mod club

CMW Review: Jeff Martin, Mar 13, Mod Club

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

Toronto – Former Tea Party front man Jeff Martin played the Mod Club last Saturday. It was an exciting set of music both new and old that had me cursing the super quick 30 minute sets at the Mod Club that night. It’s not entirely fair that I’m writing this review because I was such a huge Tea Party fan as a teenager. I’ve long since internalized their first two albums Splendor Solis, and The Edges of Twilight.

I was skeptical as to what exactly to expect from Jeff after so many years. Thankfully he still plays to his strengths: eastern-influenced rock played with open-tunings that resonate with a gutsy metallic heft. I can’t believe I just used the term “gutsy metallic heft”; I’m such a douchebag. Anyway, he opened with The Bazaar, and kept the crowd happy by later playing the crowd favourite Sister Awake. He also kept things fresh by playing some of his newer non-Tea Party material that fit well within the set.

He peppered Tea Party lyrics into his other songs as if he spontaneously felt like it.

What I forgot about Jeff Martin is how consummate a musician he his. He can seriously play the guitar, and he can seriously sing. I don’t know how much of his set was rehearsed, but it certainly felt like an off-the-cuff set from a musician extremely comfortable in his own skin. He peppered Tea Party lyrics into his other songs as if he spontaneously felt like it.

His last song was a particularly impressive blues number that borrowed lyrics from old blues greats. As exotic as his tastes are, Jeff reminded us that he’s still got roots in the blues and can fuse that with his other influences into a style all his own. Although we may tend to typecast him in a particular era and style; he’s definitely his own musician and worth approaching on his own merits.

CMW highlight.

CMW Review: Joel Plaskett, Mar 13, Mod Club

Posted on by Mark in Canadian Music Week, Concerts | Leave a comment

Toronto – Ah Joel Plaskett. We here at the Panic Manual have a soft spot in our heart for Mr. Plaskett. So far we’ve covered three of his live shows (here, here, and here). I suppose that makes this number four. He played last Saturday night at the Mod Club, accompanied by fellow singer/songwriter Peter Elkas. It was rainy, it was windy, and yet still people lined up for the opportunity to hear just a tiny abbreviated set of Joel’s music. Now that’s dedication.

“Is there a reason you loves this town?” – crowd member
“There are many reasons I love this town. Damn.” – Joel Plaskett

What else can I say about this genuine east coast rocker? I suppose what’s just as impressive as Joel’s guitar and vocal skills is what he does to a crowd. His mix of talent, humble east-coast upbringing and down-to-earth attitude makes him an endearing personality and a crowd favourite. There’s just something about him that prods us fast-paced downtown urbanites to smile and let our shields down; for a second we resolve to be more civil to our fellow strangers in this wild concrete rat race. Granted, it’s a passing resolution at best. But thankfully Joel comes to town frequently enough to keep prodding us in the right direction.

Joel won the Indie music award for best solo artist of the year later that night at the Royal York hotel. It’s a well deserved award for standup Canadian artist.

Concert Review: Florence and the Machine, Mod Club, November 2

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 3 Comments


Toronto – I used to live about 4 minutes away from Soundscapes, which along with Rotate This are the only two places you should be buying concert tickets in Toronto. Anyways, living this close to Soundscapes means that I could always easily get concert tickets. As with all good things in life, you take it for granted. I was fairly lazy about picking up Florence and the Machine tickets, figuring I could pick it up ANYTIME I wanted. NOPE. Sold out. I had around two weeks to buy the tickets, but it sold out and I was kicking myself. This is a lesson for all you folks out there, pick up tickets asap for a show you want to go to.

Luckily for me, the ticket gods were in my favor as Monday rolled around and what do you know, some unlucky soul could not make it to the show and was selling it for a reasonable price on craigslist. I instantly scooped up my ticket and thus begins my journey to the Florence’s sold out show on a wet and cold Monday night at the Mod Club.

First of all, can anyone tell me how they became so popular? Are they played on muchmusic or some radio station? The sell out was a complete surprise to me. I am guessing they are probably played on some mature radio station or something, as the crowd seemed to be predominately late 20s/30 somethings.

On to the show. What a voice. I think the Mod Club has been home to two of the more impressive vocal exhibitions in the past year, with Natasha Khan earlier this year and now Florence Welch. This women simply has a ferocious voice. It’s kinda like Neko Case if she cared about anything. Maybe it was the fact that this was the last show of the tour, but Florence seemed to just give it her all on the songs. Her stage move-set more or less consisted of using her arms to do some wavy movements, a hair twirl and jumping up and down. Her band consisted of some person on the Harp, two drummers (sounded great), a guitar or bassist and a synthy type girl. They pretty much did nothing aside from pound out music.

The songs itself were good. With the tribal-esque drumming, floral backdrop and flowers adorning the stage, the show had a spiritual-esque kind of feel, similar to Bat for Lashes in that sense. I felt like I should of been smoking some peyote in an Arizona desert somewhere. I don’t know why.

I was most surprise that the songs “Kiss with a Fist” and “Dog Days Are Over” were played so early in the set, since they seem most suited for last song before encore/last song of show types. Dog Days Are Over was especially a highlight, as a playful Florence Welch instructed the crowd to simultaneously jump up in the air multiple times, insinuating in the first (and last) ever mid-30s crowd mosh pit.

All in all, it was a very good and energetic show. Talent is talent. Florence Welch has a magnificent and powerful voice and that should carry her to a nice long career.

Between Two Lungs
My Boy Builds Coffins
Kiss With a Fist
Are You Hurting the One You Love?
Hospital Beds
Hurricane Drunk
Drumming Song
Dog Days Are Over
Cosmic Love
You’ve Got the Love
Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)

Concert Review: A Camp, June 1st, Mod Club

Posted on by Mark in Concerts | 6 Comments


Toronto – Last night brought Cardigans singer Nina Perssons and her solo project A Camp to Toronto’s Mod Club. Nina is on tour with her band to promote their latest release, Colonia. You can read my review of this album based on Colonialism here. The show was fun, and it was great to see Nina in such an intimate venue.

Opening for A Camp was the indie rocker Gentleman Reg. The band seemed to be happy to be back on home turf after spending some time south of the border. Apparently they hated playing in Washington, a fact that Reg mentioned perhaps 5 or 6 times. In any case, it was a solid opener, and set the tone for A Camp.

Contrary to (my own) popular belief, A Camp, is NOT pronounced like “A Team”. It’s literally just “a camp”, as in “if you look around that tent, you will see a camp.” I learn things every day.

When Nina finally hit the stage a little after 10, you couldn’t help but notice her stage presence. This is a woman who has owned the spotlight ever since the Cardigans broke out in the late 90’s and it’s apparent that she is comfortable being front and centre. Her stage banter was relaxed and playful, often with fists endearingly planted on her hips. She was wearing a black dress; both Nina and the stage were adorned with colonial themes.

Contrary to (my own) popular belief, A Camp, is NOT pronounced like “A Team”. It’s literally just “a camp”, as in “if you look around that tent, you will see a camp.” I learn things every day. In any case, A Camp played songs predominantly from their latest album and on the whole the live show was more enjoyable for me than their studio album.

By the time they truly hit the the end of their set, A Camp had already used up their A List material.

I have to admit that “Golden Teeth and Silver Medals” is one of the tracks on the album that I typically skip; it feels like a trundling tune and the male vocals seem wonky and out of place. The live version of the song was spiced up with a cameo by Gentlemen Reg, not to mention feeling more upbeat than the recorded version. It ended up being a highlight of the show, along with the more standard singles: My America, and Chinatown.

If there is one thing preventing this show from getting a 4.5/5, it was the ending/encore. There was a period near the end of the set where Nina left but the band kept playing and did a bit of an instrumental thing before she returned. This was cool, but it wasn’t clear if it was the actual end of the first set. But that wasn’t an actual ending; Nina came back and played her hits. By the time they truly hit the the end of their set, A Camp had already used up their A List material. As such, their encore consisted of two new tunes. The first was a slower song and it sounded OK. The second was a rocker, but just wasn’t terribly catchy and no one was familiar with it. I felt the crowd lose their gumption for the song a few minutes into it.

The ending could have been a littler better planned. But all in all this show was a solid show.