Concert Review: Sébastien Tellier – April 9, Mod Club, Toronto

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Who knew that I’d strike upon the cure for alcoholism at a Sébastien Tellier concert? Well Al-Anon, your 12-step program has arrived in the form of the “French Electro Barry White” that is, if Barry White decided that Chardonnay was his performance lifesource and his blood-alcohol levels were at twice the lethal limit of 0.45. AA members need only attend 12 drunken Tellier concerts in place of the 12 step program to sober up for life.

You may say, who am I to judge? She who has woken up in ditches, found herself the next morning locked out of her house, fallen in bushes, thrown out of various establishments, and ended up being a general embarrassment to anyone she has ever known? It’s no secret that I like to hit the sauce–some call me the Asian Patsy Stone and you’d be hard-pressed to find someone sloppier than me…but that someone just might be Mr. “French Touch” himself, only not many folks in the audience would’ve wanted to be touched by this guy. This was one of the chattiest shows I’ve ever been to with a distracted audience who had no qualms about speaking loudly over this sorry display.

I was naively optimistic for this one…although there are numerous reports floating around out there about his drunken stage presence I was expecting something more along the lines of a suave version of the Burger King Mascot instead of the slipshoddy, phoned-in performance we witnessed last night. Ricky was so unimpressed he felt burned he missed LOST (a subpar network show in my books). Now that is saying something.

This is all quite a shame seeing as the Daft Punk-produced Sexuality has a helluva lot to offer. Roche, Kilometer, and Look are all slick and sultry sounding in studio recording. Live they were more farcical than lusty and there’s no question why…This guy would probably down a Big Gulp of Sauvignon Blanc and a king pack of Black Death cigarettes in a matter of seconds if you offered it to him during his performance. Tearing through a bottle and a half of white wine on stage in a matter of an hour, Tellier was competent enough on the guitar and keyboards considering he was soused–and unlike some reports, his singing was intelligble enough (thought still flat), but is that what passes for “showmanship” these days??? His most meaningful exchange with the audience entailed him chugging the last drops out of a near-empty bottle of wine, although he did divulge into how his mother is “very ugly” and that he had some kind of chicken sausage inheritance back in France. The intelligible became the unintelligible pretty quickly and by the time his band rushed offstage to give Tellier his solo encore (a series of electric guitar strums and soft yowling) we had decided we’d had enough.

I have more affection for the loveable drunk performer than the average bear but even *I* think this guy could benefit from a serious lesson in PACING. Note to Mr. Tellier: Stage presence involves more than dressing up in a white linen suit, sparkly scarf, sunglasses, putting yourself at risk for heatstroke, and drinking yourself stupid. Remember the MUSIC?

Concert Review: The Presets, Golden Filter, April 6, Mod Club

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything | 2 Comments

Toronto – What a horrible way to start April – I got sick, the Penguins lost two crucial games to CAROLINA and FLORIDA, I forgot to attend my fantasy baseball draft and worst of all, it is still practically winter. It snowed last night, what the hell? Seriously, not funny. As bad a start as April had, it seems to be getting better. Last night was a good beginning as Aussie dance rock troupe The Presets are were in town, promoting their hit album Apocalypso.

Before the Presets were the opener The Golden Filter, who have been receiving a lot of attention lately, and is a favorite of our friends Indie Kid Vs Dance Kid. They are an electronic dance duo (accompanied by a drummer for live performances) from Brooklyn. Everything is from Brooklyn these days. Here is an interview by Eye magazine with them. The venue was about half packed when the band took the stage at 10 pm, which prompted me to figure out why the hell didn’t I stay at home and watch 24 first. The live set included a drummer, the guy on the keyboard/synth/electro knobs and the lead singer Penelope, who looks like a cross between the girl from the Ting Tings and Alison Goldfrapp. I couldn’t actually make out what she looked like because her hair covered most of her face, so I can’t vouch for her hotness. One thing I will say is that she has the sexy nonchalantly dancing and clapping thing down pat. I would say that’s her signature move – swaying side to side, looking into space and clapping. That’s ace.

I was not very impressed with the set, I had heard some buzz about this band earlier so I went to see them. The music all seems very similar, breathy sultry vocals delivered over standard electro beats. In fact, it was so repetitive I myself was doubting the whole genre as a whole. I was all like ‘is this really that bad or have I been in a cave lately and all my appreciation for electro acts have all been a veil pulled over my head by RayBan wearing ravers?’. I decided that this was a case of the music not being very good. While Penelope definitely looked the part of a lead singer, she lacked a certain stage presence that is probably necessary for an act like the Golden Filter to succeed in a live environment. Actually, she reminded me a bit like Lykke Li, if Lykke Li grew up in Williamsburg. I am sure with time, she will be more engaging in a live concert environment.

The Presets came on at around 11pm. Much to my surprise, the Presets are not a live band! I had always envisioned a lead singer (Jules), a drummer, a bassist, a guitar and someone on the synth. The Presets are just Jules on the synth/electro knobby dj thingys and Kim on the drums. This was much to my disappointment. The crowd however, was nuts from the starting track of ‘Talk Like That’ all the way to the last track before the encore, which I believed to be ‘My People’. Toronto fans are often guilty of being the standing around types, however, tonight was not the case as people were dancing left and right.

The concert itself was a bit to slow to start, I was still getting over the disappointment of them not being a full piece set. ‘Yippiyo-ay’ sounded better on album and I was thinking that I was heading to another disappointing show ..then the wall of lights turned on.

Through out the set, the Presets had a relatively normal Mod Club light show, however, behind them was a picket fence of light bulbs, you could say. For much of the first half the set, these lights weren’t on and I was starting to think that maybe they were decorations. Then halfway thru the set, the lights turned on and wow oh wow. What a light show. The next forty five minutes of the set was basically an orgasm for the eyes as colors exploded left and right, lights here, lights there. It was one of the most impressive light shows I have seen. It was about that time when I decided that this show was alright.

The next 45 minutes of the show was a bit of a blur, the dance beats/super light show combo started to overwhelm your senses and soon enough, it was hard to resist dancing. Once you get into that mode, the tunes starting flowing better and it’s hard to not lose it for the songs ‘If I Know You’ and ‘This Boy’s in Love’, both of which sound awesome live.

All in all, a slow start turned into a solid night. People who went to the show got their dance on, and even if I feel that they would have benefited from a more live sound, I think the Presets are worth a look the next time they roll around. Oh yeah, awesome light show.

Concert Review: CMW Chart Attack Showcase, March 14, Horseshoe Tavern

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I’m sure it’s happened to you… you open the refrigerator and get a whiff of leftovers you’ve forgotten about.  Some you lament over because the meal was delicious and you really should have done it justice by finishing it.  And others… well you wonder why you took them home anyway.  

Same goes for the Chart Attack Showcase, waaaay back on March 14 during Canadian Music Week.  As we move into summer– the season of concerts and parties, I’m duly noting some of these Chart Attack Showcase bands which will likely be featured at some festival, bar or club in the city.  To go or not to go?


Two Hours Traffic  

Two Hours Traffic

Two Hours Traffic

These PEI musicians play music that is cheerful, upbeat and catchy.  Simple melodies, riffs and choruses that will always get the crowd singing along.  This band is one to see if you want to relax and hang out with friends, have a few cold beers and have good Canadian rock to bop your head to.  Latest album, Little Jabs, was once again produced by the ever growing Canadian icon, Joel Plaskett.  They played a solid set, definitely a pleasant discovery during CMW.  Rating: 4/5 


Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

The Golden Dogs

Fronted by husband and wife duo, Dave Azzolini and Jessica Grassia, they played a relatively decent show in front of an audience that had waited through a gazillion band set to see them play.  Following Two Hours Traffic, their sound didn’t seem as polished or well put together.  While they played crowd pleasers such as, “Construction Worker”, I think I was satisfied after the second song.  Lost in the muddle were the catchy hooks that you pick up on in their recorded music.  Worth catching?  Yes, I think good enough that you ought to give them a try.  Rating 3.5/5 


Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

Hexes and Ohs

With a lot of hype following this sweet heart duo now located in Montreal, their blend of rock, electro synth pop has got everyone talking.  I saw a lot of bands I wanted to see during CMW, but they were one I was really looking forward to.  Their music is cute, poppy, and on the brink of nerd-dom.  A soft spot in my heart?  Yes, I dare say it is.  I stood in front of the stage ready to dance, but instead stood baffled, lost in the sound that they were trying to reproduce from their album.  I was disappointed and shocked by their performance.  While I appreciate their music and the sound they’re going for, I can’t say they’ve made it up to quite the same level in their live shows.  At least the live show I saw.  I’m sure over time, the transition from recorded music to live stage will become more smooth and we’ll see more of the Hexes and Ohs flair that we hear in their album.  Rating 2.5/5

Concert Review: The Phonemes, April 2nd, Tranzac Club

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 5 Comments

It was a star-studded event at the Tranzac on Thursday night to catch The Phonemes warm up show before their west coast tour with Laura Barrett. Yes, all the local celebrities were out; Levi MacDougall, Katie Crown, Gentleman Reg and some really drunk bastard. Yes, nobody pulls off the slacker cut off capri pants quite like Levi Macdougall. Come on Levi, I’ve seen the Rogers and Tim Hortons commericals, buy some decent pants, I know you can swing it.

I’ve been trying to catch the Phonemes for a while now since they paly around town all the time. The musical project of Magali Meagher, the Phonemes’ are quiet, cool and rely on simply melody driven songs. After reading Magails’ bio on her Phonemes website I learned that besides being a corner stone in the Toronto music scene, she has backed up Daniel Johnston. If you haven’t seen The Devil And Daniel Johnston, you need to check it out. Great flick.

The Phonemes played a quiet set, occasionally interrupted by the drunk dude, the cash register and the opening of cans of pop, but what do you expect at Bloor and Brunswick at 11:00 on a Thursday night.

Catch The Phonemes out west this month and across the pond with Forest City Lovers in May. Hearing Pain Perdu performed live is reason enough to get your ass to a Phonemes show.