Concert Review: CMW Chart Attack Showcase, March 14, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by guestwriter in Concerts | 1 Comment

I’m sure it’s happened to you… you open the refrigerator and get a whiff of leftovers you’ve forgotten about.  Some you lament over because the meal was delicious and you really should have done it justice by finishing it.  And others… well you wonder why you took them home anyway.  

Same goes for the Chart Attack Showcase, waaaay back on March 14 during Canadian Music Week.  As we move into summer– the season of concerts and parties, I’m duly noting some of these Chart Attack Showcase bands which will likely be featured at some festival, bar or club in the city.  To go or not to go?


Two Hours Traffic  

Two Hours Traffic

Two Hours Traffic

These PEI musicians play music that is cheerful, upbeat and catchy.  Simple melodies, riffs and choruses that will always get the crowd singing along.  This band is one to see if you want to relax and hang out with friends, have a few cold beers and have good Canadian rock to bop your head to.  Latest album, Little Jabs, was once again produced by the ever growing Canadian icon, Joel Plaskett.  They played a solid set, definitely a pleasant discovery during CMW.  Rating: 4/5 


Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

Fronted by husband and wife duo, Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia, they played a relatively decent show in front of an audience that had waited through a gazillion band set to see them play.  Following Two Hours Traffic, their sound didn’t seem as polished or well put together.  While they played crowd pleasers such as, “Construction Worker”, I think I was satisfied after the second song.  Lost in the muddle were the catchy hooks that you pick up on in their recorded music.  Worth catching?  Yes, I think good enough that you ought to give them a try.  Rating 3.5/5 


Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

With a lot of hype following this sweet heart duo now located in Montreal, their blend of rock, electro synth pop has got everyone talking.  I saw a lot of bands I wanted to see during CMW, but they were one I was really looking forward to.  Their music is cute, poppy, and on the brink of nerd-dom.  A soft spot in my heart?  Yes, I dare say it is.  I stood in front of the stage ready to dance, but instead stood baffled, lost in the sound that they were trying to reproduce from their album.  I was disappointed and shocked by their performance.  While I appreciate their music and the sound they’re going for, I can’t say they’ve made it up to quite the same level in their live shows.  At least the live show I saw.  I’m sure over time, the transition from recorded music to live stage will become more smooth and we’ll see more of the Hexes and Ohs flair that we hear in their album.  Rating 2.5/5

Concert Review: The Phonemes, April 2nd, Tranzac Club

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 5 Comments

It was a star-studded event at the Tranzac on Thursday night to catch The Phonemes warm up show before their west coast tour with Laura Barrett. Yes, all the local celebrities were out; Levi MacDougall, Katie Crown, Gentleman Reg and some really drunk bastard. Yes, nobody pulls off the slacker cut off capri pants quite like Levi Macdougall. Come on Levi, I’ve seen the Rogers and Tim Hortons commericals, buy some decent pants, I know you can swing it.

I’ve been trying to catch the Phonemes for a while now since they paly around town all the time. The musical project of Magali Meagher, the Phonemes’ are quiet, cool and rely on simply melody driven songs. After reading Magails’ bio on her Phonemes website I learned that besides being a corner stone in the Toronto music scene, she has backed up Daniel Johnston. If you haven’t seen The Devil And Daniel Johnston, you need to check it out. Great flick.

The Phonemes played a quiet set, occasionally interrupted by the drunk dude, the cash register and the opening of cans of pop, but what do you expect at Bloor and Brunswick at 11:00 on a Thursday night.

Catch The Phonemes out west this month and across the pond with Forest City Lovers in May. Hearing Pain Perdu performed live is reason enough to get your ass to a Phonemes show.

CONTEST! The Paint Movement CD Release Party

Posted on by Ricky in Albums, Concerts | Leave a comment


Toronto – Okay, I will admit I tend to pay more attention to UK/Electro/Dance acts then I do to good ole Canadian bands, but once in awhile, I will whip out the poutine, the hockey stick and listen to some good homegrown talent. Mississauga’s (don’t hold this against them) The Paint Movement is a BSS / Jazz inspired band that will be having a cd release party on Friday April 10th at Rivoli. They will be playing with three other bands that I have never heard of (Fox Jaws, Make Your Exit, Provincial Parks) but I am sure they are all good ole Canadian bands. Wade or Patricia could probably tell you about them.

I’ve listened to the Paint Movement a few times this week and I find their blend of jazzy (re: horns/trumpets) infused soft rock quite comforting as I try to recover from this flu. The Broken Social Scene influence looms large in some of the music, but that is not a bad thing obviously. Anyways, with the kindness of the folks at Nevado Records, you are going to have a chance to check it out for yourself because we are having a contest!

Simply email us at with the subject: “The Paint Movement” and we will set up the winner with a pair of tickets to the show as well as a compact disc.

Friendly Fires / White Lies – March 31, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Allison in Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – So I forgot Ricky bought tickets for this awhile back. Not only did I forget but as per usual I failed to do any research about either band prior to the concert. I have never knowingly heard of Friendly Fires or White Lies but this proved to be one of the better shows so far this year (OK so I’m only comparing them to the tepid Lykke Li show back in February but I don’t get out much).

Friendly Fires took me by surprise because I didn’t know this was a double-bill. I was so taken by them and their bearded drummer that I sort of stopped paying attention to White Lies halfway through their set and hit their merch table right after…If there’s one thing concert-goers should have gotten from their set it’s that these guys are not just another funky dancey-influenced Brit band.

There are a few things the Friendly Fires set made apparent…1) Electronic music has its place with “real” instruments, 2) These guys know how to progressively layer their music, 3) Beards are hot. I can’t stress how well they pulled off the layering element — you can hear conga-ish drums in there, guitars, the most soulful British white guy voice since Rick Astley or OK maybe Jamiroquai, squidgy bits of electro samples, and all of your other standard good pop band sounds.

Let’s take for example In the Hospital. How can you not want to shake your ass to this even if you have creaky hips that might snap at a given moment? I should know, I dance like an out-of-rhythm, out-of-touch white nerd yet I could not help progressing the toe tapping to awkwardly flailing limbs. Lovesick was again an ass-shaking performance and the most impressive showcase of the lead singer’s voice. I bet you don’t believe me when I tell you he’s the next incarnate of the classic Michael Jackson voice but I swear it is TRUE. Ricky’s right about the good showmanship and by good showmanship I mean they had a pulse and got me to start clapping my salami saddle bag arms – I don’t clap for no one but could not help it during Strobe which sounded a lot flatter on the studio recording that I just listened to.

I too loved Paris for its progression. At the beginning it sounds like your standard electro-sampled deal but then you hit the sweet song g-spot in the chorus. When the vocalist hits those castrato type octaves your ear cilia hairs start making out in celebration. It happens during White Diamonds too, albeit briefly during the orgiastic “kiss slow” bit.

I really hope these guys don’t get labelled as the “Wii Fit” band because of On Board because even though that was the only song I knew walking in cold, it paled in comparison to the rest of what we heard from their set.

Oh yeah, there was some crowd-walking and speaker climbing too, which is always exciting.

I don’t have too much to say about White Lies. The lead signer was under the weather, they came on in matching short-sleeved black collar shirts and had a lot of Chameleon-circa-Strange Times-like moments.

One last general thing I’d like to point out is the reflection a concert’s crowd has on the quality of music. This show attracted a diverse (read: weird) cross-section of attendees. We were standing behind a 50-something year old dad, his friend and his 20-something year old daughter but there were people who looked like us too, only hipper. Mediocrity attracts sameness, superiority attracts weirdos gathering in one room. Can you judge the quality of music performance based on the diversity of the crowd they attract? I say hells yes, and not just because they let us in too.