Concert Review: Apparat, May 28, Lincoln Hall

Posted on by Celeste in Concerts, Everything | Leave a comment

If I had to describe the Monday night Apparat concert at Lincoln Hall in one word, my first choice would be delightful. Second choice would be charming. Third choice would be surprising. Although I know I shouldn’t stereotype bands based on locale or genre, Apparat was not what I was expecting from a German techno group. Instead of a thumping bass, neon lights and four stoic band members, the crowd was treated instead to a stage decorated with little lights that flashed in time to the music and gave the impression of well-synched fireflies, a lighting system that brought to mind the scratchiness of an old newsreel, and four quiet but charismatic musicians. Most endearingly of all, the four of them lined up at the end of the concert and took a bow. Love.

No one song stood out to me, but the entire set was solid, with a rich and varied feel to it, and the last song of the night ended with a rain sound that brought to mind the days of elementary school when our teacher had us make rainsticks out of paper towel tubes, toothpicks and rice (a collective “oh yeah” memory or just me?) although I’m sure the band’s rain-sound producing instrument was a little more high tech. Overall a surprisingly charming and delightful concert – go see these guys if you get the chance.

Concert Review: Maps and Atlases, May 23, Rock And Roll Hotel

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maps and atlases panic manual concert review

So many magical moments at the Maps and Atlases concert at Rock and Roll Hotel on May 23. Seriously,
though, several mythical never-before-seen phenomena transpired, including:

1) The perfect set-list. The band covered songs old and new, soft and loud, slow and fast. Long-
time and newly won fans rocked out together to Fever, Old and Grey, and Winter among
others from the band’s new album “Beware and Be Grateful.” Old-timers rocked out and new
fans pretended to know the words to the band’s older classics, including The Charm and Solid
Ground from “Perch Patchwork.”

2) Lambs laying down with lions. OK, so maybe not literally, but it was one of the most
heterogeneous crowds I’ve seen at the Rock and Roll Hotel hipster mecca in a while. Preps
mingled with hipsters mingled with grunge mingled with preteens. NBD. My favorite moment
was when some beautiful blonde prep complimented the hipster next to her on his overalls (he
was wearing suspenders).

3) The good guy getting the girl (and boy). Every one of the four members of Maps and Atlases
seemed to be just the nicest, laid-back, most soft-spoken types you could imagine. But the way
the crowd reacted to them was like they were Bieber-meets-Rihanna-wrapped-up-in-Ke$ha.
Total rockstars. Their reactions were so cute too – lots of humble nods, little smiles, and the
occasional fist pound with an eager fan.

4) Religious experiences. So, I don’t pretend to know much (or anything) about the actual skill
sets involved in playing any instrument, but the way the fans around me were talking about
the drummer were in almost Biblical terms. I heard him described as ‘the second coming’ of
John Bonham (the drummer from Led Zeppelin); fans loved the fact he was rocking out without
shoes; and he was also described as the ‘shepherd’ of the band by some guy in the crowd who I
took to be a Maps and Atlases expert given his hair and glasses were carbon copies of the lead

5) Chivalry not being dead. Going to concerts alone is one of the few things I like to do solo (you
wouldn’t catch me dead alone in a restaurant/bar/café) – for some reason I have no shame just
hanging out by myself in the back of the venue. But at this particular show I was lucky enough
to be spotted by a super nice guy who’d seen Maps and Atlases several times before, and who
would not let me hang out in the back. Instead, he fought his way to the front with me in tow –
and I have to admit it made the entire experience a whole lot better (so thanks to you, wherever
you may be!)

Is it worth seeing Maps and Atlases? Absolutely. While I can’t guarantee you’ll experience all five of
the afore-mentioned marvels, you have a pretty good chance of enjoying at least one, right?

Concert Review: Jesus and Mary Chain, May 23rd, Rotunda 3, KITEC, Hong Kong

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Playing essentially the same set list from their South By Southwest showcase, legendary Scottish band Jesus and Mary Chain played a show that illustrated perfect examples of what is best and worst about these types of reunions.

The Jesus and Mary Chain played Rotunda 3 in the KowlownBay International Trade and Exhibition Centre, which is basically a glorified mall. In case you were wondering, Rotunda 3 is not the name of some cool bar, it’s actually the third rotunda on the 6th floor of the building. It’s essentially a circular hall used probably for trade shows.

One of the great things about anywhere not in North America is the ability to drink anywhere. Pre drinking for me and others all included raiding the 7-11 on the first floor and buying some drinks and casually ride the escalators up while drinking at the same time. Here is a price comparison:

7-11: 2 x 330 ml San Miguel: 13.5 HKD
Inside: 1×330 ml some beer: 30 HKD

That’s how it should be done. The crowd was pretty balanced. I would guess that about 1200 people were at the show and 600 of them were white. The rest appeared to be a combination of Chinese hipsters and Chinese people who probably grew up in England or Australia or North America. Why did I give you a racial breakdown of the show? Because I’m racist.

When the lights dimmed, it didn’t matter what your skin tone was because the excitement for the band was universally off the charts and the group came out to a massive applause. With a bit more stage room to work with than Austin, I was pleasantly surprised at the inclusion of a giant cross of lights that dominated the stage’s lighting structure. Jesus indeed.

Not one for talk, Jim Reid and the band quickly launched into the pulsating guitars that announced the arrival of the track Snakedriver. Head On soon followed and the crowd was loving it – people were dancing, jumping up and down and just losing their shits in general. The anticipation of the next track, the self doubt about whether or not it’s the one you wanted to hear and then the elation that follows when it actually is the song you wanted to hear are the greatest things about concerts. If that concert just so happens to be a band that you’ve waited all your life to see, well then, its one reason why bands like Jesus and Mary Chain and others should continue to tour.

Now onto the bad side. For me, the show started being not so good during the hit track Some Candy Talking. One of the most iconic songs from the Jesus and Mary Chain discography, it should have been one of the defining moments of the show. However, something was terribly off. Jim Reid seemed to be singing one version of the song while his brother seemed to be playing a different version. It seemed like they were going at a different pace. To say it was a bit disappointing was an understatement . There were other sequences of the show in which the bands appeared to be completely different pages, climaxing with three full restarts and a band meeting for the track Halfway to Crazy. This would be excusable in March but after so many tour dates you would figure that it’s be sorted out.

Luckily, the band got it together for their most popular track – Just Like Honey. A short encore followed and the fans left happy.

Jesus and Mary Chain the second time around was a mixed blessing. On one hand I got to see a band I really like and do something most people don’t get to do, but on the other hand I felt like it could I’d been better. Still, legends like this don’t come around too often so you should probably go.

Concert Review: Paul Weller, May 21, Sound Academy

Posted on by Allison in Concerts, Everything | 2 Comments
Paul Weller

Monday night marked Canada’s celebration of Victoria Day or Fête de la Reine for our Francophone friends (an explanation of the holiday is available here). Considering it was a holiday schedule, going to the dreaded Sound Academy was probably twice as bad as usual. I looked up the 72B bus from Pape Station beforehand and timed my trip out accordingly. When I asked the bus driver from the 72 when the next scheduled bus for the B was, he said “Sorry, there’s no schedule”. There’s no schedule for the transit system despite posted schedules online. I’m beginning to feel like Lisa Simpson on her way to the Isis Exhibit.

Finally the bus shows up and I’m on my way to the worst musical venue in Toronto (try Googling “worst concert venue in toronto“) to see one of the most legendary British acts the 80’s ever produced. Seems like a fair trade-off to me considering this is the only other city Paul Weller chose to visit in North America outside of New York City.

I arrived in the midst of Weller’s opening song from the oft-discussed setlist this tour, “Green”. Look people, the man has a new album. It’s called Sonik Kicks. No, it doesn’t sound anything like the Jam or Style Council, but it’s anything but bad. In fact, I’d say the better parts of the show (as is often the case with performance veterans) came about when he was performing his newest material. I thought “The Attic”, “Paperchase”, many of the acoustic numbers, and “By the Waters” were particularly good. There were some weaker moments, but I would argue this had more to do with the songwriting than any performance issues. I heard numerous comments during this first part of the set about how the show was “gay”. “faggoty”, and how Weller was “baiting us”, which brings to mind my second major observation. If this show was any evidence of reality, Paul Weller’s fans are jerks. Never in my life have I heard more talking, smelled more eggy farting or hamburger burps than at this show.

Sure, the weird instrument he brought onstage was odd, as was the presence of his 25 year old wife/back-up singer during the reggae-infused Study in Blue. Sure, the setlist could’ve been more evenly distributed. But this is PAUL WELLER, his voice hasn’t faded a bit even with his incessant chain-smoking (I counted at least 6 cigarettes he smoked onstage). Most people there paid over $60 to see him, shouldn’t we at least have listened? The older I get the more I realize that listening is an art though–most everyone hears, hardly anyone listens.

I had to change positions five times to get away from all the talking. My search for an obnoxious-free zone came when I stood behind a kindly grey-haired couple. Things picked up a bit once he thanked us for “tolerating” the new stuff and moved onto more familar territory like “Stanley Road”, “Wake Up The Nation”, and “All I Wanna Do”. I’m admittedly far less familiar with his solo catalogue so I actually enjoyed the new stuff a bit more than the rocked out early 90’s and 00’s material, and was probably the only one to feel this way.

There were two Jam songs in the setlist–both encores. Eton Rifles ignited a passionate sing-along after a long 2.5 hour set, and Town Called Malice rounded everything out with a full-on pogo-stick-fest. I kept waiting for a Style Council tune, but did so in vain.

Sonik Kicks
The Attic
Kling I Klang
Sleep of the Serene
By the Waters
That Dangerous Age
Study in Blue
When Your Garden’s Overgrown
Around The Lake
Be Happy Children

15 minute intermission

The Butterfly Collector
(The Jam song)
Out Of The Sinking
Aim High
No Tears To Cry
All I Wanna Do (Is Be With You)
You Do Something To Me

From The Floorboards Up
22 Dreams
Stanley Road
Foot of the Mountain
Wake Up The Nation
Fast Car/Slow Traffic
Echoes Round The Sun
Whirlpool’s End

Eton Rifles
(The Jam song)
The Changingman
Into Tomorrow

Encore 2:
A Town Called Malice
(The Jam song)