Thursday, February 26, 2009

Concert Announcements & Music News (Feb 26, 2009)

According to Pollstar, Depeche Mode will be playing the Molson Ampitheatre on July 24. The music video for their first single "Wrong" from their upcoming new album ("Sounds of the Universe" set for release on April 21 in the U.S.) is streaming over at MySpace:

Video: Depeche Mode - "Wrong" (music video)

The new single 'Black Hearted Love' from PJ Harvey's forthcoming collaborative album with John Parish will be premiered on BBC Radio One Zane Lowe's show on March 2 at 7 pm (UK time). Listen here. The track will then be available to download digitally straight after the play from and and from all usual outlets the following day.

Dan Deacon with Teeth Mountain, and Future Islands will be playing The Deleon White Gallery in Toronto on May 10. Via The Windish Agency.

Chartattack has full-dates for the co-headlining Nine Inch Nails / Jane's Addiction tour which stops at Molson Ampitheatre on June 23.

Also via Chartattack, yes it's the 90's all over again, No Doubt are back together from their extended hiatus and will go on tour, stopping in Toronto for a show at Air Canada Centre on June 16.

Dinosaur Jr. just signed with Jagjaguwar and have now announced some tour dates though the closest one to Toronto will be April 6 in Buffalo at The Town Ballroom. Via Pitchfork. Pitchfork also caught Dino Jr live in the studio - and they're actually getting along!

The mp3 of the title track from Neko Case's upcoming album "Middle Cyclone" is now available(via Pitchfork):

MP3: Neko Case - "Middle Cyclone"

Leonard Cohen plays Copps Coliseum in Hamilton on May 19.

Cowboy Junkies will be at The Studio at Hamilton Place on May 2. More dates over at their website.

Fischerspooner will be at Phoenix on June 1.

Minneapolis rap duo Atmosphere play the Phoenix on May 6, tickets $25.

Making a second round through Ontario, Neil Young will play Kingston on April 13, London on April 15 and Sault Ste. Marie on April 17. Got this info from yesterday's Toronto Sun and it did not list venues but I'm assuming the info is accurate.

Toronto's The Coast will release debut full-length, "Expatriate," stateside, on Afternoon Records May 5th, and digitally April 7th. Congrats to them. Returning from a UK tour they'll be headlining the Horseshoe on February 28 with The Diaberos, Oh No Forest Fires, and Ryan Masters also on the bill.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Concert Announcements & Music News (Feb 23, 2009)

Calgary's Azeda Booth bring their ambient pop to Rancho Relaxo for a show on April 10. More dates over at their MySpace. Their album "In Flesh Tones" is out now through Absolutely Kosher.

The Mavericks' Raul Maulo will be at Lee's Palace for a show on April 14, tickets $20 onsale Feb 26.

Maria Taylor is at the El Mocambo on April 17, tickets $10 onsale Feb 26.

Vancouver's Ladyhawk return for a show at the Horseshoe on April 23, tickets $12.50 onsale Feb 26. More dates over at their MySpace. [last three items via Against The Grain]

The noisy Scottish double-header of Mogwai and The Twilight Sad makes its way to Toronto for a show at the Phoenix on May 4. Tickets $27.50. Note: Original tickets from the postponed Wednesday September 24, 2008 show at the Phoenix will be honoured at this show.

Although I'd previously posted that Vetiver are to play the Horseshoe on May 15 (and which is listed as that on their MySpace), Ground Control Touring lists that Vetiver and Papercuts will be at The Music Gallery on May 15.

UK sensitive types Keane, with openers Mat Kearney and The Helio Sequence are at Sound Academy on May 23 for a 19+ show. Tickets $39.50 or perhaps if the VIP balcony area fancies you then that'll set you back $100.00. The band apparently has a presale right now but the Ticketmaster presale starts Wednesday Feb 25 at 10:00 AM and ending Thursday Feb 26 at 10:00 PM and the general onsale starts Friday Feb 27 at 10:00 AM EST.

Edgefest goes Canadian (for the most part) this year when it takes over Downsview Park on June 20 with the lineup including mainstage acts AFI, Alexisonfire, Billy Talent, K-OS, Metric, The Arkells and The Stills. The sidestage includes Beast, Clothes Make The Man, Dean Lickyer, Dinosaur Bones, Flash Lightnin', La Casa Muerte, The Midway State, Moneen, Still Life Still, and The Waking Eyes. Tickets are $40.50 - $56.00 CDN with an Edge onsale starting tomorrow at 10:00 AM and ending Friday Feb 27 at 11:59 PM and the public onsale starting Saturday Feb 28 at 10:00 AM.

Depeche Mode return to Toronto for a show on July 24 at a venue TBA - but I couldn't imagine it being any other place but Air Canada Centre.

A gander at Saint Etienne's website currently reveals the band'll celebrate the 18th anniversary of its debut album "Foxbase Alpha" with a special edition rerelease and will also be taking the album on the road this May with three UK dates scheduled. Apparently during Saint Etienne's Bob Stanley's interview with Pitchfork posted recently, he did reveal that they're in the process of rereleasing their albums, from "Foxbase Alpha" through "Continental", in expanded format. So looking forward to this as well as them coming back to North America.

Keeping on the noisy angle, Pitchfork reports that Dinosaur Jr. have signed with indie label Jagjaguwar to release their new album which should be out this summer hopefully.

NME points to video of The White Stripes' 'reunion' performance on Conan O'Brien's last day hosting Late Night on February 20. Hope Conan continues his funny streak over at The Tonight Show when he starts hosting that show in June - I fully bet he will.

You perhaps have noticed that I haven't updated my blogroll in a while, although it wasn't my fault as Blogrolling had been working out some bugs and I wasn't able to edit it - however, they have finally informed that the new Blogrolling will be rolled out March 2 at which time I can finally do a little house cleaning on the blogroll.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Concert Announcements & Music News (Feb 19, 2009)

Chartattack does a good song-by-song rundown of Jenn Grant's new album "Echoes". She's at the Reverb for a midnight CMW set on March 14.

The Dears play The Mod Club on April 30, ticket $20 onsale now.

Californians Vetiver play the Horseshoe on May 15 in support of their new album "Tight Knit" just released on Sub Pop. Brooklyn Vegan has more North American and European tour dates.

Now on Kill Rock Stars, Portland's The Thermals will release their fourth full-length "Now We Can See" on April 7 and will hit the road in March starting with SXSW on March 18 before getting to Toronto for a show at the Horseshoe on May 3. Via Pitchfork. Openers for their Toronto show will be fellow Portland band Shaky Hands (who forced NZ band Cut Your Hands Off to their current band name prior to which they were also called Shaky Hands.)

King Khan and The Shrines move on up to the Phoenix for a show on May 12.

Free jazz legend Ornette Coleman returns to Toronto for a show at Massey Hall on September 24. (Via)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild @ Lee's Palace (Feb 12, 2009)

concert review: Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild @ Lee's Palace (Toronto, Ontario) - February 12, 2009

Peggy of Pains Of Being Pure At Heart @ Lee's Palace: photo by Michael LigonAs a fan of shoegaze and indiepop in particular back in the 90's, I regret not having seen some of the best shoegaze acts that came to town, and indiepop was such an underground movement that I don't even recall some of the best acts(mostly American and British) ever coming to Toronto. Since then my interest in those genres waned although only perhaps my musical tastes gravitated elsewhere. However like a blast from the past, Lee's Palace brought those genres back to the forefront with a bill featuring NYC's Pains of Being Pure At Heart as well as The Depreciation Guild. I missed first openers Don Mills though perhaps it was for the best at least based on the opinion of one person I spoke to.

The second opening act of the night were 3 piece NYC shoegaze outfit The Depreciation Guild. Reminding me at various times of My Bloody Valentine, Lush and Cocteau Twins I'd think they'd be a shoegaze fan's wet dream. Pains' Kurt Feldman steps out from being the drums to take frontman role for The Depreciation Guild to handle vocals, guitar and their Famicon 8-bit programmed beats. The band's remaining members are Christoph on guitar and vocals and Anton on drums. They performed their set energetically while a friend of theirs worked a video projector offstage which displayed various colourful geometric shapes and pixelated imagery white backdrop behind the drummer, as well as blanketting the drummer. The visuals did add an attractive element to the show and complimented the swirling guitars and hypnotic beats nicely. Initially I was a bit turned off by the band's too-obvious debt(especially with some of their noisier guitar songs) to My Bloody Valentine though through the course of their set they did display more diversity and were able to tone down the guitar histronics and show more dynamics in their sound. If this sounds like something up your alley, you can download their album "In Her Gentle Jaws" for free at their website.

I was surprised as Pains Of Being Pure At Heart's Kip Berman at the turnout for their show at Lee's Palace last Thursday. Berman addressed the crowd saying that it was the largest crowd they'd ever played for and it really just swelled me up with pride that Toronto music fans came out. Frankly when the show had originally been scheduled for the much smaller venue Neutral (a venue I have not yet been to but can imagine is small) I had imagined perhaps they wouldn't even fill that venue. But packing Lee's last Thursday night - bravo. NYC's Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, made up of Alex on bass, Kip on guitar/vox, Kurt on drums and Peggy on keys/vox are a band that wear their heart on their sleeve; it's no surprise that indiepop label Slumberland Records picked them up as they are reminiscient of some of that label's best acts like Velocity Girl, Rocketship and Black Tambourine with their infectious melodies, sweet boy/girl vocals and swirling instrumentation. The Pains had more of a punch live than on record which does bode well for the band as a live act but also did perhaps translate the diversity of the record less effectively, in particular some of the prettier guitar sounds and especially Peggy's vocals. For example, a favourite of mine from the record 'Young Adult Friction' had a rougher translation live with the instrumentation and vocals feeling harsher, losing a bit of the sweetness(especially Peggy's vocal parts) of the recorded version. Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are a band that as I said wears their influences on their sleeve and that's seem to have divided fans on them - I'm sure a lot of you love them. I do like them a lot but that which makes me from loving them outright is that I don't think they add any more to the genre of indiepop(or whatever you want to call them) that hasn't been done before. Hey, if they existed 15 years ago, who knows. I've come to realize that indiepop was a phase I went through and shall likely never enjoy with the same exhiliration again but Pains Of Being Pure At Heart are a welcome reminder of something I once loved.

Photos: Pains Of Being Pure At Heart, The Depreciation Guild @ Lee's Palace (Feb 12, 2009)

MySpace: Pains Of Being Pure At Heart
MySpace: The Depreciation Guild

Monday, February 16, 2009

Concert Announcements / Music News & Links (Feb 16, 2009)

The Diableros played part of the Wavelength afterparty festivities last week at the Cameron House and video of the band performing two new songs from their upcoming new album are up on YouTube:

Video: The Diableros - "Wandering Dry" (live @ Cameron House - Feb 12, 2009)
Video: The Diableros - "Heavy Hands" (live @ Cameron House - Feb 12, 2009)

The Diableros play the Horseshoe Tavern on February 28.

Jenn Grant was in town last week at The Mod Club for her "Echoes" CD release show for which my review is now up. Check out some videos of Jenn and her band as they perform some of the new songs live at The Verge studios in Toronto:

Video: Jenn Grant - "Heartbreaker" (live @ The Verge)
Video: Jenn Grant - "You'll Go Far" (live @ The Verge)
Video: Jenn Grant - "Where Are You Now" (live @ The Verge)
Video: Jenn Grant - "I Was Your Woman" (live @ The Verge)
Video: Jenn Grant - "Everybody Loves You" (live @ The Verge)

Jenn returns to Toronto to play a midnight set at the Reverb on March 14 as part of Canadian Music Week.

Bruce Peninsula continue their quest for world domination (ok, local domination) with another local show scheduled for Lee's Palace on March 28, tickets $8, onsale February 19.

90's electronica act The Prodigy come to the Kool Haus for an all-ages show on March 25, tickets $30/$35/$40. I'm not sure why there's different ticket prices but that's what is showing.

Due to overwhelming demand, The Rolling Tundra show featuring The Constantines and The Weakerthans, as well as The Waking Eyes, have added a third show for April 2 at the Phoenix, tickets $25, onsale February 19.

Tricky with special guest Natalie Stewart (from Floetry) will be playing a show at The Mod Club on April 2, tickets $29.50, onsale Thursday February 19, 2009 @ 10AM. via REMG.

According to Ground Control Touring the Ladytron and The Faint show at the Phoenix on April 6 will also feature Telepathe, and a FIGO DJ set.

Added to the Mates of State / Black Kids bill at the Phoenix on April 10 are Jacksonville, Florida indie band Sunbears!. Via The Windish Agency.

Robyn Hitchcock returns to Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on April 16 to promote his new album "Goodnight Oslo" being released in the US and Canada tomorrow.

Indie folk takes over The Drake Hotel April 14 with a show by Damien Jurado and opener Laura Gibson.

Last time TV On The Radio played Kool Haus but their next show in Toronto on June 2 will be at the even larger Sound Academy. Do I hear the not-so-faint sound of 'ugh'? Tickets go onsale Friday February 20 at 10 am.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jenn Grant, Kevin Hearn @ The Mod Club (Feb 12, 2009)

concert review: Jenn Grant, Kevin Hearn @ The Mod Club (Toronto, Ontario) - February 12, 2009

Jenn Grant and friends @ The Mod Club(Feb 12, 2009): photo by Michael Ligon
Jenn Grant @ The Mod Club: photo by Michael Ligon

Prince Edward Island's Jenn Grant is poised to reap the rewards of her hard work of writing and touring over the last few years, releasing a quiet gem of an album "Orchestra For The Moon" in 2007 and with her more than worthy second album "Echoes" just being released through Toronto's Six Shooter Records. She and her band (which includes Kinley Dowling on violin, David Christensen on bass clarinet, Sean MacGillivray on bass and Gary Craig on drums, and "Echoes" producer Jonathan Goldsmith on keyboards a few times) were at The Mod Club last Thursday night for a CD release show and although she quipped that she only was used to see venues that packed back home where most of the attendees have the last name Grant, I was always confident she'd reached this stage in her career. Her star's just taking off when you come to think of it and it's only going to get bigger.

Opening the show was Kevin Hearn whose set with his band Thin Buckle as well as few guests on background vocals and cello(string extraordianaire Michael Olsen) turned out to be a pleasant surprise. While his role in the Barenaked Ladies always seemed to be limited to his multi-instrumental talents, I'd never have guessed that his songwriting abilities were as good as they were on display last Thursday night. Hearn's vocals never registered louder than a gentle timbre but they suited the music just fine as Hearn competently led his technically proficient band through a set of intelligent mid-tempo folk-rock numbers. Although the instrumentation was mostly organic there were sprinkles of electronic sounds. While I wasn't paying enough attention to the lyrics, there seemed to be some wordplay at hand that fit the melodies like a glove. A very authentic-sounding cover of The Beach Boys' 'God Only Knows' was a highlight especially during the vocal interplay of the coda as the female background vocalist cooed "what I'd be without you" and cellist Michael Olsen sang "God only knows what I'd be with out you" over and over. Kevin and band ended the set on his song 'Map Of The Human Genome' that featured just a touch of vocoder, a gentle reminder he can have fun too.

As was on display last Thursday, Jenn Grant has become a more confident performer. Though her humbleness and modesty remains, she's traded in some of her nervousness for a very much likable comfort-in-her-own-skin. She skillfully played off some of the audience banter especially that of one overly-enthusiastic individual asking for her to play 'Dreamer' (which we didn't get unfortunately). The evening gown and attire donned by her and her band was a nice touch for the evening's celebration of the new album but also hinted at Jenn's acceptance of her rising star and her willingness to glam it up a bit. The evening was devoted primarily to her new album which was performed just about in its entirety except for her cover of Noel Coward's 'I'll See You Again' which closes the album and is a mere throwaway at less than 10 seconds long. Although her first album "Orchestra For The Moon" has an introspective tone there's more melancholy to be found on "Echoes". 'Heartbreakers' chugged away slowly with David Christiansen's baritone sax in the background while Jenn's desperate 'oh oh's popped up periodically. The acoustic folk of 'Where Are You Now' was guided along with gentle guitar and violin. Jenn's repetition of "keep your head high" on 'Everybody Loves You' sounded absolutely desperate. Jenn's cover of Neil Young's 'Only Love Can Break Your Heart' was in a word, heartbreaking.

But all was not dour. 'Parachutes' was a mid-tempo playful pop romp with nice ba-ba background vocals. Jenn jokingly made reference to Dr. Claw with Sean MacGillivray's sinister bass guitar intro to 'I Was Your Woman' a song that found Jenn's vocals aspiring towards a sultrier, jazzier vibe. '(I've Got) The Two Of You' trotted along with an ever-so slight reggae tinge. It was a slight disappointment not to get many of the older material although it was slight consolation that while 'Dreamer' wasn't performed she did give us 'Unique New York' which has a similar urgency to it. Also adding to the evening was Great Lake Swimmers' Tony Dekker who was in the house to perform background vocals on a few songs.

It's been a pleasure to be a fan of hers since that day back in 2005 in Hamilton when she performed as a vocalist for The Heavy Blinkers. With only two albums under her belt now, it really is only the beginning.

Although it'll be an abbreviated set, you can catch her playing a midnight set at the Reverb on March 14 as part of Canadian Music Week.

Photos: Jenn Grant, Kevin Hearn @ The Mod Club (Feb 12, 2009)

MySpace: Jenn Grant
MySpace: Kevin Hearn

Monday, February 09, 2009

Concert Announcements / Music Links

Sorry for the lack of posts lately - 'real life' took over lately. I'll leave it at that. Don't you ever have those times [good or bad] when blogging is just the furthest thing from your mind? But I'm ready to start out fresh this week so here goes:

I'm all for supporting indie record stores but sometimes the big stores like HMV have decent sales - The Constantines' "Tournament of Hearts" is currently selling at HMV for the featured price of $7.99 so I couldn't pass that up today. Jenn Grant's new album "Echoes" is selling for $10 at HMV - I might just pick that up tomorrow. The Constantines team up for a co-headlining gig with The Weakerthans at the Phoenix on March 31 and April 1. Jenn Grant plays an early show at The Mod Club on February 21 and then will return for Canadian Music Week for a midnight set at the Reverb on March 14. Jenn talks about her new album with chartattack. Jenn's song "Make It Home Tonight" (from her first album "Orchestra For The Moon") was featured in the closing scene of this episode of "Flashpoint".

On a tangent from that last Jenn Grant info bit, there is a preliminary schedule for Canadian Music Week now up. Take a gander and start piecing together your own personal club-hopping schedule.

The CMW schedule does interestingly note that Sloan will perform during the festival at The Mod Club on March 12 & 13.

The Airborne Toxic Event gig on March 4 which was originally going to be at the El Mocambo has been moved to The Mod Club according to

Whippersnapper Gallery will host Chain and The Gang(feat. Ian Svenonius of Weird War, Nation of Ulysses, The Make-Up), The Hive Dwellers(feat. Calvin Johnson) and Toronto's own Tropics on Friday April 24, tickets $11 in advance. Via Stille Post.

Kings of Leon are returning to Toronto sooner than later and this time have upgraded from the Kool Haus(the venue of their last show) to Air Canada Centre. I suspect it might be a concert-bowl setting rather than the whole arena but that's just my guess. The guys will be at the ACC on April 21 with tickets onsale February 13.

Detroit garage rockers The Von Bondies will tear it up live I suspect at Criminal Records for an instore on February 13 at 5 pm. Via Narratives. They play a proper show at the Horseshoe that night.

Ladytron and The Faint play an all-ages gig at the Phoenix on April 6, tickets $28.50 in advance.

Neil Halstead plays The Drake Hotel on March 21, tickets $20.

From The Jam's gig at Lee's Palace on March 27 has been cancelled - refunds available at point of purchase.

Bandstand Busking currently features UK singer songwriter Emmy The Great in live busking style video performance. I'm starting to see why she's such a hit at least among the internet crowd - her vocals do possess a lovely timbre and combined with her simple guitar strums her songs are quite charming.

IRS Records was more that just R.E.M.'s early record label and hope to remind many they had other bands - "...starting February 10, Capitol/EMI will begin releasing the digital debuts of more than 100 tracks and albums that have previously been out-of-print...". Via Magnet Magazine.

Chartattack spoke with Lily Allen whose new album "It's Not Me, It's You" is out in Canada tomorrow. The new album is streaming over at her MySpace. I think her show at the Phoenix on April 22 is just about sold out (if it isn't already) - no worries for me at least, as I jumped on it and got my ticket last Friday (as well as my tickets for Franz Ferdinand and Bat For Lashes just to be safe).

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

On The Road

The Toronto Star speaks with Jenn Grant who'll be coming to Toronto for a show at The Mod Club on February 12. BTW, check out her spiffy and much better navigable website. Also check out a video of Jenn performing in a quaint vintage shop Aunt Olive's in Ottawa recently:

Video: Jenn Grant live at Aunt Olive's (Ottawa, ON)

Sebastian Grainger and the Mountains are at the Horseshoe on March 6.

As Beggars Group Canada points out, Toronto's Holy Fuck will open the Bloc Party show at Kool Haus on March 14.

Julie Doiron plays a CD release show at the Horseshoe on March 26 in promotion of her new album "I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day" being released March 24. Her Eric's Trip partner Rick White will be opening the show. If she catch her in Hamilton(Mar 25), Kingston(Mar 27) or Montreal(Mar 28) you'll get $100 as openers. Full dates over at her official website.

Junior Boys with openers Max Tundra will be at The Mod Club for two shows, March 28 and 29. The first one is an all-ages shows, and tickets for both shows are $18. Via Blacking Out The Friction. "Parallel Lines" the lead track off Junior Boys' new album "Begone Dull Care" (out in Canada on March 24, April 7 in the US and May 11 in the UK) can be streamed over at Pitchfork

Punk legends UK Subs will be playing a show at Sneaky Dee's on April 4. Via Stille Post. Tickets onsale February 5 are $15 through Rotate This, Soundscapes and Ticketweb.

Quintron & Miss Pussycat bring their trippiness to the Horseshoe on April 18.

Ohbijou return to promote their new album "Beacons" with a show at The Opera House on April 18. Thanks to Chromewaves for the tip.

Musical comedic duo Flight Of The Concords bring the funny to Massey Hall for two shows, April 21 and 22, with tickets $49.50. Pollstar indicates that the opener for both shows will be fellow comedian Eugene Mirman.

Scottish lads Travis return for a show at Sound Academy on April 21. Tickets onsale February 6 at 10 am, with an Internet presale starting this morning at 10 am and ending at tomorrow at 10 pm.

I couldn't believe it for a second when I saw the listing on Pollstar, but their MySpace confirms it - The President Of The United States Of America return to Toronto (after what seems like a lifetime) for a show at Lee's Palace on April 21, tickets $20.50 in advance. Capitalizing on Obama as the new US president, the band has a new song "Movin In Obama" available for a free download over at their MySpace.

Lily Allen again bestows Toronto with one of a few North American dates when she returns for a show at the Phoenix on April 22 with openers Natalie Portman's Shaved Head. It'll be in support of her new album "It's Not Me, It's You" which will be released on February 10. Thanks to Kat at Muchmusic Blog for the early tip.

Thanks to Lycanthropy for pointing out that UK's Bat For Lashes will be playing The Mod Club on April 25.

Via REMG, Exclaim's 17th Anniversary tour whill feature Thunderheist who'll be at the Phoenix on April 30, tickets $15.

Pollstar lists US indie band Mice Parade at the El Mocambo on May 2. Verified over at Flower Booking.

Thanks to Chromewaves for confirming that Franz Ferdinand will be playing the Kool Haus on May 4. I remember how much I'd liked their show at the Kool Haus back in 2004, so I may just have to make a return visit.

Making up for the cancelled January 15 date at The Opera House, Femi Kuti will return this summer for a show at Harbourfront on July 4 (and that being a Saturday, I'm assuming that'd be part of Harbourfront's free summer concert series).

Phew! I suspect I will be very busy concert-wise come March and April.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Shad/Thunderheist @ Nathan Phillips Square(31/01/2009); Cuff The Duke @ Lakeside Terrace - Harbourfront(31/01/2009)

I wasn't going to let the frigid temperatures this past Saturday night stop me from taking in a few of the free events happening in Toronto. First up I headed down to Nathan Phillips Square to catch some of the evening WinterCity theatrical performance [a nautical-themed piece] , then sets from Shad and Thunderheist. Shad, with bassist and DJ, performed some cuts off his album "The Old Prince" and even busted out some freestyle acappella style when his DJ was having some technical difficulties. He asked us if we liked '80's music to which the audience cheered then Shad and band dropped into a cut which used The Cure's "Close To Me"'s familiar keyboard arrangement as a backing track. That only went on for about a minute or so before Shad continued with some old-school hip hop sounds.

Shad @ Nathan Phillips Square(Jan 31, 2009): photo by Michael Ligon
Shad @ Nathan Phillips Square: photo by Michael Ligon

Crowd excitement heightened in anticipation for Toronto duo electro-dance-rock duo Thunderheist. Vocalist did her best to get the crowd involved and to dance, if only to stay warm and there were eager ones who were only happy to comply. DJ Graham worked the rhythm tracks on the laptop and did some rudimentary record scratching and at the encouragement of Isis broke out into his funky white boy dance style. Isis invited the audience to stay for the afterparty(a DJ party taking place at the WinterCity Lodge across the way), though as she expressed humourously and as she chuckled, the afterparty would be starting at 9:30. They brought out a drummer for one song though the highlight of the night for me was when the group's all-girl dance crew did some b-girl dancing to several of their songs. Saving the best for last, Thunderheist pulled out "Jerk It" as the audience transformed into a full-out dance party.

Thunderheist @ Nathan Phillips Square(Jan 31, 2009): photo by Michael Ligon
Thunderheist @ Nathan Phillips Square: photo by Michael Ligon

Photos: Thunderheist, Shad @ Nathan Phillips Square (January 31, 2009)

After Thunderheist, I jumped on the subway and travelled down to Harbourfront for CBC Radio 3's live broadcast at the Natrel Rink. Inside Harbourfront's Lakeside Terrace, a few artists were performing. I got too late to catch Toronto's Castlemusic but made it in time for Oshawa's Cuff The Duke. It was a surprisingly light crowd, although it did fill up more respectably by the time Cuff The Duke hit the stage. No new material was played although vocalist Wayne Petti did make reference to the new album. A relatively low-key set of their country-rock tunes, although guitarist Dale Murray displayed some delicious guitar licks. Funniest moments of the night perhaps was when in between songs CBC Radio 3's promo could be heard through the venue's PA, to which Wayne responded that that's a guy they usually kept behind the curtain. Believe me, it was hilarious.

Cuff The Duke @ Lakeside Terrace - Harbourfront(Jan 31, 2009): photo by Michael Ligon
Cuff The Duke @ Harbourfront - Lakeside Terrace: photo by Michael Ligon

Photos: Cuff The Duke @ Lakeside Terrace - Harbourfront (January 31, 2009)