the xx

Toronto Eulogy: Koolhaus/Guvernment (2015)

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This past weekend saw the closing of one of the most divisive music venues in all of Toronto. The Guvernment/KoolHaus was a venue you either love, hate or tolerated. Whatever your feelings about it were, there was only one thing clear – you couldn’t really avoid it. Since we are quite a reflective group, I asked various members of the Panic Manual to share their feelings about it.

Initial Thoughts

Ricky I wasn’t in Toronto at the time it was known as the “Warehouse” but rather only after it rebranded itself as the “Kool Haus”. Right away, I knew it wasn’t that cool, because no truly cool places would call itself cool. Furthermore, no really cool places would call itself cool with a k. It’s not 1985.

Thierry I’ll always remember the general sense of dread I felt when an artist I wanted to see was scheduled at the Kool Haus/Guvenment—it was slightly smaller than the one I feel when a show is announced at Sound Academy, but only because at the Kool Haus there was a 10 sq. ft. space in front of the speakers where the sound was actually pretty good!

Melody- I’ve never hated the Kool Haus. Sure, I’ve had bad moments there, but I’m smart enough to know that it had nothing to do with the venue and more to do with my own dumb decisions: choosing bad shows (a free k-os show because why the fuck not), choosing to show up early like an idiot (any band I idolized as a teen) and getting shit-faced (that’s how I dealt with that k-os show, I have no recollection of how I got to/from the venue) were all things I did to myself. Poor Kool Haus just facilitated my madness. Kool Haus was so indicative of my *~youth~* (yes, I guess I’m still living out my youth), it was the place where I’d eagerly fork over my cash, line-up early for the chance of seeing an artist come out of their tour bus to greet fans and willingly listen to great music in a shitty venue. There’s a reason why I haven’t gone there in recent years and it’s because I want to believe I’m an adult now. Kool Haus was a fun teenage fling of sorts, but I’d rather spend my nights watching Netflix in a cool house. Okay, that was lame.

Brent: I can remember my first show at the Koolhaus (then the Warehouse). It was in 1997. A bunch of high school friends and I took the GO train from Port Credit to see Suede. We were a bunch of pretty excited teenagers but more of it had to do with being a suburban kid downtown on a school night. Badass.

The disappointment of the night was that they didn’t come out for an encore, however, I was able to grab a setlist from the stage.

Gary: Ahhh The Guvernment. Even though I had a single, all-too-fleeting encounter with the Guv, I’ll always remember it fondly as the only time in memory when I was checked for guns going to a concert in Toronto. A fitting act for the big-brother. Although why one would check for weapons at the XX’s concert full of moody instrumental indie gothipster is anyone’s guess.

A Fondness?

Ricky While most people seem to dislike the KoolHaus, I thought it was okay. I’ll tell you why

1) Options – Kool Haus is a larger size venue. Up until the Danforth Music Hall opened, it was mainly the Kool Haus or the Sound Academy. I would rather stab you in the face then go to the Sound Academy.

2) Location – For most people, the Kool Haus was a trek. It is queen’s quay and in the middle of nowhere. Guess where I work? On Queen’s Quay. For me, a show at the Kool Haus just meant I go for drinks after work in the St. Lawrence area and then pop on by to the Kool Haus. Since I really liked C’est What, it was pretty easy for me to go to a Kool Haus show. Unless it was a weekend.

3) Sightlines – For most part, the stage at the Kool Haus was not high enough. However, there is a certain sneaky spot way on the other side of the stage that is almost always empty. If you look at all my Kool Haus pictures, you will see that I am always in that spot.

Lasting Memories

Melody: Best shows off the top of my mind: Broken Social Scene, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals, The Kills, Haim.

Jack: I realized a dream when I saw My Bloody Valentine there back in the fall of 2013. Truthfully, I did feel like I was walking into the Cantina at Mos Eisley, and found myself worried I’d get an arm chopped off by a laser weapon at any moment. The band was not on good form, the Canadian roadies not having learned how to deal with the maelstrom of Kevin Shields; the crowd was eerily quiet, with a lot of awkward silence between songs; and one loud fan redefined obnoxiousness by shouting out that MBV was “THE BEST BAND IN THE UNIVERSE!” at every possible chance. Apart from these things, the Kool Haus provided me with an opportunity I would not have otherwise had. The blissful incapacitating of my ear drums by set’s end was all I needed to look back now and realize I have a fond memory of the place.

Thierry: I did see three great shows at these venues: the Decemberists (2006) and Ben Folds Five (2012) at the Kool Haus, and Miguel (2012) at the Guvernment. That last one also featured a typically mystifying Toronto audience that started leaving in droves when Miguel kicked into his set closing “Adorn”, perhaps to be able to get out of the parking lot before daybreak.

Paul Some friends and I drove all the way to the venue once to see some metal band (not sure who, no one that great) before finding out it was sold out and then hanging out in the parking lot for a bit while we decided what to do. I think we just went for coffee like a bunch of un-metal losers. Lesson learned. Then there was the time I went on a date to a Sonic Youth show in 2004. It didn’t really work out, perhaps foreshadowing what would happen with Kim and Thurston or maybe because life isn’t actually like the “Dirty Boots” video. Still, Hair Police and Sunburned Hand Of The Man opened that show and I remember thinking they were both pretty rad at the time.

Brent: My highlight though was seeing Pavement for the first time at the Guvernment. Otherwise, I hated that place. It was difficult to get to by public transit, there was always a line that was usually freezing, and when you got inside it was always moist and sweaty. Keep the condo-hipsters down by the lake where they belong is what I say!

Gary: My only regret is that the Guvernment didn’t live long enough to see Ricky cement its reputation in a venue review along with an Etch A Sketch worth remembering. Perhaps we could do that for an epitaph.

Ricky: Kool Haus was home to some ridiculously good shows – Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Doves, Kasabian, My Bloody Valentine and LCD Soundsystem all come to mind. I think I will end up missing the Kool Haus, because it now means I’ll have to go to the Sound Academy more often.

RIP Kool Haus, you were never that kool, but neither was I.

Remix Song of the Day: The XX – Intro (Kenny Burke Edit)

Posted on by Ricky in Remixes, Song of the Day | 1 Comment

Remember The XX? Yea you do. You were crapping your pants all over them two years ago, how dare you forget. The instrumental introduction to their Mercury Prize winning debut self titled record was a fantastic bit of music that seemingly declared ‘you are about to listen to a great album’. The bit of music has been used as intro for many fascinating things since it’s been released, including this especially effective introduction to the amazing reality series about the Penguins/Capitals on HBO called 24/7, watch this:

Now having listened to that, did you ever think .. man, I wished that version was slightly longer?

If you ever did that, then today, you are king for your wish has been granted.

Kenny Burke’s remix of Intro is an eight minute slow burning remake of the XX intro, and it’s slick and smooth. Check it out.

The XX – Intro (Kenny Burke Edit) by Kenny Burke

XX Song/Cover(s) of the Day: Jonquil – Infinity / Holly Miranda – Crystalized / OMD – VCR

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


Toronto – Can you believe The XX made their monumental debut over two years ago? How incredible is that? While we anxiously await their sophomore record, here are some covers to satisfy your needs.

This first one is by the band Jonquil, who I have written about quite a bit lately. It’s probably because I like them. I actually used another photo for this post at Paul’s insistence. Their version of the song Infinity adds a little more beat and a little sleaze into it. I heard them play this live in Austin and it was pretty cool.

Jonquil – Infinity (xx cover) by Jonquil

Next up is singer songwriter Holly Miranda. This foxy lady is also in the band Jealous Girlfriends, a band I think Wade once took me to for a concert. This version of Crystalized is pretty similar to the core, maybe even a little more striped down then you would imagine.

Holly Miranda – Crystalized (XX cover) Featuring Glowhearts and Timmy Mislock by holly miranda

OMD, SXSW 2011, March 18, 2011 21.jpg

You know your music is pretty special when legendary bands such as OMD cover you. This version of VCR retains most of the XX essence, only if the song was sang by Andy McCluskey.

OMD – VCR (rough mix) by 100% Records

Alright, that’s it. Have yourselves an XXcellent weekend! (lame)

2010: Ricky’s Favorite Concert Moments (PART 1)

Posted on by Ricky in Everything | 1 Comment

Toronto – I saw roughly 124 bands this year. That is insane. Among those bands, there were moments. Awesome moments. Here are my favorite concert moments of the year. No particular order. I split this up into two parts, because I can.

Flaming Lips – Do You Realize

The Flaming Lips concert was magic and it all accumulated in the most epic version of Do You Realize ever. Sure, they might do it at every show but the magic of the Flaming Lips is that every city they go, they make you feel like that the show is special and this was no exception.

James – Sit Down

Starting off the concert with one of your most popular songs is risky, as it is arguably one of the high points of the show, James did exactly that – starting with their sing along hit Sit Down while walking through the audience. While the sing a longs in London were better, this was the first time I saw it live, so it made it quite special.

Suede – Beautiful Ones

Suede put on my favorite concert of the year, and the last song of the set (ignoring encores) was their hit single Beautiful Ones off their first post Butler album, Coming Up. While this song isn’t in my usual Suede playlist, you can’t deny the awesomeness of the massive lalalalala sing a long at the end of the set.

Saturday Night – Suede by oktoberpest

Yacht – Group Prayer

Despite starting well past midnight at a workday, Yacht managed to impressed me quite a bit with their indie pop preacher act. Their messages of positivity and death and what not all led to lead singer Jona Bechtolt arranging the entire crowd into a prayer circle. You don’t see that every day.


Yacht – See Mystery Lights by verdictmagazine

Everybody in the French Resistance.. Now!

This wasn’t actually one of my favorites, but my most embarrassing. Eddie Argos band played to maybe 30 people for their first show at SXSW, I was one of them. Eddie Argos decided to take the show to the fans, and played most of the set in the audience. I stupidly decided to check the phone for something during the set, only to look up and see Eddie Argos like half a foot away, looking directly at me and singing to my face. It was kinda embarrassing and I never brought out my phone again.

Everybody Was in the French Resistance....Now!, SXSW

Temper Trap and the Filter Party

Filter ALWAYS puts together great parties at SXSW and 2010 was no exception. We were lucky enough to be allowed in the back/vip area of the Filter party which gave us super awesome views and more importantly for our photographer Derek, an open bar for the entire afternoon. Such awesome photos ensued:

The Temper Trap

The Temper Trap, Filter Party, March 19, Cedar street courtyard, SXSW 2010

Of course it helped that the bands that day – Temper Trap, BRMC, Local Natives and Dr. Dog were all awesome and we were all introduced to the greatness that was the Temper Trap. I think Derek had like ten double jack and cokes that day.

The XX

It wasn’t the first time I had seen the XX, but the show at the French Legistation grounds in Austin was a special one for me, because it was the first one where I snuck in. Basically, despite being the size of a tiny town, the people at the door said that the French Legislation grounds was full. I was already frustrated that day from not getting into the Sharon Jones show and had left my comfy confines at the RAA/Surfer Blood show to go see the XX (it was a long walk). Having to find another band played somewhere was totally unacceptable at this point, so I walked along the perimeter, found a low wall and climbed it. The low wall just happened to be RIGHT behind the stage, so I was able to see the show from a very, very sweet view.

She did not approve, perhaps:
The XX

Part 2 coming sometime next week