Saturday, September 27, 2008

[When You Wake] You're Still In A Dream

concert review: My Bloody Valentine, Gemma Hayes, Flowers of Hell @ Kool Haus (Toronto, Ontario), September 25, 2008

Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine @ Kool Haus (September 25, 2008)
Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine @ Kool Haus: photo by Michael Ligon

If I'd had the fortuity back in 1992, I'd have gone to see My Bloody Valentine at The Opera House, the last time they'd pass through the fair city of Toronto. It was around the same time I'd discovered them when I'd borrowed a scratched up copy of their album "Loveless" at my local library and being totally floored by what I heard. They were a logical extension of my admiration of feedback and melody I'd developed a few years prior with The Jesus and Mary Chain. Although as the decade of the nineties turned over to the new millenium, I'd just about given up on My Bloody Valentine ever releasing a follow up to "Loveless" let alone tour ever again. However, 14 years later here we are with My Bloody Valentine (Kevin Shields[guitar, vox], Bilinda Butcher[guitar, vox], Debbie Googe [bass], Colm Ó Cíosóig [drums]) touring again.

Opening the show were the transatlantic-composed London-Toronto outfit Flowers of Hell composed by my count of nine members (ten when hometown hero Owen Pallett joined in on violin for several songs). With a kaleidoscope of screen projections in the background, the ebb and tide of strings, horns (sax, trumpet), keyboards, drums and guitar took the audience on sweeping orch-rock acid trip. While I liked them, instrumental acts are always a tough bunch and they were a bit too much of the same thing over the course of the set.

A surprise addition to the bill was Irish singer songwriter Gemma Hayes. She performed a sublimely melodic and satisfying set of singer-songwriter material, competently embellished with Gemma on acoustic guitar and accompaniement by a gentleman providing some sinewy electric guitar. While the music and melodies had a definite accessibility, there was enough grit to keep things from getting too saccharine, even at times the guitar sound augmented with distortion as perhaps a nod to what would come with My Bloody Valentine's set. She did provide arguably the funniest line of banter of the whole night when she came out at the beginning of her set and introduced herself as "Kevin Shields" - I mean, not many had expected her on the bill, some having anticipated MBV coming on right after Flowers of Hell, so I'm wondering how many people were wondering who she was. I'd already clued who she was because I'd pass by the merch table on the way in and saw her CD for sale. She was a pleasant bonus for the night, though at that point my excitement for MBV was running over.

Finally Kevin, Belinda, Debbie and Colm took the stage to rapturous applause and dove into "Loveless" track 'I Only Said". Throughout the set it their was a dichotomy in the physical emotiveness of the band with Kevin and Belinda taking a protypical, shoegazer, non-chalance while Debbie and Colm, especially on pre-"Loveless" songs, were quite more in a rock mode. Like Flowers of Hell before them, MBV had a colourful array of lighting effects, and also flashing lights. On one hand, lighting effects helped to emphasize the hazy blissfulness of the noise and melodies but on the other hand, the flashing lights in particular were an epileptic's nightmare.

My MBV listening always tended towards "Loveless" and naturally I gravitated towards those songs during the set especially the fantastic chainsaw guitar sounds of 'Only Shallow', the danceable-shoegaze[now, isn't that an oxymoron?] pop of 'Soon', and the shoegazey dream-pop of 'When You Sleep'. The "Isn't Anything" tracks emphasized a rock vigor and intensity (mostly in the Dinosaur Jr-like drumming on some tracks) that really rationalizes MBV as a precursor to the early 90's alt-rock/grunge scene. In a different world, MBV would have been just as popular as Nirvana.

The defining moment of the show for most was of course their last song of the set 'You Made Me Realise' which started out normal enough before collapsing into a gradual crescendoing sea of white noise, which lasted a whopping 24 minutes. This part of their live set's was apparently been called the 'holocaust' and with good reason - it was every bit as devastating as the name implies. As it got louder and longer, I had a feeling of both ectasy and fear - the ectasy of feeling the wash of sound waves moving through me, but I also felt a slight tangible fear of whether my ear drums could take it. Thankfully, the ear plugs handed out by security on the way in came in handy [although I'd already come prepared with my own in any case], although at times I still felt compelled to cover my ears with my hands like I witness many a person around me do. I can't imagine having lasted that without ear plugs and even a few around me who braved at least half of that without ear plugs, I observed a concern in their expressions and a realization of the possible permanent hearing loss they were subjecting themselves too. I witnessed a few people leave but even more finally reaching for ear plugs in their pockets or covering their ears with their hands. The noise finally fed back into the song and that was it. I couldn't have imagined the band coming back for another song and in certain respects I was glad it was over. As last remnants of the feedback subsided and the house lights came on, there was a jubilation in the faces over everyone around me, including myself. It felt like I'd gone to war, won, and was going home in one piece.

Ed. note[1 Oct 2008]: Sorry for the late review posting.

Photos: My Bloody Valentine, Gemma Hayes, Flowers of Hell @ Kool Haus (September 25, 2008)

Myspace: Flowers of Hell
Myspace: Gemma Hayes
Myspace: My Bloody Valentine

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


concert review: Sigur Ros, Parachutes @ Massey Hall (Toronto, Ontario), September 22, 2008

Sigur Ros @ Massey Hall (September 22, 2008)
Sigur Ros @ Massey Hall (September 22, 2008)

Walking into the soothing sounds of Icelandic group Parachute's set, my first impression was that they sounded a little like Sigur Ros, though with a tendency towards their quieter side. Even as numbered as they were and while they did have a mult-layered sprawling sound at times, acoustic instrumentation and subtle playing generally focused the sound towards hushed tones. It's perhaps not fair to fault them too much for sounding too 'Icelandic'(if we meant enigmatic vocals, lyrics, and melodies and pristine, multi-layered instrumentation) - I mean if the UK can have Britpop and the US hip-hop and R n' B well it wouldn't be unreasonable to think Iceland could(or would) have a certain defined pop sound. At least Parachutes, in my opinion do it well, although I guess in the end they don't stand apart too much from their older, more experienced brethren.

I thought it was a little serendipitous that the night Sigur Ros performed in Toronto that it happened to be Car Free Day. On a day like Car Free Day which on one level is an opportunity to reflect ecologically, Sigur Ros seemed to me like a particulary relevant soundtrack, in that I've always felt the organic quality of their music whether it be in soaring guitar, vocals, & melodies and propulsive drumming that felt like a celebratory reflection of nature itself (and maybe in particular the natural wonder of their own country of Iceland) or in their more introspective hushed tones which felt almost womb-like. Playing as a four-piece to a sold out audience, the band played against a backdrop that at various times showed everchanging, mysterious, multi-coloured screen projections (perhaps, at its most poignant when it showed old photographs and closeups of unknown eyes) and giant, spherical, constellatory objects (at one point it seemed something resembling snow fell from above). The stage at various times was awash colours spanning the spectrum of hues. Sigur Ros did what they do best which is to maintain an instrospective, mysterious vibe though I guess with more recent forays into songs at least resembling pop music, they sounded at times even playful, encouraging a 'singalong' during one song in the main set and a clapalong during a song in the encore.

In my opinion this was a much better show that the previous time(in September 2005 at the same venue) I'd seen them, especially if the rapturous audience was any indication. It was only icing on the cake when the encore ended and an enormous amount of multi-coloured confetti was launched into and dumped onto the audience. I wasn't in the direct line of fire unfortunately having to instead see it from my floor seat from underneath the overhang of the first balcony, but still it was a joy to watch. I'm still wondering if Sigur Ros had to foot the bill for the clean-up.

Photos: Sigur Ros, Parachutes @ Massey Hall (September 22, 2008)

MySpace: Parachutes
MySpace: Sigur Ros

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Temporary People

Cadence Weapon, with openers Woodhands are at Lee's Palace on October 9.

Joseph Arthur has a show at Lee's Palace on November 1 to celebrate the release of his new full-length "Temporary People" out September 30. (The video for the single "Temporary People" is streaming over at his website's frontpage.)

Omaha, Nebraska's McCarthy Trenching with fellow Omahans Neva Dinova are at El Mocambo on November 5. [via Ground Control Touring]

Eagles of Death Metal have a brand new record coming out October 28, "Death By Sexy", and will be going on tour which will stop in Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on November 13. [via Brooklyn Vegan]

The Herbaliser Band, to celebrate their newest album "Same As It Ever Was", are at Pepper Jack's in Hamilton on Saturday November 15th 2008. [via Stille Post] No Toronto date?

Subtle and Pattern is Movement are at Kathedral on November 15. [via Pitchfork]

Martha Wainwright will be at The Music Hall on December 6.

In addition to their December 12th show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre, Stars have also announced a second show at the same venue on December 13.

The Crystal Method will be performing a DJ set at The Social on December 18. More dates over at their MySpace.

New Belle and Sebastian, "The BBC Sessions", coming out November 17. Includes four songs from 2001 which never made it onto subsequent albums. Just in time for Christmas! [via NME]Album art, tracklisting here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ooh La La

concert review: Goldfrapp, Great Lake Swimmers @ The Music Hall (Toronto, Ontario), September 14, 2008

Goldfrapp @ The Music Hall (September 14, 2008)
Goldfrapp @ The Music Hall: photo by Michael Ligon

This past Sunday was a blissful evening of Autumn-toned folk melodies with Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers warming up the audience with its brand of hushed acoustic folk-rock before UK's Goldfrapp took the stage to continue the trend before switching gears to their danceable electro-pop sound.

Though I'd just saw Great Lake Swimmers perform a few days earlier(at Yonge Dundas Square), it's never too soon to see them perform again. Minus Julie Fader, it was Great Lake Swimmers as a four piece this time around. It's somewhat redundant to judge on musical merits, one Great Lake Swimmers show to the next. As usual, Great Lake Swimmers were musically tight and physically laid back though the varying component for me really now seems to be the venue that they play in. They've played dank clubs, churches, and and more recently the concrete surroundings of Yonge Dundas Square and now the seated theatre environment of The Music Hall. As with their show at Church of The Redeemer last year, I think Great Lake Swimmers are mostly a band that is best enjoyed as a spectator when seated although when Great Lake Swimmers pick up the tempo like on 'Your Rocky Spine', it's those rare occasions when the band's encouraging the audience to clap (which we did), and we're tempted almost to get out of our seats (which we didn't in the end).

Back in May 2005, I'd reminisced about Goldfrapp's infamous show at The Opera House in 2001 when vocalist Alison Goldfrapp stormed off stage (not before throwing her beverage on the ground; or was that in the audience?), apparently because she wasn't satisfied with the sound. Other accounts I read also mentioned that part of the reason that Goldfrapp had left the stage (only having performed about 7 songs) was not just that they were frustrated with the sound problems but also were not happy with something a heckler had said. To this day, I still don't know the full story. It's been a long 7 years since then that I've been waiting to see Goldfrapp live again [although having surfed the internet I've come across that they may have been in Toronto in 2003 - how did I miss that?]

Goldfrapp loosely divided the set between their quieter restrained material performed during the first half of their set with their uptempo and or danceable electro-pop numbers anchoring the second half. As perhaps I should have expected, they only performed two songs('Paper Bag', and 'Utopia') from "Felt Mountain" while as expected much of the set was drawn from their most recent effort "Seventh Tree". It's the inbetween albums("Black Cherry", "Supernature" that I wasn't as familiar(although I did recently pick up "Supernature") with although the songs from these albums that were included in the set(like 'Number One', 'Ooh La La', 'Train', 'Strict Machine' which all came during the latter half of the set) were almost immediately recognizable and with the aforementioned songs in particular, deliriously infectious and energetic. With encore(which ended up being two songs), the show was about an hour and a half in length though had it been longer I would have loved to hear more off "Felt Mountain" (like 'Pilots') or various album tracks like 'Ride A White Horse' and 'Beautiful' (off of "Supernature"). Musically, I loved every song in the set, though perhaps too painstakingly did they reproduce the studio versions in this live setting. It didn't matter much with the audience who were rapturous(especially this one girl who took it upon herself to dance alone) with every song performed, especially so when 'Ooh La La' was performed, prompting the entire audience including myself to finally get out of our seats and dance.

Allison Goldfrapp exuded a eccentric, earthy vibe dressed in her clown-inspired moumou dress which wasn't so much frumpy since it fit more like a mini dress. Her band(which included a harpist who for most of the set I couldn't see from my vantage point) wore similar white attire. In terms of stage decoration there was a geometric patterned backdrop and a few what-seemed-to-be taxidermed animals decorating the stage. It seemed to be a similar stage production to their recent show in NYC at Radio City Music Hall but not nearly as much colourful lighting.

Overall, it was well worth the seven year wait and at $32.50 a ticket a steal compared to the in-excess-of-$100 that I'd overheard some people in the audience mention that some suckers had to pay for tickets to see Goldfrapp at Radio City Music Hall. Toronto 1, NYC 0.

Photos: Goldfrapp, Great Lake Swimmers @ The Music Hall (September 14, 2008)

Video: Goldfrapp - 'Clowns' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)
Video: Goldfrapp - 'A & E' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)
Video: Goldfrapp - 'Eat Yourself' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)
Video: Goldfrapp - 'Number One' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)
Video: Goldfrapp - 'Ooh La La' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)*
Video: Goldfrapp - 'Monster Love' (live at The Music Hall - Sept 14, 2008)

video courtesy of flickeringwasteland
* except which is from mrwillw

More reviews of the show from The Panic Manual, Fazer, Jam! Showbiz and Will-W, Wong (Facebook).

Chartattack has an interview with Alison.

MySpace: Great Lake Swimmers
MySpace: Goldfrapp

Monday, September 15, 2008

Carried To Dust

Let's start off the week with some concert annoucements (some you may already know about perhaps, but others you may not). Let's break it down by month:

The old school meets the new school when Toronto's The Hoa Hoas open for new wave synthpop act The Spoons at The Velvet Underground on September 25. (via Stille Post)

Prior to their proper gig / CD release show at The Music Gallery on September 26, Fembots will perform an instore at Soundscapes on September 25 at 6 pm.

Thanks to The Panic Manual for pointing out that the Chad VanGaalen/Women show on October 4 has been moved from The Mod Club to El Mocambo.

Wintersleep will be at the Phoenix on October 1.

The From The Jam show has been moved to Lee's Palace(from The Opera House) and will be taking place October 1.

Prior to his gig at the Rivoli on the evening of October 4, earlier in the day UK singer songwriter Johnny Flynn will be graciously be playing an instore at Criminal Records at 5 pm.

Spiral Beach have been added to the lineup at Lee's Palace on October 21 which already features The Spinto Band and Frightened Rabbit.

The Secret Machines play Lee's Palace on October 22. Their new album simply titled "Secret Machines" will be released October 14.

Sarah McLachlan is at Roy Thomson Hall on October 18. It's in promotion for her new release, "Closer: The Best Of Sarah McLachlan", scheduled for an October 7th worldwide release. There'll be two new tracks on the best-of, including one entitled "U want me 2" which you can hear over at her MySpace.

Danko Jones are at Lee's Palace on October 23.

Justice and Busy P are at Circa on October 29 for what I believe will be DJ sets.

Shout Out Out Out Out are also at Lee's Palace but on October 30.

Toronto veterans The Skydiggers play The Mod Club on November 1. The band's newest album "City Of Sirens" is out now.

Polysics and Jaguar Love take over the Horseshoe for some new wavey / spunky rock n' roll fun on November 5.

Japanese metal shredders Boris are at Lee's Palace on November 13.

Kaiser Chiefs return to Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on November 18 to celebrate the release of their new album "Off With Their Heads" which comes out in North America on October 14 (October 13 the rest of the world).

Calexico return to Toronto for a show at the Phoenix on November 18 with support supplied by Bowerbirds. Calexico's new album "Carried To Dust" is out now.

The King Khan and BBQ Show with Golden Triangle are at Lee's Palace on December 5.

Mercury Rev and Dean & Britta will be playing The Opera House on December 9. Mercury Rev will release their seventh album "Snowflake Midnight" on September 29. As a bonus, hop on over to Mercury Rev's website join the mailing list then wait till the release date when instructions will be mailed to you to downlow a bonus eleven track album entitled "Strange Attractor" for free (though it makes you wonder how good the songs are if they're giving 'em away - ok,so that's the cynic in me talking). (tour date via Brooklyn Vegan)

Singer songwriter Danny Michel takes over the Rivoli for a three-night stint from December 11-13.

Stars are at Queen Elizabeth Theatre ON December 12. The band's new "Sad Robots" EP is available as a digital download or physical CD. Go here to purchase it. Tickets for the Toronto show onsale this Saturday at 10 am.
In music news(via Pitchfork), I'm excited for the upcoming double-disc reissues of New Order's 1980's album, and in particular am looking forward to 1981's "Movement" and 1983's "Power, Corruption, and Lies". I wish they'd jump on the reunion bandwagon.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Moving Pictures, Silent Films

Great Lake Swimmers @ Yonge Dundas Square: photo by Michael Ligon

My TIFF-ing (yes, I've just made it a verb) was limited this year. I got partially caught up in the all the excitement with daily strolls by Toronto Life Square (I work right downtown) where I'd see the lineup to the box office, as well as the 'big board' of movie listings indicating a continually fluctuating of onsales and offsales. I ended up one Friday night just after work lining up for 2 hours to pick up tickets to one movie "In The Shadow of Naga" which would be the only movie I'd make it to this TIFF. It's premise of "monks with guns" and insight into Buddhist principles seemed promising though having seen it this past Thursday with a friend the pacing of the film was languid and sometimes melodramatic. Although piecing together the pieces of puzzle of the 'crime caper' (and the intertwinement of Buddhist principles) did offer its own thoughtfulness - I just wished I enjoyed the film overall more.

During the duration of the festival, my celebrity-watching was a bust, though not that I'd actually tried to hard (although I did even stroll through Yorkville for a glimpse of something/anything but no luck). I did make it to Yonge Dundas Square for a TIFF-related concert this past Thursday which had Emm Gryner and Great Lake Swimmers performing live as both artists appear on the soundtrack for the Canadian film "One Week". Amidst all the distractions of the surroundings, it'd be the last place I'd want to listen to Great Lake Swimmers but strangely Tony Dekker and band (which included Julie Fader on keys and backup vox) could still conjure up moments of beauty especially on the relevant-titled "Moving Pictures, Silent Films".

The festival's come and gone for another year. Perhaps it's a blessing that I didn't go to more films - I got a crap-load of DVD's at home that I need/want to catch up on.

Photos: Great Lake Swimmers @ Yonge Dundas Square (September 11, 2008).
Although not TIFF-related, I just want to mention I'll be going to see Goldfrapp (whose music can be certainly cinematic, not to mention the frontpage of their website) at The Music Hall tonight. The Toronto Star and Chartattack did some pre-show press last week.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Virgin Festival 2008 - Day 2

Oasis @ Virgin Festival (September 7, 2008)
Oasis at Virgin Festival 2008: photo by Michael Ligon

Day 2 of the festival started out rainy, contributing to dawdling on my part in leaving home on time, and resulting in me missing Spiral Beach's opening set on the Main Stage. My day began at the third stage (sponsored by Oh! Henry) with local electro-rock act Opopo rocking out for the respectable sized crowd on hand. I'm sure I've seen these guys open a show at The Opera House I'd been to - I wasn't particularly feeling them the first time, though this time (and maybe it just the good vibes of the festival atmosphere) I appreciated Opopo more for what they really are which is just a fun party band.

Before I'd got to the Oh! Henry Stage I had passed the TD Stage where they were still setting up for Sebastian Granger and The Mountains. There wasn't many people at the TD Stage though after Opopo ended their set it seems a lot of people headed over to check out Sebastian Granger and The Mountains at the TD stage. The band's vibrant power pop seemed to help the sun peek out from behind the clouds at times. I dug the songs at times, and they do deserve a second listen on my part. With Saddle Creek snatching the band up to distribute their music in the States, I mean, there must be something, right?

Day 2 of the festival was a lot more walking between stages, and continuing that threaded I march back on over to the main stage to see The Weakerthans. Surprisingly, while The Weakerthans seemed to be as mellow on stage as The Cons were the previous day, The Weakerthans' more direct approach with pop melodies made their set connect better with me.

Back on over the foot stage to check out Matt Costa though his set was more of an afterthough because I'd primarily went over to grab a free eco-friendly messenger bag from the Motorola tent. Since I was already there, I decided to head over to the TD stage where a large crowd was on hand watching Matt Costa who was in the midst of finishing his set. Largely of the acoustic, folky variety, Matt Costa performed a few pleasant(nothing more, nothing less) sounding songs.

I went back to the mainstage for a pick-me-up in the form of Silversun Pickups whose melodic rock songs reminded me of 90's alternative rock (thankfully more Smashing Pumpkins than Stone Temple Pilots).

I stuck around at the main stage for UK's Stereophonics but only for a few songs as I wanted to make it over to the TD stage for the start of Sons and Daughters' set. Surprisingly popular with the crowd it seems, Stereophonics went for the gold from the start playing basically a greatest hits set("A Thousand Trees". "Have A Nice Day"), at least from the several songs I'd heard.

Off to the TD Stage it was for me but while over there at that side of the island I strolled over to the Oh! Henry stage where buzzed(and deservedly so) about rapper Shad was finishing off his set which a little unfortunate for me since I'd hope to catch more of it but Shad did come back for a brief "encore" which really was just him doing some casual freestyling.

Back to the TD stage I went for Scotland's Sons and Daughters, one of my favourite acts over the last several years. There glammy, rebel rock is undeniably a kick in the pants in comparison to the most of the rest of the acts of the day. Like Spiritualized the day before, it was a little strange seeing Sons and Daughters in daylight, rather than the last couple of times I saw them at Lee's Palace (which guitarist/vocalist Scott Patterson mentioned was a venue he loved to play). Unfortunately original bassist Ailidh Lennon wasn't there, and here duties were taken over by some gent, though adequately so.

Another act that I can cross out now from my wishlist is Paul Weller who was the penultimate set of the main stage this day. Playing favourites like the sublime dub-beat of "Wild Wood", the terrific Style Council tune "Shout To The Top" and exhilirating versions of Jam classics "A Town Called Malice" and "Eton Rifles" plus a bevy of tunes that ranged from great to jammy, I thoroughly enjoyed the set and was as much relieved that he seemed (well at least part of the set) to go over well with the younger kids.

And of course we all know what happened with Oasis and the Gallagher brothers. The guy who had pushed Noel and tried to take a swing at Liam before being tackled by security has turned out to be 47-year-old Pickering man, Daniel Sullivan, who was charged with assault and will appear in court next month. I wonder what the fuck he was thinking. I have to give credit to the the Gallaghers and the rest of the band for coming back and finishing off the set albeit what turned out to be a shortened one, and no official encore. Is the Toronto Virgin Festival cursed or what? The festival's inaugural year had Massive Attack cancel at the last minute and had headliners The Flaming Lips forced to play a shortened set due to curfew laws and the band starting their set late. The second year of the festival had the scorchingly hot Amy Winehouse cancel her appearance. Unfortunate incident aside, I'm glad Oasis were able to play as much as they did. "Morning Glory" (at least until that now infamous incident happened) was truly euphoric while Noel's subsequent solo rendition of "Don't Look Back In Anger" just truly tugged at the heart. Glorious, indeed.

Photos: Virgin Festival @ Toronto Islands (September 7, 2008)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Virgin Festival 2008 - Day 1

Bloc Party @ Virgin Festival (September 6, 2008)
Bloc Party @ Virgin Festival: photo by Michael Ligon

I have to give a big thanks to the Virgin Festival for approving my media accreditation this year. With perks like a VIP ferry, free dinner each day, a relatively comfortable VIP area, and access to the photo pit for the Main and Second stages, it's really spoiled me for any future outdoor festivals I'll be attending.

Although this year's lineup didn't necessarily bowl me over, with a little effort and good time management I still got to check out an interesting if not decent selection of artists throughout the day. Day One started out with me missing some of the mainstage acts, but I was able to get into the Molson Canadian Rocks Zone to catch some of The Fratellis' acoustic set, at least before they called it quits after they got drowned out by The Constantines who began their set on the main stage soonafter. Who ever thought of overlapping those two sets, well, nice one.

The Constantines' set was my first opportunity to utilize my media pass and snap some photos of the band up close so I made a dash over to the mainstage. Though The Cons' melody and grit was musically in top form, it seemed one of their most subdued performances.

I stayed for a bit but then decided to head over to see Uk's Spiritualized scheduled to peform over at the TD Bank Stage just over the foot bridge. My rushing wasn't necessary as the start of Spiritualized's set was delayed. While Spiritualized's last jaunt through town was disappointedly to some a gospel acoustic set, this time around it was the electric band version. With a band and a couple of soulful, backup singers, Spiritualized performed a selection of newer songs and older fan favourites. It wasn't as cathartic experience as I'd hope (maybe it was seeing them perform during the daylight) but still it was very good, and it was all worth it just to see them play "Come Together".

With The Fratellis acoustic set having been cut short a few hours prior, I decided to stick around at the TD stage and catch their electric set, and as such, while there were many a fan in the audience and while I recall bopping my head at times, I seriously do not remember anything else about their set.

Back to the mainstage Against Me! had just begun their set of aggressively sung and played though infectiously melodic pop music. Not the first time I've heard them (God knows how many times I've heard Edge 102.1 play their 'hit' "Thrash Unreal") and I'm not a big fan of them but they were a needed shot of adrenaline for the day which up to that point had been kind of mellow.

As dusk set, the penuntilmate act of the day UK's Bloc Party didn't disappoint, drawing on older favourites and some newer material. While I musically I prefer Bloc Party over headliners Foo Fighters, I will give props where due and say that Foo Fighters and more specifically Dave Grohl knows how to draw a participatory element from the crowd, whether that be communal chuckling in reponse to Grohl's humourous banter or group singalongs(in particular to a few acoustic renditions of songs like "My Hero" and "Everlong"). And that Dave Grohl is one foul-mouthed dude. Don't let his angelic smile in the "Big Me" music video fool you.

Photos: Virgin Festival @ Toronto Islands (September 6, 2008)

Monday, September 08, 2008

Where Did It All Go Wrong?

As I get down to sorting through my photos and collecting my thoughts on this year's Virgin Festival which went down this past weekend at Toronto Islands, Noel Gallagher could apparently be mending a broken rib due to some unknown dickhead who ran on stage during headliner Oasis' performance of "(What's The Story) Morning Glory) and pushed him down from behind, and took a swing(unsuccessfully) at his brother Liam before security guards tackled the asshole to the ground. has this to say about the incident (Londonners, keep your fingers crossed for Tuesday night's show):
"Oasis', Noel Gallagher was attacked by an unidentified man during the band's show in Toronto last night. While Noel and the band were performing 'Morning Glory', the assailant ran on from the back of the stage and pushed Noel from behind, who fell heavily on to his monitor speakers.

Despite his injuries, Noel returned to the stage a few minutes later to complete the band's set but was taken to hospital after the show to be examined for a suspected fractured rib and ligament damage. The assailant was detained in police custody and will be charged with assault.

No decision has been made regarding Tuesday's concert in London, Ontario, but fans are urged to keep checking the band's web site and local media for updates."

If curiosity is eating at you, there's video of the incident, here and here. (video links via The Panic Manual).

Also Information Leafblower, was quick on the draw and got a few photos. (via Chromewaves)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Silver Jews @ Lee's Palace (September 2, 2008)
David Berman of Silver Jews @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael Ligon

Review to come.

Photos: Silver Jews, Hallelujah The Hills @ Lee's Palace (September 2, 2008)

MySpace: Hallelujah The Hills
MySpace: Silver Jews

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Life's A Beach

If you hadn't already caught on, Spiral Beach were just confirmed to kick off the mainstage lineup for the second day[ie. Sept 7] of the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands. Check out their Myspace for more tour dates which include a bunch of instores at Sunrise Records around Southern Ontario.

Speaking of Virgin Festival with the schedule now confirmed, if you'd received the recent Virgin Festival e-mail notification, there'll also be an acoustic stage[Molson Canadian Rocks Zone] which'll feature acoustic performances from Electric Touch and The Fratellis on the first day and Stereophonics and Yoav on the second day. It's a limited access thing and 19+, and full details on getting in will be available on-site at the Festival - it'll involve texting a code word on your cell phone.

To close out the Toronto International Film Festival, Yonge Dundas Square will host a free Festival Wrap Party featuring performances from Esthero, The Midway State, and Cadence Weapon on the evening of September 13 starting around 8 pm.

A good way to start off your Nuit Blanche on October 4 (if your not already going to the Johnny Flynn/Laura Marling/Mumford and Sons show at the Rivoli or the Chad VanGaalen/Women show at The Mod Club) might be to check out Brazilian Girls who will be at The Diesel Playhouse (56 Blue Jays Way, Toronto) that night.

Vancouver's The Evaporators will be playing an all ages show at 4 pm at Trash Palace (89-B Niagara Street) in Toronto on October 5. The afternoon will also include Nardwuar showing his 'Video Vault' of interviews he has done over the years.

Murray and Natalia of The Dears have confirmed a new lineup [props to Chromewaves for that link] and will be showing off the band and their new material during a two-night stint at The Music Gallery in Toronto on October 9 and 10. Via Emerge, tickets $20, onsale now. Or perhaps you can check The Dears out in Hamilton at The Casbah on October 1 with opener The Gentleman Reg Band. Via Stille Post.

Sponsored by, You Say Party! We Say Die! will be hitting the road for a cross-Canada tour which will stop in Toronto for a show at Wrongbar and will include support acts Montreal bands Winter Gloves and Beast, and Toronto's own Lioness.

Chicago's The Sea and Cake, in promotion of their eighth album "Car Alarm" being released through Thrill Jockey on October 21, will head out on the road making a stop in Toronto at Lee's Palace on November 14. [via The Windish Agency]

Looking forward to this fall on Bravo, live musical performances recorded earlier this year at Berkeley Church in Toronto are slated for broadcast on the program "The Berkeley Sessions". The show premieres September 10 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Bravo. has the schedule for the first six episodes.