NXNE Review: WOMEN, Murder Ford Monument, June 18, The Silver Dollar Room

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

Toronto – Had I seen Ricky’s review of WOMEN’s June 17 show, I might have thought twice about checking them out.  Not that they were bad, but I have to say, I pretty much agree with everything Ricky said.  They do have a lot of interesting sounds and i was really digging a few of their songs … but the songs themselves weren’t really that memorable.  As Ricky already said, it does almost tend to become background music and the vocals were kind of just muttered into the mic.  The room was packed and a lot of people were really into it, but something about it left me a bit cold.  It  could have been the fact that it was 2:00 AM and i probably needed something a bit more jolting and less contemplative to keep me awake.  It could have been that they were just noodling around too much for my taste.  It could have been that I left the Zeus show at The El Mo to check these guys out.  (By the way, Zeus played an awesome cover of Genesis’ “That’s All.”)  “They sound like Fugazi on crack,” said a friend of mine who was at the show.  I don’t think he meant it as a compliment, but to me, the song they were playing at the moment was one of the best in their set maybe because it sounded like Fugazi on crack.

The room pretty much emptied out as 3:00 approached and Murder Ford Monument prepared to take the stage.  Which is a shame, because the Montreal band played a pretty great set of epic, moody indie rock.  A bit like The National, only heavier.  The whole set was a slow build of sorts and those who stayed seemed to enjoy it, especially the crazy dancing Filipino guy who seemed to be drunk or high or something.  There was a lot of swaying and jazz hands on this guy’s part.  “Thanks for the dancing,” said singer Jesse LeGallais at one point.  The dancing guy persisted for quite a few songs before disappearing into the night.

Women: 

Murder Ford Monument: 

NXNE Preview: Paul’s Picks

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

Toronto – North By Northeast starts tomorrow.  The city will be full of music lovers checking out shows and drinking ’til 4 am.  And most of them probably want to go to the same shows as you.  I’m sorry, but it’s true.  That’s why it’s always good to have a backup.  Ricky already advised in his NXNE commandments of the value of knowing what else is going on at nearby venues if your plans get changed.  So I’m here to talk about some of the more interesting acts – a few of the big ticket bands, but also a lot of the somewhat lesser known.  Here goes:

Wednesday

I guess this is the first official night of the fest.  It’s pretty slim pickings, but there’s a few things going on if you’re looking.

Eagles of Death Metal are the big ticket show of the night.  They’re playing The Phoenix, first 200 passes get in and since there’s not a whole heck of a lot going on otherwise, it’s a pretty safe bet those 200 slots will be filled.  If you don’t get in, you can console yourself with the knowledge that Josh Homme won’t even be there, as he’s too busy hanging out with Dave Grohl and John Paul Jones anyways. 

Also of note are Cavaliers!, a fine alt-county outfit who’ll be playing The Bovine at 10:00.  Their sound is reminiscent of Ryan Adams and The Jayhawks, full of sweet harmonies and a bunch of guitar solos.

Thursday

Andy Kim:  Andy Kim!  Rock Me Gently! Sugar Sugar!  Need I say more?  OK, I will – once upon a time, Mr. Andy Kim briefly went by the stage name of Baron Longfellow!  For no apparent reason.  How cool is that?  He’s playing at 8:00 as part of the Outlaws And Gunslingers showcase at Lee’s Palace, along with a bunch of rootsy singer-songwriter types like Jim Cuddy, O Susanna, Justin Rutledge and The Beauties.

Teen Tits Wild Wives:  Wrongbar, 10:00.  Don’t know much about them, but with a name like that, they must be worth seeing.

Another Blue Door:  Comfort Zone, 11:00.  They’re from The Shwa and they list Pavement and Big Star as influences.  Good enough for me.

Walter Schreifels: Legendary in hardcore circles, the former frontman of Youth of Today, Gorilla Biscuits, Quicksand and Rival Schools will be doing the folksinger thing at The Bovine in the wee small hours (AKA 2:00 am).  I was a big fan of Quicksand back in the day and will definitely be checking this one out … unless I get too sleepy.

CBC2 Showcase, The RivoliZeus, Buck 65, Grand Analog, and a couple other performers I’m not familiar with.  Zeus is a pretty tight band and Buck is always entertaining.  This should be a good one.

Misfits @ The Opera House:  If you really want to see Jerry Only covering up his bald spot with a devilock combover, go right ahead.  First 50 passholders get in. 

Friday:

Best Coast and The Soft Pack are playing The Garrison at 11:00 and 12:00 respectively.  Both bands are playing at least one more show elsewhere during the festival, so if you don’t get in to this one, you can always try another night.

The lineup at The Silver Dollar Room is pretty solid tonight.  In fact, Silver Dollar showcases are always pretty good.  Say what you will about Dan Burke, but the man knows how to book a great lineup.  Austin’s Strange Boys are playing their brand of R&b-ish garage rock Thursday through Saturday at The Dollar, plus a show at The Garrison.  Also on the bill tonight are By Divine Right, WOMEN, and Murder Ford Monument, who are described in their NXNE bio as sounding like The National and Explosions In The Sky.  And they’re driving all the way from Montreal to play one show at 3:00 AM.  The least you could do is stop by for a few songs. 

Saturday:

Some guy named Iggy is playing Yonge Dundas Square.  Will it be as good as his brilliant performance as the Al Martino loving ice rink operator in Snow Day?  One can only hope. 

Library Voices:  The Horseshoe Tavern, 9:00.  Library Voices are awesome – fun, poppy tunes full of synths and saxes with multiple vocalists with songs about Kurt Vonnegut.  So good.

The High Dials: Rancho Relaxo, 12:00.  Fine Montreal psych rock.

Sunday:

De La Soul.  Yonge Dundas Square.  Be there

And that’s about it.  Enjoy.

Concert Review: The Acorn, June 11, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts | 4 Comments

Another Canadian band, another nature-themed band name. The Acorn swung by Lee’s Palace Friday night to promote their new album. My favourite part about seeing bands I’m unfamiliar with live, is when I walk out of the show wanting to listen to all the songs again and again. This happened with The Acorn.

Firstly

A side note, between The National show I saw on Wednesday and The Acorn I’ve seen more plaid than at a John Deere convention. Real original guys.

Secondly

After the sea of plaid, the next thing that struck me about The Acorn is the dual percussionists, having two drummers always amazes me and they become very hypnotizing to watch. I was recently blown away by Caribou’s double drummer ensemble. I am not musically inclined whatsoever (like, at all) but I can imagine it difficult to coordinate two drummers. Without these two badass drummers The Acorn would be a little too sappy and folky for my liking, the percussion gives them some decent rock and roll cred.

Thirdly

Another cool part of this band is the presence of a banjo in most of the songs. My fellow concert goer (who also likened the frontman’s voice to Tom Petty, however, upon reflection I think they sound more likeBeirut minus all of the elaborate instruments) plays the banjo and has a serious penchant for this string instrument. The banjo really gives the slower songs a dreamy, romantic sound. For the encore The Acorn played Slippery When Wet from their new album, to me this was the highlight of the show and it reminded me a lot of Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers (sigh, Tony Dekker). This song is just Rolf Klausener singing, backed only with the banjo and comes out sounding like a lullaby, indeed a great way to end the show. I now have this song on repeat, yeah, it’s sappy, folky and does not incorporate a badass drum beat…I still like it.

Lastly

The Acorn certainly didn’t blow me away with stage presence but I really enjoyed their unique indie folk sound and would gladly see them again live. In fact they are playing at the Guelph Hillside Festival next month…

The Acorn – Crossed Wires (Born Ruffians Remix) by Bella Union

Concert Review: The Futureheads, June 10th, Mod Club

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, Music | Leave a comment

Toronto – The Futureheads were in town on Thursday night to promote their new album the Chaos, and they put on an awesome live show. After the FM light hearted pop of Athlete, and the moody (but spectacular) sounds of The Antlers and The National, nothing was more refreshing then when The Futureheads, upon taking the stage shortly after 8:45, asked the crowd “Are you ready to rock?”

The crowd was indeed ready to rock. So the band complied. What happened over the next 80 minutes was a show that moved along at a blistering pace that featured songs from all the Futurehead albums. It was a great rock show and the Futureheads have one of the best on-stage presence I have seen. Instead of going through it chronologically, I’ll just recall moments in the show that I found to be entertaining.

beer

First of all, the Futureheads were drinking Steamwhistle. Barry Hyde, the lead singer, when looking at the beer, asked ‘This is a good Canadian beer, yah?” to which the crowd yelled an emphatic yes. He then proceeded to open the beer bottle WITH A WATER BOTTLE. I was like ‘wtf?’. That was impressive. Later on in the night, someone bought the band Molson beer, to which the band was like ‘Molson?’ with a tone of displeasure.

fans

It was pretty apparent that the band just likes to have fun with the crowd. It was also clear that if you were in the front, the band was going to have some fun with you. At one point, Ross (the bassist) pointed to someone in the crowd during a conversation and said something like “I’m sure this perpetual screamer over here would like it”. Haha. Shortly afterwards, they talked to another audience in the crowd and told him he “had the straightest spine known to man” and that he had “good rock posture”. These kind of jokes happened throughout the night, and I’m pretty sure most fans had a smile on their face.

rock. and. roll

The Futureheads love to rock and roll. Barry Hyde used the guitar to machine gun the crowd and their post-rock punk meets 60s harmony sound was enough to start a mini mosh pit. The band even got the crowd to do what they called the ‘bouncey bounce’ for the tune Skip to the End, which consists of the people just bouncing straight up and down, to which Ross pointed to the guy with the straight spine and insisted it wasn’t a problem for him. Other songs that rocked the show included Man Ray, Area, Decent Days and Nights and Beginning of a Twist. New songs like I can Do That, Jupiter and Heartbeat Song got good reactions as well, in particular the Heartbeat song, which was introduced as a ‘John Hughes song where you fell in love fiver minutes ago’.

Hounds of Love

As I had previously eluded to, The Hounds of Love was a great moment in Oh, and it proved itself to be true on Thursday night, as the band split the concert hall into two sides for dueling Ohs to begin the Kate Bush cover. When Ross’s side won, he was so ecstatic for the victory he talked trash to Jaff for two straight minutes. The song itself to be a nice sing-a-long and even after the show was over, Ross was still thanking his side for picking up the victory. That’s some genuine fun.

Appreciation

When the Futureheads came back for an encore, they basically said ‘Alright, this has been a great gig, so from now on, we’ll just play requests from now on’. They then proceeded to play three requests before ending the night. What a great way to end a show.

All in all, a wonderful show full of energetic upbeat music and a great time was had by all. We also discovered pints at the Mod Club was cheaper then bottles.

The Futureheads – Heartbeat Song by Fuzzy Stereo