She & Him

Turf Review: She & Him, July 4th, Fort York

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 1 Comment


This is the third part of a three part series reviewing the first night of TURF. Thanks to our blogger friend Adam for his contributions, one day, I will upgrade him to a real life friend.

As one would expect, controversy plagued the She & Him show.

Adam: First off, why no photo pit She & Him? Also why no letting the VIP guests (WHO PAID A SHITLOAD EXTRA) into the VIP area?!?! That’s not nice, She & Him. Your songs can be best described as Zooey’s character on The New Girl; pretty, sweet, vapid. I did enjoy lying out on the grass with my eyes closed listening your music. Until you covered “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me.” Ugh! NO ONE CAN COVER THAT SONG… Unless you’re THE BEATLES! Are you the Beatles? Didn’t think so.

Ricky: She & Him could have probably played an entire set of Rancid covers and no one would have noticed because everyone was so busy tweeting/social mediaing about the photo ban. As a well established photographer, I felt slighted at my inability to capture the moment, so instead I photoshopped them onto Joel Plaskett Emergency (for consistency sake). I can understand how a band comprising of a pretty famous actress would want some sort of no flash photography, but when you have an all out photo ban, then it becomes a bit of a side show. Here is what everyone basically did:

a) took out cameras to get a shot of She & Him when they took the stage, much like you know, what happened when Camera Obscura and Joel Plaskett took to the stage. We live in an age now where people MUST take pictures at a show. They HAVE to post about it on facebook or twitter. It’s going to happen. Accept it.

b) got scolded by security about how M. Ward and Zooey would just like you to enjoy the show without photography

c) wow face

d) tweeted about it.

e) Looked around in amusement as security scurried about the grounds telling everyone who took a picture

f) Start to get angry when security start flashing their lights into faces/cameras of people trying to take picture

g) Take secret picture

h) oh yeah, She & Him are playing!

Set wise, as anyone who have heard any of the three She & Him albums can attest to, a She & Him show is like hoping aboard a delorean back to the simpler times. The bands retro-sounding pop sounds great on a summer night and the songs are so gosh darn sweet I feel like I left with a cavity. M.Ward’s still got those guitar chops and they had an older gentleman in a top hat who did an impressive whistle solo. Laid against the starry night backdrop, all the elements were there for a pleasant evening time show, if it wasn’t completely railroaded by the no photo ban. Never Wanted Your Love, a single from the new album sounds like an instant classic. It also sounds like it could have been written by Randy Newman for some pixar movie. Maybe that’s in the works. There was a bevvy of covers too, although some, including Unchained Melody came off as a bit awkward. As expected, Zooey Deschanel came off as completely adorable on stage, as did her taller, blonder backup singers. At one point she asked if anyone was going to drink beer the giant inflatable Coors can lurking near the back of the grounds, which struck some people as cute, but Paul thought it was a bit lame, to which I replied that she probably needed a script. I thought that was pretty funny, but I always think I’m funny. Anyways, In the Sun finished off the main set, and then in a shocking move, Zooey Deschanel pulled out a Postal Service record and ripped it in half. Okay, that didn’t happen, but how cool would that have been? We wouldn’t have the visual evidence to prove it anyways.

Festival Preview: Toronto Urban Roots Fest [July 4-7, Fort York]

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Toronto Urban Roots Fest (TURF) came out of nowhere earlier this year enshrouded by a haze of mystery. Initially, everyone was like who the hell was that, but as secrets revealed themselves, everyone went from curious to ecstatic as it finally dawned on people that we were finally getting a summer time music festival featuring some of our most beloved indie band.

What the hell is “urban roots” anyway? who cares. Lets take a look at 6 acts playing this thing next week.

Camera Obscura

The Scottish group recently released their fifth album – Desire Lines, recently and while it doesn’t necessarily break any new ground, their music is a pleasant summertime affair. I thought they would be put on a later slot, but I always over estimate a bands poularity.

She & Him

Zooey Deschanel has made an entire career out of being cute and quirky. It’s as if she took a look at two words in the dictionary and said “I’m going to dominate those words”. Underneath all those sun dresses, quirky mannerisms and hello giggles is an interesting voice. This voice has been harnessed by M. Ward to form She & Him, a power duo that has released three whole albums of vintage inspired folk-pop songs. Conveniently named Volume 3, She & Him’s third album came out earlier this year and they’ll be eager to show it off (everyone will just want them to play In The Sun). Just to fuck you up, here’s a picture of Zooey with and without bangs.


Joel Plaskett

Surely by now this man has been declared a national treasure. Joel Plaskett returns once again to Toronto to delight us with his lively music. Last time he was here, he played five nights at the Horseshoe so this time around it’ll be a bit different. What won’t be different will be the elation of his fans every time he regales them with one of the many hits he has provided over the past decade. He hasn’t released anything since Scrappy Happiness, so maybe this show is just to enhance his own personal brand, or he’s just here to visit family or something.


Dawes was one of those bands whose name you couldn’t escape in Austin this year. They even joined John Fogerty on stage, and he called them ‘good ole boys’. Since this is a roots festival or sorts, it would only make sense that good ole boys with plaid shirts and beards would play this show. The LA quartet also recently opened for Bob Dylan.

Xavier Rudd

People freaking love Xavier Rudd. Who they are? I don’t know. I went to his show at Queen Elizabeth Theatre a few years ago and let me tell you, his fans are so fanatic that it’s almost cult like. It also reminds me of Christian rock for some reason. Perhaps best known for his extensive use of didgeridoos, Rudd’s on stage show is energetic and if you are one of those lost souls looking for a random cause to join to feel something, maybe you too might turn into one of those Xavier Rudd fans.

Belle and Sebastian

Basically one of my favorite bands ever, Belle & Sebastian are hitting the summer festival this year hard. This includes a headline slot at Pitchfork as well. It’s been three years since they have released an album but who cares? Their live show has progressively better over the years and I expect nothing less then a wonderfully delightful show to close off the first ever TURF. No better way to finish off a Sunday.

SXSW Review: Rachael Ray’s Feedback, March 20, Stubbs

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

rachael ray's feedback party

Austin – Every year, this woman named Rachael Ray puts on a show at SXSW. Now I know who Rachael Ray is, but I have never seen her show nor did I know she had enough stroke to book Stubbs on an afternoon. This show was incredibly hard to get into and lineups were already around the block when I decided to leave my hotel at 1pm. Luckily, I was able to get into a show via some people and so here is a report on the acts I saw. Sorry as there are no pictures as all I had was my iphone with me.

Andrew WK – If there was anyone on Earth you would associate with partying, it would probably be Andrew WK. I think every single song he has contains the word party. His set was full of hard rock frenetic beat songs where Andrew WK yells into the microphone while banging his head up and down to the point where i felt my neck hurt from watching him. You have to give it to the guy though, he is committed to the cause of partying. He also has a lot of friends as I lost track of the amount of people who were on stage. You get the feeling that maybe even some people there he might not even know, probably just met them at the party last night. Even his in-between songs banter are about partying. I guess in the right mood (not say, 1pm on a freeeezing day), Andrew WK would be a fairly fun show.

Dr Dog – I was impressed with what I heard from Dr. Dog the previous day at Filter’s showdown at Cedar Courtyard. They have come a long way from the lo-fi sound of the early 2000s and look and sound like a good ole rock band. I wonder why they all wear sunglasses. What I was not impressed with, was the sound people at the North stage of Rachael Rays party, as the sound kept on cutting out halfway through the songs. We were completely deprived of vocals. Fortunately the group of hardcore Dr. Dog fans were there to singalong. There are a lot of hardcore Dr. Dog fans. I never knew that. The set ended off with the song Rabbit.

Jakob Dylan & Three Legs – Bob Dylan’s son teams up with Kelly Hogan (?) and the always awesome Neko Case in a country collaboration. How do I know this? Because Jakob Dylan was wearing one of those dorky country hats that people wear when they want to do more country songs. He was just missing having some wheat in his mouth. The music was very non-offending and probably has it’s place among Rachael Ray’s primary demographic – love deprieved stay at home moms wishing for a more lively, yet tender relationship. I thought he could of utilized Neko Case (wearing a winter jacket) better. He also DID NOT sing One Headlight or 6th Avenue Heartache. Seriously, even the most veteran of rockers know what got them there. How can they NOT sing that song.

Street Sweeper Social Club – Tom Morello has a new super group. Teaming up with Boots Riley, who looks like a Lenny Kravitz mixed with the Rock, if you threw him in the dryer for a few hours. They arrived on the North stage looking like a bunch of rock stars and were wearing pseudo-military garb with their logo embroidered on the front. Very RATMish if you ask me. They came on stage and layered some incoherent rap over some heavy rock music. I was unable and unimpressed with this band, seems a bit like a RATM ripoff and they did a horrible cover of MIA’s Paper Planes. There is no doubt they have the look of rock stars, the swagger of rock stars and the aspirations of rock stars, I just don’t think they have the music of rock stars, even if individually they might be. I left the set early to scope out a spot for She & Him

She & Him – Finally. I see an entire set of She & Him. What can I say? it was good. All their songs make you feel warm and happy inside and Zooey is cute. Hard to argue against that. Having said that, the background band was stellar and they all knew who the star vehicle was. Zooey’s vocals are rather strong and while she doesn’t really do anything on stage, it’s almost captivating enough. They played songs from both albums, including This is Not a Test and they new single In The Sun. M.Ward was also cool.

All in all, it was an okay lineup. I think most people go to Rachael Ray’s thing for all the free booze (there was A LOT) and free food. I have a good story about the lineup at RR’s for food, but it’ll make me sound like an asshole, so I’ll reserve that for another time.

SXSW Primer: She & Him

Posted on by Ricky in Everything, South By Southwest | Leave a comment

Toronto – Lets face it… every indie boy out there loves Zooey Deschanel. I don’t know if its the baby face, the eyes, the retro look or the fact that she looks stoned half the time she’s on screen, but there’s something undeniable about her appeal to indie kids. So when it was announced that she was going to collaborate with folk singer M. Ward (looking like a magician in the picture above) for an album, it was not a shocker that the band – She & Him became rather successful (as oppose to say..Scarlett Johansson/Pete Yorn one). The duo will be performing at SXSW to promote their new album Volume Two. Check out this single, so light and fluffy you might be able to lose weight just listening to it.


March 18th, 2010 – Austin, TX @ Cedar Street Courtyard (SXSW/Merge Records Showcase)
No advance tickets.

March 20th, 2010 – Austin, TX @ Auditorium Shores (SXSW/Ground Control Touring Showcase)