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.

Free Stuff: Kasabian’s New Single – Vlad the Impaler

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 1 Comment

vlad

Toronto – In these tough economic times, all free things are appreciated, so for a total of FOUR WHOLE days, England’s dance rock rebels Kasabian has made their latest single, ‘Vlad the Impaler’ free for download off their website.

Also, the video for this single features The Mighty Boosh’s Noel Fielding. If you know us, you know we love that show. By we, I mean, me and Vik.

Here is the link for the free mp3

Twitter.

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 1 Comment

Nuff said.

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.