Istanbul – Even though I am in an entirely different culture half a world away, I am still thinking of you people. So here are some shows in TORONTO this week that you should go to.
May 30th, The Phoenix
I’ve never been at a Friendly Fires show and left unsatisfied. They are simply, a really good live band that deliver a steady dose of dance whenever they are on stage. You will probably wonder why you can’t dance like lead singer Ed MacFarlane, whose gyrating hips will probably make you wish you had some dancing lessons. The band is in town to promote their excellent follow up album Pala. You should go.
An inspirational story to all DIY pop star wannabes, Robyn has achieved mainstream success by doing it her own way and the dividends are starting to pay off. Kick ass electronic music with inconceivably catchy hooks are two mainstays in any Robyn song and you can see the live version of it at the new Echo Beach venue. This will undoubtedly be better then seeing her at the ACC later this month.
Aloe Blacc had one of the more underrated singles last year with the track I Need A Dollar which came from Good Things one of the more underrated albums from last year. I have no doubt this Southern US soul singer will put on an energetic and memorable show when he takes the tiny stage at the Wrong Bar on Sunday.
Here’s a bunch of other shows from bands I have yet to process, but they are happening regardless and deserve some attention.
May 30th, Horseshoe Tavern
This Toronto outfit recently released an album that we enjoyed and it’s a freakin free show. They are on at 10pm which means you can get home in time to get your precious sleep. What more can you ask for?
Chip Tune Groove
June 3rd, Tiger Bar
Gold Soundz and T.Comics bring the chiptune groove back for round 3: FIGHT! Yes, there will be a video game tournament as usual (and it will probably be Street Fighter II). Featuring JEFFTHEWORLD, Starpilot, OXVYLU and DJ EASTERN BLOK. I expect a lot of bleeps and bloops
Toronto – Technically we aren’t at Coachella, but that doesn’t mean we don’t like telling people what to do. This will be your day at Coachella. I’m sorta psychic.
1:00 PM – Parking Car
Ideally, you would be seeing the Rural Alberta Advantage play tracks off their fantastic new album Departing, but let’s face it, theres going to be a mile long lineup for cars to get into the parking lot. So instead, you will be sitting in traffic and waiting – the true California experience.
2:00 PM – Lining Up at Entrance
Despite the fact that the site organizers make it pretty clear what you can or can not bring, there is bound to be a handful of idiots that forget you can’t bring outside food and drink, which will lead to a bunch of pretty girls trying to sweet talk the security guards into allowing them to bring their Arizona Green Teas into the venue, delaying the lineup by forever.
3:00 PM – Exploring/Merch Table
As much as the chance to see New Jersey civil war enthusiasts Titus Andronicus interests you, you will spend the next hour or so walking around the grounds, scoping out potential merch, buying bottles of water and looking for any potential celebrities. Is that Ryan Gosling? Is that Lindsay?
4:00 PM – The Drums/Odd Futures
Finally, you say, a band I kind of want to see. The Drums were darlings last year with their 90s Cure-inspired self title debut. They’ll play the song Let’s Go Surfing and you’ll be thinking “hmm, I’m probably in the only place I would visit in California where I can’t go surfing”. Then it’ll hit about 4:30 and you’ll see a mass migration and you will follow them to see Odd Future, the most talked about band at SXSW. You’ll wonder why until you see the band’s stage show, which will probably involve several crazy antics. The lead singer might jump off a scaffolding or something. After 20 minutes though, you feel hot. This is because you are in a desert and its 32 degrees outside and with the crowd, it’s probably reaching 40 degrees Celsius. You leave and find shade somewhere.
5:00 PM – Cee Lo Green
Needing some fresh air and a less intense show, you will go see the muppets on acid show that is Cee Lo Green. Needing to fill the big stage, Cee Lo will most likely trot out a bunch of random characters for a more colorful stage, you wait patiently through all the songs you don’t know and finally, the opening notes of Fuck You come on and you scream like a little girl. If you are a bro, this is your first high five moment with another bro. The happiness ends quickly though, as Cee Lo introduces the guest singer for the song – Gwyneth Paltrow. She mangles the song entirely before urging you to buy the DVD version of the movie Country Strong.
6:00 PM – Waiting for Lauryn Hill
Shortly after Gwyneth Paltrow leaves the stage, you contemplate getting food, but then you realize that it is dinner time and everyone will be hitting the food stalls for food. You look at the little schedule in your hands and decide you should see Lauryn Hill since you liked that Fugee’s song Killing Me Softly and remember how awesome her solo record was. What you don’t remember is that she is completely insane and thus, does not take the stage until 6:30. She’ll then ramble on for about fifteen minutes before playing two tracks and leaving.
7:00 PM – Scrambling for Food / Sleigh Bells
By this time, you will realize that you need to get food before all the big acts play. You don’t even have much time to do it, so you just go grab whatever has the shortest line. You will then instantly regret whatever overpriced food you just got but then try to salvage this hour by catching the closest act playing, in this case, the 2010 hyped Sleigh Bells. You wonder what the hype was about
8:30 PM The Black Keys/Cut Copy
This is going to be a hard decision, it all depends on whether you feel like dancing or rocking out. You might remember Cut Copy trotting out a Gorilla on a late night tv show not too long ago, and decide to go see the Australian band based on that. The dancing begins.
9:30 PM Crystal Castles
As much as you want to hear Kings of Leon play Use Somebody, the frantic energy that is Alice Glass is too hard to miss. You will go see Crystal Castles and it’ll be an insane experience. Despite having a broken ankle, Alice Glass will do all in her power to put on the greatest show in the time slot. She might even trot out a guess singer for their superb cover of Platinum Blonde’s Not In Love. Hopefully it’s not Brandon Flowers
10:30 PM Robyn
Immediately after the last beats of Crystal Castles last song, you and about fifteen thousand people make the mad dash to the Mojave tent to see Robyn, the Swedish singing sensation who is playing a venue that is way too small. You get to the area only to realize it’s completely packed. Still you find a little spot to elevate yourself and see her from about half a mile away. “This is Coachella!” you think to yourself. Then someone taller stands in front of you.
11:30 PM Chemical Brothers
Friday nights headliners will truly test your stamina. It’s late, you have been out in the hot sun for eight or nine hours and you are TIRED. However, the Chemical Brothers have a legendary live show and you really can’t miss them. You are worried that you’ll be too tired, and then Block Rockin Beats comes on and you start to lose yourself.
2:00 AM – Parking Lot
Wow that was a great night you thought, but why am I still in the parking lot?
Well, there you have it. Obviously, we are a bit envious, but have fun and stay hydrated!
Toronto – While it might be tempting to stay home, find a blanket, cover yourself up, brew some hot chocolate and watch reality television, you should probably think about going to a few of these shows.
Robyn w/ Diamond Rings
Sound Academy, January 26th
Yes, it is the dreaded Sound Academy, but Robyn‘s stock has risen to soaring heights in the past year and you’d be a fool to think she will be playing anything smaller from now on. You can complain and everything about the long commute, the ridiculous layout and then the fights you have to get into in order to get into a cab, but the thing you know is that as soon as the opening bass line for Dancing On My Own comes on, you will be screaming your heart out and that all that crappy Sound Academy logistics won’t matter. Toronto’s own Diamond Rings open. Why am I not surprised at all.
If you missed out on Robyn tickets this time around, she is also opening for Katy Perry in June, tickets are only twenty dollars more expensive, surprisingly.
January 28, Wrongbar
These Brooklyn rappers have been on fire the past 18 months, releasing popular “mixtapes” and singles on the internet. Anyone who has heard Das Racist will know that the duo is exceptional at crafty humorous and ridiculously catchy songs. Want an example? Listen to Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.
With their excellent take on post-punk rock, White Lies became the hottest thing at SXSW two years ago. The Ealing foursome are back with Ritual, a follow up album to their superb debut album To Lose My Life. You can stream their full album at their website or stream parts of their album below. We’ll be at this show and you should too.
Toronto band Dinosaur Bones will be opening up for White Lies, and should do well in wetting your appetite for indie rock. They recently put out an EP named Birthright and will be releasing a real album at some point this year.
For those of you looking for a more classic rock solution, then let me introduce you to Montreal’s Besnard Lakes. Perennial Polaris finalists, the husband and wife duo of Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas have been on absolute fire the past year following the heels of their 2010 release The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night. If you like brooding, psychedelic, atmospheric rock music, then look no further then the Besnard Lakes.
I don’t really know who they are, but I saw their name on rotate.com and then thought they were vaguely familiar. I then checked our inbox and realized they have emailed us a bunch of times despite us never replying to them. Sticky Magazine has them labelled as modern soul revivalist and is running a contest on them, so maybe they are good. The only surefire way to find out is to go to the Fitz and the Tantrums show on Wednesday at the Mod Club