Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Combat, baby!

  • Good news, a day late, but good news nonetheless. Taken from Metric's site:

    photo resized: original  taken from bighassle.comWednesday, July 14
    The Edge: Next Big Thing Concert Series
    Metric @ The Mod Club Theatre: This is an EDGE 102.1 Contest Winners Only Show... The ONLY Way to get in is to win tickets from 102.1 The EDGE check out for more details!


    Catch Emily's solo gigs in L.A., San Francisco and Toronto!

    July 9 at Spaceland
    July 10 at Cafe du Nord
    July 24 at El Mocambo

    ps. Entering the Edge 102.1 contest[assuming you've already signed up as a Edge 102 member] is literally a click away. No pesky skill-testing or trivia questions.

  • As chromewaves has already reported, Wilco will be at The Mod Club Theatre in Toronto on August 3, 2004! Tickets tba.

  • Tuesday, June 29, 2004

    Guilty Pleasures

  • A Walk To Remember soundtrack CD coverWhoa. This is so freaky. As I mentioned yesterday, a song by Switchfoot called "Dare You To Move" caught my interest recently, well at least the beginning of the song which reminded me a lot of Rufus Wainwright. I went so far as to download the mp3. So today at work, there was a garage sale they were holding to raise funds for charity and they had the CD soundtrack to the film "A Walk To Remember" for sale for just 25 cents. I figured I'd pick it up for my sister who's a huge fan of the movie. So lo and behold, I found out the first song on the CD was Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move". I knew the song sounded familiar! So with that song plus, Mandy Moore's "Only Hope" and Toploader's cover of "Dancin' in the Moonlight", the "A Walk To Remember" soundtrack has been a guilty pleasure of mine today. Call me a sap, but the soundtrack just reminds me of how sweet the movie is. ...uhh, that last bit of info was maybe too much information. Maybe it's time to for me to wrestle some alligators or something. ;-)

  • Monday, June 28, 2004

    Dare You To Move

  • I wish that the whole song of Switchfoot's "Dare You To Move" gave me as much exhiliration as it's opening refrains which so much remind me of a long lost Rufus Wainwright song. A potentially great song that unfortunately loses its emotional resonance.

  • Sunday, June 27, 2004

    Hang The DJ

  • When you have a evening of music filled with the likes of "The Chicken Dance", "YMCA", and "Hot Hot Hot"[the David Johansen song, not The Cure], where else can you be but a wedding. Congratulations to my uncle and his new bride, by the way. I was at their wedding yesterday with family and relatives and had an unusually pleasant time, considering I was dateless. Drinks were had, food was consumed, conversations occurred, acquaintances were made[!] and a generally merry time was had all around. Never did get the dancing shoes on though, considering the 'music' that was being played. In the interminable words of Morrissey, someone needs to "Hang The DJ".

  • Thursday, June 24, 2004

    The Chronicles of Riddick

  • movie review: The Chronicles of Riddick [2004]

    The Chronicles of Riddick posterVin Diesel is back as Riddick, the character we first saw in Pitch Black. However, The Chronicles of Riddick, is not really a sequel. Pitck Black was a fairly one-dimensional, albeit entertaining, storyline which focussed on a group of people trapped on a planet where a species of nocturnal creatures only come out when the planet falls into darkness [and of course, it's just their luck that the planet is entering it's scheduled 'darkness' phase]. However, The Chronicles of Riddick is an entirely new animal. A species called Necromongers are out to invade and conquer planets. They kind of reminded me of the Borg character in Star Trek: The Next Generation. A bounty on Riddick's head ends up in Riddick going back to the planet of the only person who knew of his whereabouts [apparently a character from Pitch Black but I didn't recall the character since I only saw it once when it first came out several years ago]. So the character explains to Riddick that the planet needs his help to stop the invasion by the Necromongers. You'll have to watch the film to see how the film materializes. I think I'll be watching the film at least once on DVD to pick up on all the plot elements that I think I missed. The first half of the film was sort of slow, and I was a little tired, so I found it hard to stay awake. Thankfully, the action picked up in the second half of the film. The one great thing about the film is that the art direction is SPECTACULAR especially, the look of the Necromongers and the panaromic views of the city skylines with its towering statues. I wouldn't be surprised if the film gets an Oscar nod for art direction. Actually, a second great thing about the film was Alexa Davalos' character, who was not only beautiful, but Ms. Davalos was quite a believable actress considering I read she was a former model. [Also, I'm quite miffed that I lost interest in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer television show the last couple of seasons before it ended (due more to just being too busy to watch the show) because apparently Alexa Davalos had a recurring character, who like Sarah Michelle Gellar, did her share of kicking butt!] And those eyes, Ms. Davalos, those eyes. But back to the film. It's good, but not great. And the end was so rock n'roll that I could have almost imagined Rage Against The Machine, like at the end of The Matrix, playing in the background. Go see the film for some eye candy, if nothing else.

  • Tuesday, June 22, 2004

    High Party

  • concert review: Ted Leo / The Pharmacists w/ The Waking Eyes @ Horseshoe Tavern (Toronto, Ontario), June 21, 2004
    Ted Leo @ Horseshoe Tavern, 21 June 2004:photo by Mike LigonTed Leo's the man. Seeing Ted Leo and The Pharmacists for the second time in the last 3 months[the first time at the end of March 2004; same venue], I can say without any doubts, that he does not disappoint live. I missed the first act, The Waking Eyes, but arrived about 10-15 minutes before Ted Leo's set. So the evening was streamlined for me, firstly, not having to wait around too long for Ted's set to start, then, secondly, enjoying a good solid hour and a quarter or so of Ted Leo's great set. Getting a fairly central view of the stage up near the front, I really enjoyed their set, if not for the music but also for the great digital cam pics I got of Ted and the band. By the way, there was no keyboardist that night and I sorely missed the extra [female] presence on stage, but the music didn't suffer at all. They started off the set with the energetic "Where Have All The Rude Boys Gone?" and played several new songs throughout their set which were excellent. He also played favourites like the Joe Jackson-ish "The Crane Takes Flight", as well as "Under the Hedge" during the encore, before which he had prompted the audience for any requests, and me and several others in the audience started shouting "Under The Hedge"; there was also an individual who wanted Ted Leo to play Stiff Little Fingers' "Suspect Device" which Ted played at the last Toronto show, but sadly Ted didn't comply this time; I thought he looked a little annoyed that someone was requesting a cover; But I've been known to read people wrong so don't take my word on that. The only cover that Ted played was his blistering version of The Pogues' "Dirty Old Town". What's so refreshing about Ted Leo's music is how effortlessly he combines late 70's punk/early 80's alt/power pop influences into something that's accessible yet edgy. He was a little more talkative than I remember him last time, even 'snarky' as he put it himself. Of course he was only joking about being snarky, but he was maybe not too subtly hinting at times that he wouldn't have mind if people danced. Maybe the crowd was a little quiet at times. Or else we were shy. But all in all, I think Ted Leo felt the love.

  • Lollapalooza has been cancelled due to poor ticket sales and I'm deeply bummed....On the brighter side, Curiosa is looking like a possibility now.[BTW, The Cure official web site has a brand new look!] Although, the cancellation of Lollapalooza means having to rearrange my vacation schedule at work. Damn.

  • Sunday, June 20, 2004

    Right Right Now Now

  • Beastie Boys - To The 5 Boroughs CDI just picked up the Beastie Boys new CD "To The 5 Boroughs" and so after three songs, my impression of it is very good. It just oozes old school influences. Special mention for the super awesome CD packaging as it is reminiscent of the "Paul's Boutique" gatefold design! This is what hip hop should be. 40-something year olds and still going strong. The only thing that sucks is that the disc contains 'Copy Control Technology' which doesn't allow me to use Winamp or other audio software to play it on my computer; the disc has a built in player which installs itself on your computer. So the Beasties are performing tonight on the Muchmusic Video Awards and this afternoon when they were being interviewed by 102.1 The Edge, the Beasties mentioned they'll be coming for a show in Toronto in September. Looking forward to that!

  • Liisa Ladouceur of Eye gives props to the Uncut, controller.controller and Death From Above show at Comfort Zone on June 12, 2004 as the best show of the NXNE festival, which in actuality wasn't even part of the festival. She goes on to write, "If it's true that an NME reporter was in attendance shadowing Death From Above, expect most of those blissed-out, sweaty faces in the room to be quoted about 'the new Seattle,' saying 'I was there in 2004!'" If there was an NME reporter there I hope he or she caught controller.controller's and Uncut's fantastic sets. Nothing better than good music from your own backyard.

    ps. Was listening to Uncut's CD today and something familiar about "Taken In Sleep"(track 6) was itching me for a while. Then I finally realized. It reminds me alot of Versus: the ringing guitars, the somewhat dead-pan vocals, the melodic sensibility. Anyone agree?

  • MP3: Keep an eye out at the Broken Social Scene Forum for links to live Broken Social Scene sets in mp3 format. The current link is to a show the band did in Ottawa in December 2002, but the same guy that posted that show will be posting a 2003 show in the near future.

  • Saturday, June 19, 2004


  • concert review: Franz Ferdinand w/ Sons and Daughters, controller.controller @ Kool Haus (Toronto, Ontario), Monday June 14, 2004

    In the midst of all the shows that I've been going to over the last week or so, mostly lesser known acts[Sarah Harmer excepted] but worthy of your spending money, was the 'next big thing', Franz Ferdinand show at the Kool Haus. This was originally suppose to have been at the Phoenix Concert Theatre which is a little more intimate, but obviously could not accommodate the demand for tickets. So the show was moved to the Kool Haus, which is just a monstrosity of bad sound, crappy sightlines and overpriced beer. And to top it all off this was an all-ages show. I was their age once, but now that I'm not, I hate all-ages shows. I'm sure they'll feel just like me when they reach legal age.

    guitarist for controller.controller @ Kool Haus, 14/June/04: photo by Mike LigonMy buddy and I were fortunate to be fairly close to the stage for the entire concert. I actually was able to lean against the stage, albeit to the far left of it, for controller.controller's set. The venue was still filling up at this point, and there was a general lack of enthusiasm for the band. Maybe the venue was just too big, or else there was a general lack of familiarity of the band's music amongst the younger crowd. I still think the band's death-disco, post punk grooves come off best in a smaller venue but of course, I'd like to see the band move on to bigger and better things. Controller.controller played songs off their EP but they played several new songs which I'm sure I hadn't heard before. It kinda sucks that I was at the very left side of the stage because I couldn't see half of the band, due to the dark lighting. However, the band seemed to be having fun and as their set progressed, the enthusiasm of the crowd grew, if partly due to my whoops of excitement, I would like to think. Nothing will beat controller.controller's set at the Comfort Zone just a few nights before, so take the opportunity to catch this awesome band live in a small venue while you can. The band's in New York right now playing several shows but will be returning to Canada shortly thereafter. Good luck to the band in the Big Apple.

    female vocalist of Sons and Daughters @ Kool Haus, 14/June/04: photo by Mike LigonBy the start of the next act, the crowd was slowly filling in in anticipation of Franz Ferdinand's set. My friend and I had a great view of the stage near the front towards the left side. Sons and Daughters were up next, and by their accents, I could tell they were Scottish. The band consisted of two guys and two gals. One of the gals who played guitar and keyboards, alternated lead vocals with one of the guys who played guitar. The other gal played bass(as well as electric mandolin!) and the remaining member was on drums. They are a fairly young band from what I could tell, but rather than amateurism and or unoriginality that might have been expected, they had a surprisingly refreshing sound. Their sound lies between rebel, outlaw country, post-punk influences, and ,at least to my ears, The Fall. The drumming was amazingly tight and provided a solid backbeat for the simple-but-effective guitar, keyboard, mandolin and bass arrangements. Their music wasn't necessarily dance-y like controller.controller but it was definitely foot-stompin' music. Great set from a previously unknown band to me. [I purchased their CD "Love The Cup" at the show, which is on Ba Da Bing Records, but I haven't given it a listen yet.]...Oh, the male vocalist, reminded me of Corin Nemec from that show in the early 90's "Parker Lewis Can't Lose". At least from where I was standing. :-)

    guitarist for Franz Ferdinand @ Kool Haus, 14/June/04: photo by Mike LigonThe excitement was building for Franz Ferdinand. The band had previously played a smaller venue in Toronto months before, but for all intense purposes, this show at the Kool Haus felt like their debut. And maybe, in a way it was. With all the hype and airplay the band's been getting in the press and local alt-rock radio stations, there were alot more people in the know about the band now than when they first came to Toronto. It was like The Beatles coming to America. Ok, maybe not, but you get my drift. So when Franz Ferdinand took the stage, the crowd went wild! The drummer in his v-neck, sailor inspired sweater, the rest of the band looking dapper, the band had a look of dapper young art students, the artier version to say Interpol's fashionista sense of style. Actually, the guitarist reminded me alot of Jarvis Cocker. The band proceeded to play songs off their self-titled CD, each song drawing an enthusiastic response from the crowd. I just have to make special note to how thick and lovely the bass playing arrangements were. The guitarist/keyboardist was a lively performer. But back to the songs. You know all the songs: "Take Me Out", "Tell Her Tonight", "Michael"...their music's a little glam, new-wave, pop, punk, and it was all "Superfantastisch" . Yes, they saved "Darts of Pleasure" for the encore, and when the song ended with the band singing in German "Ich heisse Superfantastisch! Ich trinke Schampus und Lachsfisch! Ich heisse Su-per-fan-tas-tisch!" that was one of the most monumentous concert moments[say that 3 times fast] ever!

    ps. And to top off the evening, there was some cool merchandise and schwag available when we exited, myself purchasing, the Sons and Daughters CD as well as a controller.controller pin and picking up some free controller.controller and Franz Ferdinand stickers. I also bought a Franz Ferdinand key chain from some guy outside, which I had no doubt was not 'official' merchandise, but when seen in better light I realized how shoddy the Franz Ferdinand logo was...the print quality was terrible and it wasn't even glossy. Buyer beware when purchasing merchandise outside of the venue. ...Also like to mention that I didn't bring my digital camera because I read on the Kool Haus website that only disposable cameras were allowed, so I brought a (crappy) disposable camera. Unfortunately, about half the pictures came out underexposed, and the only ones worthy of scanning and posting were the ones above. [Here are the pics above and some others if you like to take a gaze.]Next time I'm just sneaking in my digital camera, like everybody else.

  • Thursday, June 17, 2004

    Warm Sound

  • concert review: Tina Dico @ El Mocambo (Toronto, Ontario), June 15, 2004

    Tina Dico @ El Mocambo(Toronto, Ontario), June 15, 2004: photo by Mike LigonCaught 3 nights of NXNE. Saw Franz Ferdinand on Monday. And the perfect subdued capper to a string of wonderful shows, I saw the captivating Scandinavian singer Tina Dico performing a solo acoustic gig at the El Mocambo just this past Tuesday. It was a last minute decision that I decided to head down to the El Mocambo, but I'm glad I went. You may know Tina as a featured vocalist, and newcomer, with the downtempo , chillout band Zero 7. I caught her and Zero 7's exhilirating performance several weeks back when they stopped at The Opera House for the Toronto date of their tour. What a wonderful show that was! [Check out my review of that show.] I felt really, really privileged that I caught Tina's solo gig in Toronto because she's performing in only a select few cities on this mini-tour. Toronto sure lucked out on this one!

    I can only describe Tina's music that night as soul-ful, acoustic pop. 'Soul', in the sense of conveying emotion and passion. With just her vocals and guitar, she mesmerized the audience and had a wonderful rich sound which filled the room. Tina has a singing style filled with warm, rich tones that never resorts to the vocal histronics of so many other, less interesting, singers. Even more pleasantly surprising was how competent Tina's guitar playing was, she managing to play creative and interesting guitar arrangements over her wonderful vocals. Tina played most, if not all, of the songs off her excellent "Far" EP [which I purchased at the show, and has been in constant rotation in my CD player]. I believe she played other songs as well which are not on the CD, so I hope to track down those in the future. [If anyone has a setlist, please drop a comment my way.] Tina came back for one encore. Well, actually Tina was going to leave the stage after playing her last song, but it was so obvious that me and the crowd wanted more. She made a motion to leave the stage but then came back almost immediately and said she felt "silly" going backstage because she'd be all by her lonesome. The highlight of the evening was Tina's acoustic rendition of the Zero 7 track "Home" which captivated the audience. She performed one more song after that, thanked the appreciative audience, and humbly left the stage. She's too wonderful for words and I can't stop gushing!

    Tina Dico's autograph!It doesn't hurt that she's a wonderfully attractive, yet approachable woman. Some fans ended up speaking to her after the set, and after purchasing her CD, I made the decision to get her autograph, and maybe say a couple of words to her. I'm not really much of an autograph hound but I'm really glad I got her autograph. I asked her about Zero 7 and she said that they are, at the moment, back home, but that she and them will be hitting the summer festival circuit this summer. So I complimented her for a great show that night, shook her hand, and wished her well during her stay in Toronto. Let's hope she comes back to Toronto!...Now, if only Zero 7 vocalists, Sia Furler and Sophie Barker, would come to Toronto for solo gigs, the circle will be complete! [check out my pictures!]

  • A review of the excellent Franz Ferdinand show at Kool Haus this past June 14, 2004 hopefully to come today or tomorrow. Now go out and buy Tina Dico's CD, you bums.

  • Wednesday, June 16, 2004

    NXNE - Day 3: This is the beautiful friends

  • Tangiers w/ Death From Above, controller.controller, Uncut, 'some all-girl garage rock band'Magneta Lane @ Comfort Zone (NOT part of NXNE), Saturday June 12, 2004

    Magneta Lane @ Comfort Zone(June 12, 2004): photo by Mike LigonThis was, by far, one of the best local bills ever! This gig was NOT part of NXNE. However, considering 1) that most of the bands on the bill have been getting varying levels of hype and success, and 2) the venue WAS accepting NXNE wristband holders into the show, this could easily have been the best NXNE showcase of the festival. The fact that it was OUTSIDE of the festival gave it an extra cool quotient.

    The first band of the night, coming on at around 11 pm, was an all-girl trio on bass, drums and guitar, with main vocals provided by the guitarist. The girls provided some eye candy as they were dressed in short skirts, but it was more 'Debbie Harry', than anything else. I didn't catch their name and I'm not sure if they're from Toronto. Their music is in the vein of garage rock with hints of riot-grrl. There's an element of amateurism in their musicianship(eg. simple guitar riffs/licks, uncomplicated but energetic drumming, straightforward bass lines) but they played fairly tight. The stage was drenched in red light, and although I did take one pic with my digital camera, I didn't use my flash. But doesn't it look cool anyway? And if anyone knows the band's name, drop a comment my way. TIA. [click here for enlarged version of photo above.]

    Uncut @ Comfort Zone(June 12, 2004): photo by Mike LigonBy the way, Comfort Zone, is a pretty bare-bones establishment. It seemed like a grungy banquet hall more than anything else, rather than a club, although there were chairs and tables scattered throughout the venue. The stage itself was slightly raised off the floor, but the best view was definitely front and center. It was a fairly brief between set wait when the next band, Uncut, took the stage. Unfortunately, I didn't get front and center for their set and ended up watching from stage left. I had never heard their music, but I was pretty sure I had heard their name floating around in the music stratosphere somewhere. My high expectations panned out because Uncut were such a gem of a discovery. I can only say they're my new current favourite band. These guys definitely owe a debt to Joy Division and New Order, not only in the dead-pan vocals, but in their melodic sensibility. The first couple of songs were so reminisent of Joy Division/New Order that I had to think twice whether they were playing cover songs. There was a gradual progression in their set towards a noisier guitar rock sound, albeit still with the melodic sensibility they displayed earlier on in their set. Their CD, "THOSE WHO WERE HUNG HANG HERE" on Paperbag Records, which I purchased a couple of days ago, has been getting constant rotation in my car CD player. Listen to track 6. It's awesome. And I knew I recognized the bassist. It's Derek Tokar, who used to have a band called Radioblaster. That was so 1995. It's good to see he's still in the music game. Their set drew an appreciative response from the audience. Hope these guys go to bigger and better things. [check out my photos.]

    controller.controller @ Comfort Zone(June 12, 2004): photo by Mike LigonController.controller were up next. Considering that the band has only one EP to their name, that I've heard their songs on CD many times and I've seen the band now three times live, counting that night, I'm still in amazement how fresh the band sounds. Call it death-disco, post punk, what have you, but it's all good. As usual, front-woman, Nirmala, was her danceable self, as she sexily grooved to the throbbing bass, scratchy guitars and beat-heavy drumming. Nirmala, in black healed boots, fish net stockings, and apparently a "Say No To Drugs" t-shirt creatively turned into a one shoulder top, looked attractive and the rest of the band also had a keen sense of style. Put the band on the cover of a magazine, because this band looks good! There wasn't alot of stage banter but the band maintained the energy level in the room by keeping the music coming. I think they played a new song and I definitely remember liking it alot. They're definitely the most FUN band in Toronto at the moment, so please support them and buy their 'History' EP or go see them live. Also thanks to Nirmala for letting me take the set-list at the end of the night! [check out my photos.]

    Unfortunately, my friend and I didn't stay for Death From Above and Tangiers. I've seen both bands before but I just wasn't in the mood for them that night. Three nights of concerts catches up to a guy.

  • Stay tuned for reviews of the Franz Ferdinand show @ Kool Haus, Monday June 14, 2004 and the Tina Dico show @ El Mocambo on June 15, 2004. Later my babies.

  • Monday, June 14, 2004

    NXNE - Day 2: The journey continues

    The music gods were smiling down on me through the 3 days of the NXNE festival for two reasons:

    -1)my awesome luck finding decent(read:close to the venue) parking on the street,
    -2)getting to see some great artists throughout the 3 day event

    The Parkas @ Rancho Relaxo(part of NXNE 2004): photo by Mike LigonI made it downtown by car fairly easy on Friday night and found parking almost immediately across the street from my first stop, Rancho Relaxo, which was hosting The Parkas at 10 pm. I arrived at the doors of the venue about 5 minutes after The Parkas had started their set. The live music for Rancho Relaxo is on the second floor. I'd been there several times before so I knew what to expect. The live music venue is basically a very narrow rectangular shape with the stage to your immediate right when you walk in. It's weird to walk in when a band is already playing because when you walk in, the stage is a literally a few steps to your right. I would have loved to just stay up front, but I always feel that if I tried, someone might want to kick my ass for having just walked in and stood in front of them. So I usually make my way towards the middle before trying to head back up front. The smallness of the club is great because it actually makes it more exciting to see bands there, who are at eye level with you.

    So now about the band. Considering 1)the band's name, and, 2) the NXNE site's description of the band, "British invasion, Stax and punk albums have all had an effect on these rock 'n rollers. Heart, soul and memorable melodies are their signatures", I was expecting a mod band, complete with co-ordinated suits and skinny ties. However, they were rather ordinarily dressed indie-rockers. I know the band are on pop label Endearing Records, so I was expecting quality and they didn't disappoint. The Parkas play r'n'b influenced rock n'roll and although not entirely innovative, they do it very well. The music was exemplified by throbbing basslines, spot-on drumming, energetic riffing, and urgent vocals, with a dash of soulful saxophone thrown in on one song for good measure. They're tuneful, but they never forget to rock. They reminded me a little of The Deadly Snakes, but without the horns. Brownie points for one of the member's attempt at stand-up comedy between songs. Oh and one of the members could pass for Rufus Wainwright's twin, complete with matching sideburns [hey even the band made a joke about this]. Good start, to what would be a great evening. [check out my photos here.]

    Feist @ Reverb (as part of NXNE 2004): photo by Mike LigonAfter The Parkas' set ended, I drove down towards the Reverb where Feist was going to be performing. I got a parking spot about a 5 minute walk away from the Reverb. Just want to mention that, the decent weather and great vibe on the streets, especially waiting in line to get into the Feist show, made this year's NXNE really good. Too bad my friends coudn't make it that night[although my friend did make it out the next night]. I ended up having to wait in line for about an hour in front of the Reverb before I got in to the venue. The most frustrating part of waiting in line was that I was slowly getting closer to the front of the line, but people with passes continued to show up and they were getting priority in getting in to the venue over wristband holders. But eventually my turn came and I darted up the stairs towards the sweet sounds of Feist who had just begun her set. I'd never been to the Reverb before and the inside had a good vibe, as it was spaciouos and had couches and coffee tables. The venue was at capacity but I managed to get a decent view off to the left side of the stage. Feist was playing solo that night, although I would have preferred to see her with the band. She talked about Paris, as well as how 'the real gig' was the night after at The Mod Club Theatre. She came off more cosmopolitan than I thought her to be. This was a Toronto gal? The evening was predominantly about understatement, hushness and a cosmopolitan sophistication. She played mostly jazzy pop numbers with just her voice and guitar. At one point between songs, she performed this mish mash of a song which involved looping her vocals and guitar into a swirling crescendo of sound. All I could think of was how much she reminded me of PJ Harvey at that moment. Feist also teased the crowd with the opening guitar strains of Broken Social Scene's 'KC Accidental' which caused a sudden burst of excitement from the crowd. The crowd ate up every note and every utterance from Ms. Feist. It was an all-too-brief set but enjoyable nonetheless. [check out my photos here.]

    The Waxwings @ Healeys (part of NXNE 2004): photo by Mike LigonCould fate work out better that night? The Waxwings were playing Healey's which was just around the corner from the Reverb where Feist had just played. So I headed towards Healey's where The Waxwings' set would begin in about another half hour. Not ever hearing their music, my interest in them was purely based on them being on the Rainbow Quartz label. I came into the know about the label last year when they had a showcase at the Pop Montreal festival. That year, I had seen a band called Asteroid No. 4 who played sweet country rock music, but I also read that the label was primarily a 60's influenced guitar band label. So I had an inkling that I might enjoy other bands on the label. The Waxwings are a band comprised of four lads with the usual setup: lead and rhythm guitars, bass, drums and vocals. Their music had hints of The Byrds and The Stones and they were thoroughly enjoyable. Maybe it's the sterile environment of Healey's[it's so clean and somewhat luxurious compared to other venues] or maybe it was the crowd[ as Healey's usually cater to an older crowd into blues music] but I thought that there was a definite lack of excitmenet in the place. Maybe it was because a lot of people were too interested in sitting down and drinking and talking, rather than f*!kin' listening to the music. Otherwise, myself and others listened intently. Not exactly boogie music, but hard enough at times that I was bopping my head and stomping my feet.[check out my photos here.]

    day 2 down, 1 more to go

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    NXNE - Day 1: Don't Get Your Back Up

  • concert review: Sarah Harmer w/Fembots and Ox @ Lee's Palace (as part of NXNE 2004), Thursday June 10, 2004

    Sarah Harmer @ Lee's Palace (as part of NXNE 2004): photo by Mike LigonNXNE almost didn't happen for me this year. I was having trouble getting friends to come out and I also hadn't bought a wristband even up till the first night of the festival. So with this in mind, I made my mind up to, at least, to try to make it, solo, into the Sarah Harmer show at Lee's Palace this past Thursday. I am so glad I went! Firstly, they were selling NXNE wristbands at Lee's, so I decided to buy one since it was ony $22 and the cover for the night was $20. Secondly, it was just an amazing musical experience. I came after the first band, Ox, had already ended their set. Luckily, I was able to catch second openers, Fembots.

    Fembots' music is a strange amalgam of rootsy country mixed with indie rock. That's really the best description that I can come up with at the moment. The band is made up of 3 guys and a gal. Their lead singer was dressed in sort of a Cuban dictator military green hat and shirt. The girl playing violin, looked like she stepped out of Belle and Sebastian, and not surprisingly she provided some pretty violin accompaniement as well as background vocals. She reminded me of Isobel Campbell, ex of Belle and Sebastian, especially when she lowered her violin, and provided some pretty background vocals, as she gazed out over the audience. The music itself was pretty subdued and was fleshed out by guitar, drums, and keyboards. Songwise, nothing particularly stands out in my mind, but overall I remember liking what I heard. As well, they're on indie label Paperbag Records, which is quickly becoming my favourite indie label[home of also Stars, controller.controller].

    After the normal between-set wait, the lovely Sarah Harmer and her band made their entrance onto the dimly-lit stage. It was such a non-chalant entrance that most of the crowd hadn't immediately realized that it was Ms. Harmer. The crowd eventually caught on. On a sidenote, I'm really digging the higher stage since Lee's Palace renovated; I hadn't been in Lee's Palace for a while and I was pleasantly surprised how much better the sightlines were. I had staked out a spot near the front after the Fembots had finished their set. My proximity to the stage made me enjoy Sarah's performance even more. Sarah and the band were in high form that night both musically and in spirit. Sarah, at several times, made reference to this being a homecoming of sorts because Lee's Palace, if I remember correctly her saying, was the first place she played in Toronto when she started out. Ms. Harmer performed selections from both "You Were Here" and "All Of Our Names", and highlights included 'Lodestar', 'Silver Road', 'Pendulum' and 'Basement Apartment'. Sarah made the evening a fairly interactive one because between sets she had some interesting banter which prompted people to shout out comments. One example was when Sarah mentioned she was in[was going to?] Australia which prompted an audience member to yell out something about the Green Party. This subsequently led Sarah to further comment about Canadian politics and how it was an exciting election year, and then finally saying, towards the end of the evening, to "go vote you fuckers". Sarah rocks! The crowd was very appreciative, which led not to one, but two encores. If I remember correctly, she played at least two songs during the first encore, including my favourite 'Don't Get Your Back Up', me singing[or rather mouthing] the words to the chorus. I wasn't expecting a second encore, but when the crowd continued hootin' and hollerin' and the stage lights still had not come up after a minute or two, I decided to stick around. I'm glad I did because wonderful Sarah and band came back and performed a wicked bluegrass-influenced song which, if I remember correctly, was called 'I am the mountain' or something along those lines. Did I mention how radiant and pretty Sarah looked in her simple top and folksy skirt? Check out my pics![I did a little enhancment to the photos using Kodak Easyshare Software because the photos came out sort of dark and/or had red eye.] My first Sarah Harmer concert was a memorable one, and I left grinning all the way home!

    Hopefully, I'll have some comments up tomorrow about my Day 2(Friday June 11/04) NXNE experience including:

    - The Parkas @ Rancho Relaxo, 10 pm
    - Feist @ Reverb, 12 am
    - The Waxwings @ Healey's, 1 am

    Also stay tuned for my review of the gig at Comfort Zone on Satuday June 12, 2004 featuring Uncut and controller.controller, plus an all-girl band who I didn't catch the name of [Unfortunately, my friend and I skipped out on Death From Above and Tangiers who I had seen in the past but wasn't keen on seeing that night]. This technically was not associated with NXNE, but as some of the local papers have mentioned, the show was put on in direct opposition to the festival. I'm not sure how true that was but the venue was letting people with NXNE wristbands in. How nice of them.

  • Saturday, June 12, 2004

    Snailhouse..the sequel

    Three nights of concerts and one more to go! [At least until the Franz Ferdinand show on Monday.] Last minute decisions for the most part, the good weather combined with an open schedule has really gotten me out to the shows. And to think that summer hasn't even started yet. A combination of work and going to shows for the last three nights has prevented me from updating my blog. I should be outside right now, since it's such a beautiful day, but my friend and I'll be out and about tonight for the last night of NXNE, so I don't feel so guilty about being inside right now. [Although for the record, I was out earlier this morning. Waking up to a beautiful morning on a Saturday is what life's all about!]

  • Maritime w/ Snailhouse @ Horseshoe Tavern, Wednesday June 9, 2004

    Snailhouse @ Horseshoe Tavern, June 2, 2004: photo by Mike LigonWell it had to happen sooner or later. I've always read about bands playing to small crowds. The concerts I've gone to (whether major label or indie) have tended towards fairly good attendance. However, the Maritime/Snailhouse show was so poorly attended that I didn't realize that some of the audience that were watching opener Snailhouse's set were actually members of the headlining band Maritime. I had never heard Maritime, except for an mp3, but I had read that the band comprised ex-members of The Promise Ring and The Dismemberment Plan, two bands that I'm not that familiar with but were aware that they had loyal followings. I was surprised that more people hadn't shown up. I think I counted, maybe, 20 people. Maybe, it was because it was a Wednesday night. Who knows. The surprising thing was that both Snailhouse and Maritime were surprisingly chipper about the whole situation. Both artists made efforts for people to come closer to the stage. I think that really made everyone feel more comfortable.

    Snailhouse played a set of beautiful understated music consisting primarily of his vocals and guitar, at times with subtle drumming or electronic noodling from a band member. At times his music reminded me of Red House Painters. He played a favourite of mine "21 years", which is slightly more 'upbeat' and melodic than some of his other songs. In my opinion Snailhouse stole the show! Snailhouse(aka Mike Feurstack) didn't set up a merch table at the end of the set because Mike and his bandmate joined Maritime for their set, providing some additional guitar, vocals, and percussion. However, at the end of the night I was able to buy a Snailhouse CD personally from Mike [I bought an EP which I didn't have.]. I had a short conversation with Mike and I had a chance to chat with him about several things. Firstly, Snailhouse weren't playing NXNE [too bad]. Secondly, Snailhouse are on tour with Maritime and their next stop after Toronto is Detroit. Thirdly, the new album was not yet available. If you ever have a chance to see Snailhouse live, I highly recommend it. [And maybe it'll be a great chick magnet, for showing that you're into 'sensitive' music... ;-) ]

    My expectations for Maritime were high, but unfortunately I left disappointed. They were definitly 'pop', which is a good thing in my books, but I felt they didn't really have the songs to match. I read a review of their album on Pitchfork. I still think Pitchfork were too harsh but after seeing the band live, I'm still not won over. They had some semi-catchy songs but overall it wasn't enough for me to decide to buy their CD. There's always next time.

    ps. sorry for the crappy photo...I should have used my flash.

    To be continued tomorrow(hopefully), including reviews of:

    - Sarah Harmer w/ Fembots, Ox @ Lee's Palace(NXNE), Thursday June 10, 2004

    - The Parkas @ Rancho Relaxo(NXNE), 10 pm, Friday June 11, 2004
    - Feist @ Reverb(NXNE), 12 am, Friday June 11, 2004 (well technically June 12)
    - The Waxwings @ Healey's(NXNE), 1 am, Friday June 11, 2004 (well technically June 12)

  • Tuesday, June 08, 2004


  • photo from original photo by jeremy garaFirst, listen to the new Snailhouse song "Birds and Bees" [available as a free mp3 at the Snailhouse site] and I dare you to tell me that it is not some of the most achingly-beautiful music you've ever heard. Snailhouse is Mike Feurstack. Well, more accurately it's Mike's band. He's been playing music I believe at least since the mid-90's and he used to be in Ottawa-based band The Wooden Stars who specialized in an obtuse, fractured form of pop music. Weird, but certainly wonderful sometimes. The Wooden Stars even collaborated with wonderful Haligolian chanteuse Julie Doiron whose own acoustic-based music draws some similarites to Snailhouse. Snailhouse was certainly more difficult music in its early days when it used to just be Mike on acoustic guitar. I remember seeing him live, I believe at the now-defunct Ultrasound Showbar[oh how I miss that place] in Toronto. His acoustic-based music was certainly heartfelt but somewhat off-kilter melodically. His guitar chords were unconventional for pop music, and sometimes made for difficult listening. However, there's been a gradual progression towards melodicism with his albums, especially when Snailhouse became a band. I was surprised to see that Snailhouse will be playing at the Horseshoe tomorrow night [opening for emo-poppers Maritime] and that sudden bit of information has given me the motivation to pull out my Wooden Stars/Snailhouse CD's that I've neglected for far too long. ...Wallow in the beauty.

  • Monday, June 07, 2004

    Thrilled To Be Here

  • Scott Pilgrim, Vol I cover, courtesy of Oni Press siteI got an interesting e-mail from the Plumtree Yahoo! Group. The list's been quite dormant since Plumtree broke up several years ago but every now and then someone posts a message. [I also never got around to unsubbing from the group.] However, to summarize, this guy Bryan Lee O’Malley is creating a series of graphic novels entitled Scott Pilgrim named after the Plumtree song. I'm not much of a comic book fan but I may just check it out. As the Oni Press site describes the series, "SCOTT PILGRIM follows the title character through Toronto and the subspace freeway in his own head as he practices with his rock band, dates a high school girl, goes to parties, and tries to woo the literal girl of his dreams." ...Hey, I doubt I'd be checking this out if there were no connection to Plumtree. Whatever it takes, I guess.

    If you, want to read the original e-mail, click here.

    Check out the press release for the series at the Oni Press site.

  • some late-night television musical guest reminders[info courtesy of The Late Night TV Page]:

  • Sunday, June 06, 2004

    Festival Circuit

  • So the NXNE festival is this week in Toronto. The festival has stayed true to the spirit of showcasing little known bands which is commendable. The problem(for me at least) is the bands are a little too unknown which makes it difficult to choose who to see. However, NXNE has a bunch of showcases that I'm interested in checking out. I might be checking any one or more of the following[info cut and paste from eye]:

      - Thr June 10: NXNE Six Shooter Night
      FINLAND Yep Roc Surf ‘LAIKA & THE COSMONAUTS’ @1:00, OTTAWA’s ‘JIM BRYSON’ @12:00, ‘Remains Of Brian Borchedt’ @11:00, ‘Luke Doucet’ @10:10, ‘Ford Pier’ @9:20 & ‘NQ Arbuckle’ @8:30. $7.00 or Free with NxNE Laminate or Wristband. 8:00 PM Doors. -

      - Sat June 12: NXNE CBC Radio 3 Night
      Ian Blurton’s ‘C’mon’ @1:00, VANCOUVER Mint/604 ‘THE ORGAN’ @12:00, VANCOUVER ‘KINNIE STAR’ @11:00, ‘Brass Munk’ @10:00 & WINNIPEG Warner ‘THE WAKING EYES’ @9:00. $10.00 or Free with NxNE Laminate or Wristband. 8:30 PM Doors.

    • @ LEE'S PALACE
      - Thursday June 10: NXNE Presents Maple Music Uni Alt Folk Rocker in a RARE Club Concert
      ‘SARAH HARMER’ @ 11:00 with ‘Fembots’ @ 10:00 and ‘Ox ‘@ 9:00. $20.00 @ the DOOR ONLY or Free with NxNE Laminate or Wristband. 8:30 PM Doors. 8:00 PM Doors.

      - Friday June 11: NXNE Presents NYC TVT n HALIFAX Warner’s Rock N Roll
      ‘AMBULANCE’ @ 1:00 ‘MATT MAYS AND EL TORPEDO’ @ 12:00, ‘NATHAN WILEY’@11:00, ‘MATTHEW BARBER’ @ 10:00, ‘MARBLE INDEX’ @ 9:00. $10.00 @ the door or Free with NxNE Laminate or Wristband. 8:30 doors

      - Saturday June 12: Toronto’s Original Real 60’s Mod Indie UK Brit Rock-Pop Dance
      ‘BLOW UP’ with the DETROIT’s ‘THE SIGHTS’ @11:00. 10:30 PM to 4:00 AM. (No Entry After 2:00 AM) $6.00

  • Available at The Cardigans Country is The Cardigans' Live at Morning Becomes Eclectic session from May 24, 2004, available in mp3 format. Link from Spookihaus.

  • Has anyone heard Juliana Hatfield's rendition of Dot Allison's "Tomorrow Never Comes" off Juliana's new record "In Exile Deo". It is killer. According to The Covers Project, Juliana performed this song live back in 2000. I'm so glad she released it officially. Any word if the new album is good?

  • Friday, June 04, 2004

    Harry Potter and The School of Rock

  • In honour of the North American release of the new Harry Potter film Prisoner of Azkaban, check out which has a scan of the Daniel Radcliffe article in NME, June 2004 in which he discusses his love for good music. I remember reading in past articles that he was a fan of bands such as The Sex Pistols, The Stranglers, and U2. However, the NME article is quite the revelation as Daniel reveals his fondness for The Libertines, The Strokes, and Mercury Rev...although he doesn't 'get' the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and The White Stripes. Forgive him...he's young.

  • Check out streaming video of my current favourite band, The Stills, performing at Coachella 2004!

  • Thursday, June 03, 2004

    Pleasant Surprises

  • movie review: Troy

    I'll have to admit that I wasn't at all eagerly anticipating seeing Troy. A friend of mine wanted to see it, so I went. At best, I thought it would be comparable to Gladiator. I was not familiar with the whole story behind Troy, which is apparently based on the poem, The Iliad. Well, I knew about the Trojan Horse. That was it. Oh, and then there's Brad Pitt. He's been in some great movies, but I don't find him a terribly interesting actor. With all those compelling reasons to see the movie, I was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed the movie. It's visually spectactular, from the magnificent scenes of a fleet of ships off to battle, to the violent(but not gory) battle scenes between the Greeks and the Trojans. Brad Pitt puts in an admirable performance as Achilles who is the Greek's greatest warrior. He's got some terrific fight scenes and displays some geniune athletic skills. Orlando Bloom plays a Trojan Prince who falls in love with the wife of a Sparta King. Eric Bana, also a Trojan Prince, plays the older brother of Orlando Bloom's character. Putting the movie into a modern context, it stands well as a good anti-war film. The film also touches on more personal themes of love and jealousy. I'm really at a loss for words to go into any more detail, but at about 2 1/2 hours long, I can honestly say that there wasn't a moment I was bored. And that's saying alot for movies these days.

  • Update on my Franz Ferdinand tickets situation: Soundscapes still had tickets for the Franz Ferdinand show in Toronto on June 14, 2004. Got a couple of tickets yesterday!...on a sidenote: I had never been in Soundscapes(actually, I've never really been in that part of Toronto[College St near Dovercourt?]) before and I really liked the atmosphere. Clean, comfortable, and the staff are friendly. They seemed to have all the current indie selections(especially music DVD-wise) but somehow it felt like they didn't have as much of an inventory as, say, Rotate This. Well, they were setting up for a Sixtoo instore(which I couldn't stay for) and had some of the displays pushed up against the back of the store, so maybe all that space made it seem like they had a small inventory. At any rate, Soundscapes had an awesome music DVD selection and I'll likely go back for the Galaxie 500 DVD release if I can't find it at HMV. (ps. was that one of the members of Royal City working there?)

  • The Thrills have put the finishing touches on new album, according to Pitchfork. The album will feature an appearance from REM guitarist Peter Buck, as well as string arrangements from Brian Wilson's co-writer Van Dyke Parks. Their debut album "So Much For The City" was a pleasant surprise that totally caught me off guard. Irish lads(and fairly young at that) who play sweet Beach Boys inflected, countrified pop music? Well it works and their music doesn't feel forced at all(at least IMO). I've raved about their live show before and they're playing the Toronto Lollapalooza date this August. Oh happy day! (BTW...I just picked up a couple of two-day passes to the Toronto Lollapalooza date...section 304 of the Molson Ampitheatre...can't wait!)

  • Relive your brit-pop days with the tenth anniversary release of Oasis' "Definitely Maybe - The DVD". From NME.

  • What better time to go vinyl than with Guided By Voices' triple-vinyl release of Bee Thousand.

  • Tuesday, June 01, 2004

    Somebody's watching me

  • How cool is this? Night vision goggles are now being used to catch film pirates (Toronto Star, May 31, 2004). The experiment is being tried in Britain as ushers at British screenings of the new Harry Potter are using night vision goggles to catch film pirates in the act. These actions are a direct result of poor qualities of the first two Harry Potter films flooding the black market. ...What's next? Snipers in the balcony?! ;-)

  • In the grand tradition of Canadian television being a pale imitation of American television(which itself is sometimes a superior version of British telvision, eg. Three's Company), the new season of Canadian Idol starts tonight. One consolation: more Tanya Kim on E-Talk Daily! (while usual host Ben Mulroney hosts Canadian Idol).

  • Sitting here listening to Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out" on the radio and just kicking myself for not picking up a ticket to the now sold-out Franz Ferdinand show in Toronto on June 14, 2004.

  • ps. This is the first time I've posted from work...I don't think I'll be doing this too often. There are eyes everywhere.