Event Review: PointsBet Canada Party (featuring Trailer Park Boys and Huttch), April 9, El Mocambo

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Over the years, we here at Panic Manual occasionally stray from our usual coverage of music and the arts in general and branch out to review other things, like dog shows, TIFF parties, and even actual earthquakes – we like to examine the full range of the human experience. So in that spirit, I took it upon myself to check out the launch party for PointsBet Canada, who were celebrating the occasion with a party at the El Mocambo featuring a performance by Windsor rockers Huttch and hosted by The Trailer Park Boys … or at least two of them. I guess Julian had a prior obligation.

“OK, so has everybody downloaded the fuckin’ app yet?” asked Bubbles as he and his fellow Sunnyvale Trailer park resident Ricky took to the stage to get the party officially started and to introduce the men who brought PointsBet to Canada.

Originally started in Australia, PointsBet launched this month in Canada after some success across the border in the U.S. and promises to deliver “an authentically Canadian product and gaming experience through unique partnerships deeply rooted in Canada’s sports landscape.” Apparently this notion of authentic Canadiana also includes hiring the Trailer Park Boys to host your party, something the PointsBet Canada guys described as being a bit of a hard sell to their overseas parent company.

A short while later in the evening, Windsor’s Huttch took to the stage and delivered a decent set of meat and potatoes, power-poppish rock that brought to mind Sam Roberts at times. The band just put out a new album this week and of course were playing songs from it for the occasion. The drummer made use of sports metaphors to appeal to the crowd with his comment about the album being a “home run” … although a hockey metaphor might have been more apt with the Leafs game playing on the big screen behind the bar. The day before this was Jays opening night though, so we’ll let that one slide.

As someone who doesn’t follow sports all that closely and has never really gambled on any sporting event before, I probably wasn’t exactly the target demographic for this event. But overall, it was a solid night out regardless. And while I may not be all that into betting on sports, the fact that I went out to a party in a bar during the sixth wave of Covid that we’re currently in shows that I am probably a bit of a gambler in some respects after all.

SXSW Song Of The Day: Elephant Stone – Solitude

Posted on by Paul in Everything, Song of the Day, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

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Photo Credit: Bowen Stead

In the dozen years or so since the Panic Manual crew started attending SXSW, Montreal’s Elephant Stone has been a fairly steady presence, playing there pretty regularly over the years. And the band will be returning this year with a newly released EP in tow.

This Friday, the band releases Le voyage de M. Lonely dans la lune, a 4 song mini-concept album which tells the story of a man who chooses to leave humanity far behind and embark on a journey to live on the moon, ultimately deciding that such isolation is maybe not quite what he wants.

Lead single “Solitude,” the penultimate track in M. Lonely’s story, is a lovely bit of gentle psychedelic pop, sung entirely in French. Check it out below.

Elephant Stone play Hotel Vegas Patio on Friday, Mar 18.

Ricky’s Favourite Concerts of the Year

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

Bat For Lashes at the Phoenix Concert Theatre
Photos by Stephen McGill

Ahh 2020 – what a fuckin’ year. As per the norm, I always reflect on the year that was and normally I’d have these absurd internal arguments about what my favourite concerts of the year were. This year, it was super easy!

BAT FOR LASHES, February 23rd, The Phoenix

February 23rd – what a time to be alive. Sure, there was a crispness in the air as one would expect on any February night. As is so often the case before a show, I met a friend for dinner. Eating dinner indoors, what a luxury. The waitress approached us, maskless, and as is customary, we ordered a bunch of food to share. Sharing dishes … what a concept.

The show itself was packed, and people were oh so close to each other as we tried to get a glimpse of Natasha Khan, who flew all the way over here from England. Remember when people from England were allowed to leave their island? Haha, those were the days. I won’t re-review the show, as you can read about it here.

Definitely my favourite show of the year.

2nd Place: Noah Gundersen, March 13, Drake Hotel

Taking second place is singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen, who played what might be one of the last real concerts in Toronto on March 13, 2020. I’m not going to even pretend to know anything about Noah Gundersen – dude’s got a good voice and his show was pleasant-ish. My friend took me to this show as I was really sad about having to miss SXSW – a pity invite if you will. Anyways, he sang some songs that were okay, but really my favorite part of this night was we went to one of my favourite places beforehand, Bar Isabel. So good. Also, after the show, we went to another one of my favourite places – Brass Taps. You would think that it’s weird to have a night cap at Brass Taps after spending dinner feasting on octopus and Spanish tapas, but onion rings have a special place in my heart.

Hopefully 2021 brings forth more than 2 shows. I swear I’ll never take concert going for granted again.

Paul’s Favourite Songs of the Year

Posted on by Paul in Everything, Year End Reviews | Leave a comment

2020 was not a great year by any standard, but there was still a lot of great music that came out this year. So continuing on from Ricky’s recent rundown of his favourite songs to come out this year, here’s a few of the songs I enjoyed quite a bit this year.

Molly Tuttle – A Little Lost
I first discovered Molly Tuttle last year (and subsequently came to regret not catching her November 2019 show at The Horseshoe – who could have predicted that’d be my last chance to see her live for the foreseeable future?) but this was the year I really got into her discography, beginning with her most recent release, a collection of covers entitled …but i’d rather be with you. Her cover of Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost” stood out as one of the highlights, but it’s a great album overall that really shows off her talents as both a guitarist and a singer.

Shitkid – Waste of Time
Like a lot of musicians who weren’t able to tour through most of this year, Åsa Söderqvist of Shitkid turned to recording instead. And while there were others who were more prolific (top prize would likely go to Daniel Romano, who put out a total of 9 albums this year … though I didn’t listen to most of those, so he’s not on this list), Shitkid did end up putting out a total of four releases this year. “Waste of Time” comes from her 20/20 Shitkid album, which came out in September on PNKSLM Recordings.

Kelly Lee Owens – On
Kinda sad video but a great song from Kelly Lee Owens’ latest, Inner Song.

Tim Burgess – Empathy For The Devil
Tim Burgess deserves an honourable mention for this year based solely on him starting up the “Tim’s Twitter Listening Party” series, which helped to bring people together through a shared love of music, but he also released a pretty solid album (I Love The New Sky) this year as well.

The Beths – I’m Not Getting Excited
With their 2018 debut Future Me Hates Me, The Beths became one of my favourite acts to emerge over the last few years and with their second album Jump Rope Gazers, they continue to impress. Oh how I envy the people of New Zealand who will be able to see the band on tour next month …

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