Saturday, April 30, 2005

how swede it is!

Mando Diao
with The Comas and Amber Room
Horseshoe Tavern
April 29/05

It must be tough to break away from the identification or synonmity (a word? it is now!) between Sweden and The Hives, but based on the performance last night, Mando Diao will die trying at making a distinction.

It's always good to see energy, but it's even better to have songs, and they certainly have a few kicking around. Two lead singers doesn't hurt either, and Bjorn & Gustaf can certainly carry the memories (though maybe not the harmonica...) quite well. There's piles of bounce to the music, maybe Franz-like, but not nearly as rigid-though hardly flaccid neither!

Okay, enough stick talk, the simple fact of the matter is that the band stood out in a week of impeccable live performances. Discs are en route to me, and a further ear will be out. You can also see the video!

NC's The Comas were also quite capable, if not overly enthralling. Good doses of sexual tension in that band-the good kind.

Friday, April 29, 2005

childen, WAKE UP!

Arcade Fire
with Wolf Parade & Final Fantasy
Danforth Music Hall
April 28/05

it's been years since I've had so much anticpation for a show. This week was defined with a furious exchange of emails and conversations among friends who went to or were coming with me to one of the 3 Toronto shows, and expectations were running incredibly high.

Ultimately, the band met those expectations, particularly as some have already pointed out, with the strength and IMPACT of the late set (Power Out)/Rebellion 1-2 tour de force. It was at that point and frequently thereafter that the jaw was left open in amazement and appreciation. You just can't help clapping and cheering along, to not would make you soul-less! My other major highlight had to be No Cars Go.

No end of show fireworks though. After the band got into the crowd on Tuesday, and the crowd got up with the band Wednesday, a quiet procession by the group offstage (with Win twisted in some scrum in the crowd for awhile) closed out an incredible 6 shows in 6 nights.

Only this weekend's potentially huge-maker at Coachella will be bigger, but about 3300 young people will remember these shows as something special.

Owen was incredible, as always, visions of Carnegie and Massey hall were present during his set-if he wants it. Wolf Parade was great, but not necessary, and I look forward to seeing them on their own under their own context.

Post show we wondered what the next steps are-when these shows were announced they were met with some resistance re: size and ticket price, and now the sky is the limit.

But how high do they take it?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

an arcade's guide to the galaxy

sick of Arcade Fire related posts yet? not me!

word was the show last night was outstanding, not only for the headliners but all involved. apparently there is no alcohol in the venue and the balcony is hot, so pre-drink and strip as need be! I know I will.

buzziest band in TO today? Most Serene Republic. newly (or soon to be signed) here.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

a good start

this AM got a very decent start to things-for one, a brand new much spotlight on k-os, including very recent news and interviews in and around his juno success. hopefully much will continue adding on to its very bare current rotation of spotlights (I swear the 'teen queen' one is on twice a week!)

also: PJ announces a full, proper Canadian Tour for September

walking down Duncan to work this morning, a maintenance crew was working on a utlity box on the sidewalk. the van door was propped open and blasting from the stereo? you guessed it!

a great story from the AF montreal shows:

"A little before 8, I was standing right in front of the theatre talking with some friends when I turn around and notice that Win and Regine are just behind me, talking with some friends of theirs. Moments later they all leave except for Win, who just stands there against the wall. So about a minute later, a scalper comes up to him and asks if he needs a ticket. Win just ignores him while a fellow scalper sees the scenes and yells "dude, that's the lead singer!" Made me want to punch the guy, selling tickets for 80$ a pop and not even able to recognize the band"


Monday, April 25, 2005

lala nana

hey! my friend Nana has a blog now. Apparently ET has one too but it's a BIG SECRET so far.

also: a major diversion for the building geek in you: Skyscrapers! thanks to kev-o for that one.
(the ones in Dubai are CRAZY).

Sunday, April 24, 2005

firesome week

still ailing-but active.

very much looking forward to the arcade fire this week, who team up with wolf parade and the brilliant final fantasy for 3 shows in town this week. I'll be at the last one, which, including the montreal shows, will be their SIXTH in a row.

I hope they're still alive by then.

UPDATE: a *public* link for the new video for

Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out)

Friday, April 22, 2005


home sick today.

Royal: Richie, this illness, this closeness to death... it's had a profound affect on me. I feel like a different person, I really do.
Richie: Dad, you where never dying.
Royal: ...but I'm gonna live.

in the meantime, as we all know now, the indpendent music community had packed its online bags and moved here.

I hope Abbas doesn't sue Ryan over this.

see ya there.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

(tiny) world dominators II

Swedish Fetus Lounge
Swedish Fetish
The Golden Dogs

Mailing List Show – Cameron House
Apr 21/05

WHAT IF there was a band who had opened for The Libertines, Kaiser Chiefs, Razorlight, and Bloc Party all in the space of a few months, yet still orbited outside the indie rock snob consciousness, yet ALSO seemingly slayed a fair proportion of people into salivating horny fanatics through each performance?

WHAT IF this same very band invited 40 or so of these salivators to the Cameron House, outfitted them with fake name tages, face masks, and (not really necessary) noisemakers? And then proceeded to play Ukuleles for 30 minutes, including a very stirring rendition of Neil Young’s Helpless?

Yes that would be the Dogs, a band completely uncaring of cool factor and wholly committed to having fun on stage. Shocking, really, but the fun is infectious, especially when the stage partially catches fire(!) during a cover of Wings’ 1985 and keyboardist Jessica Grassia puts it out as if its an everyday occurrence.

How many lead singer/madmen guitarists out there proceed to the back of the club to complete a guitar solo, on the laps of 3 fans, while drinking their beer? Dave Azzolini is a true mad hatter, and seems perfectly in his element in the above situation just as much as crouching over a microphone and ukulele while wearing giant toy sunglasses.

World domination has never been this fun. Get on it already.

also: yes Nana, I'm reading blink too!

(tiny) world dominators

I've been trying to post all morning on this god-damned server!

dammit! damn blogger!

you heard me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

so very euro

m83 with Ulrich Schnauss
Lee's Palace
April 19/05

hoo! so very euro, last night was. Ben and I stepped into Lee's moments after Ulrich arrived on stage-or so I presume, he may have been sitting there for 15 minutes, sans music, but we were just in time for him. Certainly the negative buzz on his SXSW show had me somewhat skeptical of his live show, but I was thoroughly impressed with his music as it has some subtle percussive element that had me interested and moving through the whole thing. His 45 minute set flew by.

The same cannot be said for m83, unfortunately, as despite performing in a 4-piece lineup, bigger and louder was by no means better. Though I'm only acquainted with a few tracks off of the 2 albums out now, I found the performance to be-yes intense-but the material completely lacking.

I don't think I was the only one who thought this either, as the crowd steadily headed for the door and turned a suprisingly small 'sold out' audience even smaller by show's end.

Part of this might have been on the audio end though, as at least 1 audiophile friend-of-a-friend left abruptly during Schnauss' set due to 'terrible sound'. This comment was overhead by yours truly more than once last night. uhhhh, sure! I guess I'm not as up on sonics as other people, but ultimately there has to be some level of engagement, which Schnauss pulled off with a laptop and MIDI keyboard, but not m83 as a full freakin' band.

So it goes.

Swedish Fetish plays the Cameron tonight. Weary but excited! tiny instuments!

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

so goes the moby

moby, with buck 65
April 18/05

as I've mentioned around here before, nobody likes moby anymore. not critics, not fans, not music snobs nor casual music fans. the response for his latest album, Hotel, has been quite abysmal critically so it was interesting to see the response to the new material at hand.

but first, buck 65 came out quite daringly to the 1000+ crowd and did a quick 1/2 hour set of mostly newer songs from his latest album. armed with 2 turntables and a (not always functioning) DAT, he held off a somewhat chatty crowd quite well, even getting requests mid-set, which launched off the just-mentioned tech issues when he tried to deviate from his track order. I enjoyed him more during his own Phoenix show a while ago when a full band was on hand, but he proved that he can still hold his own, uh, on his own.

moby arrived on stage with the full effect of a HUGE (for a club) lightshow in place and 'My Weakness' playing to extreme volume proportions. And I think this opening gesture was indicative of the entire night, as it seemed moby self-conciously still relies on material from Play to carry the show. Personal highlights included find my baby, porcelain, and a full-out extended honey-it just seemed that both he and the audience were still in that era's mindset. Quick forays into Animal Rights and 18 were greeted with far less enthusiasm.

moby's shows are always a strange mix of rock indulgence and clubland bumption, which was fine enough, but the occasional ballads come of as down right funereal. Backed by a very capable 4-piece band and vocalist, I assured my office mates today that the show was anything but a laptop-oriented snoozefest.

so moby still has at least 1000 fans in this city, and certainly a very packed club show is impressive, but is there enough on for him for an area:3 festival? that may depend on his support.

Monday, April 18, 2005

a lot on

SHINS! last night was good-maybe even very good. Keep in mind I'm less than familiar with Chutes Too Narrow. The band was solid-on in every way, with a great mix, and James Mercer's voice was totally great through everything.

Marty Crandall served as the night's master of ceremonies though, treating the crowd to his 'plain bagel' belly and oft-threatening to go 'skins' in the hot room.

Chatty crowd wasn't the best, but what can you expect in a big room like that. Apparently had some 'admirers', which is both rare and strange.

Ah yes, the room. Due to a fortunate explode in popularity for this band, the promoter was forced to book the big Kool Haus in order to make it doable (as opposed to a more intimate and interesting Phoenix). Ultimately, the crowd favourites are some of the band's quietest numbers, and hence, a show at Massey Hall should be in order upon their return.

I like their material, but it's hard to be transcendant when you're dealing with rather low-key music.

tonight: the one that's trendy to hate, with buck 65
tomorrow: m83/ulrich schnauss
wednesday: swedish fetus lounge!

Friday, April 15, 2005

there's a storm a brewin'!

well it appears after a very succesful 18 month run, 20hz will cease to exist in its established form sometime very soon. news of the original owner selling it to a certain nightclub owner has gone over very poorly in the community, and it has in turn responded with a plan to launch the next 20hz, whatever it may be called, in the coming days.

it's a shame that things turned out this way, and maybe there's still a chance that things can get turned around.

in the meantime, we wait.

Thursday, April 14, 2005


it's like my internet here has to 'warm up' in the morning. at first, nothing's loading up and very few sites are visible, but then...boom! we're up and running and faster than ever. a decidedly old-school form of service quality.

SO last night was the latest res screening at the Royal, which featured a number of cool shorts and videos from canada and the world over.

of particular note was Mark Mainguy's Pizza Shop, Ghostmilk's Small Pulse, a couple of shorts from Napoleon Dynamite's Jared Hess (including a great Postal Service video), and a very cool lo-fi clip for Lemon Jelly's The Shouty Track.

Also featured was James Wilkes' Auto Destruct: One Man's Obsession With William Shatner. Though a promising mockumentary, the film frankly ran much, much longer than necessary and diluted the concept.

also met some cool editors and directors afterwards, which was great to hear about various new projects in the works in the city. rah!

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

throw a wedge in it

stumbled upon a TO site which documents the best show on muchmusic.

or is that the only good show, and therefore the best?

my kingdom for a wedge digital channel!

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Power (wow)

Just got the tape for The Arcade Fire's new-new video for Neighbourhood #3 (Power Out) done by the talented folks at Plates Animation. In a word, wow.

There's a definite Triplets of Belleville theme going onto the look of the clip, with the narrative following the song's lyrics quite closely.

Like Triplets, Power Out mixes modern and early 20th century elements (technology, cars, buildings etc.) to produce a sort of odd and timeless look to things.

When I find a link I will post it!

Monday, April 11, 2005

chicago rock city

2 recent announcements on hand for big rock shows in the chicago area this summer (so jealous!), including a re-re-incarnated Lollapalooza, this time with a little more humble approach than last year's too- inclusive mess.

the other involves Pitchfork getting into the dicey and difficult game of concert promotion, though they're doing it on the cheap and in a way to avoid ticketmaster. yay! details here.

perhaps a road trip is in order.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Was at CIUT today for more fund drive-related volunteering. One great thing about these things is you always meet great people who are also like-minded in the frame of community radio and all things cool.

It also marked my unintended on-air debut on the station-which was a real blast-on the show Some really cool shows on the saturday schedule there that give dnto a run for its money I hope!

I'll be back for the fund drive finale sunday night, and I really encourage everyone to tune in AND become a member for a very worthwhile station.

As for Slash last night, not sure if we could have been further from the action, but it was very cool to be in the 'Centre' (ugh) nonetheless. A close second to Slash was the constant flow of Rogers promotional materials that made their way down to the brand spanking new playing field. Thanks Ted!

Friday, April 08, 2005


Weakerthans and the Constantines
Thursday April 7th
Lee's Palace

Four sold out shows in 3 days at Lee's is no mean feat, and kudos to the Weakerthans and the Constantines for keeping to the plan and not bumping these shows to some kind of koolhausian one-off.

We arrived at Lee's last night just in time for the Cons, but ultimately the band wasn't able to hold the audience. This was in a way surprising given their kinda-sorta hometown status here, but the feel of the show quickly took the feel less of a co-headline as originally thought and more of a tiered act show.

Which I'm sure wasn't the intention to happen, but the crowd certainly was more voracious in response when John K Samson and company arrived on stage right around midnight. Opening with the triumphant the band played a full 60 minutes of material mostly from its latter two albums with its relatively new fembots-infused lineup.

The crowd was in full singalong mode, especially on Left & Leaving material but the new stuff also held on well. Of particular popularity was hit-that-never-quite-was The Reasons, which recently came off with a Juno nomination for best video (and director Benji Weinstein was in attendance last night). JKS also gave a shout-out to us Winnipeg ex-pats when introducing One Great City, which admittedley doesn't sound quite the same when played outside of that city.

One of the more time-defining moments of the show was during Aside, which as mentioned this week, was quoted by one Gord Downie during their Juno TV performance. The crowd yelled out 'Hip!' during that crucial line, and John K gave a smiling look of acknowledgement as if to say perhaps nothign more than, 'well, yeah.'

Thursday, April 07, 2005

who hearts america?

This has been furiously racing around over the past couple of days, much to the confirmed amusement of us Canadians. It certainly appears to be real.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

juno III


woke up full. that never happens. kept sleeping, and it went away. I figure the cheap salmon and beef from the night before had maybe expanded under the soaking of dark beer it received the night previous, but happily it passed in time for the best breakfast in town (as always) at Stella's with matt-o and jill-o. AC Newman also at the next table over.

ONTO the Big Show! some weirdo ticket snafu resulted in us being delayed and politely ushered to the other side of the arena in equivalent seats-were my comments the night before that loud?-anyways, they were equivalent or better to where they were supposed to be so no major worries. mushaboom was on as we sat down, and...glitches aside it was just really cool to see Feist get that opportunity and pull it off with poise.

the rest of the show is a pretty big blur. it both flew by and dragged at times, but the only major dragging moments were in the long commercial periods that took place every 10 minutes or so.

the crowd had the tendency to sort of chain-react to big things. the floor would go crazy and stand up for say, KD Lang, which would rather slowly spread to the lower and then upper bowls of the arena, to the point of major-decibel loudness. I know from the tape it didn't come off as a super rambunctious audience, but it was baby!

my biggest highlight? probably Gord Downie quoting the weakerthans! ahem,

"And I'm leaning on a broken fence between Past and Present tense. And I'm losing all these stupid games that I swore I'd never play. And it almost feels okay."

Damn Cool. Also very good was Billy Talent, and I'm not sure how they got those flags to fly in opposing directions so well, but I guess that's what $115 tickets buy.

Make no mistake, sans-Young the show was never going to live up to the hype, but overall it was alright given a year somewhat weak on pure star power. ah vell.

and the parties, OH the parties. talked to Inward Eye a bit at the Uni one. forgot the guys are like 6'6 or taller. as trumpy would say...HUGE. manager Willows buried in business cards. Cummings/Bachman hamming it up onstage at sony/bmg for the billionth time that week, but meeting Chart's Kari D. (Kari D!) was a true honour. for some reason I had been interested in really checking out these things, but not surprisingly there was quite an empty feeling to them, and we opted for paid booze down at the King's Head in the end.

very glad I went, but not a whole lot of enthusiasm for next year, even if the opportunity came up again to go. The Brits it is!

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

juno II

the days are less bleary-eyed...


after a day-filled of matrimonial-related taking-care-of-businesses (not me silly! my friend adam!), it was on to the big awards dinner, which I had been warned quite a lot about.

met up with the work peeps at the convention centre, headed straight for the bar. stella cans free! normally I'm not that crazy about stella (it's totally chav, c'mon!), but in a proper nod to my less sophisticated wannabe fancy counterparts across the pond, I partook!

met some cool people at the reception. spotted a bunch of others as well, including stand-in diva (sans attitude) slean, and less attractive others. the dining room itself was decked out in a HUGE projected prairie landscape-impeccable production for the night, and it 'twas one of the few good things as well. well, feist won, mays played, so that was good too. I mean 30 or so awards in one night is just pretty crazy, even with pretty much everyone being quick about the speeches. Jann Arden was also hilarious, though many in attendance seemed too weakly to laugh. Bryan spotted after he temporarily broke free from the media corral, only to be cattle-prodded back in true western fashion. what's with that anyways?

a very late 'surf' and 'turf' meal arrival about 16 awards in. audience well boozed on empty stomachs. Oscar Lopez apparently carried off stage later on. had already fled. some tablemates were ok, others lived up, shall we say, to their employers' 'reputation'? very troubling, but none surprising.

waited for video of the year, k-os takes it, hoodied as always. canadian idols relegated to deserted corner table, I make comments *perhaps* a little too loud.

boom! outta there!

in a cab to the zoo for inward eye, desperately. giant bald men at door turning everyone away, except for an agent and his 12 guests...SO scoot over to the Collective, and hang out with several more Fort Garry Darks, catch quinzy and novillero...head home a beaten man.

juno I


arrival! on time! ian d'sa on board! uh, landsberg too! run into inward eye manager glen willows! going to the show saturday! carlos nachos! toad downstairs!



nice day out. sunny. nice lunchos. order 'phonics tickets (can't...beat...habit!). pope death watch on ultra-high-code-red-alertz!

fire off to the radisson to meet up with work colleages. third Fort Garry of of the trip.
welcoming reception at the concert hall, ahh, the concert hall (6.5 working years there, people!). see LOTS of old crony friends and acquaintances, some I hadn't seen since I moved away. Scott can't resist talking arcade fire shop-can you blame him? run into Bryan from Chart-what the hell are you doing here? read his fantastic coverage at the link.

on the cab away from the reception, the cabbie (who I swear had flies buzzing around him) bears the bad news:

cabbie: "who's that guy that's supposed to be in for the junos?"
us: "huh?"
cabbie: "tribute or something?"
us: "neil young?"
cabbie: "yeah got a brain an-yer-ism. not coming in. they've known since tuesday"
us: "whah?!?!"

after dinner, it's off to king's head to meet kev-o, then steve and kyle. latter two sadly sneak off to coyote's-if you only knew...they pay for it later.

we hit the show of the weekend, the literally underground DADADADA:Lazers show.
this band is hot. it's got freddie mercury, it's got janis joplin.
they will come soon and style you out of your pants. toronto lawyer drafting paperwork.

afterwards, new meanies at the collective. crowd was going CRAZY. Bryan arrives with (non-sexual) harem. steve and kyle (and other harem) arrive just in time for Red Blanket. I knew I was in trouble when any and all remaining industry scattered-yes, yes, I know, I know, but it's just not a good sign. this band comprised of 4 dudes metal soloing. viciously. all licks, all the time. not gonna link 'em, not even gonna look for a link.

drive kyle home. that it.