Concert Review: Ladytron, October 5, Danforth Music Hall

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Ladytron, Danforth Music Hall by Frank Yang

Ladytron, Danforth Music Hall by Frank Yang

Hard to believe it’s been twenty years since Ladytron first entered our consciousness.

Impeccably cool, Ladytron gained themselves a fan base with their visual aesthetic and unique sound, a blend of electro music paired with somewhat distant, almost robotic vocals. Who didn’t sing along with “they only want you when you’re seventeen, when you’re 21 – you’re no fun?”

Well, fast forward twenty years. The only people who are seventeen now are the kids of the original Ladytron fans and those kids were put to bed early on Saturday as the parents came out to play.

Performing in front of a reasonably sized crowd at the Danforth Music Hall on Saturday night, Ladytron made their long awaited return to Toronto and played a fantastic show.

In town to promote their comically under marketed self-titled comeback album, the band played a 90 minute set that spanned their entire discography. Their last show here was in 2011 and I guess my memory sucks (probably alcohol related) but I don’t remember their music packing such a punch before. On record, all the Ladytron songs, from “Seventeen” to “International Dateline” to “Runaway” always had a dance element to them, but in that electro kinda way. Live, however, with a backing band and live drums, the songs jump out. They go from bedroom dancing tunes to all out bangers.

The show’s surprising liveliness was also accentuated by an engaging performance from the two leads. Helen Marnie danced all over the stage during the set and displayed showmanship that I did not remember. Mira Aroyo, fighting equipment problems for most of the set, also showed a few moves. Both seemed genuinely excited for the show. For better or worse, the general expectation was that Ladytron was essentially going to stand still behind their devices. This was not the case and the show was all the more fun because of it.

The new songs meshed in well with the old tracks, always a good sign for a band that’s been around as long as they have.

The set ended off with the romper “Destroy Everything That You Touch” which for my money, was one of the better songs of the 00s. It had the whole place dancing, which just proves that when you are 41*, you might just be fun.

*I’m not 41 but it sounded good.

Song Of The Day: Failed Flowers – Faces

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Anna Burch‘s solo debut Quit The Curse was easily one of the best albums of 2018, a perfect collection of sweet, jangly, poppy tunes such as “Tea Soaked Letter” and “2 Cool 2 Care” that burrowed their way into my brain and stayed there like all good earworms do. It was through Burch’s music that I discovered her friend and occasional tourmate Fred Thomas, who, prior to Burch’s solo debut, was also her bandmate in Michigan indie rock band Failed Flowers.

And now Burch and Thomas are revisiting that project with a new Failed Flowers song released as part of Slumberland Records‘ 30th Anniversary Singles Club. “Faces” sees Burch taking the lead and the song sounds very much of a piece with anything off of Quit The Curse, but with a touch more distortion. Check it out.

Song Of The Day: Colleen Green – Dammit

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Consider the art of the cover song. A good cover can reveal new sides and dimensions to a song and the best covers happen when someone takes a song and really makes it their own.

On rare occasions, some get even more ambitious and cover a whole album in its entirety (The Guardian published a good piece looking at a number of artists who’ve covered entire albums a few years back). With her latest release, Colleen Green has done just that, putting her own spin on Blink 182’s Dude Ranch album by stripping down all the songs to fairly minimalist, lo-fi versions. And while this may seem like an unlikely approach, it actually works quite well, highlighting the melodies of the songs while adding a touch of melancholy.

Check out Colleen Green’s version of “Dammit” below:

Song Of The Day: The Killers – Prize Fighter

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You know what’s great? “Discovering” a new band. You know, that feeling when you stumble on a small, little-known group, memorize their music, and you have the sense you have something unique and pure and untouched? Don’t worry – I’m not delusional enough to think I have that special somethin’ with The Killers.

BUT …

You know what is, if not great, still pretty darned good? Finding a song from a well-known band that maybe not SO many people know about – and claiming it as your own (along with probably a few thousand strangers). That song for me? The Killers’ “Prize Fighter” (from 2012’s Battle Born). It’s one of those classic songs every woman wishes was written about her (right alongside “She’s Always a Woman” by Billy Joel) and every listener can instantly jive to. Ladies? Listen your hearts out. Men – or women with lady friends – take a few notes – whatever lucky lady(s) are in your life will love to hear these lyrics fall from your lips!