Concert Review: Kylesa, January 22, Annex Wreck Room

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – Savannah, Georgia’s Kylesa have been around for a decade now and have acquired a faithful following during that time, but are just now beginning to garner much more attention for their brand of psychedelic sludge metal.  Their most recent album, Spiral Shadow, made it onto several best of 2010 lists (including Pitchfork, Exclaim, Decibel and my own personal list) and with good reason – it’s easily their most creative and accessible album, blending in a greater amount of melody while still maintaining a level of ferocity in their music.   

As the band set up onstage, I took note of the array of instruments onstage – two drumkits, some auxiliary drums on either side of the stage, a couple keyboards and a theremin.  This was a good sign of things to come.

Sonically, the band ran the gamut from moody, spacey psychedelic passages to full on metallic pummelling, all of it held together by the dual drumming of Carl McGinley and Tyler Newberry who definitely impressed with their intricate, interlocking rhythms.  Their drumming was occasionally augmented by singer/guitarist Philip Cope and bassist Corey Barhorst (who, according to Brent, has the look of a Kings Of Leon roadie).  Also impressive was guitarist Laura Pleasants, who displayed her virtuosity while also showing off her vocal range.  Cope kept the stage banter to a minimum, but since they had a 10 pm curfew, perhaps they wanted to fit in as much music as possible.  i can’t say that I blame them.  Usually, if I’ve listened to a very loud band for about an hour, I’ve had enough, but I dare say they left me wanting a bit more.

Symphony Preview: TSO celebrates Mozart’s birthday

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – How does one achieve immortality? Well, for starters, you could write 600 musical pieces, including 50 symphonies, over 50 concertos, and all sorts of chamber pieces and sonatas. Mozart did just that with his 35 years on planet earth. He remains one of the most influential musicians of all time.

As one of the most prolific and well recognized of classical musicians, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra commemorates his birthday every year with a Mozart festival. This year the festival is already in full swing. However, there are still shows on Jan 26th, 27th, 29th, and the 30th.

Not only that, but if you’re younger than Mozart was when he died, then you can score tickets through tsoundcheck for just $14 a pop.

Concert Review: The Wilderness, Modern Superstitions, January 20, Lee’s Palace

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

Toronto – Based on Sarah’s review of their show this past November, I was curious to see what local band The Wilderness were all about.  In fact, I had seen them once before, but committed minor concert douchebaggery by not totally paying attention to them.  Based on the number of people who came out to see them at Lee’s Palace on this night, it seems that The Wilderness is gaining a bit of a following.  I’m sure that a sizeable part of their appeal is based not just on their songs (which did indeed get much of the crowd dancing a bit) but on the fact that they put some effort into making their show a bit of a spectacle.  By the second song, singer Lee Piazza tossed a bag of balloons into the audience to be distributed.  Not quite realizing what he was doing, I initially thought, “What the hell?  Did he just give that guy a bag of chips?”  But no, they were in fact balloons, and the crowd took their cue, blowing them up and tossing them around, making the show somewhat akin to a low rent version of a Flaming Lips show. 

 In addition to the balloons, I later noticed Piazza occasionally shaking something over those standing in front of the stage.  Again, my poor addled brain got confused and assumed he was either using some sort of percussion instrument or performing a strange shamanic ritual on those people.  Well, he may in fact have been performing some sort of ritual, but upon reading about their previous shows afterwards, I realized he was sprinkling glitter all over the audience.  The sparkles and the balloons did seem a bit gimmicky, but they were effective gimmicks.  Who doesn’t like balloons?

As far as the music went, they had some interesting stuff going on sonically.  They’ve been said to have a post-punk sound and that is accurate, but I did find Piazza’s vocals to be a bit much at times.  On one song, his voice was veering into Rammstein territory and I’m not sure that’s what he was going for.  Still, there’s no denying he has a powerful voice, and I did like the way he used it rhythmically in some songs as if it were just another instrument in the band.

Also on the bill were Modern Superstitions.  Much like The Wilderness, I had also seen them perform once before, over a year ago at The Horseshoe as openers for The Reigning Sound.  Since that show, the band has obviously logged in many hours onstage, including opening slots for The Hold Steady and Mudhoney and a short tour of Ontario with Sloan, and it shows.    They offered up an impressive set of garage-ish rock highlighted by Nyssa Rosaleen’s strong vocals.   

Concert Review: Hooray For Earth, The Concretes, Jan 17, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – It took something old and something new to drag me out of non concert going routine I had settled into for most of 2011. The something old was The Concretes, a Swedish pop act that I first saw almost seven years ago. The something new was New York’s Hooray For Earth, a band who has only released one EP to date, last years excellent Momo.

The last time the Concretes were in town, they drew a reasonable but relatively small crowd, and this time was no different. The Horseshoe was barely filled when I arrived at 9:30. Whether it affected Hooray For Earths performance, I don’t know but I gather it’s a bit of a disappointment to have to lug your crap all across the border and play to 30 people. Either way, the four piece band soldiered on and played a solid set. I thought some of the sound was a bit muffled and the band had already mentioned that they had to borrow a snare drum so I guess there were some issues. The live performance wasn’t as crisp or clean as the album and the bands low key vibe could give off the perception they were just going through the motions. Maybe that’s their personality, I don’t know. The band can definitely write some great tunes (ie Surrounded By Your Friends, Comfortable/Comparable) and even with the sound issues, you can tell their talent will eventually take them places.

Hooray for Earth – Surrounded By Your Friends (Twin Shadow Remix) by SUPMAG

The Concretes played a much different set then I had expected. With a new lead singer (former drummer Lisa Milberg), the band seemed to have taken a disco dancey vibe and it was evident right off the bat with one the singles off the new album WYWH. Wearing what I assumed was a rain jacket complimented by bangs that would make Sandra Bullock envious, Lisa Milberg asked the crowd to move forward, creating a more intimate affair and attempted to start a mini dance floor, which ultimately failed due to it being a Monday night and well, the songs weren’t really played at a frenetic pace or anything. The new tracks continued to be played throughout the set and it became evident that this rendition of the Concretes would be very different then the previous one. A few covers and older material were peppered throughout the hour long set and despite not really knowing much new material, I came away impressed with the bands ability to craft catchy tracks.

The Concretes – Good Evening by Playground Music