Concert Review: M83 & Seven Bells, November 20, Opera House

Posted on by Allison in Concerts | 9 Comments

Toronto – I’m going to confess straight off the bat that this is going to be a highly sexual review coming from a randy post-80′s electronica novice. This has nothing to do with having the pleasure of being searched and molested at the Opera House and everything to do with the droolworthiness of Brooklyn openers School of Seven Bells and of course the stubbled perfection of M83′s Anthony Gonzalez.

1x1.trans Concert Review: M83 & Seven Bells, November 20, Opera House

Judging from the size of the crowd for openers SO7B they must either have quite the fanbase in Toronto already from their critical buzz generated around Alpinisms or else everyone unfamiliar with them did their MySpace research and looked at their photograph collection. As my concert companion noted to me, “If this band thing doesn’t end up working out for them, they can always model”. Well put. The smokey-eyed twin sister vocalists are the stuff of indie-hipster-boy-wet-dreams. And the music you ask? Oh yes, the music…well, if Ladytron/Kate Bush/Cocteau Twins/a distant cousin of Cut-Copy mated with a fairy dust sprinkling of psychedelic LSD you’d get School of Seven Bells live. I recognized Half Asleep and I’m assuming most of the other tracks are off Alpinisms. Good set in any case with a surprisingly nice mix of electric guitars and electronica.

1x1.trans Concert Review: M83 & Seven Bells, November 20, Opera House

Now for M83. Oh, M83 how Toronto loves you. Although my companion and I were likely the only people pressed up near the stage in the pushing-30 to pushing-40 age range, I can say it was refereshing to see the young people getting down and dirty with the bouncing around, dancing, hooting and hollering. I should note here that every couple at this show must’ve been feeling the hypersexual juju that night because we were surrounded by couples who were a hair away from the dry hump (did I miss a free e tablet giveaway or something??).

Let me just say here that M83 is quite different live, as most great bands are. As with the Deerhunter show last week I have to say I found their live set 3-dimensional, loud, almost tactile–their studio recordings by comparison seem to have “flattened” a bit after the experience of seeing them jam with their bad selves in person. Gonzalez set up a mesmerizing magical mixing box with hypnotic christmas lights inside that treated the recorded vocals as more of a background instrument for many of the songs. At first I was like, hey! This is supposed to be a LIVE show–I don’t care how handsome you are with your seductive stubble and your casual good looks–you should be SINGING. But then I realised what an idiot I was being. Of course vocals can be treated as a background instrument or sample…and it’s great when they *are* in a live show so that they can focus on creating a new instrumental animal. What they did with real instruments went above and beyond my expectations and I particularly want to point out the ripping good drummer who was given much to do (and was so good he was the only member of the band protected by a bullet-proof shield; we were joking that perhaps they had a date coming up in Detroit or Compton).

The crowd went wildest during Kim & Jessie and Graveyard Girl, probably their two best known tunes to date, but my favorite parts of their set involved their drum-intensive instrumental jams and adorable graciousness–they seemed genuinely touched at the audience’s enthusiasm. I’ll definitely see them again–an audio spooge all around.

Event: Panic At The Tap II [The Tap, December 5th]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 5 Comments

1x1.trans Event: Panic At The Tap II [The Tap, December 5th]

Toronto – The PM crew will be playing some of our favorite (soon to be your favorite) songs at the Tap on December 5th. Come on down and have a pint or two!

There might even be a prize to be had! You can win something and then regift it.

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CD Review: Grace Jones – Hurricane [2008, Wall of Sound]

Posted on by Ricky in Albums | 1 Comment

1x1.trans CD Review: Grace Jones   Hurricane [2008, Wall of Sound]

Toronto – Funky dance grooves and a soulful female voice have always been a recipe for success when it comes to creating a kickass dance album. With that in mind, it should be no surprise that Grace Jones’ 10th album comes off as an excellent album. For those unfamiliar with Grace Jones, she is a Jamaican-American slash. (singer slash actress slash model) You might remember her from the Bond movie A View to a Kill. Still not familiar? here is my friend Nick’s take on this lady:

Nick: I always mix her and RuPaul up till I remember she’s the manlier one

Appearances aside, this is one fantastic album. I am completely out of the loop in terms of Grace Jones music, but if this is a good sample of what she’s capable of, then I should definitely look into it. What does it sound like, you say? It sounds a bit like Massive Attack in their glory days. Strong vocals layered over a mess of trip hoppy beats. I could imagine Tricky interjecting himself for verse or two on a song like ‘Corporate Cannibal’. For a person who hasn’t put out an album in 19 years, Grace Jones sultry voice holds up strong – sometimes hypnotic, sometimes soulful – it is carefully used to compliment the music. Actually I just saw Tricky is on the song ‘Hurricane’. Haha. Another highlight of the album is the single “William’s Blood”. A supposedly autobiographical song, the song builds up slowly over a nice beat and explodes into almost a gospel song over the chorus. Quite fantastic indeed.

Highly recommended album


Travel Review – West Edmonton Mall [2008, Edmonton] – Part 1

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 3 Comments

Edmonton – When one thinks of Edmonton, only three things can possibly come to mind – cold, the Oilers and the Mall. Well, as a person who spent seventeen frickin years in the Great White North, I have had plenty of trips to the mall. However, most of my friends in Toronto have never been, as there is no real point to visit Edmonton for anything. I was recently in my former home town and decided to show the peeps what the mall is all about.

First off, some information on the mall. It is the largets mall in North America and fourth largest on Earth. It consists of 570,000 square meters, has over 800 stores and also a waterpark, rink, movie theatre, casino, hotel, amusement park, golf course and pretty much everything you can think of. It even has another mall inside it. Jokes. Seriously, West Edmonton Mall is basically an indoor city.

Okay, so here are some random stuff.

1x1.trans Travel Review   West Edmonton Mall [2008, Edmonton]   Part 1

This is the waterpark. It’s AWESOME. I have been there more then a few times, and its great. The rides are top notch, you can bungie jump, theres a wave pool and the rides are just good. Look at the red and purple rides, thats five stories you drop. Crazy. If you are light, you can actually fly off the purple slide on the first bump. Don’t go down this slide head first, or you will end up like Superman. Bad joke, I know. But fair warning indeed. It’s great to go in the winter, since its bright outside and warm inside.

1x1.trans Travel Review   West Edmonton Mall [2008, Edmonton]   Part 1

Look – it’s Europe! and on the first floor, it’s a mini golf course! This is also where some of the more expensive shops are in WEM. How European. You should be allowed to smoke in this area of the mall.

1x1.trans Travel Review   West Edmonton Mall [2008, Edmonton]   Part 1

How the hell did they get a submarine inside a mall? I don’t know. However, this is a popular ride at WEM, and also shows off Canada’s awesome naval powers. Russian warships patrolling the arctic waters, you better watch out, because this yellow submarine packs quite a punch.

1x1.trans Travel Review   West Edmonton Mall [2008, Edmonton]   Part 1

On the left is where the sea lions are. They used to be dolphins, but apparently, that area is too small for the dolphins and they got depressed and died. How emo. To the middle in the back is a pirate ship. The water area is quite popular for drunken people to dive into at nite after they leave one of the West Mall nightclubs. Then they drown.

Part 2 coming up.

Heres a song for your troubles