NXNE Concert Review: Pirate Love, June 18, El Mocambo

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, North By Northeast | 3 Comments

Toronto – Coming off as latter day Primal Scream wannabes, Norway’s Pirate Love played their blend of psychedelic punk rock to a decent crowd on Thursday. I guess they are promoting their album “Black Voudoun Space Blues”. Personally they didn’t do that much for me despite dressing up in costumes (or maybe ponchos and cowboy hates is typical garb for Norwegians). I found the lead singers voice to be too growly at times and he spent a lot of time with his back to the crowd. I do think he has the rock star attitude down, often looking disinterested, sock full of arrogance and having a bedazzled outfit. Having said all that the last two songs weren’t all that bad. I think if someone dressed up as Jack Sparrow, I would have enjoyed their show more.

Pirate Love will be at Neutral on June 20th at 2 Am.

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.



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)

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?’

Concert Review: My Morning Jacket, June 16, Kool Haus

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 3 Comments

Toronto – So 3 days, 7 concerts, a stroll thru Taste of Little Italy and countless short films later, the weekend and done and all was well again….right? NOPE. Monday came around and my most anticipated show was on the horizon. As you might have read, My Morning Jacket‘s Evil Urges is one of my favorite albums of the year and so I went to the Kool Haus on Monday night with great enthusiasm. The Kool Haus was pretty packed by the time we arrived at 9:45 or 9:50 or so, perhaps this was with the short notice that wristband/badge holders were allowed in before nine for free. Something I was not aware of til I bought the ticket.

My Morning Jacket came on around 10 and immediately started off with the song “Evil Urges”. A sign for the times. Man they were sharp, the guitars sounded crisp, no one instrument dominated another, and Jim James voice carried nicely thru out the warehouse confines of the Kool Haus. That guy has a stadium voice, I have to say. Following up Evil Urges with another song off the new album – Im Amazed – I believe, MMJ went to their back catalog and whipped out “Off The Record” to a great response. From then on, the Kentucky gang pretty much had the crowd in the palm of their hands. The rest of the night featured songs from Evil Urges, as well as song’s from Z and It Still Moves. The gang didn’t talk much to the people, but the music kept things interesting.

The show was 2 and a half hours long. Definitely one of the longest sets I’ve ever been to. The encore was 45 minutes long and felt like the end of The Return of the King, they would play a hit tune, jam for a few minutes, I’m thinking..they are done. Then Jim James switches guitar and then plays another tune. I’m not complaining..but that was just an observation. I came away from the show extremely satisfied..they played all the songs I liked, there was a light show, they were perfect on stage musically as well. After watching 8 bands that are kinda new to the game for NXNE, you really can see a contrast in professionalism between an established band like MMJ and one that has just started off. Either way, I was tired as hell at the end of the show, and my ears were ringing, but I was also smiling like a kid in a candy store.

1. Evil Urges
2. I’m Amazed
3. Off The Record
4. What A Wonderful Man
5. Gideon
6. Highly Suspicious
7. Thank You Too!
8. Lowdown
9. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt.1
10. Librarian
11. Sec Walkin
12. Golden
13. Two Halves
14. The Way That He Sings
15. Lay Low
16. Aluminum Park
17. Remnants
18. Smokin From Shootin
19. Touch Me I’m Going To Scream Pt.2
20. Wordless Chorus
21. Steam Engine
22. One Big Holiday
23. Run Thru
24. Anytime