The Detroit Party Marching Band Queen West Takeover; Friday April 18, 2014

The Detroit Party Marching Band is a guerrilla-style marching band comprised of 30 members from the Detroit-area playing every instrument you can recall from high school band. For the very first time, the band brought their eclectic, unstoppable music to Toronto. In support of the Lemon Bucket Orchestra’s Folk the Winter event, the Detroit Party Marching Band arrived in Toronto with seconds to spare.

If you’re unfamiliar with the band, they’ve received moderate fame outside of Detroit through a fall tour in support of fellow Detroit native My Brightest Diamond. They also played St. Jerome’s Laneway Music Festival in Detroit, popping up in many unsuspecting corners of the outdoor venue. I was lucky enough to have seen the band play at Laneway in Detroit.

Seventeen of the band’s thirty member roster made it out to Toronto last night and from the band’s presence and sound, you’d never know they were only at half attendance. Despite lugging around instruments of all sizes, the band’s dazzling presence was surprisingly physical and full of energy. Their set was filled with kicks, high fives, hugs, and cheering – something that can’t be mustered up by just one person. The band’s expressions of joy were sincere and wholehearted, which can only be a sign of the band reinventing themselves with each show. I can’t possibly gush harder about the wonderful vitality and warmth that the Detroit Party Marching Band exude.

Get to know the Detroit Party Marching Band here:

I’m new to the Lemon Bucket Orchestra, a Toronto-based “Balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-Party-Punk-Super Band formed in 2010. Famed for random and unexpected performances, the Lemon Bucket Orchestra started the gig in the conventional venue of the parking lot of a big box grocery store behind the Gladstone Hotel. They continued to march the bustling crowd comprised of families, twentysomethings, and passersby to the small, mostly cement nook just past Dufferin, which I  newly learned is called the Parkdale Amphitheater. Both the Detroit Party Marching Band and a Toronto-based samba ensemble called Samba Elegua. In addition to the mess of musicians were folks from flame throwers New Model Circus, theatre works by Kosa Kolektiv, and stilt walkers Maracatall. It was truly a nutty evening.

The following video is worth a peak to get familiar with the Lemon Bucket Orchestra:

The Detroit Party Marching Band took their antics to a nearby pub called Salvador Darling and played a mini-set in a very tiny space. I nearly got my eyes taken out by two trombone players and my friend was nearly sacked by a bass drum player. Near injuries aside, I have never been so close to live music – a real unexpected treat.

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Tycho at the Hoxton; Saturday April 12, 2014

Three years ago I went to the Hoxton’s opening night event, which showcased Brazilian duo the Twelves. I had seen them play two months prior at Coachella based on a tip that they were the Brazilian Daft Punk. With a few gal pals in tow, I unknowingly dragged them to opening night gig at the Hoxton, to relive my Coachella memories. We were welcomed to the highest of high heels and half naked people at the Hoxton. I had written off the Hoxton as yet another fine King Street West clubland establishment.

Thankfully, the mid-sized venue has sort of become a hub for grungy rock music, as well as a home for electronic music and DJs. Somewhere in between the two genres is the San Francisco-based four-piece band Tycho. Comprised of two guitars, a bass, drums, and synthesizers, the members flip-flopped between instruments throughout the band’s brief one hour set. You’d never know from their live gig, but Tycho is a moniker for the band’s frontman Scott Hansen, who also moonlights as a photographer and graphic designer under the title ISO50.

The band’s sound has been dubbed as ambient, electronic, and blissful. I suppose what makes their sound so unique is that they’ve really carved their own sound distinct from many acts similar to them. While there are no vocals, their music sweetly conveys emotion and heart through recognizable melodies and strong bass lines. Their music is recognizable and distinctive and above all light hearted. The band’s chilled out synth sound has received tremendous praise from the independent rock music scene. Being my first time seeing Tycho live, I wasn’t exactly sure what sort of crowd they would draw or how the crowd would respond the band’s music. I was surprised to find a rather subdued audience that calmly swayed to the music, with the occasional weirdly over energetic person.

Sadly in favour to keep the venue cooler, the band’s sound was disturbed by the continuous sound of the venue’s air conditioner or fan. Poorly located right behind the stage, the noise didn’t quit until the band’s encore. The band didn’t seem to care, but the audience around me seemed to take notice. The band’s carefree attitude matched the gorgeous cinematography which screened throughout the set – babes, beaches, and mountain scenes. Once I was able to forget the continuous sound of the venue’s air conditioning system, I was able to take in the band’s serene music and imagery.

Gush: Reddit AMA featuring some of the National and Tom Berninger

I had the incredible luck to see Tom Berninger’s film of his brother’s band Mistaken For Strangers at the Hot Docs film festival last year.

The has finally hit movie theatres and iTunes around the world and Matt Berninger and co. are chit-chatting about things the National on Reddit. Here it is!!

Some gems I found interesting from the rapid fire talk:

1. This is what the boys are listening to: A few of my recents: St. Vincent “St. Vincent” / Cass McCombs “Big Wheel and Others” / Ólafur Arnalds / PIL “Album” / No Age “An Object” / London Grammar / Lorde / Megafaun / Elizabeth Cotton / Laurie Spiegel “The Expanding Universe” / King Krule “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” / Kim Deal – Singles / The Juan MacClean / Jónsi & Alex / Jerry Garcia & David Grisman / Tanlines / Small Black / Endless Boogie / Baaba Maal / Hamza El Din / Caetano Veloso “Personalidade” – Scott

2. Berninger on hitting his head during live shows: I’ve done that for a long time. I have to switch sides after a few days. Most of the stuff I do onstage is stress relief, including the wine-guzzling. Don’t worry I don’t hit myself in the head (on purpose) with anything off stage. -Matt

3. To all of you: What is your go to wine (matt) and/or cocktails (aaron&scott) while on stage? I like all flavors of wine. On stage I drink wine on the rocks, which I like to think of as a Cincinnati sangria. -Matt
Yager bombs -TOM
Jameson or Tequila on ice. Aaron
Whatever’s left 😉 – usually a little white wine, water, or tequila on ice, so nice. – Scott

4. Hey Matt!

How did you grow the balls to gloriously scream like that at the end of “Graceless” during the SNL performance? How did the castmembers react?

Speaking of SNL, any funny backstage moments from the recording?

That song has so many rhymes in it, it’s like a Dr. Seuss story. If I get them all right, I scream at the end to celebrate. -Matt

5. A few favorites – classics, in no particular order: New Order “Power Corruption & Lies” / REM “Document” / Neil Young “After the Gold Rush” & “Harvest Moon” / Bob Dylan “Time Out of Mind” / “Blonde on Blonde” / “Street Legal” / Grateful Dead “American Beauty” / Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” / Breeders “Last Splash” / U2 “War” / The Smiths “The Queen Is Dead” / Stone Roses “Stone Roses” / Erik Satie / Velvet Underground “The Velvet Underground” / Doors “LA Woman” / Tom Petty “Wildflowers” / Talking Heads “Remain In Light” – Scott

Sure yeah – sry, started w/ the classics – some newer records: Mirel Wagner / Heather Woods Broderick / Chromatics / War On Drugs “Lost In A Dream” / Angel Olsen / Warpaint / Mac Demarco / St. Vincent “St. Vincent” / Cass McCombs “Big Wheel and Others” / Ólafur Arnalds / No Age “An Object” / London Grammar / Lorde / Megafaun / King Krule “6 Feet Beneath the Moon” / Kim Deal – Singles / The Juan MacClean / Jónsi & Alex / Tanlines / Small Black / Endless Boogie – Scott

6. This is what a Pink Rabbit: Strawberry Nesquik, tequila, and kahlua actually. All from the devil’s mouth himself:

7. When I’m shooting the band sleeping. I pretended they were all dead. -TOM

8. The documentary features a few celebrity fans, including Will Arnett and Werner Herzog. Which surprised you most?

It was a bizarre thrill to have Werner Herzog show up at the show (and in the movie). We felt like we had a sort of weird guardian angel present while making this movie since he was “around.” Matt

Help Okkveril River’s go-to art guy, Will Schaff

Yes, that’s right, Will Schaff, not Scheff. You may have seen some of Will Schaff’s art work on the cover of Okkervil River albums (frontman named Will Scheff) and on the cover of a Goodspeed! You Black Emperor album too.

Will Schaff has created an indigogo to support money he owes for the place he makes his art and catches up on sleep. I still haven’t quite come to terms with the idea of formalized begging, but the perks can be pretty fun. For just $80, you can hang out at Schaff’s haunts in Warren, Rhode Island and then grab a beer with him at his favourite local dive. Or for just a measly $9, you can get a Schaff original deck of cards, pretty sweet!

He’s looking for another $90,000 dollars, a bit ambitious, but the guy’s already made nearly $28,000 in just 15 days.

Here’s to Schaff:

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