Saturday, November 06, 2010
The Vaselines @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon
Update [Nov 8/2010, 11:23 pm]: Review now up.
Connotations of sex dominated the Horseshoe Tavern last Saturday Night with ahem, The Vaselines, the night's headliners, and openers Schwervon! whose band name I'm not aware of its meaning but for all I know could mean something totally dirty. Scottish indiepoppers The Vaselines were in town promoting their new Sub Pop full-length Sex With An X, an album title already keeping consistent with the night's theme.
To be more accurate, it wasn't so much the night's music that was sexually charged as it was the humourous banter from both acts. Due to a family emergency of Dum Dum Girls' frontwoman Dee Dee her band had to cancel some dates including their opening slot for this show, so this is where New York band Schwervon! stepped in. Not as lovey-dovey onstage as the only other husband-and-wife indie rock duo I can think of, Mates of State, Schwervon!'s Nan Turner on drums/vocals and Major Matt on guitar/vocals there was still a cuteness factor to it, especially when Turner stated that her and Major were a couple, as if it was something we should know. It was Nan that kept up the spontaneous banter, with a bit of a nervousness behind it but ultimately endearing, and sometimes funny when she mentioned that they slept with openers The Vaselines the night before. Schwervon! played a decent brand of garage pop with harmonized vocals, for the most part not so serious especially lyrically such as when they sang a song about love and food/cooking. They're definitely of the ilk of indie rock as I remembered it in the 90's ... very D.I.Y., not necessarily instrumentally accomplished but with definitely, or at least occasionally knack for some good songs. Not that indie rock these days is bad, in fact it's very good at times, but it seems today's indie rock is so much more serious.
The first and only time I'd previously seen The Vaselines live was at last year's Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona. Playing a set that was primarily focused on their 'classic' material but also touching on the new album, I remember it being infectious and fun, and full of witty banter. In retrospect also, thinking of The Vaselines also just reminds me the dynamite city of Barcelona that I was in for over a week last year. Last year's set at Barcelona had The Vaselines' original members Eugene Kelly and Frances McKee but was also made extra special as their hired guns for the show were Sons and Daughters' drummer David Gow and Belle and Sebastian's Stevie Jackson and Bobby Kildea on lead and rhythm guitar(or was it bass?) respectively. For last week's set at the Horseshoe, Eugene and Frances were joined by two unknown indivudals to me on bass and lead guitar. Having only been casually aware of their 'classic' material, my impressions of the new material are that they don't differ too much sonically though I will say that live the band come off far more livelier and punchier than on record. I'm one of those fans that want to hear the recognizable material, although I won't necessarily vocalize it unless it feels appropriate, but I was glad to hear tracks like "Molly's Lips", "Son of a Gun", and "Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam".
Like last year's set at Primavera, one of the most memorable things about last week's show was The Vaselines' Frances McKee totally hilarious and at-times, sexually charged banter. She reminded me of actress Alyson Hannigan's character in American Pie...someone ordinary looking although cute enough but surprisingly a total horndog. If you were a first-timer to a Vaselines show, I'd imagine you'd never guess that Frances' banter would have included topics such as erections or sperm as skin care(yes, you read that last one correctly, even if Frances did not state in so many words)...those two topics should pull in some unsuspecting and ultimately disappointed Google'rs to my site. Ha. Playing off a comment made by Schwervon's Nan Turner earlier who said she and husband had slept with The Vaselines the night before, The Vaselines Frances McKee innocently expressed that yes they love them, then devilishly and cheekily added something along the lines that the bed's was gonna get moist that night. Elton John wrote "Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting" but if The Vaselines were to rewrite it they'd probably change the word 'fighting' to 'fucking'. And on that note, I'll just end this and say it was a good show for a Saturday night.
Photos: The Vaselines, Schwervon! @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (October 30, 2010)
MySpace: The Vaselines
Music Vice has a review and photos from the show as well as the set list.
Also here's some video from the show courtesy of afternoonsnacks.