Concert Review: Little Dragon, August 8, 9:30 Club

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts | Leave a comment

unnamed (8)

I’ve always been a big fan of breakfast for dinner. Pancakes and omelettes are exactly what you need to bring your day to a successful close at 8pm.

Which is why I was so delighted to walk into 9:30 Club and find the lead singer of Little Dragon, Yukimi Nagano, rocking an omelette on her head. The adorable vocalist/very enthusiastic tambourine player was sporting a wide brimmed bright yellow hat of the variety that wraps around the head to preserve your hairstyle and is beloved by gardeners and Moms everywhere. I sort of thought she was going to pull out her phone and start talk-to-texting next.

This complete comfort in her own personal style just made the Swedish lead singer even more engaging, relatable, and lovely. Running, skipping, jumping, and tambourining around the stage like a pro, Nagano breathed out the vocals to the Swedish group’s hits, one after another chock full of bass and synth. Nagano was surrounded by two synth/keyboard players to her left and right, and a drummer in the back, but realistically all eyes were on her, front and center. Halfway through the show, Nagano disappeared and emerged onto the stage in a head to toe netted veil. Working her way through songs from the new album Season High, Nagamo whipped up the crowd into a dancing frenzy in no time (although my favorite dancer was the one in front of me, who linked his hands behind his back in a very grandfatherly way and proceeded to bounce. It was adorable.)

From the edible looking clothing to the ghostly veiled dance party, it was all one big delight.

Concert Review: Nazareth, August 4, Danforth Music Hall

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


Nazareth’s most recent release, 2014’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Telephone, marked the last time that the band’s original lead vocalist Dan McCafferty would work with the band and left bassist Pete Agnew as the only remaining original member. Despite having only one founding member left, the band still puts on a credible, hard rocking show and current singer Carl Sentance definitely knows how to work a crowd. And while Sentance doesn’t quite capture McCafferty’s signature rasp, he comes pretty close while also adding a hint of Bruce Dickinson in his delivery.

Though the band is technically touring in support of that 2014 release, they didn’t play anything off of it, sticking instead to the older songs from their back catalogue, which is a pretty realistic move – nobody really wants to hear the new stuff from a classic rock band anyways. At best, they politely tolerate it.

Towards the end of the show, Agnew made an announcement from onstage about a couple who were celebrating their 32nd anniversary that night and who met at a Nazareth show all those years ago (or at least danced to a Nazareth song when they met … I’m not 100% clear on this). The band then played probably their best known song, “Love Hurts,” though I’m not sure that a song with lyrics such as “Love is just a lie made to make you blue” is really the best song to dedicate to a couple on their anniversary. But hey they’ve stuck with it this long so maybe it’s their mutual love of Nazareth that’s kept them together through the years.

While “Love Hurts” was the big highlight of the set, curiously it came in as the second last song before the encore. Most bands save at least one big song for the encore, so I’m not sure what the deal was here. Perhaps they are giving some of the fans a chance to leave early and get home at a reasonable hour. If so, that’s pretty considerate of them, because not only does love hurt, but so do your feet or your back if you’ve been standing awhile.

Concert Review: Belle and Sebastian, July 27, Sony Centre

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment


It happened on the second song. Almost immediately after the first note of “I’m a Cuckoo” was played, a couple of dancers appeared on the periphery of the stage. Then a couple more, followed by a handful of folks standing up in their seats. By the time the band was midway through the song, a significant chunk of the audience had abandoned their seats and moved up to stand at the front. For his part, Belle and Sebastian frontman Stuart Murdoch seemed not only impressed but even spurred on to kick it up a notch. “It didnt take you guys long to stand up, did it? I was gonna go for the slow burn tonight but yeah, let’s do it.”

With no new album to promote, the band is ostensibly still touring behind 2015’s Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance, but they played a selection of songs from throughout their career. The crowd was into it and Belle and Sebastian, in turn, was pretty into Toronto, with Murdoch noting how they had a local trumpet player joining them on stage and that a dancer featured in one of the videos playing behind the band was also from Toronto. He also touched on a couple of topics on the minds of many Torontonians – The Blue Jays (baseball talk of course being used as a segue into “Piazza, New York Catcher”) and the city’s public transit. “I look deep into the psyche of Toronto and I sense trouble. You know what it is, it’s your public transport system,” said Murdoch before rattling off a list of suggestions for how to improve things as if he were running for the position of TTC commissioner. He backtracked a bit later, noting that while he may have been a bit negative in his last speech, there was still plenty to love about the city, including the fact that Torontonians would soon all be “able to smoke pot to your hearts content.” “After that, you won’t care about the transport,” added guitarist Stevie Jackson.

Stage banter aside, the band put on a typically great performance, complete with a mass whistling solo (“When we look at you in a meaningful way, that’s when you come in,” instructed Murdoch, and a group of people all whistling at the same time sounded both amazing and a little ridiculous) and the now standard moment where the band invites everybody on stage to dance along for “The Boy With The Arab Strap.” After ending off their main set with “Judy And The Dream of Horses,” the band returned for a rousing encore of “The Party Line” before, as Murdoch put it, they would “get on our little bus and make our way into the night.”

Belle and Sebastian are playing a string of North American tourdates throughout the summer and just released a new single, “We Were Beautiful.” Give it a listen below:

Concert Review: Spoon, July 25, Massey Hall

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment


One of the things I often like to say (but don’t often say) is that “you always know if it’s a Spoon song, Spoon sounds like no one else and no one else sounds like Spoon”. Did that quite make sense? I don’t know, what I’m essentially saying is that Spoon as a band are undeniably unique. Nine albums in, the Austin band is still going strong. Hot Thoughts, their latest offering seems to have taken a new electronic direction while still sounding like Spoon and it’s very good. Naturally they are touring the album and played the prestigious Massey Hall on Tuesday night in support.

This was my seventh time seeing Spoon. For the record here are all the times I’ve seen a Spoon show:

October 2007, Kool Haus, Toronto – I got sick during this show, unfortunately

July 2010, Molson Amphitheatre – This was a good set, but was overshadowed by the absurdly entertaining Flaming Lips show that happened after. They did bring out a horns section for the Underdog, if I remembered correctly, which was great.

NXNE 2014, Horseshoe Tavern – An amazing show with sad consequences, NXNE clearly blew their load that year and has been a mere shallow shell of itself since. Still, this show made everyone in the Horseshoe feel special as a band that popular should not have been playing a venue that small.

SXSW 2015, Moody Theatre – My favourite Spoon show of all time. This was a homecoming show of epic proportions, in a gorgeous venue and with Britt Daniel’s parents in the crowd. Don’t get me wrong, Spoon plays SXSW almost every year but this one just felt special.

June 2015, Phoenix – Honestly forgot I went to this show until I checked my google docs.

SXSW 2017, Austin Convention Center – Spoon played like seven SXSW shows this year to support Hot Thoughts. We picked one that might have been a bit different – a performance in a hall at the convention center. Mostly we picked this show because it was air conditioned and indoors. The show was good and introduced some tracks from Hot Thoughts that we knew would always be in the concert rotation once we heard it live.

So with that in mind, the Spoon show on Tuesday was like meeting an old friend again. With over 24 years of experience, Spoon is no doubt very good live. They have a very workmanlike attitude with barely any banter in between songs (save for a weird piano number that gave everyone on stage a break) and their live interpretation of their songs has enough looseness to it that you know that you aren’t listening to the album version really loud. Britt Daniel is an energetic front man, with good stage coverage and the occasional rock and roll pose.

As you would expect, the set mixed new and old and newer songs such as “Hot Thoughts” and “Do I Have To Talk You Into It” sound like instant classics. The first with almost a disco vibe to start and the latter with your classic Britt Daniel raspy vocal delivery that also serves as the rhythm of the song. Most of the classics got played and everyone had a good time.

But you know what? As I was listening to the concert, a thought occurred to me. Spoon doesn’t have an anthem. Maybe it’s just me, but they don’t actually have a song where everyone is singing along to every word. That seemed awfully strange until I mentally went through their back catalog, and it’s pretty true. You know that moment that happens often in shows when the lead singer hands the mic over the crowd and everyone is singing along? That NEVER happens at a Spoon show. In no way does it detract from a Spoon set, but I found that to be a bit mind blowing. What is it about Spoon tracks that prevent it from being completely anthemic? Anyways, a hot take on Spoon, or maybe completely irrelevant.

Anyways, anthem or not, it’s hard to beat Spoon at Massey Hall.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 ... 416 417   Next »