Concert Review: Lightspeed Champion, March 4, Horseshoe

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Toronto – WTF IS WITH THIS WEATHER! Its March. There should not be snow on the ground. I am starting to feel like those people in the Day After Tommorrow. It’s cold. Its wet. Its miserable. All these people coming here for Canadian Music Week are never going to come back. Unless they are from other parts of Canada, then I guess it just feels like home.

Even the crappy weather was not enough to stop me from attending the free Lightspeed Champion show last night at the Horseshoe. If I had to pay for the show though…. So yea, NME approved Lightspeed Champion played a free show last night at the Horseshoe. The weather was crappy outside, but I was warmed up by a nice batch of Duff wings, which left my tongue without any feeling. Luckily, I did not go for Death wings, like the people I was with did. Actually, if I had eaten death wings, I could have probably put a match by my ass and light a fire pretty easily and warm the hell up.

The crowd was rather small considering how much hype this guy has been getting lately. However, I don’t really know whats real hype, and what is ‘internet’ hype. I guess considering the weather, this was an okay crowd. Dev Hynes, the lead singer, came out with a violinist at around 9:35. Which pleased me since I was not in a mood for a late show. Thats all this band was, Dev, wearing the finest rat hair hat he could find and a sweater his grandma probably gave him, and his buddy, the violinist. Despite the lack of drums, bass and everything else though, they proceeded to play about 6 or 7 songs, including a cover of the Strokes – Heart in a Cage.

How did the music sound? it was quite good. His album is very stripped down anyways, and relies much on catchy choruses and melodies. This setup was very fitting for him I think. Also, the dude is hilarious. He had no setlist, made a bunch of jokes and told some good stories. Its refreshing to see someone on stage who seems like someone you’d joke around with at a bar or something. For example, he introduced a song about prostitution, saying its from a view of a prostitute. He then said, its not a song about like condoning prostitution and hes not trying to make a statement or anything, finishing with the words ‘im not that deep’. Fuck man, me neither.

So whats the verdict? its a free show. So thats an automatic 3 stars in my book. Combine that with decent tunes and good showsmanship, I think its a 4 star show, -0.5 stars for the weather

3.5/5

Concert Review: Two Hours Traffic, Horseshoe, Feb 23

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Toronto – Saturday night. What to do? Well, I was intending on going to a pajama party, but my friend who was going to it failed to invite me, not wanting to be ‘that guy who goes to a party and brings another party’. so off i was, not really having a plan. Luckily, my other friend had won guest tickets for a show at the Horseshoe, by a band called ‘Two Hours Traffic‘. (he won it off Chromewaves, a site that has many giveaways). Being Chinese, I could not realistically turn down a free show.. thusI went, not having known anything about them. All I knew was what Dwayne and Wade had told me, which was ‘blah blah blah Joel Plaskett blah blah blah PEI blah blah blah CBC Radio 3′. Sounds interesting enough. The Maritimes seem to generate good tunes. Maybe thats what happens when theres nothing to do – you make good music. Thats probably why Sweden is so good at it, aside from designing easy to put together furniture, eating meatballs and drinking that drink they drink..theres really nothing to do there.

So who are these guys? Well, Joel Plaskett produced them and they are from the East Coast. That means one thing – good ole guitar rock. I expected a bunch of pastey ass white boys with longish hair and maybe a few plaid shirts. I was correct. They have a album coming out …last year… its called Little Jabs. I guess this band really flew off my radar. With a boring name like ‘Two Hours Traffic’, I can see why. Despite the name, these guys drew a large crowd. Half of which are probably from PEI (and related to each other) and half fans of the CBC. Quite the dichotomy. I actually had my CBC shirt on for the show, which is coincidental and also a bit odd, since I am a big advocate of not wearing band shirts at a show.

The show was quite energetic, the crowd was really into it. Most fans seem to know all the tunes which would indicate that, they too, have heard of the band. A lot of people yelled out ‘East Coast’. I did too. I wanted to yell out ‘Tupac 4 life! nigga what up!’ but that would probably not go over too well. The band played for about 45 minutes. Maybe an hour. Maybe not. I don’t remember. All I can say about Two Hour Traffic is this: it felt like a Canadian rock show, it sounded like a Canadian rock show and the crowd was that of a Canadian rock show. And sometimes, thats all you really need, is a slice of Canadiana. Follow that up with a nice bowl of pho and you got a good night at the Horseshoe.

Here is a link to Chromewaves review of the show, which probably makes more sense, is less offensive and actually contains relevant details about the band. Everyone has their ways, I guess.

Here is a song off their album Little Jabs. It is off the label Bumstead Productions, which is a label Wade may or may not look at this year in his yearlong article series on Canadian labels.

Concert Review: Vampire Weekend, Feb 11, Horseshoe Tavern

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Toronto – Man I feel like we write so much about this band we might as well be their press agents. Anyways, yes Feb 11 rolled around and it was time. I say it was time…to go to the Vampire Weekend show. The show took place at one of my favorite concern venues in Toronto – the Horseshoe. Especially since I found my sweet spot. Theres a spot thats about 12 – 15 feet back of the stage that ..nevermind don’t want to give it up.

So yes. Vampire Weekend. Crowd was packed. They were excited, everyone has probably downloaded the album and enjoyed it as much as I have. The Germans were the opening act, I caught the latter part of their show and they were something. I don’t know what, I wasn’t really paying attention. The band came on promptly at 11:15 pm, which was great since it’s Monday and they gotta show some ‘spect to those who have to work tomorrow. Boy, these kids just came out of college I bet. A four piece set, consisted of a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and a bassist. The keyboardist looked a bit like Pete Wentz. Probably not a good thing. The lead singer was wearing a type of cardigan or something that my grandma would probably enjoy.

How was the show? twas awesome. Vampire Weekend, they just play really pleasant poppy music, and you can never really have a bad time at feel good pleasant poppy music concert. The lead singer has quite a good voice and the band actually has okay lyrics. I’ve never really paid much attention to the lyrics before, but from what I made out .. it was alright. Banter was typical band stuff. How does the LP translate live? Nicely. as with most bands, they were a bit louder and faster paced live then on the album, but that’s always a positive. The music influences of this band wear strong, and some parts of the concert I could imagine that this will be the type of music you hear on a cruise ship going to Tuvalu or something. Not sure if thats a necessarily positive thing for the long run, but hey, it works.

The set list consisted of things on the album, and one not on the album. Everyone enjoyed themselves and I’m sure the next time they play Toronto it’ll be a much bigger venue. Honestly, one of the concerts I’ve been to where I don’t really have any complaints or anything. I got a good spot to view the concert, no one was blocking my view, the show was efficient, didn’t drag. The streetcar came quickly, and then the bus came quickly too. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience, although I had my ass whooped in Halo before going to the show… and the Raptors lost. But I think those things are out of context in terms of this review.

4.5/5

The Teenagers, Jan 27, Great Hall

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Toronto – Who are the Teenagers you ask? Here is a link to my last post, so I don’t have to write again. I am just writing to you about how the concert was. First of all, the show got moved to ‘The Great Hall’ which was right across the street. This place is great for concerts, honestly. The second floor of the place had nice comfy seats that I was able to rest my ass on. It reminded me of a church or theatre of some sort with balconies and everything. Furthermore, drinks were 5 bucks across. I suspect you need to apply for liquor license and have your own bartenders at this place, otherwise I am sure this venue would be more popular. Seriously, if Churches sold drinks for 5 bucks across, I might attend more.

On to the show itself, well, this was only the second show of the year and I think if I were to have yearly awards for shows i go to, this one would take the cake for

a) most overdressed (yet underessed) crowd
b) most guys wth eyeliners at a show

c) most girls with ridiculously short skirts on (distracting)
d) most amateur photographers
e) feeling old at a concert

To my surprise, the Teenagers were actually a 5 piece set. My friend D thought that they’d be a couple of goof balls fiddling around with knobs and buttons. However, they actually had two guitarist, one bassist, a drummer and the singer. My my, a real band!. They started off with either track 3 or 4 off their album and the sold out crowd seemed to really enjoy their music. They were a lot more prolific with their musical instruments then I had thought they were and I am glad to see that while their act might be a novelty act, they certainly didn’t play the part. The lead singer was kinda funny, and clearly enjoyed the spotlight. The set list consisted of most if not all of their album, and thats about it I think.

Funniest part of the set was for their smash hit homecoming, the asian dude was like ‘okay, this song requires female singer, we don’t have one right now so we will invite a girl on to the stage to sing the part’. Obviously, recipe for disaster. So they drag up this girl who was clearly blitz. Then another girl asks to go on stage and the lead singer allows her. The third girl jumps up on stage too and then the lead, who is clearly a bit annoyed says ‘two is enough’ but the girl doesnt get off the stage. Worse of all, none of the three girls on the stage knew any lyrics to the song and the girl that he didnt allow onto the stage knew it, so he spent the female portion of the song on his knees holding the mic to the girl in the crowd while the three other girls just jumped up and down.

Overally, a pretty good show for sunday night, it was better then I anticipated, the venue was great and the show had some seriously good moments…like..

girl in crowd: “MICHAELLLLLLL”
singer: “do you want to ask michael a question?”
girl: “MICHAEEELL”
singer: “okay ask him a question”
girl: “MICHAEEELLL”
singe: ” ask him a question”
girl: “whats a question?”

3.5/5

* picture was not from the concert.

heres the song with the girl/guy part