Concert Review – Silly Kissers @ Pop Montreal [Oct 1st, Preloved]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Pop Montreal | 1 Comment

The thing I was looking forward to the most by going to Pop Montreal was being able to check out some Montreal bands. Enter Silly Kissers. Their show was at a clothing store called Preloved. At Preloved, as the name would imply, they take old ties, curtains, sweaters and couch fabric and turn them into new pencil skirts and sweater vests. For all you up and coming bands out there, here is a lesson, retail stores make shitty venues. Unless you are in the front row, you can’t see crap. I got stuck in the back next to some pants that looked like they belonged to Two Face, so I quickly made my move out into the street. The place was packed with early, early twenty-somethings wearing stupid cloths and oversized glasses.

The only thing I knew about Silly Kissers going into the show was that I really liked their song Halloween Summer, which features six girls in the video (HERE). I was pretty surprised when a bunch of dudes and one girl made their way to the front of the store and started playing.

I found out later from one of the guys in Hot Panda that one of the fellas in Silly Kissers is from Edmonton and that they know each other. I was informed that Silly Kissers are nothing but a bunch of punk kids, a conclusion that I had already made up on my own.

Their music was upbeat and a couple of songs were even danceable. After their second song, a tall goof ball in the front row screamed “Play that song that everybody likes”. I thought to myself that no truer statement had ever been yelled at a concert. They then played Halloween Summer and the kids in the front danced, and then I left. I did buy one of their homemade CD’s on my way out. It is pretty good. It has that lo-fi sound that I really dig.

After the Silly Kissers, I got rejected at the Matt and Kim show and then stuffed a Schwartz sandwich into my face before going home to bed.

Apparently, these guys are opening up for the Gossip when they play Montreal on October 13th, and will be at CMJ in New York on October 21st. Check ‘em out.

Concert Review – Amy Millan and Bahamas @ Pop Montreal [Sept 30th, Ukrainian Federation]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Pop Montreal | Leave a comment

The Ukrainian Federiation is like a church hall/gymnasium, but with movie theatre style seats. It was really nice to be able to sit down and watch a show. As I entered I asked the volunteer at the door who was on. She told me that “Some cute boy who is really overly self concious”. Really, I thought, then I made eye contact with the girl standing next to her, who simply looked back at me and said “Bahamas”. Merci. A trend throughout the festival was that the Pop volunteer staff were pretty to look at, but mostly useless when it came to knowing anything about the event they were actually volunteering for.

It became very apparent that I would not like Bahamas, othewise known as Afie Jurvanen, as soon as I got there. He was sporting a goofy mustache, a lumberjack jacket that was too large for him and he had amusing charming banter with the audience between each of his catchy and mostly acoustic songs. Yes, Bahamas is going to be rich and famous and be able to get any woman he wants. Screw him. Do you like Hayden? Do you like Peter Elkas? Then you are going to love Bahamas. I liked the story about how his song Hockey Teeth is about how he would always knock teeth with a girl he used to date when they kissed. It happens.

Next up was Amy Millan. Backing her up on horns was Butterscotch Ripple (is that what they refer to themselves as?), a three piece horn section fronted by Even Cranley. That guy is always backing up somebody. It is only a matter of time before Evan releases his own solo project.

Amy played a varied selection from her two full length releases. After the first verse of Run For Me she paused and then eventually quit the song becasue she couldn’t remember the lyrics. She commented about it being her Cat Power moment and then told us that what Cat Power would do in this moment is just say that she didn’t feel like playing this song now. She came back for an encore to finish it. It was cute. Her voice has goosebump power. It was pretty awesome. All in all, it was a totally enjoyable evening.

Bahamas and Amy Milan are back in Toronto at the Mod Club on October 14th. If you go to this show, you will be entertained and leave smiling.

Concert Review – The Phenomenal Handclap Band @ Pop Montreal [Sept 30th, Le National]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Pop Montreal | Leave a comment

Get ready for some Pop Montreal reviews. Even though I was only there for the first two days of the festival, I was able to check out some quality shows and get a feel for what the festival was all about, kind of.

My trip started off in Toronto by meeting two dudes on Yonge Street to share a ride to Montreal. Horary for Craigslist rideshare!! My two new buddies and I made the trip to Montreal in just over 5 hours. Arriving safe and sound my spirits were high after meeting up with two strangers and enjoying some pleasant conversation without being touched in my icky place.

After grabbing my press pass and my drink tickets I quickly started trying to sort through the shows. As previewed earlier, The Phenomenal Handclap Band were playing on Wednesday night at Le National. Their band write-up in the program read as follows:

“…Like Broken Social Scene but with better harmonies and more awesome hippiness.”

Really? Anybody who knows me knows that I have been listening to BSS since 1991. Back then they were known only as Scene because they hadn’t been broken yet. To compare your New York band to BSS is a pretty tall order. So I went to the show to judge for myself.

TPHB were playing at Le National. It is kind of like a cross between the Mod Club and the Phoenix, but with a slanted floor, which really helps us out who tend to hang out at the back. The sloped floor was not needed on this night as the audience was thin.

TPHB are an 8 piece band who know how to groove and shake a tambourine.
Their song, 15 to 20 has been in my head for the past week. It reminds me of the first time I heard The Go Team. It has that catchy, hookey, dancy vibe to it. It is anthum-isk. Ricky posted the video HERE a few days ago. The rest of their songs were very clappy with a strong emphasis on the tambourines. As for their comparison to Broken Social Scene, well, they seem like a dance and groove band who want to be cool like Broken Social Scene, but arn’t quite there yet. I don’t see it. If I was TPHB, I would contact my publicist and change the band bio. As for their performance, I wouldn’t call it phenomenal, but it was pretty close to phenomenal. Once I got over the whole BSS thing, I was able to hang low and enjoy the show. It was really fun and a great fist show to kick off Pop.

The Phenomenal Handclap Band visit Toronto on November 6th with Simian Mobile Disco at the Mod Club. Worth checking out. I’m gonna go see them again, hopefully the venue will be packed and I’ll be able to get the full TPHB party experience.

Concert Review – Sufjan Stevens, Lees Palace, Oct 2

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 3 Comments

sufjan

Toronto – Here is a review of the concert, in point form, since it’s friday and I have a right to be lazy.

- 3 Block lineup to get in
– two “name on the list” checks
– completely packed house
– about 40 degrees inside Lees Palace
– Cryptacize’s smooth pop sounds to open the show, lead singer eerily similar to Feist
– New material – more funk, a lot longer, more electric guitar
– Multi instrumentalist dude has got some skills
– Sing a long to “To Be Alone With You”
– “I think every girl in here would leave their significant others for this guy”, then the girl in front of me turns around and says “I told my boyfriend I’d leave him for Sufjan”
– Acoustic “Chicago” to end off the first set
– “John Wayne Gacy Jr” to start off encore
– TWO HOUR SET

Often during a concert, people are always talking in the back near the bar area, but from the minute Sufjan opened his mouth, it was pure silence from the audience and that was an indication of how much the crowd appreciated this show. Nedelle Torrisi (from Cryptacize) did a great job providing female vocals and rest of the band did a great job as well (there were some mixups here and there, but it added to the charm). The newer material, which was the reason for the mini tour, was as Sufjan put it “takes on a longer form” and channels Miles Davis and Prince. All in all, it was just a great show. The thing is, Sufjan comes off as this perfectly normal dude, he could even come off as a 905 douchebag in another context, with his tilted hat and toque on top of the hat look. Throughout the whole concert it just seemed like he was chilling with his peeps on stage, it was a very relaxed low key show and I guess it further added to the cozy experience. It’s a wonder that he would play Lees Palace when he could easily fill Massey Hall and for that I, and all 350 or 400 people there on Thursday night, will be forever grateful.