Friday, August 02, 2013

Bjork @ Echo Beach, Toronto (July 16, 2013)

  Bjork @ Echo Beach, Toronto: photo by Michael Ligon

Bjork. Echo Beach. Warm summer night.

The all-female Icelandic choir Graduale Nobili.

Tesla Coil.

Video projections. Starfish. Landscapes. This beautiful Earth.

Army of Me. [set list]

Dance Party. Sing-a-longs.

"Raise your flag higher, higher, Raise your flag higher, higher" [from encore song "Declare Independence", dedicated to Trayvon Martin]

Delirious. Euphoric. Moving.

Concert of the summer, if not, of the year.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Eleanor Friedberger, Teen @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (June 5, 2013)

   Teen: photo by Michael Ligon

Let's time warp back to the beginning of June when a NYC double-bill took over the Horseshoe Tavern, with the Brooklyn-based band TEEN opening for Eleanor Friedberger. TEEN [yes, in all caps] is the project of Kristina Lieberson, keyboardist for Here We Go Magic and whose membership also includes her sisters Katherine and Lizzie as well as member Jane Herships [taking time out of her own folk project Spider]. A bit of a schizophrenic approach musically from a base of guitar, drums, keyboards, bass and vocals, their songs varied from new-wavey, synth-pop to artier, more idiosyncratic excursions. For the sake of a song or two, vocalist Lieberson provided some interesting vocal inflections. Adventurous listening but perhaps a bit frustrating if all you want to do is hum along. The band's most debut full-length In Limbo (produced by Spaceman3′s Sonic Boom) was released through Washington,DC label Carpark Records in August 2012.

   Eleanor Friedberger: photo by Michael Ligon

The last time I'd seen Eleanor Friedberger live was during the CMJ Music Marathon in New York City this past October during which she performed solo but it was just over a year ago that I'd last seen her perform with a band when she played a show at the Garrison. Comparing her recent show with her set at the Garrison last year, it was quite apparent how much more engaging she was, and how much more fun she seemed to have this time around. It wasn't like a night-and-day difference between the two shows - the improved vibe of this show was far more subtle than that - but to me it made a world of difference. In support of her second full-length entitled Personal Record, she continues to hone the pop-craftmanship [alternating between upbeat and melancholy] that she mastered on her first LP Last Summer. My lack of notes for this show makes it difficult to really review it set-wise but a perusal of the her set lists on around that time[eg. her set list in Chicago @ Empty Bottle on June 7] seem to indicate she was playing the same/similar set list across different stops on the tour ie. an even mix of songs between the first and second albums. I bought the vinyl of the new record and even got Eleanor to sign it for me after the show. Still a small but loyal fan base in Toronto it seems, it was a decent turnout for the Wednesday night of this show, a larger turnout I'd estimate than the maybe half-full turnout for her show at the Garrison last year. Criminally under-appreciated in my opinion, but for now I'll bask in the glow of being in that club of her early supporters.

Photos: Eleanor Friedberger, Teen @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (June 5, 2013)
Bandcamp: Teen
SoundCloud: Eleanor Friedberger
Video: Teen - "Better" (music video)
Video: Eleanor Friedberger - "Stare At The Sun" (music video)