Joel Plaskett Emergency, December 13, Horseshoe

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

la de da

Toronto – Last week the Horsehoe Tavern celebrated their 60th anniversary. As part of the celebrations, The Joel Plaskett Emergemcy played 6 shows. Each night he featured songs from one of their albums. We went to the Thursday night show, which was La De Da, a Joel Plaskett solo album.

The most important thing to know about a Joel Plaskett Emergency show is that whenever he mentions Nova Scotia, you need to yell like you just shot-gunned your 9th straight can of Keiths. Even if you grew up in Kandahar City, when at a Joel Plaskett show you are allowed to act as if you just got in your first fist fight at pizza corner*.

The show started with some guy saying a little blurb about the Horseshoe and all the legendary acts that have played there. He then brought up the fact that the evening would be filled with ‘special guests’. Next, he held up a picture and announced “Here I have a freshly signed picture of Stompin’ Tom Connors, one of the legends who have graced this stage”

Freshly signed? Special guests? My friend Danielle and I looked at each other and simultaneously mouthed the words “Stompin’ Tom?”. Holy shit, Stompin’ Tom is one of the special guests?!?

Joel took the stage. I would say that La De Da is one of his less rocking/anthem albums, and the show really reflected this. I lost count how many times he started playing a song by saying “We haven’t played this one in a while”. Yah, well there is probably a reason for that Joel.

Then the conveyer belt of special guest started.

Special Guest #1 – Joels’ dad who played some guitar. It was sweet.
Special Guest #2 – The guy from Winnipeg based band Big Sugar. Mehhh.
Special Guest #3 – Gord Downie (The Tragically Hip). Kick ass. He is one sexy man. He sang ‘I Love This Town’. Then he sang some Christmas themed song which totally killed any momentum that the show had going for it.
Special Guest #4 – Danielle and I looked at each other…could it be…Stom…nope, Sarah Harmer. Still pretty awesome.
Special Guest #5 – No special guest #5. The show is over, go home.

No Stompin’ Tom. What the deuce?

Danielle put it all in perspective on our way up Spadina. “Stompin’ Tom is 71 years old. You can’t expect him to show up, unannounced in downtown Toronto at 1:00 in the morning to play one single gig”. Yah, I suppose she has a point.

4/5 – Good show Joel. Thanks for playing ‘Snowed In’. That is a funny song that could have only been written by and pulled off by an east coaster. The special guests were a nice surprise even if Stompin’ Tom wasn’t one of them. Sarah Harmer and Gord Downie are of equal sex-atudes.

*Pizza Corner – 3 different pizza restaurants at corner of Blowers and Grafton in Halifax. Good cheap pizza and donairs (Gyro-type wraps, often overflowing with meat and sauce). However, this area can descend into anarchy when the bars let out, and the restaurants often lock their bathrooms, even to customers.

Richard Hawley, December 5, Horseshoe

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – Last week, on a dark and stormy night, I went to the Horsehoe to see ex-Pulp/ex-Longpigs member Richard Hawley perform a set to promote his latest album “Lady’s Bridge”. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with Mr. Hawley’s stuff, his music is very lush and melodic. I guess you can say he’s a crooner.

The concert was packed, which surprised me. I guess the Horseshoe is not that big, the crowd was definately an older type, and I guess the music kind of plays to that crowd. They arrived on stage shortly after ten, looking very mature and all wearing suits. I guess this was expected. I wish I was in some sort of lounge, so I could sit down, but that’s life.

The band immediately went to the lead track off the latest album, called ‘Valentine’ and played it calmly and coolly. I must say, Richard Hawley has awesome, awesome guitars. They are really shiny. I like shiny things. They also look very, very expensive. Their set consisted of a mostly newer songs with a few from Coles Corner. They were very much the professionals, and displayed the British humor you come to expect from ..British people.

My only complain with the show was that they didn’t play “Baby, You’re my Light” off their late night final album. I guess you can’t have it all..sometimes. The show itself was stellar and professional, as you would expect from someone who’s been around for so long.


Encore: Led Zeppelin

Posted on by Vik in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

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Vancouver (although I wish it was London), Robert Plant and company shook off the cobwebs and got the Led out in London last night. Sounds like it was an amazing show as well. Not so surprised as I had the privilege to see Plant at the Molson Amphitheatre in 2005 and the dude still had the chops to belt out ‘Way down insiiiiiiiiiide, WOMAN! you neeeeeed love’, making Zeppelins Latter Days sound much like their Early Days.

Below is a clip of ‘Kashmir’ from last nights show and a link to a page that has compiled a Whole Lotta more clips:

More clips

Concert Review, Basia Bulat, Nov 9th, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by Wade in Concerts | 4 Comments

bb rocks

If you think Feist is overexposed and you wish that other girl would just go into rehab and stay there, then your ears might be ready for some Basia Bulat. Basia is from London, Ontario, signed to Rough Trade Records, and released her first full length, “Oh, My Darling” this past year.

Basia has played quite a few shows around Toronto this past year, so I was pretty excited to finally be able to see her play so close to my house. She was scheduled to hit the stage at 10:30, so grabbed my camera ready to snap some shots. I quickly found out that I was out of film. I had a quick look around my place and realized that the only film I had in my house was for my Polaroid 600. I thought what the heck, I’ll try out my Polaroid skills. Might be interesting. It wasn’t.

I got to Lee’s about 20 minutes early and was able to find a nice spot right in front of the stage behind Frank Yang (chromewaves). Basia took the stage supported by her two ‘we make our own dresses’ friends on the violin and ukulele, and her brother on percussion. To say that Basia is easy on the eyes would be an understatement. She is a cutie that’s for sure, but don’t let my physical description of her take away from her talent. She is a great song writer with a warm stage presence. Her alt-country twang and melodies will get you boppin’, but she can also slow it down to make you wish you were running bare foot through a field of wet dewy grass in the early morning. You know, kind of like a Tide commercial.

A couple songs in I figured it was time to snap a couple pictures. So I stepped in front of Frank and did the best as I could. As my camera ejected each picture with the oh so familiar ‘cha cha grrrrrrrr’ rythm, I set it on the stage to develop. I didn’t shake them. You’re not supposed to shake them.


Frank didn’t look impressed.

4/5 – Can’t wait to see Basia again

Video HERE