoenix on September 9 to promote his new album "Knowle West Boy" out already in the UK and out in the US the day Tricky plays in Toronto.

London, ON rapper Shad and Vancouver indie pop-funk group Hey Ocean will be at The Mod Club on September 17. [last three items via REMG]

Southern-fried garage rockers Supersuckers are at the Horseshoe on September 20, tickets $18.50.

Locals Holy Fuck play a hometown gig at Phoenix on September 25, tickets $12.50.

Weezer will work their most recent "Red" album at Air Canada Centre on September 30 with openers Tokyo Police Club. Maybe TPC will work in their cover of The Rentals' 'Friends of P' into their set.

Leona Naess & Ray LaMontagne will be at The Music Hall (aka Danforth Music Hall) on October 7.

Abe Vigoda w/ Diplo, Telepathe, and Boy 8 Bit will be at Circa on Octobe 21. [via Ground Control Touring]

Israel's Monotonix return again to Toronto for more destructive behaviour when they play a show at Wrongbar October 23. [via Stille Post]

The Roots return to Toronto for a show at Sound Academy on October 26, tickets $49.

Kings Of Leon, The Whigs, and We Are Scientists are at Kool Haus on November 7.

Deerhunter, Neighborhood Council, and Times New Viking are at Lee's Palace on November 12.

chartattack has news of the new album from The Dears entitled "Missles", to be released in Canada through MapleMusic and through Dangerbird for the rest of the world - it appears it'll be a Fall release, though nothing confirmed at the moment. Look for upcoming live dates in October according to Chart. I wonder what the new band'll be like with only Murray and Natalia being the only original members.

In the meantime, Toronto's Laura Barrett will be releasing her debut full-length "Victory Garden" on September 23 through Paper Bag Records. Catch her as part of Summerworks at The Theatre Centre on August 16 with Sunparlour Players opening. Via chartattack.

Wow it's been a rough weekend. Toronto residents had to deal with a large propane explosion in an area of the city. Some of the videos (such as this one) I've seen is pretty unnerving. Also I caught the news over at Stillepost about the passing of actor Bernie Mac [info] and musical artist/icon Isaac Hayes [info]. R.I.P. Bernie and Isaac.

Video: Isaac Hayes - "Walk On By" (live - Burt Bacharach cover)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Re-arrange Us

concert review: Mates of State, Judgement Day @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario), August 4, 2008

Mates of State @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

On first impressions, the pairing of 'self-proclaimed' string-metal trio Judgement Day with the rambunctious keyboards/drums indiep pop of Mates of State would seem like an odd combination. Ok, maybe the only time the pairing made sense was when the string section(violin/viola) of Judgement Day joined in on Mates of States' set to augment their tunes. So, I guess the final answer, is yes it was an odd pairing, but nonetheless they were both entertaining.

While heavy metal's never been my thing, the instrumental violin/viola/drums assault of Judgement Day provided an avenue into that genre that I could actually get into. When I went to the Sasquatch festival a few years ago, I believe it was before Nine Inch Nails' set that they were spinning some inbetween set tunes including a string-quartet version of Metallica's 'One' (possibly this) which actually rocked. Judgement Day remind me of that though perhaps whatever level of gimickry you might want to place on them is lessened somewhat since they perform their own songs. While the Judgement Day string section is obviously a big part of their sound, the drums were as equally important, especially during the band's pulverizing sonic assaults. The what-would-have-been guitar parts seemed to be delegated with viola taking over the riffage and the violin providing the lead. The tunes were varied enough that each stood on its own without the set ever sounding same-y. It was a great set overall and myself and the crowd enjoyed it, and I wouldn't have been surprised if there'd had been a few devil signs being waved in approval.

A Monday night isn't my favourite night for a show but with the night off to a good start with Judgement Day and then Lee's Palace thankfully filling in quickly for Mates of State, it'd seem it would be a great night afterall. I saw the duo back in September 2006 at the same venue, and I described that Saturday night gig's response from the crowd as electrifying. This time it was a Monday night show which might explain the more muted energy of the crowd. Working their most recent album "Re-Arrange Us" [I hadn't heard any of these tunes before this] as well as songs from their last album "Bring It Back", and maybe a few older ones[sorry I'm not that familiar with their catalogue], it did manage to convince me that maybe I should revisit their albums more than I do. There were the sparkingly melodies, lovely girl/boy vocal interplay, and musical arrangements in keyboards and drums that were convincing enough to make one think that other instruments weren't necessary. Though surprisingly, when the Judgement Day string section joined in to add some strings, guitar and or trombone, it actually made Mates of State sound even better. I found myself head-bobbing/leg-shaking (I guess as most GTA'ers do) to quite a few of their tunes, though really not as enthusiastically as a couple of gals at the front of the stage who seemed to be pogoing and or waving their arms for most of the show. It was more than a great way to end the civic holiday and long weekend.

Photos: Mates of State, Judgement Day @ Lee's Palace (August 4, 2008)

MySpace: Judgement Day
MySpace: Mates of State

Monday, August 04, 2008

One Wing

This popped up all of a sudden on Pollstar - The English Beat are to play Historic Fort York on Thursday August 7, which is only a few days away. So why haven't I heard of this until now? A little digging and I see they're playing as part of Beerlicious, tickets $50 here. Well, maybe that's why I haven't heard of the show.

The Juan Maclean and Holy Ghost play U Of T's Hart House on September 4 [via The Windish Agency], which is likely part of frosh festivities.

Ottawa's Angela Desveaux returns to Toronto with her (newly-named band?) The Mighty Ship for a show on September 4 at The Boat, for a CD release show for the new album entitled "The Mighty Ship" out through Thrill Jockey in the US and Sonic Unyon in Canada (the Cdn release will have a bonus track!). [via Chromewaves] Check out an mp3 from the new album below:

MP3: Angela Desveaux - "Sure Enough"

The Pack A.D. are at Horseshoe Tavern on September 11[via Mint Records].

Ratatat are at Phoenix on October 4[via Flower Booking].

Jason Collett, Rock Plaza Central, and Zeus are at Lee's Palace on October 18, tickets $16.50[via rootmeansquare].

Crystal Castles are at Circa on October 24[via The Windish Agency].

David Byrne is at Massey Hall on October 29[via Pollstar]. Pitchfork reveals that this is a tour featuring the songs of David Byrne and Brian Eno, although Brian Eno Will not actually be on tour. As Pitchfork reports, "Instead, Byrne will focus on Talking Heads and My Life in the Bush of Ghosts material created in conjunction with Eno."

Blitzen Trapper will be opening for Iron and Wine at the Phoenix on November 13[via Pitchfork].

Brooklyn Vegan has photos as well as a download link of the AT & T Blue Room video stream of Wilco's recent Lollapalooza set, where the band had also introduced a new song. You Ain't No Picasso has a download of that song. Or check out the video at YouTube (at least until it's yanked off):

Video: Wilco - "One Wing" (new song - live at Lollapalooza 2008)

Finally, just a reminder that Fleet Foxes will perform live on Late Show With David Letterman tonight and should be on approximately 12:30 am EST. Update: Here's the video.

Off to Mates of State at Lee's Palace tonight.