>Ben Kweller at the Blind Pig, Ann Arbor, MI; Sunday November 14, 2010

>Ben Kweller is a very musician, which was well-proved at his gig last weekend. I wasn’t so excited to hear him perform solo, but I found myself highly surprised.

You can get a real good feel of his ease of performing a song that he hadn’t touched in quite sometime:

This is my fourth time seeing Kweller. After my first time, I felt pretty dejected after taking my father because I couldn’t find anyone else to go with me. The deflated feeling was not because I was in the company of my Dad, but rather his remarks after the gig. He told me that Kweller could use another guitarist. I finally feel after seeing this gig that Kweller in my mind has really proved my Father wrong. Kweller is an amazing musician – he boggled between the guitar and the keyboard. I was really happy to hear the tune “Thirteen,” “Sha Sha” and “Falling” on the piano. And equally excited to hear “Sundress” and “On My Way” on the guitar. The only song I would’ve really like to have heard was “Wasted and Ready.” He actually acknowledged the song’s absence in the brilliant one song encore where he said after the crowd heckling songs they want to hear: “I know you really want to hear tunes like “Wasted and Ready” and XXX but I’ll be back soon with Pete Yorn and I’ll play all of them for you soon.” Very modest and sweet.

“Thirteen”:

“Sha Sha (How it Should Be)”

“Sundress”

“In Other Words” – It gets really good at 3:12. Definitely worth a listen!

On another note, I had a real WHAT THE FUCK moment when I found out Talib Kweli took Ben Kweller’s chorus from “In Other Words” for his tune “Ms. Hill.”

Ben Kweller’s take on Kweli’s use, he’s not so happy – (Maybe he found out about it because they both share “Kwel” in their names. I think I think too much about this stuff!!)

Just skipping on Youtube, I found a bunch of fab covers that Ben Kweller have breathed some life into:

Ghostbusters with Conor Oberst

“Say It Ain’t So”

Kweller sold expensive recordings of the entire gig that night. It was a cool set up where they had like twenty burners going on at once! Good fun.

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>JULIE DOIRON "The Wrong Guy"

>It’s been so long since I’ve been truly excited by something new to my ears.

Julie Doiron is a lady that I’ve dipped into very slowly. I found out about her a year or so ago with the release of her latest I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day. I stumbled upon the incredible tune “The Wrong Guy” which is, I believe, a perfect song.

http://listen.grooveshark.com/songWidget.swf

Live as a medley with “Soon Coming Closer”
Live in New Brunswick
Live with the tune “No More”

>Jason Collett at the Church of the Redeemer; Thursday November 11, 2010

>Well, it’s Rememberence Day. I’m never completely sure what I am to remember. I suppose I’m grateful for being able to live free and as I do. Jason Collett and many others shed light on the fact that we have newer veterans to consider now – the trickling news of Afghanistan victims. Collett mentioned he didn’t understand how we were able to fight when we are not set to accept the consequences of losing loved ones. Seems as though little has changed in the last fifty years (Vietnam).

Collett played a beautiful honest set. I felt as though he was talking to me personally the entire time. He talked a lot, a luxury he can’t really afford when he has Zeus mirroring his every move. It was really beautiful to hear him play a real, true Collett show. Seeing a show in a church is always a bonus too, i’ve never seen a bad show in a church before. The Church of the Redeemer has to be the most beautiful church i’ve been in, in Toronto. The high ceilings give the illusion that its significantly larger than it really is. The space is pretty small and there is only one long, narrow space for concert goers to sit. Plenty of room beyond the pews. In comparison to the legendary Trinity St. Paul’s church, this one has more potential space wise – Trinity is jammed so full, you can’t squeeze your way in any further.

Collett played a beautiful mash up of songs old and new. I was so happy to hear his Pony Tricks renditions live – they really brought new life to his older tunes. I blamed Stars three or four years ago for releasing Do You Trust Your Friends? I called it a filler album that was just released for the sake of putting material out. I cant really extend the same sentiments to Pony Tricks because he just released Ratatat earlier this year. Collett is not shy to continue playing older material which I love.

Collett shared some pretty brilliant stories that reveal more than I have ever heard him drop. He played the tune Almost Summer at the beginning of the set and he explained the entire story as if we were sharing an intimate heart to heart moment. I loved every bit.

He explained bits of his past life as a carpenter.

And my favourite, he talked about meeting famous women – Karen O in a swimming pool. Sharon Jones over an American joint and learning that Celine Dion has legs like no other woman.

Jason Collett was far more entertaining and charming than Al Tuck. Al Tuck has a super sense of simplicity and ease, it is just such a shame that his songs do not have the charisma that Colletts tunes have. I do like Al Tuck, its just he was playing way out of his league.

Collett, as usual blew my mind and won my heart.

>Vetiver and Dawes at the Horseshoe Tavern; Monday November 8, 2010

>Vetiver are a band to see live. Andy Cabic, the heart and soul of the band is quite the performer – talking very little keeping true to the music. I really love how fun their sound is. They manage to have both the pop and control that the Beatles mastered. One big difference between this time and the last time I saw them was that this time I was only a couple of feet away from the stage. I feel almost invasively close to the performers. The thing I really enjoyed about the show this time around was being able to see where all the music comes from. Having never played a rock n’ roll instrument, it’s really hard for me to breakdown what exactly I’m hearing when I hear a tune.

I loved every band member of Vetiver, each had quite the original flare to their playing styles. The bassist wore his guitar high exactly like Paul McCartney. It was even a Hofner bass, the same one McCartney sported as a Beatle.
The drummer was blocked from my view for the majority of the concert. But for every glimpse I got of him he was having a ball. Great presence in his facial expressions and flowy movements.
The guitarist looked like a double for The Social Network leading actor Jesse Eisenberg, except with some serious musical abilities. I never noticed the guitar’s presence before beyond Cabic’s chords.
There was also a female keyboardist who had very little presence but her bits were as important as anyone else’s.
Cabic broke a guitar string on his acoustic and retired it for the rest of the show three songs in. I was really happy to have heard “Rolling Sea” and “Everyday” before his guitar went out of commission. I’m always stunned when bands play there biggest tunes at the beginning of the set. By far, the album Tight Knit is the band’s finest piece of work. I really love the effortlessness and ease that the album boasts. It’s refreshing but not cheesy like Jack Johnson does so well.
The very modest set opener “Rolling Sea”
The wonderful tune “Everyday” which was featured in a Visa commerical.
This’ll be added to my list of regrets, missing this band play Sonic Boom.
I thoroughly enjoyed Vetiver and would certainly see them again.
Dawes were unexpectedly good. This show was the first I’ve heard of them, ever. They aren’t even a band that I could say I have “heard of but not actually have heard musically.” The lead singer is easily the glue that holds the fort together – he is super talented. He manages to uphold strong vocals while playing the lead and only guitar bits in the band. What really buttresses his performance is the keyboardist who enforces each supporting guitar bits.
For the longest time I was convinced that the bassist was his brother. I soon found out that it was actually the drummer when the lead singer passed on the vocals to him. His little brother is an unfortunately bad singer, but really put his all in. He however is a crucial part to the layered vocals. Their layered vocals give the band a real country edge, without bleeding into the nu country sound. It gave them quite a bit of depth as a band.
The words that this band mashes together are really great. They sing about trivial coming of age bs that every other band does, but what sets them apart is their ability to story tell. It reminded me of how a Conor Oberst song plays out – often like a read story. I can’t help but think of how I know every word to the very story based “Waste of Paint.”
“Love is All I Am” (Big Ugly Yellow Couch)
The lead singer of Dawes sings like Bruce Springsteen. In fact the band really comes off as big Boss fans. The lead singer has the vigour and strength that Springsteen has in his voice.
I don’t love Dawes, but I’d definitely buy their album real cheap and I’d see them again for certain!

>Do Make Say Think

>I was driving home from work, not in the highest of spirits but this tune surprised me on a late night CBC radio show:

I had this great feeling of happiness when my phone told me who it was. Naturally, it was one of my favourite bands – Do Make Say Think. This song is like no song I’ve ever heard before… but it really inspires me, I hope it has some kind of effect on you as well.

>Sandro Perri with Siskiyou at the Music Gallery; Tuesday November 2, 2010

>FINALLY! I have seen Sandro Perri play a small but full concert set! It has been three years in the making and I couldn’t have rested in a finer place. Tonight’s gig was at the very beautiful Music Gallery a tiny church hidden between the elite artist world of McCaul and Dundas and the buzz of Queen Street centre. Most fail to notice its presence but the Music Gallery is fully functioning and attracting greater, more diverse crowds.

I first dipped into Sandro Perri when a co-worker at the record store I use to work at insisted it was on her list of best of 2007. At the time I contested because I hadn’t even heard of the guy. I’m pretty excited to say that I feel as though I have a good grasp on his music from all of his material I have slowly accumulated over the years.
I bought Tiny Mirrors about two years ago now after borrowing a friend’s copy. It’s a very minimal album that really shows how little can come across a lot bigger than one would expect. That’s sort of the magical key to Perri’s sound – it’s so god damn quiet it’s practically music for the dead, or sleepy.
I remember I was playing his most accessible song “Double Suicide” a few years back and an old housemate told me it sounded like a dying cat. We didn’t really get on too, too well musically… That memory came to me this show and although I took offensively then, I couldn’t help but laugh when the dying cat bit was played live perfectly.
Sandro Perri’s perfect sound is largely buffered by the Toronto-based musician Ryan Driver. Driver is a very underrated local musician, he’s played with Castlemusic and as the mate to Sandro Perri’s side project titled ‘Double Suicide’ – which I’m not sure ever really took off…
I was introduced to this side of Toronto music about three years ago when I dove into Sandro Perri. It’s really amazing that there is a growing community that has sprouted out, very subtly, finding homes in less frequented venues like the Tranzac, the Dakota and the Piston. I had the pleasure of full immersion into these bands at the Steamboat record release party at Sneaky Dee’s last summer. This show featured Alex Lukashevsky, Old Man Luedecke, Sandro Perri, $100 and Andre Ethier all backed up by Steamboat. At this show, Sandro only played a couple of tunes…
I was pretty stunned by Driver’s presence, he spent the entire gig crunched up with his legs folded beneath his bottom. A stance that made me think of the ’90s band Sparklehorse’s lead singer who had lost his legs by staying in that position overnight. Driver bounced back and forth between the flute and a synthesizer keypad. Perri’s music is weird, and I think his weird sound is really perfected by Driver’s input into his tunes. Perri and Driver and an incredible ability to communicate with each other musically perfectly duplicating a sound I thought was solely studio crafted.
Despite his horrible posture, Driver is a brilliant flute player. I was stunned that he was sporting an open holed flute, which essentially is a more advanced set up where there are holes on the buttons that are to be blocked by the player’s fingers. It’s extremely difficult to play because the player beyond just pressing the key actually has to cover the hole with his or her fingers. The sound is much better with an open holed flute. He played the flute on close to all the songs, with the exception of the first song played which was his most accessible song “Double Suicide.” He introduced the tune by saying: “This is an old one…” It sounded exactly like the album version, to a tee. Dead cats and all, compliments of Ryan Driver.
I was a little surprised by the set’s length, it was just too short. I also only knew one song, the opening tune… They played a ton of new material.
I almost felt the opening act played a set that was more closer appropriate.
The opening act was Siskiyou, lead by a former member of the Great Lake Swimmers named Colin Huebert. His very simple sound and shaky halloween like vocals are backed up by a completely stunning band. The guitarist and banjo player, Erik Arnesen still plays with the Great Lake Swimmers. The drummer Shaunn Watt is absolutely charming on stage, his presence really dazzles the stage. And at the very opposite end of the spectrum, bass guitar/guitarist Peter Carruthers was very inanimate and solemn.
The music was a bit dull at times, but really knew how to pick up. I felt they were at most ease playing covers – their sound felt a lot fuller and lively. Perhaps they were trying to give the tunes the justice they deserved when revisited. They played a great version of a Peruvian folk song that was covered by Simon and Garfunkel in the 1970. I’m pretty certain that the tune they played was “El Condor Pasa (If I Could),” hearing new songs live is always a tricky thing because you remember ringer words only. My ringer word was sparrow and I knew it was a Peruvian folk tune. It must’ve been this one, originally written by Daniel Almoia Robles. Huebert very modestly introduced the song by saying they were going to play a cover of a Peruvian folk tune, which was also a tune by Simon and Garfunkel – whichever way we chose to understand the song as.
Here’s another gem that I found by Simon and Garfunkel containing the word “sparrow.”
They played a very wonky revision of “This Land is Your Land” that they titled “This Land.” It has slow verses and a booming distinct chorus.
They played a very short encore of about a minute covering a Guided By Voices tune, a band I’m not too familiar with… Huebert very modestly apologised for playing it wrong… Clearly a last minute improv bit.
I like this band’s lazy approach. Huebert recorded songs minutes after they were conceived, with little opportunity to go back and alter. These tunes are fresh and on the spot, a kind of lively approach that I felt their live show really needed.
They have an erie sound that seems like it would grow in popularity the way Timber Timbre did two winters ago. If Timber Timbre has a winter sound, this band is definitely and very appropriately a fall band. It’s sort of funny, I saw both bands play the Music Gallery, good music, good taste.

>Jason Collett

>I’m planning a big trip to I have no idea where and I can only find myself excited for the Jason Collett show the day before I jet off.

I can’t get enough of the tune “My Daddy was a Rock N’ Roller.” I’ve heard him play this one a couple of times live but I finally was able to completely consume myself with it with its release on the album Pony Tricks. I can’t seem to find a clip of the tune for you to sample, so you’re just going to have to settle with a burned copy of the CD from me or just see him live… or hell buy the album yourself! Well worth the fifteen bucks it’ll cost ya.

Instead, I’ll leave you with a track from the Fourth Arts and Crafts sampler album. I had this disc forever ago when they put it out… maybe 2005/6. And because I am a good soul and I don’t download, I am completely unable to listen to this track outside of the comforts of Grooveshark…
So here it is… The beautiful tune “Gabrielle”:

>Soundtracks, ‘Up In The Air’ and ‘Hearbeats’

>High thoughts for Up In The Air

I cannot remember the last George Clooney film I saw, it’s literally been that long. Up In The Air was a nice fresh change, nothing groundbreaking but I really enjoyed the film. First off, Jason Reitman who also directed Juno was absolutely on the money. The film had the quirkiness that Juno had with characters that you could hate a bunch, but somehow find it in your heart to love.

The icing on the cake though was the incredible soundtrack that followed the film. I was completely surprised to find the tune “Goin’ Home” by Dan Auerbach (The Black Keys) in the film. It’s the last track to appear on his beautiful, underrated solo album Keep It Hid.

And apparently, Dolan prefers Godard to Truffaut. Not me, babe!