Concert Review: Final Fantasy with The Mountain Goats, Antone’s, November 18

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

Final Fantasy

Austin – I’m not sure how, but my review of this show completely vanished into thin air sometime in the last week. It’s annoying, too, because I thoroughly enjoyed it and put a decent amount of time into my writing. Anyway.

I had seen Final Fantasy once several years ago and remembered being pleasantly surprised by Owen Pallet’s music. It’s just him and a guitarist and several instruments on stage when he plays. He records the beat, which could be tapping against his violin or a few simple notes, and then layers other components of a song over it, along with vocals. It’s kind of hard to explain and I’m not sure how to do it justice. He also spent some time chatting with the audience, telling stories of other times he’d been to Austin. I tried to get some video but I spent a good portion of his set trying to shoot photographs around people’s heads, and ignoring a couple that was fighting next to the spot I finally settled on. At any rate, he has an album coming out on Domino records in January, and it’s definitely worth checking out.

the mountain goats

Next up were the Mountain Goats. John Darnielle brought his full band, just like last year, back to Antone’s. He mentioned he had so much fun playing at this venue in 2008, he made sure to come back and play there. This only encouraged the crowd even more to shout out requests for favorites such as “No Children” and “This Year”, the former which closed the set with a singalong. A little more than half the set included the full band, the rest of the songs were just him on the piano. Owen also joined him on a few songs, one of which he had never played with the Mountain Goats before, which was humorous. Going to see the Mountain Goats can be a very personal and intimate experience, no matter how many people are in the audience, as the content of every song is written that way. Each one tells a story about a specific part of Darnielle’s life and it’s easy to relate to every single one. You can tell he genuinely loves to share his stories with fans; even though he wasn’t feeling well (which forced him to cancel a couple of shows this week), he gave his all. The set included songs from as far back as 1996 to several off the new album, “The Life of the World to Come”, which is out now on 4AD.

Final Fantasy plays Toronto’s Mod Club January 12th

Concert Review: You Say Party! We Say Die!, Phoenix, November 20

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 2 Comments


Toronto – I don’t really listen to enough Canadian music. This I know to be true. This is possibly because I don’t listen to much CBC Radio 3. Anyways, Friday night was a big night for Canadian music. Over at Lee’s Palace, there was the Rural Alberta Advantage, Bahamas and Fox Jaws show (you can read a review here). While over on the East side of the city, Steamwhistle was presenting their very own Canadian night at the Phoenix, featuring Little Girls, Think About Life and You Say Party! We Say Die!.

I’m one of those weird people who really just like to go to the show to see the main event (and not the intercontinental matches). I absolutely hate waiting in between sets, probably because it means it would mean that I have to go buy a beer or something, and I’m trying to cut back on my drinking. Correction. I am trying to cut back on paying for drinks. So it is with this thought process that I decided to show up to the Phoenix at around 11:45 pm (luckily, Musebox had facebooked me earlier and given me set times. Props for that).

Upon arriving at the Phoenix, I see Lauren of No Shame fame, and she says “You just missed Think About Life” in such a tone it made me think that I missed the resurrection of Christ or something. I then promptly told Patricia about the band that just played and got scolded for not bringing her to the show earlier to see them. Bottom line is, I think “Think About Life” is supposed to be a pretty good band and I should probably check them out. I always get them mixed up with the band “Still Life Still“, but then again, I get You Say Party! We Say Die! mixed up with Los Campesinos because Los Campesinos have a song called “You! Me! Dancing!”. Basically, I’m an idiot.

Onto the show. The first thing I noticed about the set was that there were four light fixtures on the ground labled “X”. You can see it in my awesome concert photo I took above (i’ve decided to take crappy concert photos to counteract all the awesome photos the other people on this blog takes – to you know, keep it real). Anyways, upon seeing the X’s, I was immediately reminded of the band The XX, one of my favorite of the year. Then I started thinking about the Friendly Fires/The XX show next week. Mmmm good. It was kind of crappy, since for the entire show, whenever I thought about those lights, I thought about another band. Not a good start.

YSP!WSD! came out slightly after midnight, and well, you can’t help by notice singer Becky Ninkovic’s attire. I would say, if there was a huge fire at a 1980s aerobics class, and a phoenix (get the pun haha) rose out from the flames, it would roughly resemble Becky. Starting off the show with There is XXXX (within my heart) (off new album XXXX), the band kept a consistent dance punk sound through out the set.

We were a bit shocked at the crowd. It was only about half full (or half empty) and given the amount of hype this band had generated (there were articles about them everywhere), I had counted on more people. I guess a lot of them were at the RAA show at Lees. I think massively hyped Canadian bands should never play the same night, there has to be some sort of rule for this. I guess I would be generalizing a bit as the Neutral Milk Hotel worshipping RAA sound is nothing like the dancey-punk synth sounds of YSP!WSD! but you can’t help but think there are many people who like both bands. I also think having a band name as difficult to type as YSP!WSD! will put the band at quite a disadvantage in the future. Once the initial honeymoon is over, I think bloggers like myself will be too lazy or hesitant to keep on typing YSP!WSD! in an article, and as a result, just write about some band that’s easier to type. This is something to think about, future bands – name yourselves asdf or something.

I guess I should dedicate at least a paragraph of this review about the show itself. I haven’t heard much YSP!WSD! material before the show, so for me, it was all new. I like Becky’s voice, it has a Siouxie Sioux quality to it and the band seemed to be very dedicated to their punk rock sound. The lead track of their latest album (the one that they opened with) sounds really good and after listening to their album in it’s entirety this morning, I would say the album itself is really good. However, as a casual observer on Friday night, I thought the music all sounded very similar and at one point, it seemed like they all just melted together. As performers, Becky was definitely where everyone’s focus was, with the over the top outfit, frequent dancing and some call and response tactics. The rest of the band was pretty shoegazy. Patricia thought the older material sounded better, I’m not familiar enough with the band to really comment on it. The set was about an hour long, I guess the band was tired after being in Montreal Thursday night and on the queue Friday morning.

In conclusion, I would have to say I probably should have came for Think About Life, and listened to the XXXX album before hand. Despite the smallish crowd, YSP!WSD! still managed to get a lot of people moving (they probably knew the material) and that in itself is something to be said.

Upcoming Shows: Bebel Gilberto, Sound Academy, November 30

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | 1 Comment


Toronto – Brazillian songstress Bebel Gilberto is currently on tour promoting her latest album All In One. It’s a laid-back blend of Bossa Nova with modern influences. You can read our full review of the album here. Her tour brings her to Canada in the end of November where she will be playing both in Montreal (at L’Astral 2000) and then at Toronto’s Sound Academy.

I remember fondly the last time I saw Bebel Gilberto play Toronto at the Mod Club. Her show had been delayed because she had broken her foot I believe. In any case, seeing Bebel play live was like drinking refreshingly cold water directly from some kind of crazy moonlit waterfall. It was good clean fun. I’m a huge fan of her step-mom Astrud Gilberto, and her rendition of Astrud’s So Nice was a highlight of the show.

Attached are some samples her latest album, including Stevie Wonders The Real Thing, which was a collaboration with Mark Ronson and the Dap-Kings.

Tickets are availble through her web-site. Better yet, you can avoid Ticketmaster surcharges by picking them up at Rotate This.

CD Review: Halford – Winter Songs (2009, Metal God Entertainment)

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


‘Tis the season … for leather? OK, so this is a weird one. Heavy metal icon and Judas Priest singer Rob Halford has released a Christmas album. I am confused. Aren’t Judas Priest the very same band who back in the 80s were put on trial for allegedly putting hidden satanic messages into their albums so that when played backwards they convinced kids to shoot themselves in the face? Oh, I get it, when you play this backwards, it turns into an anti-Christmas album and …. Dammit! I can’t get this CD to play backwards! I guess I’ll just have to listen to it the regular way. And not shoot myself in the face.

Anyways, it seems that other than the chugging guitars and piercing falsetto vocals, this is a straightforward seasonal entry. It’s even got traditional tunes like “O Holy Night” and “We Three Kings,” which actually sounds kind of awesome when given the metal treatment. I wouldn’t mind hearing this played at the mall slipped in between the Bing Crosby tunes. It’s not quite up there with Bing or the Boney M Christmas album, but it’s an interesting change of pace.