NXNE Concert Review: Pirate Love, June 18, El Mocambo

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, North By Northeast | 3 Comments

Toronto – Coming off as latter day Primal Scream wannabes, Norway’s Pirate Love played their blend of psychedelic punk rock to a decent crowd on Thursday. I guess they are promoting their album “Black Voudoun Space Blues”. Personally they didn’t do that much for me despite dressing up in costumes (or maybe ponchos and cowboy hates is typical garb for Norwegians). I found the lead singers voice to be too growly at times and he spent a lot of time with his back to the crowd. I do think he has the rock star attitude down, often looking disinterested, sock full of arrogance and having a bedazzled outfit. Having said all that the last two songs weren’t all that bad. I think if someone dressed up as Jack Sparrow, I would have enjoyed their show more.

Pirate Love will be at Neutral on June 20th at 2 Am.

NXNE Concert Review: Patrick Wolf, June 17, Mod Club

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast | 5 Comments

Patrick Wolf, Mod Club, June 17

Toronto – I don’t even know where to begin. This show was absolutely insane. There is no way any show at NXNE will top this. Matt and Kim would have to burn down the Whippersnapper and then stab a bunch of 905ers in Little Italy for me to even consider them to be on par. Patrick Wolf was in town for the Nylon tour which also features The Plasiticines, Jaguar Love and Living Things. I will have a review on the Living Things later. As you probably know, Patrick Wolf was touring to promote his very excellent record “The Bachelor“. After the disappointment that was the Passion Pit show last night, I was ready for something good. Well, as most people witness, the show was absolutely ridiculous. Gary pretty much summed up his performance as “a maniacal theater on legs” which is pretty accurate.

Patrick Wolf, Mod Club, June 17

It’s pointless trying to explain the show. Highlights were the duel violin battle on “Damaris”, the intense delivery of “Count of Casualty” (where Patrick Wolf asked the crowd “You think thats funny? TEN THOUSAND LIVES! Think of YOUR MOTHER!” ) and many others. I guess it should be noted that he progressively took clothes off during the show. I swear, if he played during pride week I think his record sales would shoot thru the roof.

During the show he was always complaining about the monitor, then about an hour in, he sang “I’m still singing even with these monitors!” then proceeded to throw the microphone stand off the stage and threw a fit and left the stage. It took about fifteen minutes before a stage hand came out apologized to everyone and then the show began. A lot of people left since it was about 12:30 at this time, but when he returned (wearing only a frickin thong) he proceeded to sing his popular tunes which included “Hard Times”, “The Magic Position”, “Accident/Emergency”, “Vulture” and then invaded the crowd for the set ending “Battle”. Some singers invade the crowd and then run back on stage, this guy invaded the crowd and stayed there for the whole time..had everyone jumping up and down and I was personally wondering if the floor was going to cave in.

Patrick Wolf, Mod Club, June 17

Nevertheless, everyone who stayed til the end left the show in a “what the fuck just happened” mode. That’s always a sign of a good show. Gary took some photos at the show, some of them are NSFW but check them out here.

Concert Review: Passion Pit, Lee’s Palace, June 16

Posted on by Allison in Concerts | 10 Comments

Toronto – So I didn’t know anything about Passion Pit until about 30 minutes before I went to their show last night but Ricky had an extra ticket and the only things I have to look forward to on most Tuesday nights are Seinfeld reruns.

No surprise then that the only track I recognized from them whilst doing my 15-minute pre-show research was their Sony PSP spot (Sleepy Head). Although I also liked the Reeling, I can see how Michael Angelakos has the sort of vocals you either love to hate or love to love. On the one hand it’s extremely distinctive, maybe even soulful. On the other hand this might be the sort of operatic sound a guy would make while his balls are being put through a woodchipper. Be that as it may, there’s no denying that the white marriage of catchy dancey beats + soul / funk rock is a great genre that is here to stay, and that these guys do very well with. But hey, what do I know. I just listened to the four songs they have on their MySpace page.

Passion Pit by allsongs.

The first thing that struck me when we lined up to get in was the amazing steam their hype machine has picked up. Whoever is representing them is doing an astronomical job because this show is on-par with being one of the most sold-out shows I’ve ever seen at Lee’s with scalpers reportedly selling for $40, $60, and in Chicago, $100. It looked like their openers Harlem Shakes attracted a massive audience as well, and good for them. We were late and missed their performance  but from the three tracks I listened to off their page they have the potential to be a rootsier pop version of Ben Folds Five and have garnered pretty good reviews from everyone who caught them last night.

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Preview – Toronto Jazz Festival 2009

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Toronto Jazz Festival | 3 Comments

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Toronto – Good weather is kind of sort of almost upon us and it’s time for a summer filled with fantastic live music! The Toronto Jazz Festival (sponsored by TD Canada Trust) runs from Friday June 26th till Sunday July 5th. That’s 10 straight days of amazing music at over 40 different venues for your sonic enjoyment! Can you tell that I’m excited?

I’ve been attending the downtown jazz fest for a number years now, and I have to stay that it remains one of my favourite jazz festivals (I have to go to Newport, perhaps I’ll take this cause up with our Editor?)  In any case, there are many amazing acts coming to the city. But I’ll highlight a few of the choiciest shows:

June 26 – Sonny Rollins – Four Seasons

Sonny Rollins has been a grandmaster since the late-50’s with his seminal work Saxophone Collossus.  He is a collossus, and his sense of rythm and phrasing is simply unmatched even today. Toronto has been happy to have him play Massey Hall on on quasi-annual residency. As this grandmaster approaches octagenarian status, I wonder how much longer we will be gifted with his unique talent?

June 26 – Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – Nathan Phillips

Sharon Jones is a modern day Soul Queen.  Here’s a review of her playing in Toronto last October.

June 27 – Medeski, Martin & Wood – Nathan Philips

MMW sits on the edge of jazz and electronic music. They produce an atmospheric electronic sound. For you electronic lovers looking at jazz from the outside, MMW is a fantastic gateway drug.

June 29-30 – Chris Potter – The Pilot

Chris Potter is one of the brightest of the avant-guarde saxophonists around. I’ve seen him live twice before and both times I walked away with brain aneurysms. Warning: Chris Potter can get crazy (read: crazy jazzy). It’s worth the effort though. Chris Potter will kick your ass. The first time I saw him live in 2004 ranks in my books as “2nd best live jazz show I have seen”.

June 30 – Madeleine Peyroux – Danforth Music Hall

Now I’m not a big jazz vocal kind of guy. Don’t get me wrong, I really do appreciate some of the late great jazz-singers: Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holliday, Sarah Vaughan. But there’s just something about the modern day jazz vocal aesthetic that just isn’t my cup of tea. Sometimes it strikes me as the type of bubblegum that gets thrown on a compilation called “Jazz by Candlelight on the Beach by The Fire” and purchased at a Starbucks near you.

But Madeleine Peyroux is no bublegum jazz. Hers is a serious and legitimate voice that is as commanding as it is genuine.

July 3 – Branford Marsalis – Nathan Phillips

Branford Marsalis has been playing with his quarter for almost 10 years now. That is an eternity in the jazz scene. He’s assembled a top-notch cast: Joey Calderazzo on keys, Jeff “Tain” Watts on drums and the bassist Eric Reeves. They’ve spent the last decade learning to read each others minds and I kid you not that seeing them live still commands the exalted position of “Best Live Jazz Show I Have Seen”.

Now there are many other artist playing at the festival. The big hitters that I have’t yet mentioned are: Dave Brubeck, Gary Burton & Pat Metheny, Jamie Cullum, Kenny Garret, and Tony Bennett.  While the big boys will certainly be fantastic, it may be worth your while to get off the beaten path and check out:

Chucho Valdés – Cuban pianist playing at the Enwave Theatre (one of the best sounding accoustic venues in the city) on July 1st.

José González – Also playing at the Enwave Theatre. Jose has been gaining critical acclaim for his latest album, In our Nature. Jose is certainly more accoustic folk rock than jazz. Think upbeat Great Lake Swimmers. So for the non-jazz fans out there, this will be an amazing show.  His accoustic sensibilities will sound ridiculously good at the Enwave Theatre.

Check out the full lineup TO jazz central.