Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just For Laughs

After work today I strolled down Yonge St and saw that an event was being set up at Yonge Dundas Square and they were blocking off part of Yonge St. north of Queen St. I didn't know what it was at the time, but after reading Torontoist I now know that it's part of Just For Laughs Toronto, the Montreal comedy festival which is hitting Toronto for the first time ever. There's a free street festival going on Friday and Saturday night between 6 pm and 11 pm, including a comedy set by Toronto's own Russell Peters Friday night at 7 pm down at Yonge Dundas Square. Check out Torontoist for more comedy fest happenings this weekend.

On a related comedy-note, while I was walking south on Yonge St. after work I happened to pass this little grotto between the buildings(just north of Queen St.) where I saw a large group of young 'uns gathered and I had an impression that they were taping an episode of MTV's "Yo Mamma"(I know the show has taped in Toronto before). Was that in fact what I saw and if so, is the show here for the Just For Laughs Toronto festival also?

YouTube: Russell Peters - "Outsourced Terrorist"

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Concert Announcements & Other News

Aug 10/07 - Ohbijou @ Harbourfront Centre [*]
Aug 22/07 - Blue Rodeo, Old 97's @ Molson Ampitheatre ($16.25-$65.50) [$]
Aug 25/07 - Sloan, The Golden Dogs @ CNE Bandshell [*]
Sep 20/07 - Grizzly Bear @ The Mod Club [!]
Sep 21/07 - Ryan Adams & The Cardinals @ Massey Hall ($32.50-$40.00) [&]
Sep 26/07 - Kaiser Chiefs, White Rabbits, Datarock @ The Carlu [*]
Sep 29/07 - Rocky Votolato, Portugal. The Man @ El Mocambo [*]
Sep 30/07 - Caribou @ Rivoli (secret show - see band website for details)
Oct 9/07 - Voxtrot, The Little Ones, 1990s @ The Mod Club [^]
Oct 12/07 - Pinback @ The Opera House ($15) [%]
Oct 14/07 - The Raveonettes, Nicole Atkins & The Sea, Gliss @ Lee's Palace [+]
Oct 23/07 - Tori Amos @ Hummingbird Centre For The Performing Arts [*]
Oct 30/07 - Black Mountain, Oakley Hall, The Cave Singers @ Horseshoe Tavern [*]
Nov 13/07 - Sharon Jones and The Dap Kings @ Lee's Palace ($16.50) [%]
Nov 13/07 - Menomena, Illinois @ The Mod Club [#]

! - Pitchfork
* - Pollstar
$ - Canoe Jam!
& - Pitchfork
% - Rotate This
# - Pitchfork
^ - Just Keep Bloggin'
+ - Chromewaves
In other news, Beggars Group purchases Rough Trade and Sympathy For The Record Industry is on the selling block.

In advance of The New Pornographers appearance at this weekend's Roger Picnic at Fort York, NOW spoke to Carl Newman about the softer touch on the band's upcoming new album "Challengers"(out August 21 on Last Gang Records).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo

Milton-ites The Most Serene Republic return to the radar with their upcoming album "Population" to be released in Canada on October 2 through Arts & Crafts. Download a track from the album:

MP3: The Most Serene Republic - 'Sherry and Her Butterfly Net'
Tour Date: August 18, 2007 @ Westside Theatre(Hamilton, ON) w/ Apostle of Hustle, Young Galaxy

The late Johnny Cash's backing band, The Tennesee Three come to Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on August 20. The band features core members Bob Wootton (lead guitar & vocals) & W.S. Holland (drums) but likely will include a few other members if I've read the Wikipedia entry correctly.

As Chromewaves mentioned last week, Patrick Krief(guitarist of The Dears) brings his own solo singer-songwriter project to the Rivoli on August 30. Brooklyn Vegan points to Mr. Krief's MySpace which feature some streaming songs, two('Bourre' & 'London', unmastered recordings) of which feature Land of Talk's Elizabeth Powell on vocals.

The man perpetually on tour, Ted Leo and his band The Pharmacists have a load more North American dates scheduled over the next three months including a return date in Toronto at The Mod Club on October 7, tickets $15.00. Support is 60's pop-inspired duo Georgie James from Washington DC. Check out their MySpace.

Mojo interview Ween about the 4-year gap since 2003's "Quebec" and their most recent release, Reinhard Raith, the man behind Crazy Frog.

Labrador Records have posted a 68-track Summer Sampler available for download. For lovers of all things Swedish and pop.

And speaking of Swedes, Jens Lekman just finished the recording of his new album last week(according to his July 22, 2007 Smalltalk post). To tide us over he's released a new single, 'Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo' b/w Radio NRJ. Listen to the A-side here. Jens calls it "`one of the finest...`, but the absolute finest popsong I've ever written. Fuck Black Cab. Fuck Mapleleaves. In ten years this will be a true classic." Oh, Jens.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Floating By The Open Window

In honour of my friend and his wife's wedding yesterday(of which I was happy to be part of the wedding party) I bring you the following. Apparently Feist only recently began performing live a cover of Sarah Harmer's 'Open Window (The Wedding Song)'. Such a lovely song and the lyrics say it all. Check it out below:

YouTube: Feist - 'Open Window (The Wedding Song)' [Sarah Harmer cover] - June 24, 2007 @ Moore Theater - Seattle, WA
YouTube: Feist - 'Open Window (The Wedding Song)' [Sarah Harmer cover] - June 26, 2007 @ Filmore - San Francisco, CA

And speaking of Feist, Pitchfork reports that she's added a few more North American tour dates to the schedule in September, the only Canadian date being the Osheaga Festival in Montreal on September 8, but Southern Ontarians might consider checking her out in Buffalo, NY at Albright-Knox Art Gallery on September 7. Maybe you might get to hear her version of 'Open Window'.

MySpace: Feist

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Little Waltz

Basia BulatPrior to going out with Final Fantasy for a Canadian/US west coast tour in October, Basia Bulat has a few Ontario dates lined up including a CD Release party in Toronto on September 22 at a venue TBA. (Check her MySpace for all tour dates.) The CD in question is her debut album "Oh, My Darling" which is finally getting a Canadian release through Hardwood Records on September 18[the album was released earlier this year in the UK through Rough Trade]. I'm not sure if Basia's still performing September 12 at Yonge-Dundas Square since it's no longer listed at her MySpace although it's still listed on the Yonge-Dundas Square Calendar of Events.[photo from here]

Local indiepoppers The Airfields have a few upcoming shows including August 16 at The Boat (as part of Pitter Patter Nights) and August 26 at Kensington Market as part of Pedestrian Sundays for a Psych Fest which will also include other local bands including The Adorables, The Easy Targets, The Hoa Hoa's, and more.

North Carolinians Bowerbirds are set to open for The Mountain Goats for the upcoming tour which stops in Toronto September 25 at Lee's Palace[via Pitchfork]

North Carolina's The Avett Brothers have a solid North American tour schedule(see their MySpace) from this month through to November with a stop in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern on October 7.

Of Montreal hit the road for an extensive North American tour this fall according to Pitchfork, the closest which it will come to Toronto being on October 10 in Buffalo, NY at The Tralf.

Pollstar lists a few upcoming Massey Hall shows including Ben Harper & Piers Faccinni for a two-night stint September 28-29 and Sinead O'Connor on October 20.

According to Chartattack, Ottawa's The Acorn's second full-length "Glory Hope Mountain" is set for release on September 25 through Paper Bag Records and are planning to support it with a fall tour. Check out the Chartattack link for the track listing.

Reader Colin Ryan posted over at Stereogum some thoughts, photos and video of The White Stripes' secret-show ONE-NOTE set that took place yesterday in St. Johns, Newfoundland prior to the band's proper gig that night(of which A Quiet Revolution has a review, photos, and video of).

Long time no hear from Toronto garagey-rock-pop trio Magneta Lane, but according to a recent MySpace blog post they've amicably parted ways with their label Paper Bag Records and have no plans for touring until their new album is completed and recorded.

Feist was on BBC 6 Music's Gideon Coe program this past Monday and was interviewed and performed a couple of songs for the program. Listen to the session here[about 1 hour and 40 minutes into the program; program is only archived for a week]. Or else new-ish blog All I See Is Black And White And Red has mp3's of the session(which include live versions of '1234' and 'The Park) already available for download.

Gear up for Spoon tomorrow(July 18, 2007) when they perform a live session(including songs off their most recent album "Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga") for Morning Becomes Eclectic at 11:15 PST[2:15 EST]. Listen here.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Everything From A To Z

Before they head out on a European tour with The Decemberists starting near the end of September, Land Of Talk have a few more North American tour dates lined up including a date at El Mocambo on September 4, with Cloud Cult supporting. Maybe I'll finally get to see LoT live. Check out their tour dates over at their MySpace.

Chartattack posted Great Lake Swimmers upcoming tour dates(GLS are in Toronto at the Phoenix on September 29). The Septmber 28 date is quite tempting with GLS playing with Final Fantasy AND Ohbijou in Guelph at River Run Centre. That might just be worth the 45 minute drive.

By now you probably already know that Voxtrot return to Toronto on October 9 for a show at The Mod Club. And as Chromewaves points out, everything(well Pitchfork) points to The New Pornographers show at the Phoenix being on October 21(not October 20) with support from Emma Pollock and also Benjy Ferree.

Aversion has the tracklisting for the new PJ Harvey album "White Chalk" coming out in the UK on September 24.

Just a little bit of local non-music news - Torontoist ran a story a few days ago that a TTC Station Modernization Progam is set to be underway with the planned restructuring and redesign of nine subway stations including Pape, Dufferin and Bloor-Yonge first then Victoria Park, Islington, Kipling, Museum, St. Patrick, and Osgoode. I'm particularly interested in Islington and Kipling since I usually board the subway at one of those stations. Prior to this news I never gave a second thought that the TTC subway stations needed a facelift or restructuring but come to think of it, not only do a lot of stations look like shitholes, but I believe some aren't even wheelchair accessible.

I'm assuming some of you've already seen that recent Zellers commercial which features a revamped version of The Alphabet Song('ABC'). Someone posted it on YouTube the other day. Zellers has been running ads over the last little while with some stellar music(songs from artists including Esthero, Joel Plaskett, The Salteens) and the new Alphabet song is maybe the best one yet...I think it's an original song actually. Open call to any teachers out there who teach their class to sing that new 'ABC' song and post it on YouTube. I'd LOVE to see that.

YouTube: "Everything From A To Z" - Zellers Commercial(2007)

Everything From A To Z - Zellers Commercial (2007)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Shout - Out Out - Out Out!

concert review: Shout Out Out Out Out, Cadence Weapon, The Russian Futurists, The Cansecos as part of Beats, Breaks and Culture Festival @ Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, Ontario), July 7, 2007

It's a been a week since the Beats, Breaks and Culture Festival down at Harbourfront Centre last weekend. Ain't no party like a Shout Out Out Out Out party as the Edmonton outfit tore it up with their brand of danceable electro-disco rock. With a double drumkit setup plus keyboards, guitar, bass guitar and vocoder(and probably a few other dodads) they got the crowd on their feet and never let up once. The crowd returned the favour as they chanted in staccato unison, 'Shout - Out Out - Out Out!'. It was great to see fellow Edmontonian Cadence Weapon join in on one song at the request of the band. The party continued afterwards in the Brigantine Room as Toronto-based label Upper Class Recordings hosted a showcase of it's artists including The Cansecos, The Russian Futurists and Cadence Weapon with some in-between set DJ'ing from Rollie(aka Cadence Weapon) himself. The Cansecos opened the night playing an interesting blend of indie rock fused with funk, electronica and disco. It was only my second time seeing The Russian Futurists live(the first being when they opened for Junior Boys back in April of this year) but they continue to impress me with their dense sonic collage of pop-psychedlia. Unfortunately, I didn't stick around for Cadence Weapon's headling set(at any rate, at least I saw him last year) since it was getting late but I must mention that Rollie's DJ set(after The Cansecos' set) was awesome.

Photos: Shout Out Out Out Out @ Harbourfront Centre - July 7, 2007
Photos: The Russian Futurists, The Cansecos, Cadence Weapon(DJ) @ Brigantine Room - July 7, 2007

You can next catch Shout Out Out Out Out live when they play the Hillside Festival in Guelph on July 28. In the coming weeks/months, Upper Class Recordings will be releasing a few items - The Russian Futurists release "Me, Myself & Rye"(a compilation of songs from their first 3 albums) in Canada July 24, while The Cansecos new album "Juice" is to be released this fall. In the meantime, The Cansecos are offering a free download of their very disco-ish "Juiced" LP(links below):

MP3: The Cansecos - "Juiced" [side A]
MP3: The Cansecos - "Juiced" [side B]

MySpace: Shout Out Out Out Out
MySpace: Cadence Weapon
MySpace: The Russian Futurists
MySpace: The Cansecos

Check out a few of my choice photos from the night below:

Shout Out Out Out Out @ Harbourfront:photo by Michael Ligon

The Cansecos @ Harbourfront: photo by Michael Ligon

The Russian Futurists @ Harbourfront: photo by Michael Ligon

Cadence Weapon @ Harbourfront: photo by Michael Ligon

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Who Sucked Out The Feeling?

Aversion brings news that 90's alt-pop obsurities Superdrag are reforming. The original lineup of John Davis along with founding members Brandon Fisher on guitar, bassist Tom Pappas and drummer Don Coffey Jr. will take to the road for the first time since the act's original lineup's played together in 1999. Their song 'Sucked Out' has to be one of my favourite songs of the 90's:

YouTube: Superdrag - "Sucked Out" (music video)

Chartattack reports on the upcoming September 18 release of The Sadies new album "New Seasons" will be released through Outside Music.

Reggae pioneers Sly and Robbie and Massive Attack-endorsed reggae singer Horace Andy will be at Phoenix on August 21, tickets $30.00 and already available at Rotate This.

A few concert announcements courtesy of CANOE JAM! - Barzin and Kiosk will be at The Opera House on September 8. I wonder if the Kiosk they are referring to is this one. I've never heard of them in any case, but Kiosk(the London one) have a swaggery rock sound combined with female British vocals which is quite likable.

Brandi Carlile with openers A Fine Frenzy will be at the Phoenix on October 9. Tickets are $10.00 and are already on sale at Rotate This. I picked up Brandi's most recent CD "The Story" and she has an amazing voice that's sweet yet raw. Check out her MySpace.

Akron Family and Bob Log III will be at Lee's Palace on September 23, tickets $15.00.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Lay It Down

concert review: Cowboy Junkies, Ivy Mairi @ Live @ Courthouse (Toronto, Ontario), July 3, 2007

Cowboy Junkies @ Live at the Courthouse: photo by Michael Ligon

Making good on a promise I made to myself back in February to see Cowboy Junkies live the next time they played in Toronto, I saw them last Tuesday at the posh Live @ Courthouse in Toronto. Believe it or not, but this was only the second time I ever saw them live, the first being in 1989 at the revolving stage of long-gone Ontario Place Forum. By the looks of the fanbase that was at The Courthouse last Tuesday, the audience(myself included) have aged along with the band. The average age of the audience had to be at least 40, making me(in my 30's) one of the youngest ones there it seemed. Wow, that doesn't happen often. The venue itself apparently was an old courthouse, hence the name, now a jazz club boasting a stage and cozy dinner tables strewn around the floor, with a bar at the back. It's just about the most posh venue I've been in in Toronto. The acoustics were good, at least to my ears.

Opening the show was Ward's Island young indie-folkie Ivy Mairi. With her recently released Michael Timmins-produced album "Hey You" "Well You" (released on the Junkies' label Latent Recordings), Ivy performed a selection of tunes from it spotlighting her charming, fragile vocals and spare guitar arrangements. Sometimes it leaned to far to the folk side of things but the more straightforward melodic pop songs were enticing. She even performed a fantastic cover of Daniel Johnston's 'True Love Will find You In The End' with her friend Georgia Webber dueting with her(and whose vocals reminded me a lot of Jolie Holland).

It bugs me that it seems that Toronto's Cowboy Junkies are more popular in the US and in Europe than they are in their home country. It's a shame. I'll admit that even I lost interest for a time being in the 90's(although I remain true to "The Trinity Session", "The Caution Horses" and "Black-Eyed Man"). As 2007 marks the 20th anniversary of their landmark "The Trinity Session" I couldn't pass up the chance to see them live this time. Joined by multi-instrumentalist Jeff Bird the Junkies performed a delectable selection of tunes. Even though I wasn't familiar with some of the set list(some of the songs from their most recent album "At The End of Paths Taken"), much of it was so instantly identifiable with the band's sound, from Margo's hush vocals, Michael's hypnotic guitar sounds, Alan's soothing bass guitar, and Peter's tight drum work. No longer the shy frontperson, Margo seemed quite comfortable in her banter with the audience, much of it actually quite funny and endearing. Her comment about opener Ivy Mairi's songs being about love and such was then offset jokingly by her apologizing for her band's set being emotionally more sad and down, although she blamed her brother Michael(again jokingly) because he writes all the lyrics. A late set segment featured just Margo, Michael on guitar and Jeff on mandolin(if I recall correctly) which was highlighted by an absolutely spine-tingling version of "The Trinity Session"'s 'To Love Is To Bury'. That trio setup also continued into the encore for an awesome cover of Neil Young's 'Powderfinger' before the rest of the band came back on to the stage to finish in fine fashion with the classic bluesy-country of 'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel'. Hmmm, I remember one of the first band t-shirts I ever bought was a Cowboy Junkies one with the phrase/song title 'Cause Cheap Is How I Feel' unassumingly stitched into it. I'm pretty sure I still have the t-shirt somewhere, a little worn but still comfortable after all these years. Seeing the Cowboy Junkies live again after all these years felt exactly like wearing that t-shirt.

Here are my photos from the show.

MySpace: Cowboy Junkies
MySpace: Ivy Mairi
I'm looking forward to seeing Glass Candy in Toronto at The Social on July 26[via Stille Post]. UK blog Yer Mam! turned me on to them with the lush, classic soul sound of their song 'Rolling Down The Hills'. So infectious, maybe the song of the summer(at least for me). Download/listen to it over at their MySpace:

MySpace: Glass Candy

Great Lake Swimmers are back in Toronto for a show at the Phoenix on September 29 according to Canadian booker Paquin Entertainment.

The English Beat are at Lee's Palace on October 20 and also perform in Oakville at the Oakville Centre For The Performing Arts on October 26. Check out their North American tour dates over at their MySpace.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

So Here We Are

Full coverage of the Live Earth concerts which happened yesterday in several cities around the world can be seen here. Yeah, the (environmental)message may have been forgotten momentarily as people just got in to the music. Was Live Earth just another rock show? For many it was. As Time points out, the "giant carbon foot print" of an event that Live Earth was was inherently at odds with the concert's energy-conservation message - if anything does come of the concerts it's that somehow the message wasn't lost. In the days, weeks, and years ahead, well we'll see.

Bloc Party at Wembley Stadium was one of the highlights(well for me anyway):

Video: Bloc Party - "The Banquet" (live @ Live Earth (Wembley Stadium) - July 7, 2007)
Video: Bloc Party - "So Here We Are" (live @ Live Earth (Wembley Stadium) - July 7, 2007)
Video: Bloc Party - "The Prayer" (live @ Live Earth (Wembley Stadium) - July 7, 2007)

Friday, July 06, 2007

Myriad Harbour

Pitchfork has a new New Pornographers track('Myriad Harbour') for your listening pleasure, a Dan Bejar-penned track. I haven't listened to it yet, but then again it's written by Dan. How could it not otherwise be awesome?

Beastie Boys are in Toronto for a show at Molson Ampitheatre on August 13. They just released an instrumental album "The Mix Up" recently but I don't think the Toronto date will be an all-instrumental set.

A few upcoming, just-announced Lee's Palace shows: punk icons Sham 69 are there on September 16, tickets $17.50. And maybe I'll finally get around to see The Mountain Goats live when they stop by on September 25, tickets $15.

Post-punk legends Pere Ubu will be at Lee's on October 2[via Stille Post]

According to booking agent The Windish Agency, Holy F*ck will be opening for Slint at the Phoenix on July 16.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Lamb Sells Condos

concert: Final Fantasy, Do Make Say Think @ Harbourfront Centre (Toronto, Ontario), July 1, 2007

Happy Fourth of July to any Americans reading. And now with those niceties out of the way, I bring you memories of my Canada Day(July 1). My friend and I checked out Final Fantasy and Do Make Say Think down at Harbourfront. No in depth review this time - check out Chromewaves[who also photos] and Blacking Out The Friction[who also has a video]. It was my first time seeing Toronto's Do Make Say Think live. I'm not too familiar with their music but I found their music aesthetically similar to say, Broken Social Scene's "KC Accidental"(an oversimplification perhaps, but I'm sticking with that). Taking an instrumental approach, the band combined strings, horns and standard rock instrumentation into an invigorating blend of rhythmic, jazzy, post-rock(for lack of a better term) goodness. Great. I should definitely look in to picking up the new album some time. Only my second time seeing Final Fantasy live, his headlining mostly-solo set was a far more low-key set than the Do Make Say Think large-band experience which preceded it. I was a little disappointed that Mr. Pallett took his position on stage a little left of center(due to a projection screen set up in the centre of the stage) which hindered my enjoyment slightly. A nice sequence of overhead projection visuals was integrated into Owen's performance later in the set but seemed was cut short due to too much wind. In the back of my mind, Owen as a headliner for the night seemed a strange choice for the celebratory Canada Day festivities, low-key and a bit more cultured for some people perhaps. On the other hand, the encore-clamoring at the end of the set showed Final Fantasy was definitely appreciated.

Here's a few more photos from the show.

MySpace: Final Fantasy
MySpace: Do Make Say Think
Now to catch up on some news I've been sitting on for a few days. The Horseshoe Tavern is the last played you'd think a band like Iceland's Amiina would/should play but there they'll be for a show on September 10. Tickets $15[via Rotate This].

East coast, Lo-fi pop outfit Eric's Trip reunite(again) and will be in Toronto for a show at Lee's Palace on September 15[via Stille Post]. They're also in Hamilton, ON at a venue TBA on September 13 according to their MySpace.

Pitchfork reported last week that Caribou hits the road this Fall for a tour, that unfortunately(at least as of now) doesn't have a Toronto date. The closest Caribou comes to these neck of the woods is September 28 in Hamilton, ON at The Casbah, and September 29 in Waterloo, ON at Starlight Lounge. To tide us over Merge Records will release the "Melody Day" single in North America on July 10(digitally and on 7" via City Slang elsewhere on July 31). The new album entitled "Andorra" comes out on Merge on August 21. I'm really digging the electro-pop, psychedlia of "Melody Day" - check it out here.

Chartattack has the tracklisting for the upcoming Stars album "In Our Bedroom After The War" coming out on Arts & Crafts on September 25. The first single "The Night Starts Here" can be downloaded from the Arts & Crafts website. They play the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands on September 9.

Continuing their Danish fixation, Toronto's Paper Bag Records have signed The Figurines and will release their new album "When The Deer Wore Blue" on September 11. The first single "Hey Girl" can be heard at their MySpace and the single will be available for download via iTunes on August 7[via chartattack]

Pitchfork brings us some new Feist material - Feist sings 'Somewhere Down the Road'(penned by Jesse Harris who's also written songs for Norah Jones) for the soundtrack to the upcoming film "The Hottest State". Those who critized Feist's new album for going too far into adult contemporary territory will NOT like this new song. I like the new album, and while this new song starts off alright, the sappy instrumentation at the end kills it. Check out the Pitchfork link above to listen to the song. Or else check out Feist's Canada Day performance(of "I Feel It All") in Ottawa here which is much better[via Just Keep Bloggin'].

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Thanks I Get

concert review: Wilco @ Massey Hall (Toronto, Ontario), June 30, 2007

Wilco at Massey Hall: photo by Michael Ligon

At Wilco's last show at Massey Hall in 2006, Jeff Tweedy ended up calling the audience motherf*ckers for sitting down for more than half the set and being so comatose. However, it didn't help that the set consisted a lot of slower tunes and Jeff hadn't bothered to say anything to the audience for much of it. He subsequently apologized for his comment and said he should have invited the audience to stand up sooner. In response to those circumstances it seems, much of the audience for this past Saturday night's Wilco show at Massey Hall were on their feet right from the beginning of the show and Jeff and the band appreciated it wholeheartedly. Toronto was the last date of Wilco's eastern seaboard tour and in return we got a rousing show that was worthy of that honor.

The musicianship was tight and the band's enthusiasm definitely shone through. Nels Cline was on fire on guitar, particularly on solos and several guitar freakouts but was also quite adept on adding subtle touches like his pedal steel which graced the beautiful country-esque 'Sky Blue Sky'. I never paid particular attention to the drumming in the past, but this time I realized how tight Glenn was on the drums as well as other percussive instruments like xylophone. Multi-instrumentalist Pat Sansone was dynamite on a range of instruments like guitar, keyboards and a few handheld percussive instruments. The double guitar assault of Nels Cline and Pat Sansone during encore number 'Hoodoo Voodoo' was a highlight of the evening. Jeff broke out into a stationary running man dance during 'Hummingbird' which got the crowd absolutley giddy. The band's new album "Sky Blue Sky" was represented with a few tracks including the breezy Impossible Germany', and the aforementioned 'Sky Blue Sky'. Much of the set(thankfully) did rely on "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" and "A Ghost Is Born" with a few favourites from "Summerteeth" thrown in. In between Wilco's set and opener Low's set(I missed their set unfortunately), I chatted briefly with a girl next to me who I remember said she was from Chicago and going to school up here in Toronto and I could have sworn that during 'Via Chicago' she wiped away a tear. Their set opener reached back to "Being There" with the lonely beauty of 'Sunken Treasure'.

The following(and not in the exact order necessarily) are some of the songs I recall Wilco performing[the ?'s I'm not as sure about though]:

Sunken treasure / Impossible Germany / Sky Blue Sky / Via Chicago / Ashes of American Flag / I am Trying to Break Your Heart / Kamera / Jesus, etc. / I'm the Man Who Loves You / Shot in the Arm /
The Thanks I Get / Spiders (Kidsmoke) / Hummingbird / Handshake Drugs / War on War / Hoodoo Voodoo (encore) / Hell is Chrome (?) / Either Way (?)

Update: Set list here. Thanks to Thierry for the heads up.

Here are my photos from the show. [You might notice I'm now using Flickr!]

Chromewaves reviews the show favourably and has some great photos. The Toronto Sun and The Globe and Mail also review the show.

MySpace: Wilco

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Places You Call Home

Mean Red SpidersInspired by Zoilus' recent post of his Top 20 Toronto Albums(which was a submission to a poll conducted by Soundproof Magazine[for which I was also invited to submit a list but didn't get around too, sorry]), I was thinking of my favourite Toronto artists. Local pop shoegazers Mean Red Spiders then came to mind. They haven't performed live much recently - I think they performed a showed earlier this year, and then before that their last show maybe was last year's Virgin Festival set(which I missed). Their last album was 2002's "Still Life Fast Moving" which I never got around to picking up. According to their December 10, 2006 MySpace blog post their new album is tentatively titled "Waler" and at the time of that blog post the recording was almost complete. A few demos of songs from the new album are currently streaming over at their MySpace. The last album and the new one apparently continue towards a more 'fuzzy' pop sound than the shoegazer-y "wall-of-sound" pop of the band's first two albums, 1998's "Places You Call Home" and 2000's "Stars and Sons". Thankfully the wonderful angelic vocals of Lisa Nighswander still remain. I wonder what the status of the album is at the moment. Funny, but I've actually never seen the band live. Hopefully, they tour for the new album. Ten years in as a band they definitely deserve more recognition.

MySpace: Mean Red Spiders
streaming audio:
MP3: Mean Red Spiders - "First and Only"
MP3: Mean Red Spiders - "Azimuth of Panama"
MP3: Mean Red Spiders - "Trains and Boats and Planes" (Burt Bacharach cover)
MP3: Mean Red Spiders - "Shiny Skin"

Happy Canada Day!