Event Review: PointsBet Canada Party (featuring Trailer Park Boys and Huttch), April 9, El Mocambo

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Over the years, we here at Panic Manual occasionally stray from our usual coverage of music and the arts in general and branch out to review other things, like dog shows, TIFF parties, and even actual earthquakes – we like to examine the full range of the human experience. So in that spirit, I took it upon myself to check out the launch party for PointsBet Canada, who were celebrating the occasion with a party at the El Mocambo featuring a performance by Windsor rockers Huttch and hosted by The Trailer Park Boys … or at least two of them. I guess Julian had a prior obligation.

“OK, so has everybody downloaded the fuckin’ app yet?” asked Bubbles as he and his fellow Sunnyvale Trailer park resident Ricky took to the stage to get the party officially started and to introduce the men who brought PointsBet to Canada.

Originally started in Australia, PointsBet launched this month in Canada after some success across the border in the U.S. and promises to deliver “an authentically Canadian product and gaming experience through unique partnerships deeply rooted in Canada’s sports landscape.” Apparently this notion of authentic Canadiana also includes hiring the Trailer Park Boys to host your party, something the PointsBet Canada guys described as being a bit of a hard sell to their overseas parent company.

A short while later in the evening, Windsor’s Huttch took to the stage and delivered a decent set of meat and potatoes, power-poppish rock that brought to mind Sam Roberts at times. The band just put out a new album this week and of course were playing songs from it for the occasion. The drummer made use of sports metaphors to appeal to the crowd with his comment about the album being a “home run” … although a hockey metaphor might have been more apt with the Leafs game playing on the big screen behind the bar. The day before this was Jays opening night though, so we’ll let that one slide.

As someone who doesn’t follow sports all that closely and has never really gambled on any sporting event before, I probably wasn’t exactly the target demographic for this event. But overall, it was a solid night out regardless. And while I may not be all that into betting on sports, the fact that I went out to a party in a bar during the sixth wave of Covid that we’re currently in shows that I am probably a bit of a gambler in some respects after all.

Concert Review: The Dip, April 5, Horseshoe Tavern

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After two years of various shows being bumped, rescheduled and cancelled, it finally feels like Toronto is picking up steam as raring-to-go bands roll through – and the anticipation has made these shows all the sweeter.

The Seattle-based 7 piece band The Dip found their way to Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern to play two nights of shows this week on April 5th & 6th and were greeted by a sold out crowd; hyped to sing along, dance and soak up everything the rhythm, blues and pop-centric band had to play for them.

Touring their recently released third album Sticking With It, The Dip jammed their way through nearly 20 songs, including their recent singles “When You Lose Someone” and “Real Contender” as well as hits from their earlier albums. We were treated to an extended version of “Spiderweb”, with each section of the band getting a chance to wow the audience. The three piece brass section, dubbed the ‘Honey-nut Horns’ really put their talents on display, so much so that if I told you they had come up from New Orleans rather than Seattle, you wouldn’t have blinked an eye.

The bar was hot and sticky, but you wouldn’t know it looking at the faces of the fans who were eating up song after song, culminating in everyone singing along with The Dip’s biggest hit from their 2019 album, “Sure Don’t Miss You”.

It’s been nearly three years since the band has been through town, but as they gain more of a following, I can’t see it being that long before they’re back again and playing a bigger venue. So for the people who gathered in the back of the Horseshoe Tavern on these nights, we can all count ourselves lucky for having the chance to see such an up close and connected show with some truly talented musicians.
- Kyle Cadogan

Song Of The Day: Aeon Station – Fade

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It’s now been almost three weeks since SXSW 2022 came to a close, and while we recently finished up our SouthBy coverage, that doesn’t mean we’ve quite put it all in the rear view mirror just yet. Now that everything’s settled down a bit, it’s time to take a look back at the bands we didn’t get to see and the music we didn’t get to hear while in Austin. There were several bands and artists that were on my list of acts to see that I didn’t get to see for whatever reason and one of those was New Jersey indie rockers Aeon Station.

The new project of Kevin Whelan, formerly of The Wrens, Aeon Station just released their debut album Observatory late last year and it’s probably the closest thing we’ll ever get to a new Wrens album following that band’s implosion years ago. “Fade” is one of the standout tracks, a big, driving number that just seems to keep getting bigger as the song goes along. Check it out below.

Observatory is out now via Sub Pop Records.

Concert Review: Gustaf, April 5, The Garrison

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After nearly two years of Toronto’s live music options ranging from nothing to not much, it really is a joy to again have a wealth of options to choose from, even if we do still have the spectre of Covid hanging over our heads at these shows. This week alone has seen or will see concerts from the likes of Low, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Efterklang, Viagra Boys, Sampa The Great, We Were Promised Jetpacks, and Pillow Queens, just to name a few.

But I’m not here to talk about any of them. No, I’m here to tell you about Gustaf.

The New York band was in town for a show at The Garrison in support of their debut album Audio Drag for Ego Slobs (out now on Royal Mountain Records) and put on a fantastic performance showcasing their fiery art punk sound – a sound that brings to mind the likes of Bush Tetras, ESG, and The Slits.

Singer Lydia Gammill is eminently watchable as she roams the stage playing the role of a person perpetually on the brink of absolutely losing it. Her stage banter and persona also reminded me a bit of Pere Ubu’s David Thomas at times. Not to be outdone, vocalist/percussionist Tarra Thiessen was also a lot of fun as she interacted with the crowd and added an extra level of weird to the proceedings – I think I spotted a rubber chicken in her arsenal of instruments?

All in all, this was an incredibly fun show with highlights such as “Book” and “Best Behavior” demonstrating what the band is capable of in a live setting. To paraphrase one of their own songs, Gustaf are good, they’re very, very good.