CONTEST! The Paint Movement CD Release Party

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

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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 panic@panicmanual.com 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.

Concert Review: White Lies, Friendly Fires, March 31, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 4 Comments

Toronto – Why is it so cold here? It is April and it is still cold outside. Two weeks ago, I was in shorts and flip flops, getting some rays and watching outdoor shows. Bah. I also have a cough and cold. I thought it was a flu, but Brian said that’s not possible, since I’ve been eating like Octo Mom since I got sick. I don’t really want to bitch anymore, or this post risks becoming a Livejournal post. I am just trying to give you insight as to the state I was in as I went to the Friendly Fires / White Lies double bill at Lees Palace on a cold and windy Tuesday night.

I saw White Lies at SXSW and was thoroughly impressed with them. Enough so that I would venture out from my sickness to go see them. Hopefully I didn’t infect everyone at Lees with this cold/cough hybrid. Actually, I don’t really care. I will get to this band later since I like to write my reviews in chronological order. I am square like that.

Friendly Fires was the first part of the double bill. They are an English dance rock band that has had moderately success the past year. They released a self titled album last year and had several hits off the album, including ‘Jump in the Pool’, ‘On Board’ and ‘Paris’. By hits, I mean, I like those tunes a lot and just assume that they were good singles. ‘Paris’ in particular, was a song I especially liked. However, the version I really enjoyed was the Twelves remix of it with Au Revoir Simone assuming vocal duties. Whatever, it’s pretty much the same song. According to Allison, the song ‘On Board’ is in the Wii Fit Commercial, so it was no surprise when we arrived at Lees Palace, the venue was already packed.

I can only assume they played ‘Jump in the Pool’ early on because we probably arrived one or two songs late. Either way, the band played to a lukewarm reception in the beginning, with lead singer Ed MacFarlane urging the crowd to move and ‘not be a London crowd’. I’m sure the smug Brit lads in the crowd appreciated the hometown reference. Playing songs off their self titled LP, Friendly Fires slowly, but surely generated interest in the crowd, reaching fever pitch with the songs On Board and Paris, which got the crowd clapping and moving. Also, Allison started doing so many ‘woooos’ that the guy beside her had to move spots. Classic. The lead singer, who I can assume is Ed MacFarlane, did everything in his power to get the crowd going, dancing, jumping, dancing some more and even climbing on speakers. It was definitely good showmanship. The music itself was quite stellar, despite sometimes relying on dj equipment,the beat was definitely driven by one, and sometimes two drummers. The album definitely translated well to a live environment. Overall, the show was good, and it says something about the band when they can turn a frigid Toronto crowd from swaying and folded arms to moving and clapping.

White Lies came onto the set about 25 minutes after Friendly Fires finished. The band did their best to foster Interpol comparisons by arrival to the sold out show all decked out in uniform black. When I saw them in SXSW, I think they wore white. I guess wearing black in Texas heat is a bad idea. I think they played the same set they did at Austin, which is not all that big a surprise since they only have an album out. I believe the first song was “Fairwell to the Fairground”. Right away I thought something sounded different then the SXSW show – the voice was a bit off. Later on in the set, we would discover that lead singer Harry McVeigh was harboring a sore throat. As a result, hitting some notes was difficult, particular during a song like ‘Unfinished Business’. Either way, the band marched on and played their blend of joy division-interpol-editors inspired music. I really enjoyed the album, so this was a good show to me. It was interesting to compare the constantly moving/dancing antics of Friendly Fire with the stoic approach of White Lies. I guess when you have the dark nature of the White Lies songs, there really isn’t much dancing. Either way, both bands put forth a good show and because of their efficient nature, I was home by midnight. Bonus points there.

SXSW Review: Razorlight [Cedar courtyard, March 20 2009]

Posted on by Gary in Concerts, Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Razorlight, SXSW, Cedar Courtyard, March 20

Toronto – Discovering a band isn’t very hard for me to do – I’m horrible at remembering band names, I don’t know that many bands to start with, and even worse I’m vicious at rejecting things that doesn’t produce good vibrations within 10 seconds of incus hitting malleus. For some reason Razorlight kept my attention despite the fact that we were really waiting for White Lies during the afternoon (if you recall this was also the same party where LOTP happily played one song too many and had their brawl with Cedar courtyard security, see below).

What began as a casual head-bobbing turned into seriously listening and by the end of the set, I didn’t care that I was made fun of for liking their sound. Razorlight started in 2002. Either the fans or their marketing contributed to the wiki, because it’s actually quite sizable given their indie status (it’s longer than that of White Lies, for example…) Listening to most of their songs across albums after the set, I’m convinced that they actually sound more American than their British/Swedish composition. Songs like Golden Touch, America, and Vice are all very typical. But it does switch and produce some funny associations… In the City actually sounds more like a Sheryl Crow song when it begins; and at some point during To the sea I’m reminded of Sister Act… weird. There is something to be enjoyed if you have never heard them prior. Although the lead vocal’s slightly off tune style cannot be said to be impassive, it translates just that much better in real life performance. Happily sandwiched between the brawl and the main gig, they played a mix of new and old. Apart from the ones I’ve mentioned already, Wire to wire, Hostage of love, and North London Trash from their new album were there, too. Like I mentioned, sound was not only true to recording but actually better, and good showmanship in general. With that, I’m now happy to have some solid rock in the ipod aside from the sugar-high songs that I normally have.