Concert Review: The Lemonheads, October 17, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Allison in Concerts, Everything, Reviews | Leave a comment

There are some people, in spite of their every effort and bad habits, that will never age a day. Evan Dando of the Lemonheads happens to be one of those people. If anything, Dando has aged like a fine wine even with his much-publicized affair with drugs, a marriage with a model that has recently ended, and a self-proclaimed lack of ambition. Dando is now 44 years old, separated from his wife, and living a sober(er) life post-alcoholism (though he still maintains he likes taking mushrooms on a monthly basis).

For those of you who were born post 1980, a lot of this will seem completely obscure. But for women in my age group, Dando was briefly the world’s biggest teen heartthrob in that ’93-’96 time frame, gracing the face of glossy magazines and rivaling Kurt Cobain (as some kind of golden-haired and sanitized version of grunge music) and Oasis in terms of legendarily copious drug use, supermodel bedding (and eventual marriage), and making all of the other girls swoon. I didn’t really pay too much attention to the Lemonheads after It’s a Shame About Ray, but remembering that melancholy time period of my life, I was busy following Morrissey’s career nosedive with Southpaw Grammar and Maladjusted.

I wasn’t sure what to expect then, when Dando and his latest incarnation of “The Lemonheads” took stage in the latest in a string of “everything old is new again” one album tours. Touted as “Evan Dando and the Lemonheads perform It’s a Shame About Ray”, I was expecting this to be another in a series of stale cash grabs. This, after I’d sworn off all reunions–such wishy-washiness is pretty predictable from those with the ‘ol nostalgia bone. Dando took stage sporting a hoodie and good looks that seem not to have aged a day (and only then did I realize that at 44, he looks better than a 30-somethign Dan Cortez), a bassist that looked about 25, and a drummer.

Stiffly ripping through the set without pause, the packed and rowdy crowd certainly seemed to think he could do no wrong. He was egged on through his constant setlist glances and seemed unsure about which chords to play. Unless he was shoegazing, the memory could have been an issue here. There was one moment where he explained that they’d just restrung the guitar he was playing, which was not a good thing to do in retrospect, and certainly not right before a show. No matter, no one cared–everyone was just happy to hear the songs live again.

Skipping the tacked-on cover to Mrs. Robinson, Dando’s backing band was ushered offstage and he engaged everyone in a solo acoustic set, seeming to get more comfortable as he plugged along. This was an audience full of fans, he soon learned, and seemed genuinely touched that everyone knew the words to every song. The high moment came during Outdoor Type, when you could literally taste the palpable swooning of every woman in the room. Easing into things, Dando started to field requests from the audience, and boy were there a lot. Thankfully, only a couple of morons yelled for “Mrs. Robinson”, and were promptly ignored when he explained, pleaing for  “a song we’ve written”.

The band came back on again to shoot out hits like “Into Your Arms”. Then the encore of solo acoustic followed with a continuation of a barrage of requests and ended after one song. I suppose Dando was tired at this point–and after an hour and a half on a Monday, I suspect many others were too.

Overall I’m just happy he made it through the set consistently. And that he’s still alive.

3 out of 5

Concert Review: Trentemoller, October 16, Phoenix

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Sunday night concerts are a tricky business. It usually requires some commitment to make it to a Sunday show. Generally you are tired, behind on errands and just dreading the impending work week. I don’t usually go out to many Sunday night shows, but the looming spectacle that I had expected from Danish electronic act Trentemoller was enough for me to change my stance.

Trentemoller is a well known Danish electronic act that has been touring North America extensively the past year, playing everywhere from the Mod Club to Coachella. The band has two previously recorded albums and also a double album titled Reworked / Remixed out next year. Somewhat unknown stateside, Trentemoller’s resume includes of all things, closing out Roskilde, one of the most relevant European music festivals (maybe made more famous by Pearl Jam) two years ago. Going from 80,000 people to a few hundred must of been an interesting notion for a band but on this night, Trentemoller did not let the small audience stop them from putting on an energetic show.

Taking the stage at 9:30, Anders Trentemoller was accompanied by a live band, which included a drummer, a multi-instrumentalist and two female vocalists who also doubled as guitar players and tambourine shakers. Anders himself took center stage with a host of synthesizers, miniature piano, a cymbal and xylophone. Hidden behind an elevated tape shield for the first track, the band played a slowly building number a midst darkness and smoke machines to set the tone for the show. The tape shields soon dropped revealing an impressive amount of lighting that help accentuate the music. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that not all Trentemoller tunes were instrumental and the tracks that featured Marie Fisker’s sultry voice had a nice old school lounge like quality to it, only if that lounge somehow played downtempo electronic music in the background.

The rest of the show had a nice flow to it, moving from atmospheric down tempo music to energetic full-on percussion dance party at a flick of a switch. There’s just something about electronic music backed by a live band that I can’t put my finger on… it’s just really good. While I think I would have totally rock out hard for a Trentemoller show on a Friday night with plenty of pre-drinking and friends, the Sunday night journey I embarked on was quite alright as well.

Trentemøller: Shades Of Marble by Trentemøller

Concert Review: The Pelts, October 15, Rainbow Bistro

Posted on by stacey in Concerts | Leave a comment

Ottawa – “Your prom turns into a Tarantino soundtrack” is the intriguing description I read of The Pelts which drew me to The Rainbow Bistro on Saturday. Having never heard anything from this rockabilly/ garage/Mersey beat four-piece, from the moment they appeared on stage in skinny suits, with a little pompadour hair and two-toned shoes, I knew we were in for a good time. And boy, I was right. By the end of the night, there wasn’t a person left in a seat as we were all up giggling at their witty lyrics, and cutting a rug to their infectious tunes.

The band played a combination of their own great songs (such as ‘San Tarantino’, ‘Earnestly’ and ‘You Really Got a Hold on Me’) as well as a huge variety of covers (everything from Smokey Robinson to Vanilla Ice) that they clearly made their own. The success of their sound lies in the obvious skill of each of the members, and how much they enjoy putting on a great show together. Each of the three vocalists had a great solo tone, but even better were their spot-on vocal harmonies. Full of panache, Sam Menard on drums set the beat that got the Rainbow jumping. The Rev. Dr. D. Spanx alternated between lead vocal, a perfectly placed sax (too often overdone), and one mean harmonica. With Billy SLiM rocking out on lead guitar, even he couldn’t suppress the urge to dance that only some taps on his white shoes would top. Finally, Blazer Mack, on a beautifully grooving 6-string base tried to keep a cool front, which only made him more endearing when he would break out in a beaming ear-to-ear smile, clearly showing what a great time these guys have putting on a show.

Although unconfirmed, word on the street is that The Pelts are planning a tour in the not-so-distant future, so dust off your dancing shoes and plan to go when they make a stop in your town.

Concert Review: Best of Baroque, Toronto Symphony, Oct 15

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | Leave a comment

The Toronto Symphony season is in full swing and I am pretty excited about this year’s line-up. Renowned pianist Lang Lang will have a two-week residency with the TSO in November. Later this year we welcome famous conductor Itzhak Perlman. Last but not least, cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma will be coming in May to sprinkle some of his magical stardust on Toronto. All of this is helping the TSO celebrate it’s 90th anniversary.

Despite being 90 years old, the symphony continues it’s efforts to outreach to the youth of today. It’s got one of the most vibrant youth programs for Classical music in tsoundcheck. Under 35’ers can get tickets for as little as $14. Best of all, you’re not relegated to horrible seats. For this latest performance, I happened to score third row seats that would have made my grey-haired neighbours green with envy.

Last Saturday, TSO Conductor Laureate Sir Andrew Davis took us through a night of Bach music entitled the Best of Baroque. For all my years of attending the symphony, it was the first time I heard Roy Thompson’s impressively majestic pipe organ. From there we moved onto some beautiful Bach concertos, and some interpretations of Bach’s work from a variety of artists, including Sir Andrew Davis himself.

For those who haven’t yet explored the Toronto Symphony, it’s a thoroughly soul-cleansing experience. You get to listen to un-amplified musicians at the top of their game playing in perfect, well, symphony. Plus at $14 a pop, you can’t go wrong.

Under 32? Buy $14 tickets to the symphony here. Rachmaninoff Symphony No. 2 plays on Oct 19-20, which will totally kick ass.

11. Sheep may safely graze by kyuji86