Concert Review: Smith Westerns, Feb 28, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – Once in awhile you just need some power chords in your life. This was my conclusion after listening to a short but sweet set by Chicago trip The Smith Westerns, in town to promote their sophomore release Dye it Blond.

The trio took the stage shortly after 10:30 to a generous ovation from the capacity crowd, most of whom are on the right side of twenty. I was a bit surprised at the size of the crowd, as was the band, who commented on how the crowd had doubled since the last time they were in town. The buzz from Dye it Blond has been quite palpable, stemming perhaps, from an extremely favorable Pitchfork Review.

The trio played a forty minute set which consisted of material new and old. With most songs clocking in at around three minutes, the show moved along at a brisk pace, with the band stopping sporadically to address the crowd (all be it in a youthful manner). I was pleased to see a band shamelessly using power chords. It was a great supplement to their retro hook laden garage rock sounds. The entire Smith Western discography could of soundtrack a movie like Gross Pointe Blank, which I guess is fitting since John Cusack is from Chicago as well. Highlights included All Die Young, End of the Night and Still New.

Following the mantra “always leave the audience wanting more”, the band exited stage left after about forty minutes and did not return for an encore, much to the disappointment of everyone. I just assumed they had run out of songs. Overall I found myself enjoying the show more then I expected. They are playing SXSW next week and from what I’ve seen, will be well on their way to some serious stardom this year.

Smith Westerns – Weekend by forcefieldpr

SXSW Preview: Foster The People

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | 2 Comments

Toronto – Easily one of the most promising bands that are on the verge of a massive breakout, Foster The People is an LA indie pop trio comprised of Mark Foster, Cubbie Fink and Mark Pontius. They recently released a self titled EP that just oozed potential with two glorious a-sides. Houdini, the first track off the record contains inspiring melodies, fun synths and an outrageous gang vocal outro that takes the song to another level. The second track off the EP – Pumped Up Kicks has already been floating around the internet for awhile now and with it’s catchy chorus and lazy summertime bass lines I wouldn’t be surprised if the track gets taken to another level as more and more people tune in. The band will be in Austin to not only promote their EP, but their self titled debut LP Torches which comes out on May 24th. I will definitely be seeing them. Don’t be surprise to see them pull a Temper Trap, another band with an outrageously awesome single that just exploded after a few terrific turns in Austin last year.

Check out Houdini

Here are the SXSW dates:
Thursday 17th, 4:00 PM, Cedar Street Courtyard as part of Filter’s Culture Collide Party
Thursday 17th, 8:30 PM, Stubbs – Official Showcase

Here are some non SXSW dates:
3/8 Santa Barbara, CA SOHO
3/13 Santa Fe, NM Corzon
3/14 El Paso,TX Lowbrow Palace
3/21 Tempe, AZ Sail Inn
3/22 Solana, CA Belly Up
3/23 San Francisco, CA Independent
3/25 Portland, OR Mississippi Studios
3/26 Seattle WA High Dive *SOLD OUT
3/27 Boise, ID Reef
3/29 Salt Lake City, UT Kilby Court
3/30 Denver, CO Walnut Room
3/31 Kansas City, MO The Record Bar
4/1 Minneapolis, MN 7th Street Entry
4/2 Chicago, IL Schuba’s
4/3 Toronto, ON Lee’s Palace
4/5 Montreal, QC Petit Campus
4/7 Boston, MA Brighton Music Hall
4/8 New York, NY Mercury Lounge
4/9 Brooklyn, NY Knitting Factory
4/10 Philadelphia, PA Kung Fu Necktie
4/11 Washington DC Red Palace
4/17 Indio, CA Coachella
5/30 George, WA Sasquatch

Concert Review: Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea, February 26, The Horseshoe Tavern

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

Toronto – Nicole Atkins certainly has quite the voice.  That was the main thing going through my mind as I watched the New Jersey singer perform with her band, The Black Sea.  Only being somewhat aware of her previous output and having not yet heard her recently released Mondo Amore album, I had nonetheless heard a lot of good buzz about her live show and Nicole Atkins certainly made an impression.

She impressed not only with her voice but with her songs.  Highlights were “Maybe Tonight,” “Oh Canada!” (not the National Anthem) and “Cry Cry Cry,” the latter being a song she co-wrote with Robert Harrison of Austin power poppers Cotton Mather.  She also played a cover of a Cotton Mather song, which I enjoyed as they’re a band that doesn’t seem to get that much recognition.  While were on the subject of cotton, the opening band was Cotton Jones.  Coincidence?  I think not.  It’s the cotton conspiracy, folks, and Nicole Atkins is right at the centre of it all!  Oh sure, she’ll try to lull you into a sense of security by complimenting the audience and saying it was “like playing to a sea of muppets.”  She’ll charm you with her story of getting a guitar signed by Ray Davies of The Kinks “… and the guy who was standing next to him” because she didn’t want that guy (who I assume was Davies’ guitarist or something) to feel left out.  But don’t be fooled.  She’s  … OK, I’m going nowhere with this “cotton conspiracy” angle, I made it all up.  Carry on, folks. 

Here’s the setlist for the night:

Cry Cry Cry by Nicole Atkins

SXSW Preview: Eliza Doolittle

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Toronto – With Lily Allen on the constant verge of collapse, it would seem that the door has been left wide open for many artists to capture the heart of the UK and indie nation with sharply written bubbly summer pop music. Enter Eliza Doolittle, a cute twenty two year old brunette whose pop songs seem to channel the good time vibes of 60s girl bands and motown while sounding somewhat modern at the same time. Eliza’s self titled debut record has already done extremely well in the UK charts and she is now ready to take her act to the shores of America. It looks like Austin, Texas will be her Normandy, only instead of blood and guns, she’ll be making a landing armed with a cheery voice and music perfect for spring.

SXSW Schedules:
Thu-Mar-17 Pure Volume House 504 Trinity Street – 3:00pm Capitol Idolator Party
Thu-Mar-17 Malaia 300 East 6th Street – 6:15pm Entertainment Weekly
Fri-Mar-18 The Belmont 305 West 6th Street – 8:00pm West Rocks
Sat-Mar-19 Tap Room 311 Colorado Street – 6:00pm Hotel Café / Official SXSW Showcase
Sat-Mar-19 Cedar Street Courtyard 208 W 4th Street – 8:00pm Steve Madden Party

Check out her hit single Pack Up

Eliza Doolittle – Pack Up
Uploaded by EMI_Music. – See the latest featured music videos.