This review comes from my friend Evan, who’s currently traipsing through Western Europe. Right now he’s in Germany and decided to see No Age in Berlin.
“Ist dieses die Anordnung für No Age?”
“Yes, and you’d better get in there now, as I believe it will sell out.”
“Thank you, man.”
The queue that was only about eight-deep outside this unmarked (save the multi-layered graffiti mosaic) entranceway to Kreuzberg’s renowned yet claustrophobic concert venue – the cheekily-named West Germany – extended much further than it appeared from outside. The concertgoers were young and varied; I only heard German about half the time (so, par for the course in Berlin). Three hipster-saturated flights of stairs above me stood the doorway to the tiny club, a space only slightly bigger than my parents’ basement, and its soon-to-be crowded balcony overlooking the bustling and, I am told, drug-infested U-Bahn station at Kotbusser and Skalitzerstraße.
I don’t really want to write a review for this show, so I will just take another review and comment on it. What follows are points made by BlogTO contributor, Matthew McAndrew, who attended the show. I will either agree, disagree or make fun of his review of the show.
Matthew Says: Fellow Seattleites Say Hi (formerly Say Hi To Your Mom) played back to back sets, serving as both the sole opening act and Bazan’s supporting band. Panic Says: I agree. Say Hi did open up for Dan Bazan of Pedro The Lion
Matthew Says: To be honest, I didn’t have very high expectations for this Seattle-based threepiece. Panic Says: I had high expectations. The last time we saw Say Hi was at Sneaky Dees when they toured their Impeccable Blahs (2006) album. It was a good show.
Matthew Says: Their set was filled with infectious, anthemic rock songs that, at times, veer towards pop-punk more so than they do towards the lo-fi indie sound evident on their studio recordings. Panic Says: Infectious, anthemic, rock, pop-punk, lo-fi, and indie. Matthew gets a thumbs down for using six non-descript and overused music performance adjectives in one sentence which ultimately confuses the reader as to what type of music was actually performed.
Matthew Says: Their predictable formula of simple, steady basslines, aggressive drumming and a single guitarist made many of their tracks sound one dimensional and ultimately generic. It’s a shame his vocals were so low… Panic Says: I agree. The drumming seemed to drown out the lyrics, which are one of Say Hi’s strengths. During one of their last songs, the drummer was restricted to drumming with only one hand as he was working a shaker with his other. This allowed the vocals to really come through and added some dimension to the song. Conclusion; cut one of your drummer’s arm off to improve your bands sound. It worked for Def Leppard.
Matthew Says: The three members of Say Hi barely had the chance to leave the stage before they were back in the spotlight. Joined by Blake Wescott on lead guitar, Say Hi functioned tonight as Dan Bazan’s backing band. Panic Says: I assume that this true since we left after Say Hi’s set, but it makes total sense since the two are touring together.
Toronto – Lets get straight to the reviews. Friday night concerts at the Guvernment are always early shows. Why? cos the clubbers get in from the 905 at around 10 pm and that’s where the money is. So Friday night’s La Roux show was an early one, with La Roux taking the stage at 9 and Toronto’s own Diamond Rings taking the stage at 8. How do I feel about early shows? On weekdays, I love it. On weekends, I don’t know..at least you can do something after.
Opening act was Diamond Rings. You might of heard of him before as he had a fairly popular video this summer for his song “All Yr Songs”, you can check it out here. The main force behind Diamond Rings is John O, also the lead singer of the Toronto band D’Urbervilles. The music between the two acts are significantly different. I was fairly impressed with the one man act, John O sounds like a more emotive Paul Banks, and his 80s inspired pop music sound was good. The hooks were insanely catchy and all the music just went well together. The half hour set consisted of songs off an upcoming EP (I guess) and also featured guest appearances by Katie Stelmanis and Gentleman Reg. For an opening act, it was really good.
La Roux came on at about 9:10. This raised some alarms, because well, we all knew she had to be outta there by 11. Equipped with a drummer (playing some sort of electronic drum kit), keyboard/laptop dj person, and a backing female vocalist, La Roux quickly launched into some song (forgot what it was). Boy, the hair. It’s quite the coif. It was probably 20 centimeters high and I am wondering how much hair product is required to keep that thing up during the show. Then I’m reminded of that scene from Something About Mary. Haha.
Anyways, the concert was ridiculously short, maybe 35 minutes. Perhaps this was because Elly Jackson was sick (she had cancelled a few shows prior to this show due to illness). Perhaps it was cos of the guvernment. I don’t know. For the time she was on stage, Elly Jackson gave it her all, dancing and doing proper call and responses with the crowd. The setlist was what you would expect, which is a lot of songs off the self titled debut album. She didn’t play Armoured Love, which is a song I like a lot. Set closer Bulletproof got the highest response and the crowd (not sold out) was quite enthused about the show, but ultimately, the shortness of it probably left a stale taste in most people’s mouth. I also thought there might have been too much pre-recorded sound. Maybe it was because of the illness. Either way, to go all the way to the guvernment and only get a 35 minute show (even if it was pretty good) can only come off as mildly disappointing.
Toronto – Everyone’s favorite summery french band from ten years ago is back. The new single “Unpredictable” is classic Tahiti 80, by classic, I mean, it sounds kinda like Heartbeat and kinda like Phoenix. It might no longer be summer, but this tune is perfect for when you are reminiscing about the summer times past I guess. Their fourth album, Activity Center comes out on November 24 ( I think it’s been out in France for awhile). The single also comes with a good video here. No idea why we can’t embed this on our site though. Whatevs.
Check it out.
Ps. Check out the picture I selected for the post..the lead singer is wearing a Tahiti 80 shirt..how meta is that?