Arcade Fire

Black History Month – A Playlist in Celebration

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, Music | 1 Comment

Toronto – It’s February. A month that is known for many things – Valentines, Groundhog day, Super Bowl, read-in week, etc. For a lot of people, one thing towers above all of this – Black History Month. We here at the Panic Manual, much like all our fellow (North) Americans celebrate this monumental event. The brain trust at this site has thought long and hard, and in turn, come up with a playlist of ten songs that we feel fully highlights the word black. Before we get to that, we would just like to share some things about black that you may or may not know:

- black is a color that does not emit or reflect light in any part of the visible spectrum
– covers half an Orca
– html code is #000
– covers half a Panda
– In Japanese culture, is the symbol of nobility, age and experience
– covers half a Zebra
– preferred color of the universe
– covers all of the black bear

Without further hesitation, here is our playlist in celebration of black history month

10. DFA 1979 – Black History Month

The most meta thing possible. Death From Above 1979 are reforming at Coachella after a two week hiatus, most likely when Sebastian Grainger had to do something on the Danforth and Jesse Keeler was reluctant to go east of the DVP.

9. The Black Keys – Howlin For You

Possibly the hottest “black” band out there right now, The Black Keys just announced a massive summer tours in some massive venues. I guess this is a litmus test as to how big this duo actually is.

06-10 Indianapolis, IN – The Lawn at White River State Park
06-11 Manchester, TN – Bonnaroo
06-27 Vancouver, British Columbia – Deer Lake Park
06-28 Calgary, Alberta – Stampede Corral
06-29 Edmonton, Alberta – Rexall Place
06-30 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – TCU Place
07-02 Winnipeg, Manitoba – MTS Centre
07-03 Minneapolis, MN – Roy Wilkins Auditorium
07-05 Council Bluffs, IA – Stir Cove Amphitheatre
07-07 Toronto, Ontario – Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
07-10 Quebec City, Quebec – Festival D’Ete
07-11 Montreal, Quebec – Bell Centre
07-12 London, Ontario – John Labatt Centre

Here is their new video, starring #6 from BSG

8. Michael Jackson – Black or White

Arguably the most famous performer of all time. Michael Jackson’s epic track Black or White was a song purely about choice. He took the middle ground.

7. David Usher – Black Black Heart

Moist’s former front man like the word “black” so much he used it twice in the naming of his one and only hit single.

6. Black Eyed Peas – Medley

Pop band Black Eyed Peas is the answer to the following trivia questions

- what band look like extras from a tron set?
– what band pioneered holographic technologies on CNN?
– what band sounded worse then The Who at Superbowl?

Yet despite all the controversy around this band, they seem to still be really popular. Go figure.

5. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club –

This band made the bold choice of wearing all black leather on a sunny day in Austin last year for SXSW. I commend them for it.

4. British Sea Power – Blackout

One of my favorite bands, British Sea Power released another stellar album this year with Valhalla Dancehall. However, for this playlist, we take you back to their debut album, the ever so stellar The Decline of British Sea Power. British Sea Power will be in Toronto March 24th. I’m there.

3. Doves – Black and White Town

It’s been almost two years since Doves has released an album. This is just a friendly reminder.

2. Blackalicious – Alphabets Aerobic

This track makes no sense, but it’s still pretty awesome.

1. Arcade Fire – Black Mirror

Since Arcade Fire is winning everything this month, it’s only fitting to put them at the top of a random playlist.

Stay tune for next month, when we celebrate Orange history month

#Wikileaks: Indie music edition, things to know about your favorite bands

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | Leave a comment

Toronto – The big news this past weekend was the plethora of articles released by Wikileaks concerning diplomatic relations around the world. With all the international espionage hoopla, small portions of wikileaks involving indie music was largely ignored, until now.

Here at the Panic Manual, our crack team of wikileak experts combed through every document and without further delay, have compiled an extensive summary of articles concerning indie music and indie music fans in general. Here they are:

  • Noah Lennox spent most of the year in a prison cell in the province of Chengdu in China, after being caught at the border with dozens of illegal Panda Bear paws in the trunk of his car. He spent most of that time writing new songs for his new album Tomboy. The songs consists of instruments made from bamboos and the bones of dead political prisoners.

  • The Arcade Fire‘s Suburbs album was funded entirely by condominium development groups that work extensively in every urban center. It was aimed directly at the youth demographic to prevent them from purchasing 2000 square feet houses in the suburbs when they can buy a 450 square foot bachelor apartment downtown for the same price.

  • U2’s cancellation of their Glastonbury festival and resulting tour was not because of back injuries, but rather, because one day, Bono forgot to wear his mandatory safety goggles and a bee flew into his eye.

  • Deerhunter and Atlas Sound’s Bradford Cox does not actually have Marfan Syndrome>. He is part of the FBI’s Men in Black Witness Relocation program, where important intergalactic figures from other planets are relocated to Earth and disguised as human beings in order to protect them. Lady Gaga is also a person from this program, Kanye West is not.

  • Owen Pallett‘s recent name change from Final Fantasy to his real name was not actually because of threats from Squaresoft, rather, he had just grown tired of the game and his initial requested name change from Final Fantasy to World of Warcraft was denied by Blizzard Entertainment.

  • The inclusion of Carey Mulligan and Norah Jones in the new Belle & Sebastian album was as a result of a high stakes Poker game between Stuart Murdoch and Mark Ronson. Murdoch had already lost Simon Le Bon and Ghostface Killah to the DJ, but managed to scrape out a victory with a straight (something Ronson never had). The Lily Allen chip was never played in any match.

  • There is a secret bet between Kele, Brandon Flowers and Julian Casablancas as to who would be more successful as a solo artist. Originally, Sam Endicott from the Bravery was in this group, but was asked to leave the bet when it was discovered that the Bravery was actually not a successful band. The winner of this bet gets to be the next lead singer for Van Halen.

  • Placebo’s Brian Molko has changed genders so many times that he now has no penis or vagina

  • Justice is actually Daft Punk without the helmets

  • Sufjan Steven‘s ambitious project to record songs for all 50 states were put on hold after a recent concert in Washington DC, when Obama personally told him to hold his horses and that after the civil war of 2012, he would have to record a lot less albums to cover all of the states in the US.

  • Crystal Castle‘s Alice Glass is in fact just a hamster tied up to a helium balloon inside a human halloween costume.

We may have more articles coming up. I’m not sure. Take this new information and use it wisely.

Concert Review: Arcade Fire, August 14, Toronto Island

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts | 1 Comment

Photo courtesy of Frank Yang, Chromewaves

Toronto – Win Butler’s haircut, dancing on picnic tables and Toronto island…what more could a girl ask for?


2003 – Arcade Fire releases Funeral, an epic, brooding album with grandeur not often seen from a freshman effort

2007 – Arcade Fire releases Neon Bible, somewhat of a disappointment in my eyes, but Funeral was a hard act to follow

2010Arcade Fire releases The Suburbs, going back to their themed album roots, after 3 long years of waiting they produce a 16-track work of art

On to the details

Now, if you’re an avid reader of this blog (which you probably are) you will have noted my mention of how a certain (*cough* Collective Concerts *cough*) concert promoter ran the last island show (read: silly restrictions, long beer lines etc.). Knowing they also organized this concert I went in with low expectations. Beer lines were still long and I don’t think Janelle Monae was an appropriate opening act for Arcade Fire. In her defense though, Janelle put on a killer show complete with costumes, choreographed dances and a killer voice.

The Main Event

Organizational complaints aside, Arcade Fire went on at their scheduled time of 8:45 and opened with Ready to Start, a perfect upbeat tune to begin their set! From there they continued on with their 90 minute set only stopping to thank the fans for coming to see the show. They played about half the songs from The Suburbs, and a handful from Neon Bible and Funeral.

The energy from the crowd was amazing and contagious. I was standing in the beer area, equipped with picnic tables that consequently became dance podiums as soon as Arcade Fire took the stage. I think this was the biggest crowd I’ve seen at an island concert, which made it even better!

I’m a huge fan of Arcade Fire, their new album is nothing short of epic and they definitely did not disappoint in their live performance. I, along with the majority of the crowd sang along for the whole set. The voice combination of Win Butler and Regine Chassagne is pure magic.


Arcade Fire were chanted back onto the stage for an encore, they played Keep the Car Running and then Wake Up. When the initial chords for Wake Up were played the crowd went crazy and basically drowned out the band singing the “Ohhhh ohhhhh ohhhh” intro. I love it when bands end with an amazing song and Wake Up left everyone in an excellent mood even with the impending thought of never ending ferry lines.

Check out Frank’s and Melody‘s reviews of the show as well!

Festival Review: Lollapalooza 2010, Grant Park, August 8 – Day 3

Posted on by Paul in Concerts | Leave a comment

X Japan

Chicago – What’s a music festival without a little rain?  Well … it’s a nicer day, for one thing.  Luckily, the rain ended by 1:00 making the rest of the day pleasant and sunny, albeit a bit muddy.  However, being a guy who wants to get the most out of a music festival, I was there bright and early … in the rain. 

The Antlers got the Budweiser stage going for the day.  Having seen them once before at Massey Hall, I wondered beforehand how their lush, moody music would go over in an outdoor festival setting.  Of course it went over perfectly … because of the rain, not in spite of it.  Frontman Peter Silberman put it best: “Thanks for coming out in the rain.  We’re from New York so we’re used to it.  We’re  not really a surf pop band so this is probably better.”  They played to a smallish but rapt audience, some with umbrellas, some without, but even those without didn’t mind getting a little wet.  The Antler’s set led to the only real scheduling mix up of the day.  As they finished playing “Two,” I figured their set must be done as they had like 2 minutes left in their set and The Antlers definitely do not play two minute songs.  As they launched into “Wake,” I thought, “Hmmm… how will this play out?”  They continued to play, going slightly past their set and into that of The Dodos, who were playing the stage right across from them immediately afterwards.  The Dodos, not wanting to lose out on their alotted time, just started playing at the same time.  I’m sure this wasn’t an intentional snub on the part of The Antlers, and for all I know they had to start their set late, but it was a bit of a blemish on an otherwise well organized schedule. 

The Antlers

I wanted to check out The Cribs for one primary reason – to see Johnny Marr play.  Not being overly familiar with them, I figured it would be a good set, but it turned out to be really good.  They won me over with their high energy performance.  Definitely one of the highlights of the day.

The Cribs 

The other big highlight of the day as well as a pleasant surprise was X Japan, a Japanese metal band formed in 1982 who play an interesting mix of power metal, prog, glam metal and old school speed metal.  In other words, they stuck out like a sore thumb on the bill. 

They broke up in 1997 and are currently on a reunion tour.  This was their first ever American show.  I knew very little about the band going in and was a little bummed that they were on opposite Yeasayer, who I really wanted to see, but I figured I can see Yeasayer again and I’m fairly certain I won’t get a chance to see X Japan again.  And what can I say?  This band was glorious.  They pretty much match Lady Gaga and Empire of the Sun for over the top theatricality.  As they entered to some piped in intro music, a small group of dedicated hardcore fans cheered loudly.  Shortly thereafter, many more of us were instantly converted into fans.  My favourite bandmember to watch was drummer Yoshiki, who entered wearing some sort of robe, wore a neckbrace throughout the show, and switched between drums and piano.  He also performed on the 1994 Kiss tribute album Kiss My Ass.  I bought that album on cassette back then and thought, “Who the hell is Yoshiki?”  Now I know.  Rather than say too much about their performance, I’ll just let these videos of their performance do the talking.  “We Are!” “X!”

After X, I figured I’d stay in that vicinity and check out Erykah Badu.  Big mistake.  While I was interested in seeing her and while she sounded good when she finally came out, little did I know that she wouldn’t even grace us with her presence on stage until 15 minutes into her set!  Those 15 minutes were filled first with her DJ playing other people’s music to warm up the crowd (which is fair enough since the Japanese metal that preceded her probably didn’t fit the mood she wanted to create, but still…) and her backup band jamming on some tune for awhile.  Had i known she would take this long, I probably would have gone to check something else out (which I eventually did).  Badu would later reappear onstage with Cypress Hill during their set, and Cypress Hill put on a great show.  Opening strong with “How I Could Just Kill A Man,” they played a mix of old and new songs, including classics like “Insane In The Brain.” “I Wanna Get High.” and “Hits From The Bong,” the performance of which actually involved them taking hits from a bong onstage.  

Cypress Hill

MGMT played just before Cypress Hill at the other end of the park to one of the largest crowds of the day.  While Sarah wasn’t overly impressed with their performance at Coachella, and Ricky echoed those sentiments after seeing their most recent Toronto show, I would have to say that my opinion differs slightly.  Looking a bit like mid ’60s Bob Dylan, Andrew VanWyngarden led the band through a selection of songs from their latest Congratulations, plus a few older tunes.  The songs sounded good, and the band was tight.  I couldn’t see anything wrong with their performance … but I do agree somewhat that it was still a bit of an underwhelming performance for me at least, probably partly because I was looking forward to Cypress Hill, Soundgarden, and Arcade Fire and partly because they weren’t as over the top as X Japan. 

I split the rest of the night between Soundgarden and Arcade Fire.    Both bands delivered solid sets that satisfied for different reasons – Soundgarden primarily as nostalgia.  As I watched them play I had forgotten how heavy songs like “Jesus Christ Pose” and “Gun” sounded.  Sadly, I left to catch the last part of Arcade Fire before they played Black Hole Sun, but there’s a whole bunch of videos of it on youtube anyways, so I guess that’ll do.  Arcade Fire sounded great too, closing out with a few classics like “Rebellion (Lies),” “Keep The Car Running,” and “Wake Up.”  You guys are great,” said Win Butler, clearly impressed with the response he was getting from the crowd.  “Usually at the end of festivals, people are burned out, but you guys must have been pacing yourselves.”  It’s all about moderation I guess.