Obvious Song of the Day: Suede – Barriers

Posted on by Ricky in Song of the Day | Leave a comment

Always interesting when, you know, your favorite band comes out with their first new track in ten years after a successful recent reformation. Given their last release was the much maligned A New Morning, I guess most Suede fans would be correct if they approached these new releases with a sense of trepidation. Still, it’s kinda exciting.

Barriers is the first track to be released off their new album, Bloodsports which is due to be released some time this year. Not quite sure what to make of it after three listens – it’s not entirely dramatic as any of their Butler material, not as pop as the material off Coming Up or Head music and definitely not as shitty as the material off A New Morning. I can’t quite place it, although if you listened to the Tears, you could say there are some similarities. There are some soaring guitars and as funny as it is to hear Anderson sing words like ‘lipstick traces’ again, it’s still a welcome addition to my life.

Welcome back.

Listen and download this song in all it’s glory at

Should I Stay or Should I go: Coachella Edition

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Music | 1 Comment

The Coachella lineup was released Tuesday night, and as you would expect, the knee jerk reactions from hardcore music fans (including myself) ranged from “OMG I have to go!”* to “what a lineup!”* to “I would DIE if I can’t make it!”* Given the usual rush of emotions that comes when a music festival lineup is announced, I’ve decided to write a little article about whether or not you should go to Coachella. For the record, Panic Manual members have been to Coachella in 2004, 2006 and 2010.

Let’s start with the obvious – Can You Afford Coachella?

Let’s say you have 3 other friends interested in going. You are on the East coast in a major city with an international airport, then here are some costs. I am assuming you are going to take Thursday off, and Monday off. Here are some rough estimates:

YYZ – LAX: 400$ if you book early
Car Rental: 30$ a person if you are over 25, and someone has a credit card with collision insurance
Gas: 20$ a person
Accomodation: 125$ a person for four nights stay at a reasonable hotel
Coachella ticket: 280$ (absurd)
Food, Merch, Drinks: 150$ (assuming you don’t go nuts)

This ranges out to about $1000 a person for a five day trip. Not insane prices, but definitely will make you want to assess your plans. Some people might suggest you go camping. I don’t know about you, I don’t really want to camp in a desert. Maybe I’m old, but the weather at Palm Springs varies wildly (as would any place in a desert climate) from day to night. The other thing you have to realize is that music festivals are draining exercises, and the last thing you want to do after a night of music festival going is to wander into your campground, finding your tent, realizing your sleeping bag is in a weird angle and then having to fend off any potential drunk/high neighbors. If you are going to Coachella or anywhere far, might as well drop a few more dimes and get yourself a cozy hotel room with a hot tub, so you can get fully recharge for the next days adventure.

Still, music festivals are a great adventure, and as someone who does go to these things, it comes down to the music. So here is my general assessment:

Reasons to Go#1: OMG bands

Anytime I assess a music festival lineup, you pretty much have to find a few bands there that are in the “oh my god, this is something I won’t ever be able to see” zone. These are either bands that are reuniting after a long period (not DFA 1979, who broke up not even 3 Harry Potter movies ago) or bands who rarely tour. Looking at the list, these are the only bands that come to mind:

Duran Duran
Suede (reunited in 2010)
Chemical Brothers
Lauryn Hill (released from mental institution)
Big Audio Dynamite (reuniting)
Leftfield (reunited in 2010)
Empire of the Sun (apparently put on mind blowing shows, but excessive drug use means they sometimes schedule two concerts on the same date in different cities)

Now if you are a hardcore fan of any of these bands, then by all means you should go, assuming they also don’t schedule a North America tour at the same time, or recently just flew to England to see them.

Reason to Go #2 – Haven’t seen many of these bands

Sometimes I forget that I go to a ridiculous amount of shows, and so basically, I’ve probably seen a majority of the bands playing at any festival so if you have never seen bands like Interpol, Animal Collective, Mumford & Sons, The National, PJ Harvey before and you want to somehow wrap up all those experiences in one weekend, then by all means, go. However, you must realize that festival time slots means that each act other then the major headliners will only play about 40 minutes. Do you really want your first time seeing the National to be a 45 minute affair? What if it conflicts with another band you want to see? (That will happen). Still it’s a great way to see a lot of your favorite new bands for a reasonable price. I am guessing you will see about 10 bands a day, 30 bands in total if you go there day and night.

Reason to go #3 – Never been to Music Festival

If you haven’t been to a music festival, Coachella is a pretty sweet first time festival, it’s warm, there are a lot of pretty people everywhere, they all speak English, you get to go to LA, you might run into drunk celebrities and it’s also a pretty good lineup.

Reason to Not Go #1 – You live in Toronto or New York

Let’s face it, most of these bands are going to roll through here at one point or another. You have your own music festivals in which all the bands in size 12 point font will play two or more shows and really, you’ve probably seen these bands before. The Arcade Fire played Toronto 3 times last year and aside from the OMG bands, every band on the list will be here at one point or another if they are touring/and are smart. There are better ways to spend $1000

Reason to Not Go #2 – Most bands only play ~30-40 minutes/ Crowds / Overlap

The two massive drawbacks of overpopulated music festivals is that most bands play a short set and also some major act will be stuffed in a tiny tent that will be too crowded and you’ll get pissed that you didn’t see them (ie Beck in 2004). There will also be at least one instance where you wish you could be at two places at once, although none will be as bad as having Lady Gaga play opposite the Strokes at Lollapalooza. Either way, these are probably the major setbacks of any festival, if you are one to get frustrated easily, then music festivals might not be for you at all.

Reason to Not Go #3 – Propensity for Heatstroke

It gets hot in Palm Springs. There are also thousands of thousands of people. This will raise the heat further. If you are the type who can’t handle heat or a crowd, then this is probably not a great festival for you, unless you are only interested in seeing the bands in size 10 font.


Going somewhere is always fun. Coachella is always fun. It also has the benefit of being the first North American festival, keep in mind there’s also Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, Osheaga, Sasquatch, some thing in San Fran and pretty much every major city that happens every summer, so while you are frantically messaging your friends trying to convince yourself you need to be in Indio, remember that there are other options and it’s not the end of the world if you don’t go. Which you should..probably. I don’t know, I’m not your father.

* I just made those up, didn’t bother looking for references, assumed it to be true. Real Journalism, yo.

Concert Review: Suede, December 7th, O2 Arena

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, Music | 8 Comments

London – What can you write about a concert featuring your favorite band singing 23 of your favorite songs and you are freaking close to the stage even though the show is at the cavernous O2 Arena (a place that has amusement park rides on the concourse). Suede at the O2 arena was amazing, it was as expected, my favorite show of the year and everything was amazing. Let’s start off with the set list:

This Hollywood Life
The Drowners
Animal Nitrate
We Are The Pigs
Pantomime Horse
By The Sea
Killing Of A Flashboy
Can’t Get Enough
Everything Will Flow
The Next Life
The Asphalt World
So Young
Metal Mickey
The Wild Ones
New Generation
Beautiful Ones

The Living Dead
To The Birds
Saturday Night

With the exceptions of Still Life and Europe is My Playground, everything I really wanted to hear was covered. It was an hour and forty five minutes of literally non stop singing action, as the Suede blazed from one song to another.

Let’s start from the beginning. I rarely ever go to arena shows. I have never even been to a show at the ACC, so imagine the look on the security guard’s face when I asked him if there was coat check. Haha. The O2 arena is set up nicely. There’s many restaurants everywhere for food. I kinda wish the ACC had that same setup. I got there at the end of the New Young Pony Club set, just enough time to hear The Bomb, which was all I really wanted to hear from them. We had lodged ourselves to the left of the stage not too far from the front, so the time in between the end of the NYPC set and the beginning of the Suede set was spent making sure no one got in front of us. The crowd was older as expected, but there were still a few younger kids in the crowd. Those kids have good taste.

At 9:15, the lights dimmed and a recording of Introducing the Band played over the soundsystem. The band soon emerged, dressed in all black and they launched into a vicious version of This Hollywood Life. Normally, I am not the biggest fan of that track, but tonight, it sounded so lively that you had no choice but to love it. As you would expect, the rest of the night was one big sing-a-long. Brett’s voice sounded great and he’s a great front man. Between his dancing, microphone twirling, call and response and dramatic singing, it made every song seems so much more epic. Songs like Pantomime Horse had an extra oomph to it, that had you thinking “yeah, there’s still some justine-damon resentment there”.

At 10:15, they played Asphalt World. So at 10:15pm on December 7th, 2010, I heard my favorite song ever live for the very first (and potentially last) time. I was a bit sad they cut it off after the four minute mark, but I didn’t expect them to play the whole ten minute version (or the Bernard version, I guess).

The 1-2 punch of New Generation and The Beautiful Ones was a great way to end off the initial set, as the former was a fist raising rauncher while the latterr inspired what might be the one of the greatest LA LA LA LA sessions of all time. You might make fun of Suede for all the Oooohhs they incorporate into their music, but at a show, those OOhhs are golden. GOLDEN.

All in all an amazing show. Paul went in a bit skeptical about the show and came out wanting to buy a t-shirt. For me, it’s something to be able to finally see a band you’ve loved for about twelve years. It’s something else to see them live and watch them kick ass. I’m not sure where Suede is going from here, but I’m hoping it’s a North America tour, since I can’t really afford to fly to England for these concerts all the time.

The Asphalt World by The London Suede

Concert Review: The Wave Pictures, Maylee Todd, White Suede, March 25, Drake Hotel

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts | 3 Comments

Toronto – On Wednesday night, at Royal Albert Hall in London, England, my favorite band ever, Suede was playing some charity show for cancer or something. It was the first time they had played for seven years or something, and I wasn’t there. Did you know it costs $2500 to fly to England for one night and then come back the next night? Seriously. I know. Too expensive. As I laid there on the floor in a fetal position crying, I realized that I would be watching a band called Suede this week anyway. This didn’t make me feel any better, but that’s the way life goes I guess. The band was actually named White Suede, who were playing a triple bill at the No Shame showcase on Thursday night, also featuring Toronto singer Maylee Todd and British band The Wave Pictures.

White Suede – I didn’t know much about this band going in, so I’ll refer to the PR email for an introduction. According to the email, White Suede “is the latest incarnation of a collaboration between songwriter Daniel Bedard, guitarist and band leader Adrian Traub-Rees and soulful diva extraordinaire Kritty Urinowski”. I don’t know they are, but it so happened that Thursday night was the band’s first performance ever. A band’s first public live performance is always interesting..everything either goes right, or everything falls apart. Luckily for White Suede, it was the former and not the latter. A large 7 piece band, White Suede consisted of drummers, synth player, bass, guitar and three vocalist – two of them females. Joe from Mechanical Forest Sound likened their appearance to that of the Commitments, something I didn’t realize at the time, but is completely true. The fourty minute set consisted of energetic music that is influenced from 70s rock mixed with some soul and Motown vibes. All the songs seemed very radio friendly and had a classic innocent kinda vibe to it. There was synchronized dancing moves between the two female singers and overall, it was fairly entertaining – especially for a first show ever.

Maylee Todd and Pegwee Powe – Next up on the bill was Toronto singer/songwriter Maylee Todd. You may know her as the singer on various Woodhands songs. I would classify her set as a smorgasbord of sounds and genre. A real bass, harp, accordion and various other instruments were used throughout the set, which features elements of pop, jazz, soul, motown and funk. One constant among all the songs is the use of Maylee Todd’s voice – which is powerful, clear and sharp. I really like songs that were more soul/funk oriented and to me, that might be the best use of Maylee Todd’s talents. It seemed like she was dabbling in many different genres in order to experiment or maybe she gets too bored if she consistently does one thing, but to me, her soul/funk stuff is definitely the best. Either way, the set was once again, energetic, sometimes disorganized but all in all very pleasant. The lyrics didn’t really make sense sometimes and the banter was a bit awkward at times, but I still enjoyed the set.

The Wave Pictures – I think the Wave Pictures takes the award for the shortest sound check/setup time ever. I swear, they did it in 10 minutes. It was impressive and made me happy. I guess this is one of the benefits of having a simple drum/guitar/bass setup. It’s a real shame that only 50 or 60 people were in the audience for their set because the Wave Pictures delivered a really honest, catchy dose of folk rock with clever lyrics and observations. Casually talking about the Queen, shopping for vinyl at Rotate this and problems crossing the borders, the band seemed to engage the audience as old friends rather then people who paid to see them, making the show quite intimate. There were definitely some hardcore fans in the audience who seemed to know lyrics to every song and I am sure they are quite happy with the set. The 40 minute set consisted mainly of songs off the recent albums Instant Coffee Baby and If You Leave It Alone. All 3 members of the band shared vocal duties including drummer Jonny Helms, who much to the delight of the crowd, sang Now That You’re Pregnant as the set closer. Good times all around.

All in all, a pleasant night of pleasant music.

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