Concert Review: Sheezer, March 2nd, The Ballroom

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 3 Comments

Toronto – The Ballroom is the new hip destination among urban young twenty somethings who are suffering from nostalgic feelings from back in the day when they used to go bowling in the suburbs. It’s a very fitting venue for Sheezer, an all female Weezer cover band consisting of musicians Robin Hatch, Dana Snell, Alysha Haugen, Magali Meagher and Laura Barrett all of whom have their own personal projects in bands such as The Bicycles and The Phonemes. Already Rivers Cuomo approved, Sheezer have slowly been making their mark around the city with a variety of high energy shows that well, let’s face it, takes the best of Weezer (first two album) and gives it a nice swift boot in the butt. Wednesday night’s show kicks off ‘Ballroom Live’, a soon-to-be weekly Wednesday that combines bowling and really great live bands.

Having seen and enjoyed Sheezer live before, I skipped the bowling (instead opting for a night of drinking scotch on an empty stomach – bad idea) and just went straight to show. The girls took the stage shortly after eleven and began the night with a rousing rendition of My Name is Jonas (which I mistook for Zombies, while being downstairs and on the phone..why would I even think that?? wait maybe it was playing downstairs at the time in the bowling alley..anyways). Buddy Holly soon followed and we were on our way into an hour of nostalgia drenched Weezer memories. I saw Weezer open for the Pixies a few years ago and I actually like seeing Sheezer more. Maybe it was because Weezer was playing a lot of shitty songs during that show, but Sheezer plays songs like The Sweater Song, El Sorcho and Say It Ain’t So with so much enthusiasm and energy it’s hard not to get caught up in the moment. I guess it also helps that they are all pretty cute. They even teased Hash Pipe, which is obviously not off Pinkerton or the Blue Album, but I was kind of hoping they’d play it too.

Sheezer is always a fun time, I highly recommend catching them if you have the chance.

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:

 http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/nicole-atkins-and-the-black-sea/2011/horseshoe-tavern-toronto-on-canada-73d216d5.html

Cry Cry Cry by Nicole Atkins