el mocambo

CMW Review: Handsome Furs, Mar 12, El Mocambo

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 4 Comments

Handsome_Furs_El_Mocambo_March_12_2010

Toronto – As we’ve mentioned before, at music festivals like CMW, it’s likely that you’ll only catch parts of certain sets. Especially if you are busy hopping from venue to venue. For the first time in 28 years, CMW was completely sold out this year. As the festival has grown, the fans have become more plentiful. Sold out shows have made venue-hopping increasingly difficult. Throughout the week I’ve ran into a number of frustrated fans who were unable to see the bands they wanted because of lineups and capacity crowds. Unfortunately it seems like CMW has become a victim of its own success, despite the cold and wet weather thrown our way.

But CMW is about discovering and enjoying Canadian talent, so let’s get to the music. It’s not entirely fair that I cover the Handsome Furs show last Friday at the El Mocambo because I only caught the last 20 minutes of it. Not surprisingly, it was a much hyped and very sold out show. However, it was such an amazing experience that it deserves mention. Montreal-based Handsome Furs consists of guitarist singer Dan Coeckner (from Wolf Parade) and his wife Alexei Perry. They play a supremely charged and intense electro indie rock that is insanely infectious.

Since it was the last night of the show, they got the opportunity to perform a festival rarity by playing an encore. It was the most intensely charged 20 minutes of music I heard at CMW this year; I will be jumping at the opportunity to see them live again.

CMW March 12: Sirius Satellite Showcase, El Mocambo

Posted on by guestwriter in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | 3 Comments

Toronto – Canadian Music week is in full swing in the heart of the city this weekend. Although sparse in the early part of the evening, the Elmo soon filled up on Thursday night for a French Canadian extravaganza hosted by Sirius Satellite Radio.

Duchess Says

Duchess Says

We arrived in the midst of the cacophony of Duchess Says, where singer Annie-Claude was serenading the crowd with her unique brand of intense scream-singing metal and dance punk. Thankfully the set was a mix of anger metal and dance-punk, which was a much more head-boppably well received. Extra points for her stage presence, but this girl is one crazy version of Peaches. Instead of hurling obscenities, she spits a melange of beer and gum.

This girl is one crazy version of Peaches. Instead of hurling osbcenities, she spits a melange of beer and gum.

Extra points for her over-the-top stage presence. At one point we thought there was some crazy drunk in the midst of the crowd causing a ruckus by hurling beer with abandon. We were expecting the bouncers to come in and deal, but then realized it was little wrath-of-Annie herself; dancing and rolling on the floor, grabbing innocent bystanders and showering them with dance punk and beer. Well done. There were no chewing-gum-hair casualties during the making of this set.

Radio Radio

Radio Radio

Next up was Radio Radio—an electronic rapping foursome from New Brunswick, recently coming of a performance at the East Coast Music Awards. This Acadian troupe sang in Chiac, a uniquely Canadian dialect of English and French—a little something we’d like to call Franglais. Although full of energy, we found the whole enchilada to be frat-boyish. One of the pledglings, Timo, sported a handlebar moustache and regaled us with stories in French about birthday parties at strip clubs. This Little man was not unlike a small horny Chihuahua that’s humping your leg that you just can’t shake off. The thought occurred to us even before he fulfilled prophecy by humping the stage. Timo, small doses only please.

We Are Wolves

We Are Wolves

From hip-hop, we moved to the music of Montreal based We Are Wolves. This band appeared on the very same stage last summer for NXNE where they were plagued with technical difficulties that caused several false starts. Thankfully this time around the absence of sound issues allow them to bring their A-game.

It was minimalist electron-rock at its best. Judging from their albums, you’d never guess that this complete sound was emanating from a three-piece. They keep it real with a simple setup: a sparse drum-set with a nary a stool to sit on, a lone guitarist/bassist, and keys. The band’s happier mood definitely made for a better performance. However, not much else seemed to be different between this and their NXNE showcase. There hasn’t been much new material since then, but that didn’t detract from a solid set.

It was minimalist Electron-rock at its best.

Malajube

Malajube

Closing out the night was French Indie starlings Malajube. This band has garnered a lot of attention since their debut album, Trompe-L’oeil. There was a musical lyricism that was missing from the night until the opening of this set. Their sound was reminiscent of a blend of Quebecois Trucker meets 80’s progrock reborn into these little indie adorables.

Big thumbs up on the grandiose sound, however thumbs down on the epileptic light-show. It was out of place for this intimate venue. Their sound and musicianship was all that was needed to attract the attention of the media and music aficionados looking for the next up and coming Canadian darlings.

Overall the showcase was strong, diverse, and well-assembled.

Unapologetically French.

Duchess Says: 3.5/5

Radio Radio: 3/5

We Are Wolves: 4/5

Malajube: 4.25/5

(Covered by Patricia and Mark)

Concert Review: Asobi Seksu, El Mocambo, March 3, 2009

Posted on by Allison in Concerts | 15 Comments

10 bones can get you a pretty big boner in this city.

Case in point, ultimate babe Yuki Chikudate made her way through the El Mocambo last night for an all-out noise-fest with shoegaze darlings Asobi Seksu (you know, the band that was backing her–the three white guys). Asobi Seksu is one of New York’s most prominent indie rock acts right now it’s easy to see why…Cocteau Twins’ Elizabeth Fraser and  MBV’s Kevin Shields could pass for their long lost music parents and Chikudate could pass for a Japanese spokesmodel.

But c’mon now, it’s not always about how pretty the lead singer is, is it? It was maybe Yuki that left us all slack-jawed, silent, and motionless throughout the show. At least that would explain why the applause had the viscosity of cold molasses–didn’t notice if it slowed down after she stripped down to her tanktop though. Anyone? Anyone?

More noisy than ethereal, I would say the ElMo (or any small venue for that matter) is sort of the last place you want this type of shoegaze to be played at because no matter how ambient your guitars sound you can envision even Grandpa Simpson’s eardrums exploding. More than a few people ran for the hills once the set started and even seasoned show-going veterans could kind of feel their ears’ cilia hairs dying. This is not to say that it wasn’t beautiful music–the gentler, dreamier stuff off 2006’s Citrus sounded lovely, particularly Thursday…it was just that much of the noisier stuff off Hush, which I have yet to listen through, seemed much too loud for a club show.

One last thing…I might be alone on this one but it felt like the pace at which they tore through their set was unprecedented. I think what they were going for was a seamless sound without audible transitions from song to song–a noble shoegazey intention that ended up sounding like it was just another day at the office, at least to me.

NXNE – We Are Wolves, El Mocambo, June 14

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, North By Northeast | 5 Comments

Toronto – We Are Wolves are a 3 piece rock n roll band from Montreal. Another CBC Radio 3 endorsed band, it was no surprise when we arrived to a packed house at the El Mo. I think CBC Radio 3 is like the Pitchfork Media of Canada, and Pitchfork Media is the NME of the US, and the NME is the Panic Manual of England, meaning, if they are endorsed by these media outlets, a crowd is guaranteed.

We Are Wolves took the small El Mo stage at 1. Bassist/Vocalist Alex Ortiz came out in some pseudo military garb and keyboardist Vincent Levesque was dressed in Miami Vice-ish attire. I don’t know what the drummer looked like, but I think he stood the whole time. Anyways, right away, they ripped into some song that got the crowd rocking. Alex Ortiz did his best rock star moves, including playing on his knees, jumping up and down, lookin real intense and everything. He has learned much.

The set was delayed early by some (a lot) of technical issues involving the monitor. After ten minutes or so, that problem got solved and the show went on. Normally this is not an issue, but given the 40 minute time slot, you have to wonder if some WAW fans felt shafted at the ten minutes of not music playing these guys did. I didn’t really care, cos they were just keepin it real. Either way, the show went on. I am not familiar with We Are Wolves, but they definitely know how to rock it. Pulsating bass lines followed by a flurry of drums and a layer of synth at just the appropriate time. I didn’t really get a chance to pick up any of the lyrics, but it was something like “ARRrrgh Blughar ROOOOOOOOCK”. Maybe not. I would say they remind me a lot of Death From Above 1979, only French, and with a keyboarder person. A mosh pit developed halfway thru the show and was sustained for the rest of the set, there was multiple drumming, and in general, everyone had a really good rockin time.

In conclusion, life, is sometimes like the We Are Wolves concert. It’s too short, there can be unexpected technical delays at times, but in the end, when it’s all said and done, you can go for chinese food down the street and be like ‘well, that was all good innit?’