Concert Review: British Sea Power @ Plaza Nightclub

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment


Vancouver, March 5th…I was counting down to this day ever since I heard ‘Do You Like Rock Music’. Loyal readers of this blog will know The Panic Manual loves us some BSP, so get ready for some hero worship.

The evening started out with some pre-drinks at my new favorite downtown hang-out – The Calling. Great food, cheap beers and if you’re there on the right night, you’ll hear some good indie music. The only downside – it’s a hell of a walk to all the concert venues.

This was my first time at the Plaza, which doubles as a nightclub on weekend. I hated the layout. There’s a huge oval bar right in the middle which makes it an annoying obstruction if you can’t fit on the small, crowded dancefloor. Luckily the show wasn’t too packed (around 200 people), so we managed to find a nice cozy spot in the middle of the floor around 8 feet from the stage.

We got to the Plaza at around 10:00 expecting to catch the end of what we thought was the only opening set. It was actually the first of two bands on support – a local band called ‘Elizabeth‘. We arrived with enough time to catch the last 2 songs which were too punky and loud for my taste. The next band, ‘colourmusic‘ took almost an hour to get started due to sound problems. They had me intrigued as soon they started setting up their equipment because they were all dressed the matching white tracksuits. I expected them to be German…they’re actually from Oklahoma. After the long wait the set started off with a grade-six-biology-video-esque voice over introducing the band, which I thought was a unique touch. It continued to come on randomly throughout the entire set telling us little known facts about the band and describing a bass riff that was inspired by Lord of the Rings. The only way I can describe this colourmusic is a hardcore version of Apples In Stereo. Geeky but rockin’. One of those bands that you’re pleasantly surprised with after their set.

11:30 rolls around and British Sea Power finally hit the stage, not that I didn’t enjoy the lead up to their set, but I was there because I indeed Love Rock Music. The lads (and very cute lass on violin) sure didn’t disappoint. Immediately kicking things off with “Lights Out For Darker Skies” they didn’t quit until they left the stage after the encore. The set spanned their entire collection, of course focusing on DYLRM. Although thoroughly enjoying the show I would have to say my highlight was the poor bastard who has mistakenly took the indie fans dancing to the right of us for grunge rockers. Halfway through ‘Atom’ he jumped on stage goat horns extended, yelling at the front row to gather around. They instead spread out and 5 seconds later all I could hear was a loud ‘SMACK!’. The crowd continued swaying around what I would have expected to be a corpse after hearing that rough landing. It took a minute or so when we finally hear an ‘OWWWW!’ (as in Spring Break 2008!! Ow!) and see the stage jumper pop with only enough time to try and high five someone before he was chased, caught and dragged out by the bouncers. Classic.

I would have given this show a 4.5/5 but the doomed stage diver bumped it up to a 5/5. I took a pic of the setlist on my phone because I can never remember all the songs played during a gig. I still missed a couple of them below as BSP’s roadie’s handwriting is as bad as my memory:

Lights Out For Darker Skies
Childhood Memories
The Spirit of St. Louis
A Trip Out
Down On The Ground
Waving Flags
The Great Skua
Remember Me
Favours in the Beetroot Fields
Canvey Island
No Lucifer

True Adventures

Concert Review: Lightspeed Champion, March 4, Horseshoe

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – WTF IS WITH THIS WEATHER! Its March. There should not be snow on the ground. I am starting to feel like those people in the Day After Tommorrow. It’s cold. Its wet. Its miserable. All these people coming here for Canadian Music Week are never going to come back. Unless they are from other parts of Canada, then I guess it just feels like home.

Even the crappy weather was not enough to stop me from attending the free Lightspeed Champion show last night at the Horseshoe. If I had to pay for the show though…. So yea, NME approved Lightspeed Champion played a free show last night at the Horseshoe. The weather was crappy outside, but I was warmed up by a nice batch of Duff wings, which left my tongue without any feeling. Luckily, I did not go for Death wings, like the people I was with did. Actually, if I had eaten death wings, I could have probably put a match by my ass and light a fire pretty easily and warm the hell up.

The crowd was rather small considering how much hype this guy has been getting lately. However, I don’t really know whats real hype, and what is ‘internet’ hype. I guess considering the weather, this was an okay crowd. Dev Hynes, the lead singer, came out with a violinist at around 9:35. Which pleased me since I was not in a mood for a late show. Thats all this band was, Dev, wearing the finest rat hair hat he could find and a sweater his grandma probably gave him, and his buddy, the violinist. Despite the lack of drums, bass and everything else though, they proceeded to play about 6 or 7 songs, including a cover of the Strokes – Heart in a Cage.

How did the music sound? it was quite good. His album is very stripped down anyways, and relies much on catchy choruses and melodies. This setup was very fitting for him I think. Also, the dude is hilarious. He had no setlist, made a bunch of jokes and told some good stories. Its refreshing to see someone on stage who seems like someone you’d joke around with at a bar or something. For example, he introduced a song about prostitution, saying its from a view of a prostitute. He then said, its not a song about like condoning prostitution and hes not trying to make a statement or anything, finishing with the words ‘im not that deep’. Fuck man, me neither.

So whats the verdict? its a free show. So thats an automatic 3 stars in my book. Combine that with decent tunes and good showsmanship, I think its a 4 star show, -0.5 stars for the weather


Concert Review: Two Hours Traffic, Horseshoe, Feb 23

Posted on by Ricky in Albums, Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

Toronto – Saturday night. What to do? Well, I was intending on going to a pajama party, but my friend who was going to it failed to invite me, not wanting to be ‘that guy who goes to a party and brings another party’. so off i was, not really having a plan. Luckily, my other friend had won guest tickets for a show at the Horseshoe, by a band called ‘Two Hours Traffic‘. (he won it off Chromewaves, a site that has many giveaways). Being Chinese, I could not realistically turn down a free show.. thusI went, not having known anything about them. All I knew was what Dwayne and Wade had told me, which was ‘blah blah blah Joel Plaskett blah blah blah PEI blah blah blah CBC Radio 3′. Sounds interesting enough. The Maritimes seem to generate good tunes. Maybe thats what happens when theres nothing to do – you make good music. Thats probably why Sweden is so good at it, aside from designing easy to put together furniture, eating meatballs and drinking that drink they drink..theres really nothing to do there.

So who are these guys? Well, Joel Plaskett produced them and they are from the East Coast. That means one thing – good ole guitar rock. I expected a bunch of pastey ass white boys with longish hair and maybe a few plaid shirts. I was correct. They have a album coming out …last year… its called Little Jabs. I guess this band really flew off my radar. With a boring name like ‘Two Hours Traffic’, I can see why. Despite the name, these guys drew a large crowd. Half of which are probably from PEI (and related to each other) and half fans of the CBC. Quite the dichotomy. I actually had my CBC shirt on for the show, which is coincidental and also a bit odd, since I am a big advocate of not wearing band shirts at a show.

The show was quite energetic, the crowd was really into it. Most fans seem to know all the tunes which would indicate that, they too, have heard of the band. A lot of people yelled out ‘East Coast’. I did too. I wanted to yell out ‘Tupac 4 life! nigga what up!’ but that would probably not go over too well. The band played for about 45 minutes. Maybe an hour. Maybe not. I don’t remember. All I can say about Two Hour Traffic is this: it felt like a Canadian rock show, it sounded like a Canadian rock show and the crowd was that of a Canadian rock show. And sometimes, thats all you really need, is a slice of Canadiana. Follow that up with a nice bowl of pho and you got a good night at the Horseshoe.

Here is a link to Chromewaves review of the show, which probably makes more sense, is less offensive and actually contains relevant details about the band. Everyone has their ways, I guess.

Here is a song off their album Little Jabs. It is off the label Bumstead Productions, which is a label Wade may or may not look at this year in his yearlong article series on Canadian labels.

Concert Review: Vampire Weekend, Feb 11, Horseshoe Tavern

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 2 Comments

Toronto – Man I feel like we write so much about this band we might as well be their press agents. Anyways, yes Feb 11 rolled around and it was time. I say it was time…to go to the Vampire Weekend show. The show took place at one of my favorite concern venues in Toronto – the Horseshoe. Especially since I found my sweet spot. Theres a spot thats about 12 – 15 feet back of the stage that ..nevermind don’t want to give it up.

So yes. Vampire Weekend. Crowd was packed. They were excited, everyone has probably downloaded the album and enjoyed it as much as I have. The Germans were the opening act, I caught the latter part of their show and they were something. I don’t know what, I wasn’t really paying attention. The band came on promptly at 11:15 pm, which was great since it’s Monday and they gotta show some ‘spect to those who have to work tomorrow. Boy, these kids just came out of college I bet. A four piece set, consisted of a drummer, guitarist, keyboardist and a bassist. The keyboardist looked a bit like Pete Wentz. Probably not a good thing. The lead singer was wearing a type of cardigan or something that my grandma would probably enjoy.

How was the show? twas awesome. Vampire Weekend, they just play really pleasant poppy music, and you can never really have a bad time at feel good pleasant poppy music concert. The lead singer has quite a good voice and the band actually has okay lyrics. I’ve never really paid much attention to the lyrics before, but from what I made out .. it was alright. Banter was typical band stuff. How does the LP translate live? Nicely. as with most bands, they were a bit louder and faster paced live then on the album, but that’s always a positive. The music influences of this band wear strong, and some parts of the concert I could imagine that this will be the type of music you hear on a cruise ship going to Tuvalu or something. Not sure if thats a necessarily positive thing for the long run, but hey, it works.

The set list consisted of things on the album, and one not on the album. Everyone enjoyed themselves and I’m sure the next time they play Toronto it’ll be a much bigger venue. Honestly, one of the concerts I’ve been to where I don’t really have any complaints or anything. I got a good spot to view the concert, no one was blocking my view, the show was efficient, didn’t drag. The streetcar came quickly, and then the bus came quickly too. All in all, it was an enjoyable experience, although I had my ass whooped in Halo before going to the show… and the Raptors lost. But I think those things are out of context in terms of this review.