Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Give Me A Wall

concert review: Forward Russia, Snowden @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), December 1, 2006

Forward Russia @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

For all intense purposes, the Forward Russia/Snowden show at the Horseshoe Tavern last Friday was a bust for me. I didn't necessarily not enjoy the show, but it did fail to stir any long last emotions that would motivate me to listen to the bands with a more keen interest. Of the two bands, openers Atlanta's Snowden seemed more destined for a certain level of mainstream success. I'd seen a few promo photos of the band all decked out a la Interpol(who the band also share a somewhat similar sound at times) so I was a little surprised that the band made their Toronto debut dressed casually in t-shirts and jeans. If the audience was somewhat distant from the band initially they gradually warmed up to the band with each song, resulting in the audience coming closer and closer to the stage. A few girls danced ecstatically in front of the stage which lead vocalist Jordan Jeffares greatly appreciated. Their music reminds me of Interpol but with the vocals being a little less deadpan(although not by much). Great energy from the band, and a few instrument changeups kept things interesting. Songs were hit and miss, but with a song like "Anti-Anti", with it's infectious melody, delicious rhythms and vibrant guitars, Snowden are sometimes hard to resist.

You somtimes have to be suspicious about bands who have exclamation points as part of their band name. But then you have UK Leeds band Forward Russia who include an inverted '!' mark at the beginning of their name and a normal '!' at the end of their name. I'd initially thought it was somewhat gimmicky but then heard a few songs from their MySpace and thought they weren't bad. Wearing matching white t-shirts emblazoned with their double exclamation point symbol, the band stormed through a set of fiery punky pop tunes distinguished mostly by its wirey guitar sounds and the hyper-kinetic vocals(matched by equally hyper-kinetic body movements) of lead vocalist Tom Woodhead. Forward Russia's music most reminded me of Bloc Party and The Futureheads, but I can't say I'm ready for another one of those bands at the moment. I couldn't say the same for many of the people in the audience who were just eating it all up. I enjoyed it enough, but it's long lasting effects remain to the seen - I wasn't at all tempted to buy the CD at the merch table if that's any indication. Their was one song during which their female drummer would shout out the number '1', '2', '3', '4', '5' in succession which I enjoyed, a lot which had to do with her charmingly girl-ish British accent but also for the punky, girl-group influence which maybe(hopefully) the band can explore in the future.

BTW, what's the deal with the band naming every song on their album "Give Me A Wall" after a number?

Here are my photos from the show.
Blacking Out The Friction has more photos from the show.

Snowden @ MySpace
Forward Russia @ MySpace
According to chartattack who report on The New P0rnographers upcoming release of a limited edition live album, they also report that the band will be performing in Toronto at Nathan Phillips Square on February 3, 2007 as part of WinterCity 2007 festival.

Canoe Jam! concert listings indicate that Sloan will be at Nathan Phillips Square to perform on January 27, 2007 which is also part of WinterCity 2007 festival.

And to keep things on a seasonal theme, the Zunior blog has a Christmas-themed podcast available for your download and listening pleasure.

Looking forward to checking out Austin, Texas' Explosions In The Sky at The Opera House in Toronto on March 24, 2007. Thanks to Chromewaves for the tip.

To continue the Jenn Grant love, you can purchase two of Jenn Grant's new songs("Dreamer", "Britt n' Kipp") which will be included on her upcoming debut full-length "Orchestra For The Moon". Purchase the songs as digital downloads over at Zunior and/or purchase the CDr single over at Endearing Records. And just a reminder that you can listen to these songs over at her MySpace.

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