Concert Review: Franz Ferdinand, Lees Palace, December 4

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

Toronto – As Franz Ferdinand lead singer stands up on the stage and sings “You’re so lucky, lucky, you’re so lucky” to the sold out crowd at Lees Palace last night, it suddenly hits you, damn, I am so lucky (he’s so lucky..he’s a star..). In what can only be describe as a sneaky booking, Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand played Lees Palace tonight as part of a their ‘getting ready for new album by playing lots of small clubs to remind hipsters who we are’ tour.

It has been awhile since Franz Ferdinand was on top of the indie pop rock world – the second Franz Ferdinand album was not exactly the showstopper many had expected, however, as most people realize tonight, the material from the first album is still as solid as ever and songs like ‘The Dark of the Matinee’, ‘Michael’, ‘this fire’ and obviously ‘take me out’ still hold its own.

On to the show, like I said, it was sold out. Luckily, Lees Palace has been hit with so many overcrowding fines that I think sold out at Lees these days is probably not as crowded as sold out at Lees from a couple years ago. I still remember seeing Kasabian there a few years back and it was so crowded i swear if I moved my hand in a circular motion, I could have slapped 25 people. So it was sold out, but everyone had okay room I think.

Toronto’s own Born Ruffians opened, and I am sure they put on a good show as usual. I arrived at the tail end of the show, so I can’t speak about how they were, but based on past viewings of this band, I am sure they were okay.

At around 10 pm, the lights dimmed and Franz Ferdinand came out to the quite the applause. I am not going to recap the whole show song by song, but it was a good 70 minute show with a nice blend of new material and songs off the first and second album. The band definitely were into it – Nick McCarthy even ventured out onto the side bar to play guitar for awhile. Having seen them at the Horseshoe almost five years ago, you can see how much Alex Kapranos has improved as a front man. He dances, swoons, moves, plays the maracas and sings with all the convictions of a rock star. He gazes into the crowd during songs, demands a response and always gets it. (that is called ‘Call and Response’ in concert lingo) It is fairly obvious that the crowd responded best to the material off the first album – I could listen to Take Me Out live over and over again. You could even argue the concert didn’t get off its feet until around the fourth song, when they launched into ‘Michael’. The only glaring omission on the set list was ‘Darts of Pleasure’. The encore included new single ‘Ulysses’ (which sounds solid), ‘Outsiders’ and ‘This fire’.

Overall, a very solid show – the new stuff seemed decent and the old stuff was great. I guess its just a friendly reminder from the Scottish lads that they are still alive, up and kicking.


Concert Review: The Maynards, November 30th, Sneaky Dees [Wavelength]

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything, Tweeview | 2 Comments

The Maynards
photo from 6015 Willow

It’s unofficial, The Maynards are Canadas sexiest band. Hailing from Halifax, this three piece dance rock gang spread their lusty, sweaty sweater loving all over Sneaky Dees last night.

From their myspace page you would think they were a twee pop trio. Tracks like Spinny and Dance Fight ’82 are twee greatness, but walking into Dees last night, they were anything but. They rocked it. What immediately got my attention was duo of Kristina Parlee on bass/vocals and Chantal Tardiff on drums/vocals. A girl drum-bass duo? Yeah. There is something about Chantals voice that sets her songs apart. She adds a such a sweet, melodic touch, then all of a sudden you see her rocking out on her kit at the back of the stage.

It’s also worth mentioning that The Maynards are one of 20 Halifax area bands featured in the essential rock DVD of 2008, 6015 Willow.

Captured in a house that has long functioned as a hub for creativity in the city, it follows a cast of musicians and artists as they record a document of their own time. Bands fill every room in the house, from the bathroom to the attic. On-the-fly, direct and genuinely urgent, 6015 Willow follows twenty Halifax bands over three days, sweating buckets and blowing fuses.

They had a copy of 6015 Willow at the merch desk, but after spending $20 on the Dee’s crappy veggie nachos downstairs before their show, I was out of dough. If you are reading this and are in a position to send us a copy, please do.

Here is track from The Maynards 2008 release, Date And Destroy, Spinny. That is Chantal singing. I would gladly have a menage-a-trois with any two members of The Maynards. That includes you too Mr. Heath Matheson (guitar/vocals). Yes, sexiest band in Canada.

Travel Review: West Edmonton Mall – Part 2 [2008, Edmonton]

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 2 Comments

Edmonton – Part 1 of the review can be found here. In part 1, we covered phase 3 of the Mall, which includes a submarine, sea lions, an enormous, movie theatre, a hotel, a casino, a two floor HMV, a golf course, a waterpark, a european boulevard and a night club. Today, we look at phase 2.

Look, it’s a fuckin whale! Han Solo Carbonite style.

Poor thing never saw it coming, but neither did Hans.

Here is West Edmonton Mall’s take on Bourbon street, as re-imagined by franchised corporations.

If you visit WEM in the months of August and September, this area is flooded with two feet of water. OH HELL NOES DID I JUST SAY THAT? yep.

Naturally, on top of one of the most famous American attractions, is Chinatown.

Look at those dragons, just reeks of Chinaness.

On to Galaxyland, the amusement park inside the mall.

Space drop of doom. Muchos fun has been had on that

Here is a vomit inducing spinny thingy, good use of space though.

The Mindbender, a ride so dangerous people died on it.

Weee, well that was fun.

Phase 2 of WEM has this, a casino, a movie theatre and an ice rink.
Phase 1 consist of department stores and stuff, so no pictures there.

So there you have it, the wonderful, magical, West Edmonton Mall

Here is a song for your troubles

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.

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.

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.