With that bit of tongue in cheek, self-deprecating stage banter, David Gedge introduced himself and his band to the crowd at the Horseshoe. Not that they really needed any introduction – this looked to be a crowd of longtime Wedding Present devotees who would probably argue with Gedge on the “semi-legendary” label.
After opening the set with the glockenspiel-ified “Unthinking,” the band played a typically rocking set highlighted by Gedge’s humorous stage banter. While they played a selection of tracks from throughout their career, the set focused largely on the band’s latest, Going Going …, which Gedge referred to as “our frankly groundbreaking new album.” “I’m sure you’ve all got a copy,” he added, but just in case we didn’t, he made sure to point us all in the direction of the merch table. He’s very thoughtful like that.
One of the highlights of the night was “Rachel,” a new track that Gedge described cheekily as the best pop song we would hear all year before amending that to the best we’d hear all decade. While that may be laying it on a bit thick, it is quite a catchy track. Give it a listen and judge for yourself:
The Silver Dollar will be closing at the end of this month, making this weeks round of CMW shows one of the last gasps of the storied Toronto venue. It’s a sad moment for Toronto’s music scene and fittingly, Zoobombs singer Don Matsuo was getting a bit emotional over the impending closure.
Addressing the crowd a few songs into their set, he praised the venue and it’s booker Dan Burke and explained how sad he was that the Silver Dollar is closing, Describing the venue as kind of like home, he added that the band hoped to find a new home in Toronto in the future. Rather than mourning the loss of the venue too much though, Zoobombs were there to make sure we enjoy it while it lasts.
Sure, the loss of the Dollar is sad, but with a high energy show that had a certain manic element to it at times, Zoobombs were determined to make the night a celebration.
Welcome to part 3 of the Burger Review. Just for the newbies, this is a series based on a top 10 list of burgers published in Toronto Life.
Good Friday 2017 held great promise – a day off, the Fate of the Furious and a chance to go check out a burger on the top 10 list. As fate and history would have it, good Friday did not end well. I guess it was only fitting, given the nature of the day.
Vegan Mac Daddy – Two soy patties, lettuce, pickles, onions, “cheese” and secret sauce – $16
Just a reminder, the control burger in this experiment is the Skyline burger (that is the middle of the pack) with the upper range being Casino El Camino’s Amarillo burger from Austin, Texas.
The vegan Mac Daddy is obviously a vegan take on the Big Mac, a burger that is often synonymous with “classic American burger”. To Doomie’s credit, from an aesthetic perspective, it most definitely looks like a Big Mac. The bun is recreated to with sesame seeds sprinkled on top and there is of course, an additional slice of bread in the middle.
However, with one bite, it became pretty apparent that vegan burgers just don’t hold up to a real life burger. While the appearance looked rather alike, the actual taste differed, kinda like this:
It’s kind of weird, since last time, when we reviewed Antler’s Game burger, I complained that the burger was made of three different animals. This time, the burger was made of no animal, and it was equally displeasing.
I’ve had a few vegan burgers in my life, but for me, this one did not work out. The vegan burger, while salted properly, was a bit too dry to ensure a smooth bite. There’s a fine line in moisture in a patty – too much and you will have a greasy bun experience, too little, you just don’t get that additional flavor. I mean, I don’t know how they would have pulled it off with a soy burger, since there’s no animal fat melting away from the soy, but for me, it definitely detracted from the taste of the burger.
Much like the other restaurants, the bun was nice and soft. I feel like this will always be good.
Handfeel – My initial thought was that the burger was too thick. When I see a burger, I want to be able to take it all in all the layers with one bite, and this burger was stacked pretty high and I wasn’t sure that I could do it. I was able to do it, but only after compressing the burger, which kind of detracted from the airiness of the bun. The middle bread fell apart quickly during the eating process, becoming rather soggy from absorbing the special sauce and the “cheese”. By the end, I had to just remove it.
Complements – The burger came with the same stuff as a Big Mac. Now I haven’t had a Big Mac in a long time, but I was disappointed with the decision to put diced onions in the burger, it made for a messy experience as obviously, the onions slowly fell out as the burger disintegrated and me being a cheap bastard, wanted to eat the onions so I would pick up the little pieces and put it back in. That’s too much work.
The “cheese” tasted like a gooey concoction of god knows what, and while it had flavor, regular cheese probably would have been better. But that would break the whole vegan thing, so I guess it was what it was.
The fries were tasty, I know I’ve said this for all three places, but you know, fries are good.
I was excited to have tried the Vegan Mac Daddy. It was an interesting take on an old classic and I was really hoping that it would taste well just because there’s a stigma that vegan food doesn’t quite taste all that interesting and that’s why they always try to mimic real classics. Sadly, this burger did not help with that stigma. It was a bit too dry, the burger just lacked that umami punch that is animal fat and as such, I have to rank it lower then all the other burgers I have had.
Here was fellow burger enthusiast Sarah’s take on it:
“It’s the type of burger where once I put it down, I don’t need to pick it back up.”
This was the third burger in our journey and thus far it has been disappointing. I was starting to lose hope, but having watched The Fate of the Furious this weekend, I was also reminded of the Fast and Furious franchise.
The third film of FnF was Tokyo Drift, and much like this vegan burger, was totally different then the rest, and totally failed. I mean, it starred this guy:
Who the fuck is that guy? Anyways, people were losing faith in the FnF franchise after that dud, but look at it now! It’s a massive success. This is hopefully the same path we take as we try to find the best burger in the city.
Forming in the late 1980s, Crash Vegas made a name for themselves in the Toronto scene, releasing three albums before disbanding in 1996. Since then, frontwoman Michelle McAdorey has released several solo albums while guitarist Colin Cripps has been a member of Blue Rodeo for a few years now, but the band is now back together. Recently reunited around the reissue of their 1990 debut album Red Earth, they took to the stage at the Danforth Music Hall for their first Toronto show in over 20 years after playing a show in Waterloo a couple of days before. And while it’s certainly been awhile, Crash Vegas definitely didn’t sound out of practice as they ran through a set that focused on songs off of Red Earth along with a few others from throughout their career as well as a couple of songs from McAdorey’s latest solo effort, Into Her Future.
Cripps, McAdorey and original drummer Ambrose Pottie were joined for the reunion shows by Anna Ruddick on bass and Julie Fader on keyboards. In addition to keyboards, Fader added beautiful harmonies throughout the night, most memorably on set closer “You And Me.” Playing as if no time had passed, the band sounded great on old numbers such as “Inside Out,” their cover of Neil Young’s “Pocahontas,” and the highlight of the evening, “Smoke,” which Cripps referred to as their torch song.
It’s not clear whether Crash Vegas has any plans for the future beyond a handful of reunion shows, but it’s nice to have them back, even if just for a little while.