Toronto – Yeah, it is a bit shallow of me to review the fringe fest after seeing only two shows. But if you’re from Edmonton, you know that most people who goes to the fringe there don’t even move past the fire breather/juggler, candy floss and carved candles. Street fringe is fun, but there are only so many tricks you can stomach before deciding to keep your $5. So this year I watched the plays. Apparently the Toronto fringe doesn’t even have a street-side to it – so all the more convenient. I went to see Sherlock Holmes & the First English Gentleman, and The Movies (abridged) – first at the Robert Gill theater (hidden in UT‘s student center), the other at Theatre Passe Muraille.
Sherlock Holmes has always played the 2nd fiddle to Arsene Lupin for me. He’s never as much fun, charming, or daring, and he always took to himself for information. That is, much of the clues you’d expect to find while reading the cases will not be there, because Sir Doyle didn’t want his hero surpassed. This is a tradition followed strictly in this fringe play. As the story progressed from the initial museum robbery in Paris to diamond theft, next to the British Museum fighting with their own naturalist on a immitation homo ancestralis (erectus, habilis, ergaster, whatever it was). Although it never seemed dull (there was even a point where all 3 actors broke out in full song and dance a la Broadway or too-much-sugar), you really need to take the story in hand and analyze it as you go along, otherwise the jokes and developments become orphaned. Although this were not one of the shows where they posted stars after, I’d say it’s solid entertainment.
The Movies abridged, however, WAS one of those with stars as if Tweety had hit it with a 100lb ACME mallet. This was an non-stop comedy, kind of like the one I watched at the Fringe in Edmonton, a Marx Brothers imitation. The backdrop was that of a Blockbuster clerk who needed to undergo a re-education of all movie genres in order to get his promotion. In the process, the trio of actors makes fun of an array of movies. Elan Farbriarz and Josh Levine handled much of the physical comedy, while the bald-english-sounding-dude (okok Rob Gee) handled the voice. Don’t be disappointed if your favorite movies are not mentioned or parodied – that’s not the point here – the play’s a commentary on the state of North American film industry and how its success has ironically destroyed its roots. Nothing really new to those of you who’s reading this blog anyways… but you really want to listen to the long poem-reading by Rob about horror movies and everything else that is much more horrifying. It’s a thousand words long and his syllables were as solid as Japanese. There’s a reason this was starred – ’tis good.
Toronto – I am a sucker for the words “Indie Pop” and “UK”. Despite countless disappointments, I always will myself to give bands with those tags a chance. This leads me to the UK trio Scouting For Girls. Apparently popular across the pond, the London based band released a self titled album earlier this year courtesy of Epic.
Hows the cd? it sounds like the Kooks. If you have read my Kooks review, you know I am not a big fan of it. I mean, this album, the Kooks, Cajun Dance Party, etc, they aren’t horrible albums. I can easily put on one of them in the background and won’t get offended or anything, but really, they bring nothing in the table. Bands like these are a dime a dozen. Scouting For Girls is full of somewhat catchy light hearted guitar rock/pop including singles like ‘Heartbeat’, ‘She’s so Lovely’ and ‘Elvis ain’t Dead’.
This is the type of music you will probably hear on a show like The Hills, during a montage or something. It’s easily digestible, there’s no texture and you’ll probably shit it out in an hour.
Although I’ve been aware of the genre known as ‘Blaxploitation’ my knowledge of it until 2 days ago was to the extent of what I saw on an episode of the Simpsons (‘Next up on Blaxploitation theatre, The Blunch Black of Blotre Blame’). What did pique my interest however, was a clip I came across on Funny or Die about some Redneck hunter talking about Blaxploitation legend Rudy Ray Moore, better known as Dolemite. Me and Ricky had a good laugh at one part in particular*, so I thought I would share it with the rest of you jive ass turkey’s (WARNING: NSFW):
Toronto – FINALLY………. Black Kids have returned…. TO THE PANIC MANUAL! If you read our blog on a regular basis, like your doctor prescribed, then you will know that we have had a liking for the Black Kids for awhile now. After months of hype (and some would argue, overhype) The Jacksonville based group have finally released their LP – called Partie Traumatic courtesy of Almost Gold records in the UK. Us peeps in the Americas will have to wait until July 22 to get our fix. Lucky for me, I was able to get a hold of the release.
First impressions? It’s alright. Second Impression? It’s pretty good. I think I got too excited about the album, based on the strength of their previous EP – Wizard of Ahhhs and their singles. When I listened to this album the first time, I was like – well there’s nothing new. Then I realized – yo man, u listened to this stuff at the concert – So, obviously there wasn’t much new there. I had already heard it at the show already.
Clearing my head, I gave the album a second listen and yep – what I like about them is still there – the fun/funky 80s drama opening credits sound, the gang vocals on the choruses, the playful lyrics – it’s all there. Reggie Youngblood really channels Robert Smith on some songs. He looks like a cross between Robert Smith and the Keegan Michael Key from Mad TV. Check It.
New songs that will be sure to be favorites include I’ve Underestimated My Charm (again) and my concert favorite “I Wanna Be Your Limousine” which probably samples New Kids On The Block’s Games song with the Oh we Oh..Ohhhh Ohh part.
In short, the album “Partie Traumatic” will satisfy the masses who are salivating for new Black Kids material for months now. People who think this is a inner city school program charity cd will also be pleasantly surprised. I am sure we’ll be hearing some of these tunes on indie dance floors all across the globe soon enough.