Canadian Music Week

CMW Review: The Dandy Warhols, May 9, Danforth Music Hall

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Midway through The Dandy Warhols‘ set at The Danforth Music Hall as part of Canadian Music Week, the band, and singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor in particular, faced a bit of criticism in the form of a heckle when some random fan shouted out, “Make your vocals higher!”

No, he didn’t mean that he wanted Taylor-Taylor to sound more like Geddy Lee, though that would have undoubtedly been very amusing. Rather, he felt that the vocals needed to be higher up in the mix. Apparently it wasn’t the first time the band had faced such a critique.

“Every single night – ‘turn your vocals up!’ … nope.” replied Taylor-Taylor. His feeling was that it was the heckler and not the band who needed to change things up, suggesting that the fan should “smoke more pot” and¬†change his mood to suit the music rather than the band changing anything to suit him. That’s fair enough – for much of their set the Dandys were all about setting a certain mood through their music, which would certainly qualify as stoner friendly as the band put out a psychedelic vibe that was kind of heavy yet also kind of mellow. And despite the fact that the band taking the stage about twenty minutes past their announced set time got me in a less than gracious mood from the outset, that mood quickly changed once the band got things going.

Though the Dandy Warhols just released their tenth studio album Why You So Crazy earlier this year, their current tour is being billed as a 25th anniversary tour and accordingly, the band played selections from the new album as well as songs from throughout their career. Highlights included “We Used To be Friends”, “Get Off”, “Godless” and of course the big crowd singalong during “Bohemian Like You.” “Highlife,” one of the tunes off the new album also stood out as keyboardist Zia McCabe took the lead on the krautrock meets country number.

And while it’s kind of weird to consider that the Dandy Warhols have been going for 25 years now, it’s still not as weird as the fact that Hanson has somehow been a band for even longer than that, and they’re all still only in their mid to late 30s. Just something to think about.

Anyways, here’s the video for “Forever”:

CMW Review: The Lemonheads, Tommy Stinson, The Restless Age, May 8, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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While the idea of going out on the first couple of nights of CMW seemed a bit daunting to me, by Wednesday night, I was drawn out of my music fest hibernation to check out a couple of acts whose legacies stretch back to the 1980s – Tommy Stinson and The Lemonheads.

Taking the stage before Stinson and The Lemonheads were openers The Restless Age, a younger act than the others on the bill, but one whose sound hearkens back to an even earlier time with their piano-based pop bringing to mind the smooth sounds of ’70s singer-songwriters. That influence was made explicit by the end of their set when they closed things off with a James Taylor cover. With each member of the band taking the lead during their set and the three of them displaying some solid harmonies throughout, the band put on an impressive set.

Next up was Tommy Stinson, performing solo and acoustic throughout much of his set (he switched to electric for the last couple of tunes). Stinson was in a chatty mood, joking with the crowd (“Everyone pull out your iPhones. Here’s tonight’s tourist attraction”) and offering up a few good natured yet somewhat curmudgeonly complaints about his guitar stand and his new eyeglasses. Noting that he doesn’t do this kind of solo gig too often, Stinson promised that he was going to bust out some deep cuts for the occasion, and referred back to those new glasses again when explaining why he wasn’t working with a setlist – too hard to read and so, he was winging it. “So if you have any requests,” Stinson added, “Keep ‘em to yourself.”

Finally came the main event for the evening as Evan Dando and the current iteration of The Lemonheads took to the stage to play a set full of songs from throughout their career including classics such as “It’s A Shame About Ray”, “It’s About Time”, “The Outdoor Type” and “If I Could Talk I’d Tell You.” Touring behind their latest Varshons 2, the band also performed several of the songs off of that collection of covers, including versions of Yo La Tengo’s “Can’t Forget” and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds’ “Straight To You,” the latter of which stood out as one of the highlights of the night.

The band closed out their set with another cover, their version of Mike Nesmith’s “Different Drum” from 1990’s Favourite Spanish Dishes EP, thus ending things off on a high note.

CMW Review: It It Anita, May 10, Supermarket

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Playing as part of the early evening Bonsound Booking Bash show at Supermarket, Belgian noise rockers It It Anita put on a show that was hard to ignore. I don’t just mean that their performance was brash and in your face, alternately noisy and melodic, (it was) but also that it was literally hard to ignore – these guys play loud.

The Liege-based band lists the likes of Fugazi, Metz, Sonic Youth, and Pavement as influences and the sonic touchstones of all of those acts were definitely there in their sound – the way that the members traded off vocals within songs especially brought Fugazi’s live dynamic to mind – though there was also a definite Sabbath-meets-post-rock vibe to one extended number they did near the end of their set.

With the band setting up onstage in a configuration wherein all the members were facing each other as they played, it was almost like you were sitting in on an intimate session in the band’s practice space rather than a show. That intimacy worked in their favour and made for a memorable show.

CMW Review: Loma, May 9, The Garrison

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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After Avengers Infinity War, Loma is one of the most ambitious cross-overs in history, melding in Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg with the band Cross Record.

Well, it really isn’t but time was running out for me to attempt to leverage that meme and so here it is. Loma, as you know by now, is a merging of several members from different bands. They released their debut record earlier this year and even though it received much acclaim, the word clearly didn’t get out as the band debuted to a rather small crowd at The Garrison.

Set up in a semi circle around singer Emily Cross, the group laid down their atmospheric tracks over the course of an hour, buoyed by Emily’s vocals and surprising energy. I had been warned prior to the show that the band’s music trended on “mellow” and every time you hear about a band that has the word atmospheric mentioned with their music, you aren’t expecting music you can dance to. Yet throughout the night, Emily was able to take the music of Loma and translate it into a physical medium, whether it be dancing or fake jogging on stage, which added an additional element to the show. The band even brought their own light show, which I was impressed with. For a band whose music could totally have made for a show where everyone just sat around, the additional effort was noted, and appreciated.