Concert Review: Snow Patrol and Ed Sheeran, April 17th, Massey Hall

Posted on by Wade in Concerts | Leave a comment

Ed Sheeran
(written by guest contributors Emma Blanche and Shalini Nanayakkara, two 16 year olds from Ottawa, who make the trip down the 401 to catch this show)

Massey Hall was grooving a couple of Tuesday nights ago in the presence of Irish alt-rock band Snow Patrol.

But it seemed most of the younger crowd had gathered for the opening act, a short ginger-haired acoustic bloke from Suffolk, England by the name of Ed Sheeran. He stepped on stage with only his guitar and a loop-peddle. Despite the fact that his debut album, +, isn’t released in North America until the summer, his understated “Hi” was met with many screams as he walked on stage. The young artist clearly had not expected such a boisterous crowd, asking repeatedly for his fans to “Sing don’t scream,” saying that “If singing replaced screaming the world would be a better place.” His set list included his UK hits, Give Me Love, and The A team, a moving ballad telling the story of a young woman struggling with a drug addiction. After managing to break the string on his guitar after an extended performance of his hit single You Need Me, I Dont Need You, he encouraged the audience to help him out with the rest of the song in the form of a ‘gospel choir.’ Ed later joined Snow Patrol in a performance of the band’s recent single, New York.

Here’s an Ed Sheeran video where he gets drunk with his cat.

The crowd matured considerably as Snow Patrol entered the scene – but the enthusiasm picked up after their first number, Hands Open, when Gary insisted everyone stand. The audience complied, save for a couple of boring concert goers who don’t like anything anyway. Once the show got moving, we were pleasantly surprised to find Lightbody’s voice richer and more expressive than the band’s recorded album work. His stage presence was fun and easy-going, jokingly flirting with lead guitarist Nathan Connolly and advising one surly-faced man, “If you’re happy, tell your face.” He warmed the audience by having the entire hall repeat the haunting line “shut your eyes and sing to me,” in chorus, creating a more intimate atmosphere. Adding to the band’s rich acoustics were epilepsy-inducing light sequences that accentuated the upbeat moments of the songs, as well as background graphics showcasing fitting images of eagles and snowy landscapes. The whole concert was energetic, moving, and well worth the trip down from Ottawa.

Best of 2010: Sarah F’n Wilbore’s Fave Albums and Shows

Posted on by sarahw in Albums, Concerts, Everything, Music | Leave a comment

2010 has been a pretty epic year musically.  It was difficult to narrow down my favourites.  But, without further ado, here are the top 5 albums and top 5 shows according to Sarah.

Top 5 Albums

Black Keys – Brothers

I was introduced to the Black Keys through this album, I subsequently acquired their entire substantial discography and have been in love ever since.  These guys have finally reached the proverbial pop culture tipping point with their tunes being featured in Gossip Girl, various commercials and even the theme song to Hung.  Go ahead, listen and try not to bop your head.  This album is infectious.

Kanye West – My Beautiful Dark Twisted Nightmare

There was so much hype behind this album I felt certain it would be a let-down.  To my surprise it is actually phenomenal.  This album is genre-bending, has superb musical guests (Jay-Z and Bon Iver) and samples music spanning multiple decades.  Kanye really knows how to please a crowd.

LCD Soundsystem – This is Happening

James Murphy has done it again.  I love this whole album but two stand-out tracks for me were Dance Yrself Clean and You Wanted a Hit. Oh and these guys ROCK live.

Four Tet – There is Love in You

Experimental electronic perfection.  My biggest regret is not seeing the Toronto leg of his tour.  Love Cry has got to my one of my top tracks of the year, so beautiful.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs

I think I listened to this album from start to finish more than any other album this year.  That is all.

Top 5 Shows

Holy Fuck

These Canadians released their sophomore album Latin this year and followed up with amazing live show.  You have to see them live to experience all the unconventional ways these guys make music.


Apparently Yeasayer wrote their latest album in Australia high on LSD.  Well keep it up boys.  Not only is their sound original, but their live show is pretty hypnotizing.

Thom Yorke

Having never seen Radiohead live I was pretty stoked to see the frontman at Coachella.  Thom does not disappoint, playing The Eraser in full plus a few Radiohead tracks he was definitely my favourite of the festival.  One of the best live voices I’ve heard.

The Wilderness

One of the most entertaining, energetic live performances I’ve seen.  Sparkly, dancey, theatrical oh and great music.  I would highly recommend their new album .272 and catching these guys live.

Mayer Hawthorne

Swoon.  I saw this motown crooner twice this year but his Wrongbar performance was by far the best.  Mayer has bounds of energy with an amazing falsetto to match.  I cannot wait for his next album, oh and check him out on Twitter…very entertaining!

And finally, in case you were wondering.  The single worst show of the year was Tame Impala.  Awesome record, terrible live.

Concert Review: Patrick Watson, May 2, Trinity St. Paul’s United Church

Posted on by Brian in Concerts | 4 Comments


The opener played tunes on what looked like a big wooden Gameboy. The lighting cast huge, eerie shadows on the wall behind the band, shadows broken only by the lights strung on three dead-looking potted trees. The first song featured a hand-cranked wind machine and a wailing lament in his trademark dreamy high voice. He played what looked like a raggedy miniature piano for one song that he admitted the band fished out of the garbage. He topped it off by walking into the crowd with a strange speaker contraption strapped to his back made of megaphones. And it all took place in a church.

Yes, it’s just another day in the world of Patrick Watson. We’re all just lucky he gives us a glimpse of that world every now and then.

Watson’s press bio calls him a “musical mad scientist,” as apt a description as there is of what he does. On stage last Saturday he looked the part as he scurried about the stage from the front stage microphone to his piano to the wind machine and everywhere else, his mad musical creations whirling about the shadowy church. You’d almost expect him to shout “IT’S ALIVE” to the crowd, if he weren’t so busy singing. With his very talented bandmates Mishka Stein, Simon Angell and Robbie Kuster aiding in the creation, Watson put on a stunning show of songs from his terrific new album Wooden Arms.

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Concert Review: The Rumble Strips, October 29th, El Mocambo

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 6 Comments

rumble strips

(Toronto) I really hate ska (ska punk) . When I hear the word ska, I immediately think of over weight, middle aged, tattooed guys in black suits and funny hats playing their trumpets, which happen to be connected to their wallet via a long chain. Now I didn’t know much about The Rumble Strips going into tonights show at the El Mo except that I really liked their song Girls And Boys In Love. In what little I read about the band before the show, the infamous ska word was mentioned more than once. As I paid my $13 at the door I was dreading having to sit through some shitty Mighty Mighty Bosstone want-to-be performance. When five skinny, pale dudes from Coronation Street took the stage, I knew that I was going to be OK. And I was.

For the 25 of us in attendance, The Rumble Strips gave it their all. Those who came out were defiantly fans and the subtle, appreciative crowd sang along to their rocking, marching anthems. Tracks like Motorcycle and Alarm Clock kicked the shit out of the freezing cold El Mo.

At one point, bass player Sam Mansbridge busted out his own drum and when his drum stick broke he picked some random hard thing he found on stage and bounced it off the drum. When that thing got lost, he preceeded to beat the shit out of the drum with his hand for the remainder of the song. It looked like it hurt, but it rocked.

The Rumble Strips reminded me of the Canadian trumpet rocking super group, TheWet Secrets. Even a Zutons comparison might be in order. Whatever it is, the Rumble Strips are fun and worth catching. And they definitely aren’t ska.