Ramblings of a Redhead Music Snob

Life & Music in New York, My City

Posts Tagged ‘Toronto’

Canada Night @ Hotel Utah Saloon

Posted by xneverwherex on November 1, 2013

Fast Romantics
Mise En Scene
Bears for Sharks
Hotel Utah Saloon
10/30/13

Wed. night featured bands from Canada at the Hotel Utah. The venue was an interesting space with a pole in the center and couch like seats around it. It made for a very odd playing space. It even had an upstairs. To make matters worse, the crowd was sparse at best with most people there other band members.

Bears for Sharks

The line-up was solid. The bands got exceedingly better as the night progressed. Each band a little better than the one before them. The first band, Bears for Sharks was playing their THIRD show ever. So they’re quite new to the scene – can’t find much on them online. I did like how they seamlessly blended styles. The 3 piece band managed to switch up instruments and singing on most songs. There was a lot of guitar/drums switch-ups going on, with the occasional singer switch up. It was kind of all over the place with all the movement but it somehow worked.

The lead singer (for the most part) had very low vocals reminiscent of Ian Curtis (Joy Division). The drummer/guitarist livened things up with his bear mask. He was definitely the spark of the band bringing them a lightness. Their music ranged from an alt-folk sound to more pop songs. They did hae some catchy songs and for only their third show they proved to be a fun band. Oddly enough, they also brought the biggest crowd with them consisting of lots of family and friends.

Mise En Scene

Next up were the ladies from Winnipeg, Mise En Scene. A two-some (think White Stripes) who wore matching sparkly jackets, brought lots of noise. A noise-pop/guitar driven band, they made the place feel alive and VERY loud. They have a garage-rock meet 60’s girl band sound. And it actually works quite well. Sadly, it was just me and one other girl in the audience aside from other bands. It was like a 30 minute serenade and it was awesome for me. But, Im sure it was more than awkward for the band who seemed to be having lots of sound issues from insanely loud guitars, to feedback, to other things.

Stefanie, lead singer, has amazing powerful, sultry vocals. She is a kick-ass guitarist and sounded amazing. She told some Canadian joke that had the others laughing and was trying to have fun on stage. The drummer, Jodi, was also good but seemed to stay more in the background and didnt say much. Regardless, the band was fun to watch and sounded great despite the problems. Plus, Stefanie is nice as hell which is always a plus. They’ll be at SXSW and with a better venue/better acoustics, etc they should be a band that is NOT to miss.

Fast Romantics, from Toronto now (prior they were in Alberta), was the third band (somehow not the last of their headlining set) and I had been waiting years to see them again. I had remembered enjoying them a lot when I had seen them at CMJ a good 3-4 years back. The members had changed some, but they still had the great pop songs. Their songs are still jangly, fun, catchy, pop(py) songs. Indie-pop goodness!

Fast Romantics

Matthew, lead singer, reminded me of a cross between Morrissey and Jarvis Cocker, wearing a lovely blue/green (the crowd was torn on what color it was) cardigan. Oh yes, he could have been in one of those 90s brit-pop bands. His voice screams Elvis Costello and if you didnt know it, you might even think it was him singing. He’s a great front-man and for our crowd of 12 (at most), he really tried to get us engaged. There was hand-clapping, a slow song that he tried to encourage a make out session (the bassist suggested masturbation for the single people) and trying to get us to dance. I guess someone did oblige him with the make-out session. The rest of the band is really great, from the woman playing keyboards and the other guys that were in the band prior to their new incarnation. They’ve also added a new bassist from Australia. They all have really strong vocals and are great together.

They ended the main set with the ever-catchy ‘Funeral Song’ off their new album Afterlife Blues. They played most the songs off the album, and its great. It’s gotta be one of the catchiest albums Ive heard in a long time. It will have you singing along in no time. The final song was Pulp’s ‘Common People’. Possibly the best cover Ive heard. We were all singing along and dancing and it was truly a great way to end the night. Oh yeah… Im hook, line, SUNK!

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They All Want To Love The Cause

Posted by xneverwherex on September 12, 2011

Broken Social Scene
9/8/11
Williamsburg Waterfront

The Waterfront turned out to be a hot, humid night for us. While the view is nothing short of spectactular, the air quality not so much. Besides, a young kid fainted not just once, but twice during the early part of the BSS set. Thats how you know youll be in for a great night.

BSS came out to a smaller crowd, but a group of fans that just loved them. They opened the set with Cause = Time and what a way to start. The crowd was pretty into them and even the fans who were there for TV on the Radio seemed to get into it. People were bopping their heads and singing their songs.

It was a bit sad when a song or two later Kevin Drew said how much he had loved playing for the past 10 years, and 5 shows in NYC in the past year was even more than his hometown. Needless to say, it was kind of obvious that they were ready for a bit of a break. At this point it sounds like an indefinite hiatus with the words ‘Dont Forget Us.’ So that was a bit sad. I cant really imagine someone filling that void or anyone ever being quite like them.

They did play close to an hour set which was decent, but obviously people wanted more. It was great to have some brass on quite a few songs and the band members dancing around and having a great time. The sax section was amazing.

They included a cover from Modest Mouse which was quite good. Lisa Lobsinger still sounded great, but its hard to not miss the likes of Emily Haines or Amy Millan on ‘7/4 (Shoreline)’. They also included a song that Andrew Whiteman had written the prior day called ‘Fire Eye’d Boy’ which of course was a crowd pleaser. Too bad it really wasnt a song that had just been written in the spur of the moment.

In typical fashion, Kevin didnt quite know how to end things. Some fans were calling out songs (which I couldnt hear what they were saying), but he chided them with it being the obvious ending song. While at one point he thought he had finished the set, he was told they would have time for one ‘final’ song. They finally closed out the night with ‘Ibi Dreams Of Pavement (A Better Day)’. It was a song they hadnt played in awhile and still sounded as great as ever.

While the performance as a whole was far from the greatest and the band might not have seemed super into it, it was still a great show. I would hate to think that BSS might not come back here and it was their final show ever in NYC, but if it was all I can say is thanks for all the great times. There were so many good shows  great shows that I got to see with them and they will surely be missed.

Setlist:

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Weekend Gets Loud

Posted by xneverwherex on April 7, 2011

Weekend
Little Girls
Mercury Lounge
4/6/11

Weekend apparently is one of the new buzz-worthy/blog-worthy bands. It was hard to figure out if everyone there was seeing them because they loved the band – or if it was just the new band to check out. It was packed by the time they hit the stage. A friend commented – they had a review on their new album in Sports Illustrated. With their album titled – Sports – it indeed got a review – and a good one at that.

I commented to my friends – I know they should be loud – but really its only 3 guys. Well those 3 guys from San Francisco proved that they could be beyond loud. The lead singer/bassist had really great vocals that worked well with the loudness of the bass. At times the vocals seemed almost muted but it was very apparent that the vocals had their own place. The guitarist never seemed to be able to stay still and was moving non-stop – getting more and more into each song. He’d be kneeling on the stage and playing his heart out – in between sips of water. The drummer is equally loud and keeps the band moving at a great pace.

Their post-punk influences are easy to be seen. At times feeling like they could be Joy Division – dark but not nearly as gloomy. And the heavy guitars are oh so reminiscent of Jesus & Mary Chain. While their album material is great – the crowd seemed very into their newer songs that they had just written. As they introduced their song ‘Little Girls’ they cheekily noted – no its not for the band its the name of the song. It was a great solid set and their 40 minutes seemed to fly by.

Openers Little Girls from Toronto were interesting. They mentioned casually about them having to use Weekend’s gear and something to do with visas. That they probably would rather not have mentioned. We’ll leave it at that. While some of their songs were really great and had a dance-edge/pop sound – musically it was like they hadnt yet figured out what direction they were heading. So you never knew quite what you were going to get. The guitarist seemed to be having consistent problems with the sound/feedback and just couldnt seem to get on with it. After nearly every song it seemed there was a new problem.

Perhaps theres a bit of potential in them, but at this point, Im not sure I can totally see it.

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