Friday, March 30, 2012

Chairlift, Nite Jewel and Bell at the Horseshoe March 28th, 2012 Toronto

On the night of the most important game in Toronto FC, IKvsDK decided to forego his football passion to take in three acts at the Horseshoe. Tuco tagged along. Started the evening at BQM with a pitcher of 1516 and some local fare reflecting on the recently released provincial budget.

We headed over to the Horseshoe nearing the end of first half of the game (pleasantly surprised with the 1-1 scoreline) and met up with IKvsDK's friends E and J. Grabbed another brew and headed in to take in the first act.

Which was Bell, a late addition to the bill. Standing behind a keyboard and some other electronic devices, Bell came across as a naturally anxious but pleasant person. She launched into her set which got a favourable response from the half-filled venue. Some solo artists try to use a laptop and just end up rapping or playing over top a track but Bell was working the electronics on her own. At one point Bell got out another guitar-keyboard and worked that into her set. Tuco bought her CD.

Nite Jewel was next. By this time Allison and Paul from Panic Manual had joined us and the venue was about three-quarters full. This band got high praise from the recently completed SxSW festival. Unfortunately, I wasn't feeling the vibe. Something about the singer seemed too laid back and disinterested. Alot of the crowd were turned around talking with one another as Nite Jewel went through the paces. Not surprisingly they packed it in a little early and left the audience in a long wait for the headliners.

Finally, Chairlift took to the stage ... late (much to Allison's chagrin). My sightlines were average as the audience had pushed up near the stage. I caught a glimpse of stage right with the (left-handed) guitarist and a drummer hiding behind him. The other wing had the bassist and centre was the comely vocalist who had a smooth sound and engaging presence. Still a little quiet for my liking. The crowd liked what they heard and a few young ladies were dancing by themselves. Chairlift ran through about 25 mins of material, stopped and finished with a two song encore. So one out of two from SxSW were decent.

And Toronto squeaked out a 1-1 draw and have a slim hope on the return leg.

Go Reds.

Psychedelic Furs Lee's Palace Toronto March 29, 2012

Eighties rockers Psychedelic Furs were in town for a sold out show at Lee's Palace. I was lucky enough to get there real early and buy a ticket at the door. If this is Collective Concerts way of beating out scalpers for real fans that want to see the show this is definately appreciated. About a 75 minute show that went through the classics and hit every album except that they didn't do anything from their last album in 1991 called World Outside and they missed out on their big hit Heartbeat. Technically the only remaining members of the original band are brothers Richard Butler (Vocals) and Tim Butler (Bass). Richard was quite energetic for 56 with great stage presence. This was the set list:

1.Into You Like A Train (Talk Talk Talk)
2.Alice's House (Mirror Moves)
3.Pretty In Pink (Midnight To Midnight)
4.Only You & I (Forever Now)
5.Imitation of Christ (The Psychedelic Furs)
6.It Goes On (Talk Talk Talk)
7.The Ghost In You (Mirror Moves)
8.Heaven (Mirror Moves)
9.Like a Stranger (Mirror Moves)
10.My Time (Mirror Moves)
11.Highwire Days (Mirror Moves)
12.Love My Way (Forever Now)
13.Heartbreak Beat (Midnight To Midnight)

14.House (Book Of Days)
15.President Gas (Forever Now)
16.Forever Now (Forever Now)

This is what they said on Twitter

@lushbaby: Lots of older folks here at Pauper's Pub. Bet they're pre-drinking for the Psychedelic Furs show. Oh yeah.. That's me too!!

@lushbaby: Gearing up for The Psychedelic Furs.

@lushbaby: Throwback (@ Lee's Palace & The Dance Cave for The Psychedelic Furs w/ 2 others)

@Just_Davidson: Psychedelic Furs time!!! (@ Lee's Palace & The Dance Cave w/ 3 others)

@EvansGate: Alone at a psychedelic furs concert. Good thing I brought my cougar spray!

@LisaKirbie: At Psychedelic Furs with @kinsellawarren. 10:30 pm never used to feel particularly late. Funny that.

@just_Davidson: Psychedelic Furs, still rockin...

‏@assatagrrrl: #NW Pretty in's been a week so yeah. I needed that bass-heavy opening and the Psychedelic Furs in my life.

@TarasDemerson: Just saw The Psychedelic Furs at Lee's Palace Toronto! WOW they were spot on like it was yesterday! Great show!

‏@pandemoneill: Dinosaur rock night. Psychedelic Furs were quite fun at Lee's tonight

Heartbeat because they didn't play it!!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The School - Never Thought I'd See the Day (Hype 0196)

Brand new single from Uk pop band The School. Hard to believe we reviewed the band's first single in April of 2008. It's been awhile. Glad they are back. 4 track ep on Elefant Records.


Monday, March 26, 2012

Wedding Present Horseshoe Tavern Toronto March 25, 2012

Got myself together and headed down to the Wedding Present concert at the Horseshoe Tavern. This was I think part of Canadian Music Week. The band is touring during the release of their latest album Valentina. However, this show was put on to perform their classic 1991 album Seamonsters in its entirety. Gauging the age of the crowd which was predominantly (90%) male in their 40s, I'm assuming this show was targeting that demographic. The band has been around since 1985 but the only longstanding original member is David Gedge. Thanks to Allison of Panic Manual for getting me in to the very busy and potentially sold out show. I even got to meet David Gedge but for me that really means just shaking his hand and having no real clue of what to say. Damn, if I were to meet my fave band Saint Etienne I wouldn't even know what to say.

Two bands opened up. The first band was Toquiwa, formerly known as the Pinky Piglets. I'm completely confused if this was actually two bands as half of the members performed the first part of the show and then the other 1/2 joined later. An all female band four member band from Japan. I would describe their music indie noise rock. Definately entertaining. They even covered the Wedding Present song Kennedy.

Second band was Jet Age which was quite a rocky alternative rock band.

Wedding Present came on about 10:30 and played for about 90 minutes. They opened up their set with a mixture of new stuff/old stuff, the Cinerama track Quick, Before It Melts, and then into Seamonsters. I'm actually a huge Cinerama fan moreso than a Wedding Present fan so was happy to get a Cinerama track.

Here is what the crowd said last night (not many tweeters though)

Toquiwa/Pinky Piglets

@Lam_Chop Was asked 2 photograph Pinky Piglets @CMW2012 tonite by @fakesporttrivia, but Mad Men premiers 2nite.Hhmm,Jap rocker chicks or Don Draper... (IKDK: I'm thinking Don Draper won out)

@APTtheshow: Gonna close out #CMW2012 tonight with Japanese lady rockers Pinky Piglets at the Horseshoe.

@ZeDbra_Borg: Just saw pinky piglets at the horse shoe, they came from Japan and rocked so hard! #didn'tunderstandaword (IKDK: Neither could we!!)

Jet Age

Nobody tweeted :(

Wedding Present

@IKvsDK: Wedding Present #horseshoe #sundaynight #janglepop

@CalandraBond: Off to see The Wedding Present at #thehorseshoetavern !

@ohbabygiraffe: The wedding present are awesome. How am I going to get home. Oh well. (IKDK: Yes, a fairly late show for a Sunday night)

@Meg_OToole: I seem to (not infrequently) end up at concerts where the crowd is mostly men in their early forties. Interesting.

@Meg_OToole @SeanPhotos "Wedding Present" - great live!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Slash w/ Myles Kennedy March 23rd at the Phoenix Concert Theatre Toronto

Took off a little early from work to meet up with a good friend for a highly anticipated evening at the Phoenix. We started out early in order to snag a good spot on the floor. Armed with two StubHub-purchased tickets (TM has basically gone into ticket wholesaling with policies that seem designed for the middlemen), we got to the Phoenix right at 7pm. Already there was a significant lineup, but still manageable.

Weathered an hour in mild conditions and headed on into the venue. Wasn't sure what to expect with the crowd and venue. Alot of couples and reasonably diverse age range with some that were about 10+ years older than me and a fair number that hadn't even been born when GnR made their extraordinary debut with Appetite for Destruction. Got a drink and tried to grab a sightline.

Opening act was a band called the Diemonds. Two guitars alternating lead and rhythm - one a black Gibson Les Paul and the other a generic flying V. The latter took most of the lead bits and dude was a talented albeit a little ... "intense" at times. Singer was a skinny raven-haired rocker chick sporting a pair of very short shorts. Unfortunately, I didn't know anything from this band, but enjoyed some decent riffs. After each song the singer would turn around and bend over for her water bottle - a little offside; not sure if that was necessary but I guess that's rock n' roll .... maybe. The diemonds played for 30 mins and made way for the next act.

Kobra and the Lotus were the next act; they took to the stage with the lead guitar sporting a pair of Ibanez guitars. I think the other guitar was a Jackson. Again, I was unfamiliar with their work. The singer was a curvy blonde with leather pants and alot of accessories including a dream catcher dangling from her hip. This lass was also sporting some face paint not unlike the white hand of Saruman from Lord of the Rings which was kind of an odd look. Their style seemed to be sort of power metal. I found the riffage lacking and the lead guitar had some tuning problems. Take a gander at: Welcome To My Funeral for a taste. After about a 45 minute set, the table was set and the crowd waited until the stroke of 11pm.

Slash and Myles Kennedy took the stage and launched right into their set with Ghost. Some eager youths lunged forward and it took me about half a song to regain my position. This kind of arseness would punctuate the night but I decided not to let that get in that way of a good time. I mean, there's Slash right THERE! Despite this the crowd response was very enthusiastic and supportive and Myles and the rest of the band were in synch and seemed to have their levels all set - definitely an advantage in having good roadies to do handle this. The sound was great.

Turns out this was the first night for the rhythm guitarist with the band and he did a great job. Additionally, the canadian bassist helped Myles out with the vocals for a song. All in all a tight group.

They played a number of GnR tracks including Mr. Brownstone, Rocket Queen, Night Train, Civil War, Sweet Child o' Mine and, of course, Paradise City. Also they played Slither (Velvet Revolver) and some other Snakepit material. There was likely one track from Slash's recent release but not entirely sure; got overly sidetracked taking photos.

Myles Kennedy was in a good form. I've heard a little bit from him before but he really really impressed me with his clarity and tone. And SO personable, he had the crowd (especially the young ladies) in his hand.

Slash was really really damn impressive. The guy deserves all the accolades. His sound is legendary and inimitable. He treated the audience with a PERFECT rendition of the national anthem (O' Canada) and the highlight of the night, for me, was the theme from the Godfather - wow, just absolutely scintallating.

There's a fundamental incompatibility between crowd surfing/moshing and taking photos/video in a floor-only event. Will be interesting to see who wins out. All you frat boys, your days are numbered; Don't bet against the iPhone/iPad!!

Highlights of the night: The theme from the Godfather, Mr. Brownstone, Civil War

Unfortunately, can't find an official setlist. Will post when it's available ...

My early candidate for concert of the year ...

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Asia - Heat Of The Moment (Retro 010)

Classic eighties single taken from the self titled album that came out 30 years ago. Epic Rock. Do you remember the Dragon on the front cover?


Friday, March 23, 2012

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Elephant - Assembly (Hype 0194)

Chilling french dreampop from Elephant off the Memphis Industries label. Nice! Taken from their debut EP Assembly


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Gitar - Hippie Dream (Hype 0193)

Spaced out indierock from Gitar. Actually a cover of a Neil Young song? Taken from their forthcoming album Seen As Unclean. Nice!


Monday, March 19, 2012

School of Seven Bells - The Night (Hype 0192)

Shimmering indiepop music from the School Of Seven Bells taken from their new record Ghostory off the Vagrant Record label. School Of Seven Bells make a stop off at the Hoxton on May 2, 2012.


Sunday, March 18, 2012

Amanda Mair - Sense (Hype 0191)

Bubbly pop track from Amanda Mair. Taken from the self-titled album Amanda Mair off the super cool Labrador label out of Sweden. It all makes sense.


Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart - Too Tough (St. Etienne Remix) (Hype 0190R)

Ironic that Saint Etienne would remix this track?. Taken from the Acid Reflex EP which is a remix ep of songs from their last album Belong. Nice!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Liechtenstein - Ambitions (Hype 0189)

Some nice newskool Twee from Liechenstein. Second album Fast Forward (2012) has been released on Fraction Disc/Slumberland Records. Nice!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Brothertiger - Lovers (Hype 0188)

Our Brother Tiger is back with a lush water soaked pop track. Taken from the album Golden Years on Mush Records.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

Grimes - Oblivion (Hype 0187)

Canadian outfit Grimes dropping fresh indie dubstep. Grimes have signed to cult record label 4AD for the new album Visions and this is the first single and a cool video. Nice!!


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Xtc - Senses Working Overtime (Retro 009)

Classic Xtc pop song which just hit 30 years old taken from the album English Settlement. Still trying to taste the difference between a lemon and lime!!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Saint Etienne - Tonight (Hype 0172V)

We revisit Saint Etienne's new single which gets an official video release. Single out today on limited edition 12 Inch and 7 Inch vinyl. 1990 all over again.


Monday, March 5, 2012

Children of Bodom February 26th at The Sound Academy

My God I felt like an old man last sunday, and the crowd that had assembled to take in Children of Bodom at the Sound Academy just seemed to underscore the point. With grey in my beard and the intro to Buck Rogers in the 25th Century in my head, I lined up for this gamey 4-pack of metal.

Got "processed" (security seemed unusually thorough) and headed in about half an hour after doors opened. The place was half full with a few older heads hanging around the back and most of the youngsters pressed up near the front.

Magicked a drink and a great position near the front just in time for the first act, Threat Signal, hailing from Hamilton. Great start to the festivities as Threat Signal really brought it. They were fantastic - the second best sound of the night imho. They seemed to click with the crowd as well with some spirited crowd surfing and moshing up at the front. The singer (let's be real, screamer) seemed to cut through the heavy din of the drums with ease and the rhythm guitar was pretty good. They seemed to have an easy time of getting the crown into it as something in the air was ready to pop - ah the wonders of youth; its primal urgency.

The set wound down and some intermission music started. I couldn't believe my 4king ears as "Everyone's a Winner" - the cover from Bootsauce (where are they now?) went on the PA. Following that was a standard from David Lee Roth. And after this was the next act, Revocation.

I was not a big fan. Something about their sound paled in comparison to Threat Signal. They had a more funky sound with some rather intricate guitar work that seem to get lost in translation. The lead guy seemed to sense this and exhorted the crowd to greater efforts which never works (aka "The beatings will continue until morale improves" approach). Face it dude, your sound isn't going to make people want to mosh. A few songs later, the guy started rapping about demonesses with big bosoms and a quiet awkwardness engulfed the land. I took this opportunity to head to the restroom.

Intermission and got myself another drink. Settled in for a longer wait with some lounge music on the PA: The Imperial march from Star Wars, Rape Me (Nirvana) and Enter Sandman (Metallica).

The next band was a Swiss outfit called Eluveitie. They are a folk metal band and seemed to enjoy a lot of support judging by shirts on backs. The place had filled up now to capacity and I had lost my prime position - all the same in a standing room only event where sight lines are at a premium. I found another angle and checked out the band which seemed to have 6 or more people on the stage. Two of the band were ladies which was nice to see and reflected a proportion of women in the crown sporting their gear. The instruments were very folksy - a hurdy-gurdy, a violin and some kind of pipe.

The music was expectedly folk rock and the lyrics weren't anything comprehensible (later research reveals they were singing in Gaulish rather than Hobbit which was my initial guess) - I found it difficult to get up for the band. I even saw one guy enter the mosh pit with a pizza slice. Eluveitie played for about 45 mins and finally we were ready for COB.

I'm new to Children of Bodom. At first listen, they sounded like a normal metal band with less pronounced rhythm guitar and a synthesizer (of all things) over top the sound. But the more I listen, the more I like. The tempo is very fast and the lead guitar is very very skillicious.

The synthesizer setup is a little different - the keyboard is angled so that the audience can actually see the keys - and Jaane (the keyboardist) can stand and play without having to bend his wrists. Smart design.

The band took the stage and Alexi "Wildchild" Laiho took the mic and started rapping with the crowd. Quite personable, the audience responded positively and with the briefest of introductions, COB launched into their set.

Setlist courtesy of

By this time, I was buried about two-thirds of the way back and the sound was different from back there. However, the sightlines were much better and I got a chance to take in the setup.

My one complaint was with Jaane. It's odd watching Alexi, Roope, and the rest of the band flailing away on a devilishly fast pace while the keyboardist sips on a glass of water. This kind of incongruity is not atypical of COB - their sound is a little different. Their composition is a little different. They are their own genre.

Tracks flew by and I realized another element that seemed absent was crowd participation. Crowd response wasn't a problem - the audience was into it. But gone were the old anthemic elements where the crowd would pick up the refrain, sing or chant or yell. Perhaps those aspects of the music concert experience are no longer appealing to this generation?

Still I found myself in thrall with Alexei's guitar playing. Damn, he plays fast. I think his style of play almost forces the use of a rather thin guitar tone. Anything more textured would get lost with the speed.

Nearing the end, with a slight pause after 50 minutes of heads down killer tracks, COB took a little pause. A slight intermission. And this is where Janne the keyboardist who seemed to be in a different space than his bandmates offered up a little something out of the ordinary - the Welcome March from Salieri!! I wonder how many kids knew the tune - probably more than I expect. Still I guess that's the way they roll in europe - Roope and Alexei have a clip on youtube playing some Vivaldi so they certainly know the Masters.

The encore started off with a little teaser of Jump (Van Halen) followed by two songs and done.

I'm currently getting into the Are You Dead Yet? album from 2005. Some catchy tracks. May post an album review later.

College ft. Electric Youth - A Real Hero


Perhaps the stand out track from the fantastic soundtrack (arguably better than the film itself!) to the stylistic 2011 film "Drive" -- if you haven't seen it, it's worth it. Like the film, this track has a genuine 80s feel to it. The 80s feeling is hardly a surprise given that College is French electronica musician David Grellier's take on 80s American pop culture. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Magnet - Sister Sorrow (Hype 0185)

Reminiscent of the last days of britpop. Catchy single which sounds alittle bit like an upbeat Rialto. Taken from the album Ferrofluid. Nice!!


Saturday, March 3, 2012

Friday, March 2, 2012

Jesse Ruins - Dream Analysis (Hype 0183)

Organic dark synth track from Jesse Ruins out on the Captured Tracks record label. Out on 7 Inch now. Nice!