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Month: May 2010

Too Many Sisters – El Mocambo

. : : April 17th, 2009 : : . Local openers can be troubling. All too often, they’re dredged out for just the one show and placed on the bill more because they’re friends of the promoter rather than their being musically compatible with the touring line-up, let alone their ability to create local interest in a foreign headliner. It shouldn’t be so difficult. Especially in a market as large as Toronto, where the sea of local musical talent is deep and long, and the breadth of choices is nothing short of astounding. Perhaps that’s the problem? Maybe if the promoter can’t…

Arietta – Northearned [video]

Northearned (Alt. Version) from Arietta on Vimeo. How wonderful is this new Arietta video? I normally won’t post links unrelated to my own live recordings, but this is too good not to share. This is an extraordinarily ambitious live/off-the-floor performance AND video, all done in one simultaneous take. You can actually hear lead singer Tyler Johnston‘s voice fade in and out as he crosses the borders of the frame, and the band bravely avoids overdubs, allowing the occasional flub or missed note stand as-is. But, rather than detract from the experience, the spontaneity and looseness (if that isn’t too harsh an adjective) of the performance…

Whispertown 2000 @ El Mocambo

. : : April 17th, 2009 : : . I’ve recently written about opening bands that are so powerful, they totally eclipse the performance of the headliners. I’ve thus far avoided writing about opening bands that are so bland, you spend their entire set looking at your watch and wishing you’d left your house an hour later. Today’s blog falls somewhere in between, and is about the opening band that is great enough to win you over and buy their record, but not at the expense of the enjoyment of the performers you’ve come to see. My love of Maria Taylor is well documented. Ever since she…

Arietta @ Horseshoe Tavern

. : : August 1st, 2009 : : . I grew up in Scarborough, a suburb of eastern Toronto. I was fortunate enough to attend high school at what is now known as Wexford Collegiate School For The Arts. When I was enrolled, it was known by the ever-so-slightly less pretentious name of Wexford Collegiate Institute, but the focus was the same: it nurtured the artistic side of its students, focusing heavily on drama, music theatre, and visual arts. Because of its unique curriculum, many students (myself included) traveled across Scarborough, Toronto, and even the outskirt Durham region to attend this high…

So Many Dynamos @ El Mocambo

. : : June 7th, 2009 : : . I think everyone’s gone to at least one show in their lifetime exclusively to see the headlining act, but ended up leaving more impressed with one (or more!) of the openers. One of these such nights occurred in the autumn of 2006 when I bought a ticket to go see Harvey Danger. Harvey Danger was one of the biggest one-hit wonders of my high school years. Flagpole Sitta was on heavy rotation on virtually every radio and music video station, and when it wasn’t, you were sure to hear it blasting from someone’s car stereo as…

Maria Taylor @ Lee’s Palace

      . : : October 30th, 2007 : : . After falling in love with Maria Taylor upon an impulsive trip to see her play the Horseshoe Tavern earlier in the spring, I made sure I did whatever it took to see her perform again when she returned to town as the opening act for Josh Rouse. I rushed down to Lee’s Palace after a long day at work, paid the cover charge at the door and secured a spot against the left speaker stacks. The only thing left was to wait. And wait I did. After some time, Maria Taylor…

Maria Taylor @ Horseshoe Tavern

      . : : March 21st, 2007 : : . When I heard Maria Taylor was playing the Horseshoe Tavern, I’d never heard a single note from her oeuvre. All I knew was that she was on the same label as some of my favourites, Bright Eyes, Cursive and The Good Life, Saddle Creek. That had to show some level of quality, right? Furthermore, at the time, she was dating Bright Eyes’ Conor Oberst, and surely he couldn’t love anyone who didn’t at least show a glimmer of a reflection of his musicianship and talent, right? So, I took a risk…

John Vanderslice @ El Mocambo

      . : : October 1st, 2007 : : . John Vanderslice is commonly known as the nicest man in Indie Rock. I don’t know if I have accumulated enough data to weigh in on this hefty claim one way or another, but I can say with some certainty that he is one of the nicest people I have ever met in Indie Rock or outside of it. Working the merch table on this night was friend and Barsuk Records street-teaming colleague, Kyle. As I caught up with him, John Vanderslice casually walked up, hand extended, and said “Hi, I’m John.”…

Kathleen Edwards @ Drake Underground

. : : May 4th, 2010 : : . (I know this blog is starting to look like all-Kathleen Edwards, all the time, but I promise this will be the last post for a little while.) Kathleen graced her new hometown of Toronto (she announced she just moved from Hamilton into a Toronto apartment between residencies) with a third and final show in as many weeks, and unleashed a couple of tracks new to the string of shows off her debut album, Failer. The set list also mixed the standard fare with some of the better material from the previous two weeks’ performances.…