Concert Review: The Acorn, June 11, Lee’s Palace

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts | 4 Comments

Another Canadian band, another nature-themed band name. The Acorn swung by Lee’s Palace Friday night to promote their new album. My favourite part about seeing bands I’m unfamiliar with live, is when I walk out of the show wanting to listen to all the songs again and again. This happened with The Acorn.


A side note, between The National show I saw on Wednesday and The Acorn I’ve seen more plaid than at a John Deere convention. Real original guys.


After the sea of plaid, the next thing that struck me about The Acorn is the dual percussionists, having two drummers always amazes me and they become very hypnotizing to watch. I was recently blown away by Caribou’s double drummer ensemble. I am not musically inclined whatsoever (like, at all) but I can imagine it difficult to coordinate two drummers. Without these two badass drummers The Acorn would be a little too sappy and folky for my liking, the percussion gives them some decent rock and roll cred.


Another cool part of this band is the presence of a banjo in most of the songs. My fellow concert goer (who also likened the frontman’s voice to Tom Petty, however, upon reflection I think they sound more likeBeirut minus all of the elaborate instruments) plays the banjo and has a serious penchant for this string instrument. The banjo really gives the slower songs a dreamy, romantic sound. For the encore The Acorn played Slippery When Wet from their new album, to me this was the highlight of the show and it reminded me a lot of Your Rocky Spine by Great Lake Swimmers (sigh, Tony Dekker). This song is just Rolf Klausener singing, backed only with the banjo and comes out sounding like a lullaby, indeed a great way to end the show. I now have this song on repeat, yeah, it’s sappy, folky and does not incorporate a badass drum beat…I still like it.


The Acorn certainly didn’t blow me away with stage presence but I really enjoyed their unique indie folk sound and would gladly see them again live. In fact they are playing at the Guelph Hillside Festival next month…

The Acorn – Crossed Wires (Born Ruffians Remix) by Bella Union

Concert Review: Caribou and Toro Y Moi, May 3rd, Phoenix

Posted on by sarahw in Concerts | 1 Comment

Toronto – First of all let’s talk about how much I love band names that are so obviously Canadian: Great Lake Swimmers, Rural Alberta Advantage, The Besnard Lakes, Bruce Peninsula, Metric (okay not Canada specific, but clearly NOT American) and the focus of this review, Caribou.

I recently fell in love with Odessa the single from Caribou’s second album Swim, it is a melodious departure from the first album. This likable tune with the funky bassline has been on high rotation on my iPod for the past couple of months.

Caribou announced a North American tour to be kicked off in Toronto with Toro Y Moi opening (I missed Toro in March when his equipment was stolen in Brooklyn). The show was at Phoenix so I thought, why not.

Toro y Moi

Toro y Moi had previously toured solo with Ruby Suns, on the Caribou tour he acquired a bassist and drummer. Toro is the hottest kid in the chillwave movement and has taken the industry by storm with rave reviews for his Causers of This debut album. Live, he was okay. The band admitted that they were nervous, as it was their first time playing together in front of an audience. They definitely nailed all the songs and rocked their funky hit Low Shoulder, but I must say this performance didn’t particularly activate my dance shoes like I thought it would.


Caribou came out backed by a simple projected image of the Swim album cover, but their performance was anything but simple…

First sign of a good show, Dan Snaith (Caribou mastermind) began by singing and playing lead guitar, halfway through the song he hauls the guitar onto his back, sits down and starts playing the keyboard – still singing. This was how the whole set went down, not only did Dan rock lead vocals, guitar, keyboard and drums but during Odessa he busted out a recorder and wowed the crowed with that little white pipe!

Being an all ages show there was no one was standing near the stage (boozers were at the back), my friends and I took position at the front because I enjoy watching musicians in action. I suggest getting close at this show, watching Caribou play live is quite hypnotizing, both albums are instrumental-heavy so seeing what goes into each song was extremely entertaining.

The greatest part about this show was when Dan Snaith played drums along with the lead drummer (Brad Weber of Pick a Piper). In my mind, having two drummers is extremely difficult to pull off because of the precise timing needed. These drum duets were executed with such precision that it actually sounded like one drummer with astoundingly complex beats.

It is apparent that Caribou are meticulous about practicing because their show is literally flawless, every tune is impeccably tight yet very detailed. I came away from this show with two things: Leave House as my new Caribou high rotation tune and an extremely high regard for Dan Snaith, you’ve got to hand it to a musical mastermind that also has a PHD in Mathematics.