review

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.

4/5

Concert Review: Sandro Perri, August 21, Tranzac

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 1 Comment

Sandro Perri

(Toronto) The Tranzac Club. A make shift venue with lots of character and some good beer on tap. Yes, after a Mill Street Wit and finding a seat at the back amongst the cute, trendy Annex couples, I was ready for the show. As some of you may know I am a fan of Sandro Perri. I recently wrote about how he got snubbed for this years Polaris Music Prize HERE, but I digress.

Sandro came out, started to tune his guitar and then busted right into Family Tree to the surprise of the chatty crowd, who quickly shut up. He stood behind a drum pedal and played his guitar while his homemade orchestra accompanied him. To his right was a metal kitchen rack with homemade chimes hanging from it. A wrench, some forks, bells, and other random pieces of scrap metal which Peace, as he was introduced as, would thoughtfully rattle at the appropriate time. To his left were more chimes, a spinning bicycle wheel and Love, who was on percussion/scratching sound duty. Although very different, the supporting soundscapes were not as distracting to Sandros’ music as I had first anticipated.

On this night, Sandro reminded me of M. Ward, but with good songs. It was a quiet show, periodically interrupted by the sound of the cash register at the bar. Although very much acoustic, Sandro surprisingly had me toe tapping with his ability to rock out even the quietest of tunes.

Up next was Friendly Rich and The Lollypop People. I didn’t stay but they are worth checking out. I just didin’t have a Friendly Rich experience in me last night.

Concert Review – Mates Of State, August 4th, Lees

Posted on by Wade in Concerts | 5 Comments

Toronto – My review for this show was written three weeks ago when I bought my ticket. Anybody who read my review of MOS latest CD, Re-Arrange Us will know that I am a big fan (not as big as THIS person, but still big). I was pumped to see Kori and Jason and wouldn’t have missed the show for anything. They would really have to fuck things up to disappoint me. They didn’t. They played a solid mix of old and new songs. The highlight was the unexpected strings and trombone accompaniment provided by opening act Judgment Day. As a two piece, MOS know how to crank it, but with the additional help, the show was cranked up to 11. Here is the set list.

Fraud In The 80’s
Now
Like U Crazy
Get Better
Think Long
You Are Free
Jigsaw
Goods (All In Your Head)
Beautiful Dreamer
These Days (Simon and Garfunkle cover)
Blue And Gold Paint
Ha Ha
My Only Offer
Re-Arranger
Proofs
So Many Ways

I hung around after the show and got Kori and Jason to sign my copy of their 2000 release My Solo Project. Our conversation went like this:

Me: Hey guys, great show. Can I get you to sign my CD?
Jason: Thanks, no problem. Wow, this CD has our old address on it.
Kori: This is when we had a PO Box
Jason: This is one of the Omnibus releases!
Me: Does this give me MOS cred?
Jason: Yah man, you have cred. Hang on to this.
Me: Awesome. Will you two adopt me and raise me as your own?

Here is Proofs from My Solo Project that they played. A much different sounding MOS from Re-Arrange Us.

Concert Review: Bon Iver, July 22nd, Lees Palace

Posted on by Wade in Concerts, Everything | 6 Comments

Concert attended and reviewed by Panic Manual correspondent Karen Parker

(Toronto) I discovered Bon Ivers’ (Justin Vernon) album For Emma: Forever Ago after hearing one of his songs featured on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy……don’t’ judge me. I instantly loved the “sound of a man left alone with his guitar and his memories” (Pitchfork). And when I discovered that he had isolated himself in the woods for four months to write it….I lost my mind. It was like all my fantasies had been rolled into one big one and served in woolly touque. Thoughts of a beefy bearded man in a wool coat ala Gerard Butler, capably chopping wood and foraging for his food by day while nursing a broken heart and healing through the creation of haunting music in front of a roaring fire in the woods by night was almost too much to bear….almost.

At the show my friend Ashley was heard to say:

Mmmm I’ll be your skinny love…..I’ll lose like 25 lbs for you if you let me sit on your face.

He was supposed to go on at 10:15 and as everyone knows bands never go on at their scheduled time. It’s 10:30 and I’m racing from work thinking….I’m gonna make it with time to spare and sure enough…..he went on at 10:13!!!! C’mon Bon! Rock stars make you wait! By the time I got there, got past security and made it inside I had missed most of the show….including Skinny Love! Who plays their best song early in the set anyway? I caught two songs and then two in the encore.

What I did hear was fantastic. The place was packed and more humid than a Brazilian rain forest and speaking of brazilians, clearly I wasn’t the only woman there hoping to witness her fantasy on the stage. He could have done with a bigger venue but I think even he was overwhelmed and surprised by the turnout. And while attractive in his own way, sadly, up close, he doesn’t look like Gerard Butler in a plaid shirt…..but this.

I think I can see his balls.

bon iver
(Pitchfork photo credit)