Concert Review: Teenage Fanclub, Sept. 22, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything | 2 Comments


1x1.trans Concert Review: Teenage Fanclub, Sept. 22, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – Teenage Fanclub have been around for about 20 years now and they’ve still got it.  The Scottish power poppers are touring behind Shadows, their first album in 5 years.  The new material is good and their harmonies are still solid … although physically, the 20 years are starting to take their toll.  These guys are starting to look a bit like Dads … which I guess they probably are, but that’s neither here nor there.

First a few words on openers Rick Of The Skins.  The late 90s Halifax group has apparently reunited, though this show was the first I had heard about it.  Perhaps they were inspired by the recent reunion of … well, pretty much every band that ever existed, but perhaps more specifically, the Thrush Hermit Reunion (former Thrush Hermit-er Ian McGettigan is also a member of this band).  They seemed to be having a lot of fun up there, switching musical instruments from member to member between every song – seriously, every member played everything!  This loose atmosphere helped to sell the songs, some of which you could tell were written 10 or more years ago   – the tongue-in-cheek rap-rock number they closed out with would have been hard to swallow if not for the fact that it was prefaced by saying, “We must have been 15 when we wrote this song … or it feels like it anyways.”  Also, a note to Ian McGettigan – the rest of the band looked like they at least dressed up a bit for the show, whereas you looked like you just got off the couch.  Still, nice Cheap Trick t-shirt.

Shortly after Rick of The Skins, Teenage Fanclub took to the stage, starting things off with “Start Again” before launching into a few from the new album.  This was the first night of their North American tour (perhaps they’re starting here because Norman Blake now lives in Kitchener, Ontario or maybe just so Blake can introduce “Baby Lee” as “Geddy Lee” becuase he knows a Toronto crowd will get the joke) and being the first night, it would seem that they’re still working out the kinks on their setlist.  While all the songs were great, not all of it worked as a totally cohesive set but again, it’s the first night so there’s plenty of room to rejig things.  The most noticeable sign that they may still be working things out was when the second last song, “Today Never Ends,” was introduced as their last song and then immediately followed it with “Everything Flows.”  Either they realized that the former was the wrong song to go out on or they just decided not to bother leaving the stage and doing a second encore.  Either way, ”Everything Flows” was the better choice.   Other highlight of the set were “The Concept,” “Ain’t That Enough,” and one of my favourites, “Your Love Is The Place Where I Come From,” which featured Blake on the Glockenspiel.  They left out a few songs I would have liked to have heard, (“Mellow Doubt,” “Hang On,” and especially “What You Do To Me” come to mind, but odds are they might show up in the second night’s set) but all in all, it was a great show. 

Here’s the setlist for the night:

1x1.trans Concert Review: Teenage Fanclub, Sept. 22, Horseshoe Tavern

Concert Review: Active Child, School of Seven Bells, September 15, Mod Club

Posted on by Allison in Concerts, Everything, Music | 2 Comments

1x1.trans Concert Review: Active Child, School of Seven Bells, September 15, Mod Club

Let me first qualify this review by explaining I just underwent major dental surgery. Half my face is frozen, I just cut my pinky finger opening a can of soup, and I’m about to pop two Tylenol 3′s once my local anesthetic wears off. In short

Now that we have that out of the way…

One of the greatest things about writing for the PM is that you often get to see potential realized. There is nothing that pleases me more than seeing a band’s potential; and there is nothing quite as satisfying as seeing them get the recognition they deserve, especially if it’s a slower burn.  Almost two years ago now, Brooklyn outfit School of Seven Bells opened for M83 on their North American tour. In fact that show was my very first review.

The sultry sisters returned last night, preceded by Bishop Morocco and another brownstone town band, the electronic-driven Active Child. I walked in as Active Child was playing their last song in their set, When Your Love is Safe, and was surprised at how polished they sounded live. I’d see these guys again, given the chance, and am sorry I missed most of their set. I just hope that next time, they won’t be playing to an eerily quiet crowd (not that I’m not always guilty of this myself).

School of Seven Bells were having some technical difficulties setting up their MacBook, but they played such a killer set I would’ve forgiven far more. All I can say is that their maturation has really surprised me…a lot of Alpinisms was great, but played a lot off of the electronic thing. If this show is any indication of where they might be heading in the future (or where Disconnect from Desire goes, I still haven’t listened to it), then we are in for a guitar-driven ride. It’s hard to believe that the band claims they are driven by lyrics first and music later, because Curtis’s guitar playing is really the centerpiece of their live show.

This guy can really shred it. And if you’re going to stand anywhere close to the stage, you had better come armed with earplugs (I didn’t)…

In fact, a lot of their set reminded me of the classic Simple Minds album, New Gold Dream. The ended with My Cabal and came back for an encore that I wish I could write about, but I’m starting to (simultaneously) drool involuntarily and prevent my head from hitting my keyboard at the same time.

1x1.trans Concert Review: Active Child, School of Seven Bells, September 15, Mod Club

Concert Review: Mystery Jets, September 13, Horseshoe Tavern

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1x1.trans Concert Review: Mystery Jets, September 13, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – Monday night saw English band Mystery Jets start the first and potentially last stop of their North American tour in order to promote their new album Serotonin. Apparently, the band had not acquired a work visa as of last night. Despite the potential financial implications of a one off tour to North America, the band was still in good spirits as they took the stage for their show at around 22:45.

Starting with a one-two punch of new song Show Me The Light and recent hit single Half in Love With Elizabeth, it was quickly established that this show was going to feature a heavy dose of tracks off their new album Serotonin sprinkled with the popular tunes off their sophomore effort, Twenty One. I had previously written that the bands new album, Serotonin, is basically a pop album and the live renditions of these songs – The Girl is Gone, Too Late to Talk, Dreaming of Another World cements the idea that the Mystery Jets is more or less a good pop band capable of writing very radio friendly singles – infectious beats, catchy melodies and singalongable choruses (is that a word?). In other words, they are ready to rule the world. The band was quite good live – Blaine Harrison (he of the rag doll hair) has a strong voice, their harmonics were fun and catchy, the banter was witty and they appeared to have a good time.

As the 70 minute show wore on, I came to sad realization that their eclectic but good debut record, Making Dens, was going to get very little to no representation. This meant tracks like You Can’t Fool Me Dennis, The Boy Who Ran Away and Alas Agnes did not make appearances. This did not seem to bother the rest of the crowd, that despite being only 1/3 full, was having a good time. No one could have went to this Mystery Jets show without mentioning the insane group of mangrinders up in the front. As much as I admire their enthusiasm, I just wonder what it is about UK bands and the ‘lads’ loving it up with each other. Maybe it’s a phenomenon.

Despite the lack of any first album materials, it was a solid Monday night concert featuring one of the better up and coming bands from overseas. Lets just hope they don’t have to fly back today because of visa issues.

1x1.trans Concert Review: Mystery Jets, September 13, Horseshoe Tavern

Mystery Jets – Dreaming of Another World by to9_lmao

Concert Reviews: Marina and the Diamonds, September 8, Opera House

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment

1x1.trans Concert Reviews: Marina and the Diamonds, September 8, Opera House

Toronto – It would be unfair to compare the two Marina and the Diamonds shows I have seen this year. One was at SXSW and was in on the second floor of a bbq restaurant, a space smaller then my living room while the other was in the large and cavernous space known as the Opera House. I’ll just get it right out there, obviously the first one was better, since it was way more intimate and the crowd had more of a buzz. Still, Wednesday night’s offering of Marina Lambrini Diamandis was a good representation of her vast talents.

Playing songs off both her debut album The Family Jewels and various EPs, Marina pleased the crowd early with hit single I Am Not A Robot(which inspired a sing-along) and her summer single Oh No. Dressed up in a tight football jersey and a hip hugging tights, Marina definitely charmed the crowd with her posh British accent, good looks and general playfulness on stage. The stripped down piano versions of Guilty and Obsessions allowed Marina to exercise her vocal chords and impress the naysayers with her powerful voice.

I thought there was a bit of a lull in the middle part of the set, as she was getting through some of the filler songs on her albums/eps. The set picked up again when Marina disappeared off stage for a few minutes, came back dressed up with a college jacket, dollar sign sunglasses, two hamburgers and started singing her smash hit Hollywood. For me, it seemed only then did the crowd really take off. Current single Shampain followed but the somewhat stiff Toronto crowded fail to participate to her call and response act, which might have been a downer, but that didn’t stop Marina from pulling it in for the rest of the set. The encore featured an perhaps ill advised cover of 3Oh!3′s Starstrukk. Someone should tell her people that no one likes 3Oh!3. The hour long show wrapped up nicely with Mowgli’s Road.

Overall, the 3/4 full crowd at the Opera House had a great time and everyone was in good spirits leaving the show. I was obviously slightly less enthusiastic given the other time I saw her (or maybe because I was sick), but still, one can’t help but think that Marina and the Diamonds will be heading for bigger things soon with her powerful voice, catchy pop music and made for tv looks. We should be glad that we get to see her in a smallish setting in the meantime.

1x1.trans Concert Reviews: Marina and the Diamonds, September 8, Opera House

Shampain by Marina and The Diamonds

Check out the video for her new single, Shampain, as well.