Concert Review: Rogers Picnic, July 20 2008, Fort York, Part 2

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | 2 Comments

So as Ricky was saying, Animal Collective didn’t really connect with the Rogers Picnic crowd. Fortunately their set was followed up by Montreal-based Chromeo. This band’s dance friendly brand of electronic & guitar sounds was an immediate crowd pleaser. Even though it was raining pretty hard at this point, it was the first time that I felt that people were acting, well, festive, at this day-long festival. Big ups to the fans that wore rubber boots and embraced the mud and rain.

Tokyo Police Club was up next. I really like a few songs from Tokyo Police Club, like “Your English is Good”, and I was glad to hear it live. I’d say this band put on a pretty good show, and got pretty into it. I was very impressed with the sheer energy coming out of keyboardist Graham Wright. I love it when musicians lose themselves in their music.

But the big highlight for most of the crowd was Cat Power. This woman owns herself in way that is both rare and beautiful. Seeing her sing up close was pretty amazing. She puts so much of herself into her music, she seems so vulnerable, yet at the same time, exudes a “this me, this is who I am, deal with it” aura about her stage presence that was fascinating to see.

So, now let me get to my rant about big-screen TV’s and text-messaging. There were two large TV screens on both sides of the stage showing a live-feed of the performers. I suppose this is a pretty standard feature of rock shows nowadays. What was new to me was that the bottom of the TV was reserved for a stock-ticker type deal where people could send text messages and get them displayed in more or less real time. This made for a weird concert experience. Now I admit that sometimes people had really funny things to say, like “no one is safe until nerd prosecution is over”. But by and large, the screens were cluttered with inane texts from hapless youth.

Unfortunately for me, I am eternally enchanted and absorbed with shiny or moving objects. I was transfixed throughout. I just couldn’t help but be engrossed. This, with the addition of my complete inability to multi-task, meant that I spent more time reading the damn stock ticker than listening to the music. So I would say thumbs down on the ticker, but I would say thumbs up that Rogers Picnic seemed to make efforts to make this a green event.

The last show was City and Colour. Unfortunately, perhaps because it was Sunday night, there was a mass exodus after Cat Power. We joined suit, but I left pretty happy with the live music I had absorbed throughout the day.

Vampire Weekend: 4/5
Chromeo: 4.2/5
Tokyo Police Club: 3.8/5
Cat Power: 4.5/5
Stock Ticker: 1/5
Green Policy: 5/5
Rogers Picnic: 3.7/5

Concert Review: Run With The Kittens, July 18th, Steam Whistle Unsigned

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 2 Comments

(Toronto) When I go to a show and see four healthy guys, under 30 with normal hair and no beards take the stage, I get nervous. Call me old fashioned, but I want musicians to look like musicians. Hung-over, starving, smelly, emancipated, musicians with blood shot eyes. When Run With The Kittens took the stage at the Roundhouse, they looked like they just came from a spaghetti dinner at their parents place. Yes, a spaghetti dinner where their parents forced them to dress up like Gold Dust and groom each other.

From what I witnessed on Friday night, I would summarize Run With The Kittens as Los Straitjackets meets High School Musical, meets Wolf Parade meets Ice Capades. There is no doubt that they played hard and that they know how to rock out. After the Kittens rocked out for a while, they slowed it down, made funny faces at the camera men, then they yelled and rocked out some more.

I left the show feeling somewhat confused, kind of like the first time I saw Cirque Du Soleil. What did I just witness? I didn’t feel the urge to run to the back to buy one of their CD’s, but on the other hand, I now feel compelled to check out their weekly Tuesday night show at the Cameron House.

I’d see them again. I think?


Concert Review: Rogers Picnic, July 20 2008 Fort York, Part 1

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 2 Comments

Toronto – What the hell is with the rain? Seriously. We are turning into Vancouver. Rain was the word of the day at the old and historic Fort York, home of this years Rogers Picnic . The hard working ladies over at Listen Harder were kind enough to provide me and Mark with media passes to cover this festival, so here is my account of it.

Overall Impressions
I thought that Rogers put together a pretty well organized event. The music acts were actually on time. After the Flaming Lips V-Fest disaster from two years ago, this is a big issue specially with the imposed curfews. There was a large variety of food available (I had a pulled pork sandwich from Cluck Grunt Blow or something) and there was Wellingtons beer available, which is always a bonus. Unfortunately, the Welly’s ran out half way thru Tokyo Police Club’s set and I stupidly ordered a Coors Light (that or Molson Canadian was the only option). Yea, so after that debacle, I stopped drinking. I think the rain was a huge factor, it cooled the festival down, so I don’t think many people passed out and also, it turned the middle of the field to a mud pit, so all the Ex Pats in the room could close their eyes and pretend they were with the lads in Glastonbury.

Lets take a look at the acts:

Vampire Weekend
NY Hype Kids Vampire Weekend was given the 4:00 slot, way too early for a band of their immediate stature (re: popular). However, the kids in the band made the most of it – the lead singer wore an interesting dress shirt + v neck sweater + swimming trunks attire that I am sure will inspire preppy kids all over Toronto in the fall. Look for it at your local private school. I called it here first. Having been here for a concert in February, the band seemed genuinely happy to be here. They didn’t even seemed to be tired either, having played Pitchfork Festival just 24 hours prior. The set list was what you expect ie. everything off their debut album. The band even played a new song at the request of one of the fans.

The bands live sound is pretty much the same as the bands studio sound. It’s pleasant and summery, perfect for a summer festival, if it wasn’t raining. However, the rain didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of the crowd and the band, as many people were dancing to the songs. Overall, definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

Animal Collective
As much as Animal Collective’s Strawberry Jam album was a highlight for eclectic noise pop fans, I would have to say that the Brooklyn band definitely generated a huge WTF moment for a majority of the crowd at Fort York, considering a lot of people came to see Tokyo Police Club, Cat Power and City and Colour, I wouldn’t necessarily put them in with an Pitchfork type Animal Collective sound. Anyways, the pair from Animal Collective came on with bright t-shirts and worked their craft on stage, mostly keeping to themselves. The rain really really started to come down at this point and I think a lot of people just went to find shelter. A highlight for me was the Panda Bear song Comfy in Nautica. Either way, I would probably think this was a mis-step on the part of the organizers, but that didn’t stop the band from pleasing their own fans.

Stay tuned for Part 2, as there will be some nice pictures from the show as well.

Concert Review – Brooke Gallupe (Immaculate Machine), The Phonemes and Great Aunt Ida: Cameron House, July 10th, 2008

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

(Toronto) This was a very sexy show by three very sexy Canadian musicians in a sexy venue. I love the Cameron House. Great little venu with good table service. In a town like Toronto where you constantly get shitty table service, you can spot good service a mile away. Just keep me drinking, is it really that hard?

First up were The Phonemes, or one, or sometimes two of them. Magali Meagher played a quiet set. A quiet sexy set that is. Her awkward, soft banter and stories about personal ailments totally got my sympathy vote. I was really anticipating hearing Easter Suit, which she didn’t play, and Pain Perdu, which she saved until the end of the show when all three artists took the stage to help perform each others songs. Head on over HERE and listen to Pain Perdu. It’s good.

I was pretty excited to catch Great Aunt Ida too. Sexy. Normally a larger outfit, Ida Nilsen showed up and played a plethora of depressing songs about love and loss. She looks nothing like your great aunt.

I have never made it out to an Immaculate Machine show, so when the opportunity to see one third of them play, I thought I should take it in. Brooke Gallupe played some new solo tunes and also threw in some Immaculate Machine tracks such as Nothing Ever Happens, Jarhand and C’mon Sea Legs. Brooks’ stripped down, intimate version of these songs surprised me with the amount of energy he threw into each track. Dressed in his best whites, his shaking and strumming definitely had some ‘umph’ behind it. Although I must admit, during Jarhand, I kept wanting to hear Kathryn Calder chime in. And yes, Brooke was also very sexy, thanks mostly to his moustache. It’s a good one. Maybe three weeks of growth? Keep the dream alive Brooke.

Here is an awesome Phonemes video: