Concerts

Tokyo Police Club, Jan 26, Nathan Phillips

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Toronto – Every year, the city of Toronto hosts this thing called ‘Winter City’ where people gather around Nathan Phillips Square and do stuff to celebrate winter, and city. What this means is every weekend for a few weekends, theres a free outdoor concert. On the weekend of January 26, the free concert was GTA’s own, Tokyo Police Club. Arguably the most hyped Canadian band at the moment, TPC seems marked for the big ticket and will be releasing a LP off Paperbag records sometime soon. I managed to drag myself (and a few others) to the show.

So how was the show? Well, let me first say, this “Nights of Fire” thing that was going on at the same time was freakin wicked. There was flames everywhere, it was a pyros wet dream. The fire, along with the fog and the snow made for some crazy scenes and I wish I had brought my camera along. Here is some flickr pics that other people put up.

The band came on sometime after nine to a extremely large crowd, half of which seemed to be teenagers jacked on whatever it is they drink these days. The crowd was quite enthusiastic about the show and the band led off with the opening track “Box” off the bands latest EP – Smith. This was my first time seeing them, so I had pretty decent expectations since I really loved the song ‘Your English is Good”, as well as most of the Eps. Tokyo Police Club announced that they have a cd coming out soon and most of the set list consisted of songs from their previous releases and new stuff. I have to say, I was expected more then what I got from the concert. The new music sounded quite mellow and to me, TPC is at its best when they are delivering short, solid upbeat tunes.

Overall, you can’t complain about the free show and the visuals were stunning, with the light show from stage melding in with the snowing. I bet the band members were quite cold wearing just t-shirts and what not while everyone else was all layered up. After hearing the concert, it’ll be interesting to see if TPC loses any momentum when they release their new LP this spring. I think they are very similar to the UK band the Cribs, so if you enjoy TPC, check the other band out too.

2.5/5

+ crazy setup for winter city
+ free
+ these fluorescent tube things they handed out
+ played the songs that I liked
– played songs i thought were meh
– freakin kids
– cold
– could have been shorter, since it was cold

* Props to my friend Gary for taking pictures. He has more pictures up, but you will have to be his facebook friend if you want to see him. That’s quite the commitment.

Here is the song that they started the set off with

The Luyas/Katie Stelmanis, Silver Dollar, Jan 11, 2008

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 2 Comments

Toronto – I really enjoy seeing shows at the Silver Dollar. It is a small venue with character. Once I got in, I made my way to the bar, ordered myslef a bottle of 50 and had a look around. The crowd was mostly young geek-sheek girls. Lots of girls. There were Young Galaxy t-shirts and members of Ohbijou everywhere. Truthfully, I felt old. Meh, whatever.

The Luyas went on and Jessie rocked it out. The live show was much more upbeat than the CD which was a good thing since Faker Death can be pretty mellow at points. The bare foot French horn player was different too.

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Katie Stelmanis since I don’t think I have ever been to an experimental, classically trained composers’ show. Now that I think about it, that description really fit what I heard. Katie belted out lyrics over whatever was on her ipod, a marching-drum-line and keyboard loops. It was all very intesnse and movie soundtrack-ish. Her voice can be pretty haunting and when you put it over some simple percussion, it intensifies it that much more. I could only stay for the first four songs before I had to leave, but from what I saw and heard I would definitely check her out again.

One more thing I need to mention. A certain fashion trend that caught my attention at the show. High rise jeans. Maybe this is a new trend, or maybe it is an old one and I am just catching up on, but there were more than a few ladies wearing their pantaloons up around their under wire. I first noticed the trend on a girl who was standing a few steps away from me while I clicked a couple of pictures during the Luyas set. She had on a pair of high rise jeans that clearly were zipped up well above her belly button and showed the entire curvature of her stomach. I looked at them for a couple of seconds, then looked up at her and realized that she was looking at me looking at, what would seem her, her crotch. It was awkward for a moment, but the moment passed. Then I thought to myself “hmmmm, those are different”. Then I thought some more and realized that my thoughts were positive. Seems that I kind of like the high risers. They are sharp and they didn’t look out of place on my new friend. Maybe I’m thinking this way becasue I was a huge Dallas fan (who shot J.R.?) back in the day? Yes, high rise jeans, two thumbs up.

Shit, Maybe I am old?

scarlett

Joel Plaskett Emergency, December 13, Horseshoe

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

la de da

Toronto – Last week the Horsehoe Tavern celebrated their 60th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, The Joel Plaskett Emergemcy played 6 shows. Each night he featured songs from one of their albums. We went to the Thursday night show, which was La De Da, a Joel Plaskett solo album.

The most important thing to know about a Joel Plaskett Emergency show is that whenever he mentions Nova Scotia, you need to yell like you just shot-gunned your 9th straight can of Keiths. Even if you grew up in Kandahar City, when at a Joel Plaskett show you are allowed to act as if you just got in your first fist fight at pizza corner*.

The show started with some guy saying a little blurb about the Horseshoe and all the legendary acts that have played there. He then brought up the fact that the evening would be filled with ‘special guests’. Next, he held up a picture and announced “Here I have a freshly signed picture of Stompin’ Tom Connors, one of the legends who have graced this stage”

Freshly signed? Special guests? My friend Danielle and I looked at each other and simultaneously mouthed the words “Stompin’ Tom?”. Holy shit, Stompin’ Tom is one of the special guests?!?

Joel took the stage. I would say that La De Da is one of his less rocking/anthem albums, and the show really reflected this. I lost count how many times he started playing a song by saying “We haven’t played this one in a while”. Yah, well there is probably a reason for that Joel.

Then the conveyer belt of special guest started.

Special Guest #1 – Joels’ dad who played some guitar. It was sweet.
Special Guest #2 – The guy from Winnipeg based band Big Sugar. Mehhh.
Special Guest #3 - Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip). Kick ass. He is one sexy man. He sang ‘I Love This Town’. Then he sang some Christmas themed song which totally killed any momentum that the show had going for it.
Special Guest #4 – Danielle and I looked at each other…could it be…Stom…nope, Sarah Harmer. Still pretty awesome.
Special Guest #5 – No special guest #5. The show is over, go home.

No Stompin’ Tom. What the deuce?

Danielle put it all in perspective on our way up Spadina. “Stompin’ Tom is 71 years old. You can’t expect him to show up, unannounced in downtown Toronto at 1:00 in the morning to play one single gig”. Yah, I suppose she has a point.

4/5 – Good show Joel. Thanks for playing ‘Snowed In’. That is a funny song that could have only been written by and pulled off by an east coaster. The special guests were a nice surprise even if Stompin’ Tom wasn’t one of them. Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie are of equal sex-atudes.

*Pizza Corner – 3 different pizza restaurants at corner of Blowers and Grafton in Halifax. Good cheap pizza and donairs (Gyro-type wraps, often overflowing with meat and sauce). However, this area can descend into anarchy when the bars let out, and the restaurants often lock their bathrooms, even to customers.

Richard Hawley, December 5, Horseshoe

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Toronto – Last week, on a dark and stormy night, I went to the Horsehoe to see ex-Pulp/ex-Longpigs member Richard Hawley perform a set to promote his latest album “Lady’s Bridge”. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Hawley’s stuff, his music is very lush and melodic. I guess you can say he’s a crooner.

The concert was packed, which surprised me. I guess the Horseshoe is not that big, the crowd was definately an older type, and I guess the music kind of plays to that crowd. They arrived on stage shortly after ten, looking very mature and all wearing suits. I guess this was expected. I wish I was in some sort of lounge, so I could sit down, but that’s life.

The band immediately went to the lead track off the latest album, called ‘Valentine’ and played it calmly and coolly. I must say, Richard Hawley has awesome, awesome guitars. They are really shiny. I like shiny things. They also look very, very expensive. Their set consisted of a mostly newer songs with a few from Coles Corner. They were very much the professionals, and displayed the British humor you come to expect from ..British people.

My only complain with the show was that they didn’t play “Baby, You’re my Light” off their late night final album. I guess you can’t have it all..sometimes. The show itself was stellar and professional, as you would expect from someone who’s been around for so long.

4/5