Concert Review: Bloc Party with Longwave, March 22, 2009 9:30 Club DC

Posted on by Tom in Concerts | 3 Comments

Bloc Party, V-Fest, Toronto, 2008

Washington DC- This concert review is a tale of two parts, since I’ve decided to offer a review of the opening band as well.

Part 1: Longwave

My first impression upon arriving at the 9:30 Club: Rarely have I seen a venue so full for an opening band…this bodes well for the show.

And Longwave did not disappoint.

The band, recently returning from a 3-year hiatus, played an up-tempo set featuring songs from their new album “Secrets are Sinister”. With the aim of regaining fans, Longwave brought a lot of energy to the stage, playing songs that were infused by building guitars, pounding drums and spirited singing by frontman Steve Schiltz. Highlighting their performance were the songs “No Direction” and “Satellites”, both of which got the crowd moving.

While the music itself was impressive, the band did lack in the crowd interaction department. Between song banter came across as awkward and forced, part of which may have been due to the absence of founding guitarist Shannon Ferguson (congratulations on your first child!). However, after the show I noticed that the band was hanging out at the merchandise booth, talking to fans and enjoying themselves. I found that a refreshing reminder of what music should be about.

Overall, Longwave played a very solid set and I recommend checking them out if you get the chance.

Part 2: Bloc Party

One word: Amazing!!!

As soon as lead singer Kele Okereke stepped on stage, wearing a Clinton Portis Redskins’ jersey, you could tell it was going to be a special show. Bloc Party quickly worked the crowd into a frenzy, starting off with “One Month Off” from their latest album “Intimacy”. Sprinkling in songs from the first two albums “Silent Alarm” and “A Weekend in the City”, the set continually built upon itself, gaining energy that permeated everything and everyone.

Playing the crowd to perfection, Kele even grabbed a homemade sign requesting the b-side “Tulips” from a fan in the crowd. Despite not having played the song in a couple of years, Bloc Party (after apologizing to their sound people) broke into “Tulips” (video here) as if they had played it at every gig on their tour. Later, a seamless segue from “Song for Clay (Disappear Here)” into “Banquet” elicited a strong response from the throng, an effect that further increased the vigor of the set.

What will stick with me, though, is the song “Mercury”. Immediately, Kele jumped into the crowd and began an incredible journey, buoyed up by people’s hands, around the floor. After returning to the stage for a few seconds, he disappeared again, sneaking off around the side of the venue, to suddenly emerge in the middle of the crowd (where I conveniently was standing) and rock out amid the masses. Then, entrusting his life to the fans again, he resumed crowd-surfing and was passed back up to the stage (video here).

Like I said before: Simply amazing. I would consider any Bloc Party show a must-see.

Concert Review: The Thermals, May 3, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Brian in Concerts | Leave a comment


God, I love The Thermals. What’s more, I love their Twitter feed. Twitter gives following a band on tour a whole new meaning, and The Thermals’ feed is one of the most entertaining around. Who can forget the epic tweet “But really this is the NOGL tour 09. NO ONE GETS LAID“? Or the early morning hours of May 1, when they tweeted a legendary 79 times between 1:22 and 3:53 AM?

Their tweet above is correct: the so-called “Legendary” Horseshoe Tavern is not the most glamourous of venues. On the other hand, The Thermals are not the most glamourous of bands. And that’s ok. Despite the heat that had frontman Hutch Harris sweating through his shirt, the Thermals pretty much killed it with an hour of their energetic indie rock goodness.

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Concert Review – The Dears [April 30th, 2009 Mod Club]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

Toronto – The show started out on a good note, but then after the first song, it went down hill fast. The first song was Saviour which Murray Lightburn sang as he walked from the back of the club to the front through the crowd. It was pretty cool.

Their set list was really heavy on material from Missiles, with nothing played from End Of A Hollywood Bedtime Story. The tracks they played from No Cities Left lost my interest half way through because they lacked what I love about them. The Dears used to have a certain sense of theatrics and drama at their live shows. Like when you went to their show, it was much more than just a rock show. On this night, every song was basically guitars and drums with more guitars thrown on top. Their traditional orchestral dark pop sound was replaced with rock pop. There was no cello, no horns no nothing. I realize that they aren’t the same band they were even two years ago and that I shouldn’t expect the same, but by knowing what the Dears used to sound like live, I was really disappointed. I really enjoy their latest release Missiles because there is quite a bit of that orchestral pop on it, but played live, it didn’t translate.

We didn’t stick around for the encore.

Concert Review: Green Go, The Magic, Wrongbar, April 30

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Green Go, Wrongbar, April 30, 2009

Toronto – Always read the weather report before you go out. On Thursday morning, I woke up, looked outside for a bit, determined it wasn’t going to rain, put on my nice white brand new sperry sider shoes (or as I call them, my cottage shoes) and went on my way. Little did I know, it was to rain all day. I mean, I had intended to wear these nice white shoes (before heading to various cottages) around a little just to get that dirty white look, which looks a lot better then pure white out of the store look, but I didn’t want to be walking around them in a torrential downpour. Now there’s smudges of grey everywhere on my shoe. It really doesn’t look that dirty anymore, I think it just looked dirty under fluorescent lighting or something. Anyways, the point of this story is that I wasn’t in a particularly good mood heading into the Green Go CD release party at the Wrong Bar on Thursday. It was raining, the concert was later then I thought and I blew a chance to win our league ball hockey game earlier in the night, there was like a minute left in the game, it was tied 7-7 and I had a good chance to score. I had pulled the ball to my backhand from my forehand while running left. Theoretically, I should have tired to lift the ball to the top left corner, but halfway through the motion, I remembered this goalie had shoulder pads that put Garth Snow to shame, so I decided maybe the better option would have to go against the grain and backhand it to the right corner. However, I forgot to factor in that this goalies lateral movements were slower then Stephen Hawking on quicksand so basically, I shot it right back into his glove. Sigh.

We arrived at Wrongbar at about 11. I had never been to the Wrongbar before. It’s a nice space, theres a bar in front and the dance floor in the back. Nowadays, when I go to little bar places, all I can think about is whether I can/should book it for upcoming dance parties. While the place was definitely a good space for some dancing, the beer selection was balls at best. Bud, 50, Canadian, Keiths.. wheres the good beers? Six bucks for a pint of Keiths too. I guess everyone has their beer preferences.

There were actually 3 openers on the bill, but we only arrived in time to catch one of them. The Magic are a band from Guelph. They also have a band name that’s extremely hard to google. Let me tell you something – if you are forming a band, make sure your bands website CAN appear on the 1st google page when you type in the band name. It took me typing “The Magic Band Toronto” to actually find the myspace page for this band. That is four Google searches too many. A lesser man would have given up.

I guess “The Magic” is a new band, since they have no official website or any sort of web presence. The band had a large assemble of people on there, playing all sorts of instruments including horns/trumpets, synths and other. The lead singer was wearing some sort of ship uniform maybe. Combined that with the low key synthy eighties vibe and I would think that The Magic are trying to bring back Yacht rock. They were pretty decent, especially the number that the female singer took over primary singing duties.

Green Go came on around 12:30, which to me, is bed time. However, I was all the way in Parkdale, so I figure I might as well stay for the show. If you recall from my review, I liked the album quite a bit. The bar was about 2/3 full, and when the band came out, most people crowded up to the front and were primed to dance. Green Go certainly complied to the dancing part, as a heavy dose of synth and drum beats got the crowd shuffling the feet. Playing material mostly from Borders, the band provided some solid grooves for the crowd. They also gave everyone cake, which probably distracted a lot of people (gary included) from the actual show. However, it is a party and everyone must have cake.

I wasn’t in the best of moods headed into the show, and wasn’t too impressed with the late start time, but I’m old and jaded, so that’s typical. The music itself was good and everyone enjoyed themselves. I even found myself moving around a bit and left the Wrongbar in a good mood. I was especially happy to not have been mugged or anything in Parkdale at that time of night.