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Kathleen Edwards @ Drake Underground

. : : April 27th, 2010 : : . I’ve come to learn that seeing a band more than once on the same tour is risky. Seeing them play several consecutive shows is even more risky. The odds are extraordinarily good that you will largely end up hearing the same setlist, song-for-song, over the course of each night. I’ve come to appreciate the small differences — the same songs in a different order, perhaps. Or that one or two different songs thrown in around the middle, maybe. So, when Kathleen Edwards announced that she would be performing a weekly residency gig at the Drake Underground to…

Kathleen Edwards @ Dakota Tavern

      . : : September 16th, 2008 : : . My first exposure to Kathleen Edwards was at North By North-East (NXNE) in June of 2007. OK, that was a lie — my real first exposure to Kathleen was in her duet with Jim Cuddy on his too-cute-to-be-camp song Married Again. However, NXNE was my first exposure to Kathleen’s solo work. Really, I only went because I wanted to see Blue Rodeo at a venue smaller than Massey Hall or The Molson Amphitheatre (the band’s two usual haunts), and Lee’s Palace was a great candidate. The fact that I ended up…

Kathleen Edwards @ Drake Underground

      . : : April 20th, 2010 : : . [EDITED FOR CONTENT: July 23rd, 2010] In the first night of a once-weekly residency series of shows at the Drake Hotel (Underground), Kathleen Edwards debuted some brand new songs for the loving Toronto crowd, paced through some old favourites and finished off with a welcome cover. The sound was absolutely phenomenal, allowing the band’s performance to shine brightly through. The intimate Drake Underground encourages a strange, respectful silence among the rapt crowd, reserving their loud enthusiasm for between-song applause and the curtain call. And the crowd had a reason to be…

Smoosh @ Sonic Boom

. : : May 2nd, 2008 : : . A lot of the attention Smoosh gets is based on their so-called “gimmick.” After all, it’s hard to get over the initial reaction of seeing two barely-teenaged girls (and a third, even younger one) take the stage and step behind instruments that are almost comically over-sized in comparison. You can almost hear an entire crowd put down their drinks and collectively turn to one another and whisper, “Awww, isn’t that cute?!”. You just know that many of them pick up their drinks and resume their conversations obliviously just as quickly. That’s a shame, because those…

David Bazan @ Lee’s Palace

      . : : October 22nd, 2009 : : . I shouldn’t like David Bazan. I’ve read about the man — I’m sure any indie-rock loving fellow in college will come across some article or recommendation for his well-known projects Pedro The Lion and Headphones has — and that’s part of the problem. Nary a paragraph is written without strong emphasis on Bazan’s repetitive themes overtly circling religion and politics. Don’t get me wrong: I’m not so naive to believe that politics and religion don’t play integral parts of favourites on my playlists. No, rather, it’s the overtness I had a…

Dawn Landes @ Lee’s Palace

      . : : March 29th, 2010 : : . As a taper, it’s customary for me to arrive at a venue fairly early. Not long after the doors open, I’m usually inside the venue finding a good spot that will afford me decent sight lines and ensuring superior sound (for both my ears and my microphones). I take the time to put on my mics, install fresh batteries, wipe the tape, set the levels, etc. I’ve usually settled in position while most patrons are still lingering at the bar or mulling over the merch stand. As I usually attend concerts…

Nada Surf @ Lee’s Palace

. : : March 29th, 2010 : : . Let me preface by saying that I have seen Nada Surf perform live about a dozen times. From tiny record store basements to shiny Apple Store show floors to expansive theatres and concert halls. If Nada Surf has played it, the odds are pretty good I’ve seen it. I’m a pretty devoted fan of the band, and have traveled far and wide to see them. The story of how and why I am such a big fan will be better served elsewhere, but for the purpose of this particular entry, I’m going to fast forward to March…

Rocky Votolato @ Drake Underground

. : : April 5th, 2010 : : . On a warm late summer evening in 2007, Rocky Votolato performed at the intimate El Mocambo in downtown Toronto backed by a full band. The small room was packed with loud, rambunctious fans. Several hoards of people congregated on the sidewalk outside the venue, enjoying the show from the large, open window at the other side of the bar.  It was my first time seeing my favourite troubadour who had won me over upon the release of wonderful album Makers, which still stands near the top of my all-time favourites list. Just under three years later, Rocky returned…

Rocky Votolato @ El Mocambo

. : : September 29th, 2007 : : . There are nights when things just don’t go right for tapers. For example, I’ve suffered from cheap batteries from the local convenience store that wouldn’t keep the recorder powered long enough to tape an entire song. I’ve had microphones come unplugged or rub against my clothing for the whole set. I’ve brought the wrong cables, or brought the right cables but forget the tape. I’ve ended up beside the loudest, drunkest, most obnoxious frat boy in the venue, but packed like a sardine, unable to move. I’ve had a 60-minute set mysteriously erased…