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CMW Review: The Dandy Warhols, May 9, Danforth Music Hall

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Midway through The Dandy Warhols‘ set at The Danforth Music Hall as part of Canadian Music Week, the band, and singer Courtney Taylor-Taylor in particular, faced a bit of criticism in the form of a heckle when some random fan shouted out, “Make your vocals higher!”

No, he didn’t mean that he wanted Taylor-Taylor to sound more like Geddy Lee, though that would have undoubtedly been very amusing. Rather, he felt that the vocals needed to be higher up in the mix. Apparently it wasn’t the first time the band had faced such a critique.

“Every single night – ‘turn your vocals up!’ … nope.” replied Taylor-Taylor. His feeling was that it was the heckler and not the band who needed to change things up, suggesting that the fan should “smoke more pot” and change his mood to suit the music rather than the band changing anything to suit him. That’s fair enough – for much of their set the Dandys were all about setting a certain mood through their music, which would certainly qualify as stoner friendly as the band put out a psychedelic vibe that was kind of heavy yet also kind of mellow. And despite the fact that the band taking the stage about twenty minutes past their announced set time got me in a less than gracious mood from the outset, that mood quickly changed once the band got things going.

Though the Dandy Warhols just released their tenth studio album Why You So Crazy earlier this year, their current tour is being billed as a 25th anniversary tour and accordingly, the band played selections from the new album as well as songs from throughout their career. Highlights included “We Used To be Friends”, “Get Off”, “Godless” and of course the big crowd singalong during “Bohemian Like You.” “Highlife,” one of the tunes off the new album also stood out as keyboardist Zia McCabe took the lead on the krautrock meets country number.

And while it’s kind of weird to consider that the Dandy Warhols have been going for 25 years now, it’s still not as weird as the fact that Hanson has somehow been a band for even longer than that, and they’re all still only in their mid to late 30s. Just something to think about.

Anyways, here’s the video for “Forever”:

CMW Review: It It Anita, May 10, Supermarket

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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Playing as part of the early evening Bonsound Booking Bash show at Supermarket, Belgian noise rockers It It Anita put on a show that was hard to ignore. I don’t just mean that their performance was brash and in your face, alternately noisy and melodic, (it was) but also that it was literally hard to ignore – these guys play loud.

The Liege-based band lists the likes of Fugazi, Metz, Sonic Youth, and Pavement as influences and the sonic touchstones of all of those acts were definitely there in their sound – the way that the members traded off vocals within songs especially brought Fugazi’s live dynamic to mind – though there was also a definite Sabbath-meets-post-rock vibe to one extended number they did near the end of their set.

With the band setting up onstage in a configuration wherein all the members were facing each other as they played, it was almost like you were sitting in on an intimate session in the band’s practice space rather than a show. That intimacy worked in their favour and made for a memorable show.

CMW Review: Japanese Breakfast, April 20 & 22, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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On the first night of their three night residency at the Silver Dollar, Japanese Breakfast put on a thoroughly entertaining show, playing various tracks from their latest, Psychopomp, along with a number of new songs from the band’s upcoming album, reportedly due out this summer and described by Michelle Zauner as a failed concept album. Of the new stuff, the best of the bunch was the closing number, a song about falling in love with a robot that featured a spoken word intro and autotune effects throughout. As sci-fi concepts go, it puts the band in the company of the likes of ELO or The Alan Parsons Project, which is a good thing in my books.

That first show was impresive enough that I ventured out a couple of days later for their final night at the Silver Dollar and while the setlist was similar, featuring favourites such as “In Heaven” and “Everybody Wants To Love You” (“This song is about oral sex. Pay attention.”) as well as the aforementioned robot love song, the band also ended their set with a version of The Cranberries’ “Dreams,” described by Zauner as “a cover for the old people.”

Earlier that night, Zauner gave a shoutout to opener Liam Betson, who she referred to as her favourite Toronto musician. “Drake is my second favourite,” she added, describing how she tries to imitate his swagger, specifically the way he calls audience members out with an “I see you.” While she claimed she wasn’t at that level yet since she gets too shy, Zauner is nevertheless an engaging, energetic frontwoman, commanding the crowds’ attention.

Though Zauner admitted that it was “a lot of pressure to play three shows in the same place,” it was clear that by the end of their three night run, the band had made a memorable impact. Mentioning how they had come through twice before as an opening act at the Horseshoe, she asked if anyone there that night had been to those shows. “Thank you for coming out again,” she said. “It’s our time to fucking shine.”

I couldn’t agree more.

CMW Review: Zoobombs, April 18, Silver Dollar

Posted on by Paul in Canadian Music Week | Leave a comment

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The Silver Dollar will be closing at the end of this month, making this weeks round of CMW shows one of the last gasps of the storied Toronto venue. It’s a sad moment for Toronto’s music scene and fittingly, Zoobombs singer Don Matsuo was getting a bit emotional over the impending closure.

Addressing the crowd a few songs into their set, he praised the venue and it’s booker Dan Burke and explained how sad he was that the Silver Dollar is closing, Describing the venue as kind of like home, he added that the band hoped to find a new home in Toronto in the future. Rather than mourning the loss of the venue too much though, Zoobombs were there to make sure we enjoy it while it lasts. 

Sure, the loss of the Dollar is sad, but with a high energy show that had a certain manic element to it at times, Zoobombs were determined to make the night a celebration.

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