CMW Review: It It Anita, May 10, Supermarket

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

20180510_183634 (1)

Playing as part of the early evening Bonsound Booking Bash show at Supermarket, Belgian noise rockers It It Anita put on a show that was hard to ignore. I don’t just mean that their performance was brash and in your face, alternately noisy and melodic, (it was) but also that it was literally hard to ignore – these guys play loud.

The Liege-based band lists the likes of Fugazi, Metz, Sonic Youth, and Pavement as influences and the sonic touchstones of all of those acts were definitely there in their sound – the way that the members traded off vocals within songs especially brought Fugazi’s live dynamic to mind – though there was also a definite Sabbath-meets-post-rock vibe to one extended number they did near the end of their set.

With the band setting up onstage in a configuration wherein all the members were facing each other as they played, it was almost like you were sitting in on an intimate session in the band’s practice space rather than a show. That intimacy worked in their favour and made for a memorable show.

CMW Review: Loma, May 9, The Garrison

Posted on by Ricky in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

A post shared by Ricky Lam (@panicmanual) on

After Avengers Infinity War, Loma is one of the most ambitious cross-overs in history, melding in Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg with the band Cross Record.

Well, it really isn’t but time was running out for me to attempt to leverage that meme and so here it is. Loma, as you know by now, is a merging of several members from different bands. They released their debut record earlier this year and even though it received much acclaim, the word clearly didn’t get out as the band debuted to a rather small crowd at The Garrison.

Set up in a semi circle around singer Emily Cross, the group laid down their atmospheric tracks over the course of an hour, buoyed by Emily’s vocals and surprising energy. I had been warned prior to the show that the band’s music trended on “mellow” and every time you hear about a band that has the word atmospheric mentioned with their music, you aren’t expecting music you can dance to. Yet throughout the night, Emily was able to take the music of Loma and translate it into a physical medium, whether it be dancing or fake jogging on stage, which added an additional element to the show. The band even brought their own light show, which I was impressed with. For a band whose music could totally have made for a show where everyone just sat around, the additional effort was noted, and appreciated.

CMW Review: Slow, The Dirty Nil, May 9, The Phoenix

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment


Midway through their set at The Phoenix as part of Canadian Music Week, Slow singer Tom Anselmi introduced their song “Have Not Been The Same” as “a classic from the annals of Canadian rock history.” The statement was meant to be somewhat self deprecating but was also kind of true – “Have Not Been The Same” is definitely a cult classic among Canadian rock fans of a certain age, a groundbreaking and influential enough tune to make it the namesake of Have Not Been the Same: The CanRock Renaissance 1985-1995, a book which detailed the development of the Canadian alternative rock scene of the 1980s and 1990s, thus cementing their place in CanRock history.

On the other hand, Slow, while beloved by fans, never reached the same level of fame and notoriety of some of the other bands featured in that book, which might account for the sparse turnout at The Phoenix on Wednesday night. Though the band may never have reached a certain level of fame, they certainly helped to pave the way for later bands such as openers Single Mothers and The Dirty Nil. Sadly, many of the fans who showed up for those bands weren’t really all that interested in seeing a bunch of old timers, making it seem almost like two different shows in the same venue on the same night. A few of the youngsters stuck around, but there were definitely no moshpits happening for the headliners.

While they may have overshot a little on the size of the venue, Slow still put on a fun show and Anselmi’s still a great, engaging, energetic frontman. Perhaps because they’ve been away for so long, the band played like a band maybe half their age, still displaying some of the attitude that inspired their infamous Expo ’86 performance. And though they didn’t quite get the same type of youthfully exuberant fan response as The Dirty Nil did for their set, Slow still put on a show that absolutely satisfied the dedicated fans who stuck around.

Concert Review: Jukebox the Ghost, The Greeting Committee, May 10, House Of Blues

Posted on by halley in Concerts | Leave a comment

Jukebox the Ghost, March 15 2018

How many BFFLs did you make in high school and college? So many, right? You went through everything together: fake IDs (full disclosure: I was too much of a nerd to ever have one of these but I hear they’re great), sports games, theater, spring breaks, exams, summer jobs, travel abroad, crazy parties… you name it they were there for you. You swore to keep in touch after graduation… that may or may not have worked out but you still (probably mostly) think of them fondly. Well, what if that natural separation after school had never happened? What if, instead, you not only remained in touch but discovered unbelievable musical talent among each other? Then you would be lucky enough to be part of either The Greeting Committee or Jukebox the Ghost, both of whom played at Chicago’s House of Blues and rocked the socks off the venue.

The Greeting Committee took the stage around 8:45, the lead singer eliciting aggressive praise from the audience for her killer red romper. The group looked super young and hip in general, only a few years removed from their Kansas City days in Blue Valley High School. The band gained visibility a few years ago while still in school, releasing their first EP, It’s Not All That Bad to instant acclaim. The beauty of this young, talented crew is that they embrace everything they are expected to – their sound is bright, young, a bit angsty, and captures the feelings/thoughts/emotions we all do when we’re trying to get into “adulting.” Listening to this band online, I really liked their acoustic-heavy approach to their songs. I think a lot of young bands rely on really shocking or witty lyrics or a really unique voice to make way in the music world, but this group stood out to me for their beautiful chords and harmonies. They didn’t disappoint in person – both their instrumental pieces and their vocals and lyrics killed. Addie Sartino, their lead vocalist, has a beautifully throaty voice that I’m sure will only deepen and mature as she grows in her role – this young woman has big days ahead of her (she was also super cute at the show – thanking her Greek grandmother – Yaya – several times for being in the audience).

After a great set, these high school friends ceded the stage to their older counterparts, the college-bonded Jukebox the Ghost (JTG). Time for another moment of full disclosure: I HEART JTG. My sister and I have traveled to see them, we’ve racked up at least a dozen shows between the two of us, and we just melt every time they come out with a new single. Their newest album, Off to the Races, is only the latest in their line of instant hits. The trio KILLS IT with their piano-pop sound and oh-so-true-lyrics. “Everybody’s Lonely” is probably their best known new single and it beautifully describes the “super-connected-yet-isolated” social scene of today’s iPhone generation. JTG’s true talent, in my mind, is their ability to synthesize upbeat sound with dark realities and their set this night did that beautifully. The band went through old favorites and new tunes for a loving audience that sang along with every word. While the show itself was, of course, awesome, the highlight of my night was actually running into Ben, the lead singer, on the sidewalk a few hours before the show. Cute, kind, and totally humble, he wowed me with his total calm and happiness at meeting a random fan. Love these guys – whether on stage or on the sidewalk. They’re champs at being on the road and will, most likely, soon be in a city near you. Don’t miss the chance to see them.