Happy 2017! pt two

I have to apologize for my absence, I’ve left you, my loyal reader, alone for 149. In this time I saw the following concerts:

  • The Radio Dept with Germans at the Mod Club on March 5
  • Dinosaur Jr at the Danforth Music Hall on March 10
  • Wilco at Massey Hall on March 15
  • The Staves at the Phoenix on March 17
  • Jenn Grant outside of the Great Hall on March 24
  • Kevin Morby and Waxahatchee at Longboat Hall on March 24
  • Peter Silberman at Through Being Cool on March 25
  • M.Ward at the Great Hall on March 25
  • Lambchop at the Great Hall on March 27
  • Lucy Dacus at the Tralf (Niagara Falls, NY) on April 1
  • Allison Crutchfield & the Fizz with Vagabon (who I missed) at the Silver Dollar on April 5
  • The Constantines at Mitchell Hall (Guelph) on April 8
  • Choir! Choir! Choir! do Big Star’s “Thirteen” at the Great Hall on April 17
  • Sondre Lerche at the Garrison on April 20
  • Tim Darcy at Baby G’s on April 20
  • Julia Jacklin at the Rivoli on April 21
  • Dan Romano at Longboat Hall on April 22 (although I sadly and very regretfully only caught one song)
  • Feist at Trinity St Paul Church on April 27
  • Metz with Fake Palms/THE LAST SHOW AT THE SILVER DOLLAR on April 30
  • Guided by Voices at the Magic Stick (Detroit, MI) on May 5
  • Sylvan Esso with Lucy Dacus at the Phoenix on May 22
  • Frightened Rabbit at the Danforth Music Hall on May 29
  • The Avalanches at the Phoenix on June 8
  • Do Make Say Think at the Danforth Music Hall on June 10
  • Workin’ Mom’s Benefit Improv Show at the Garrison on June 16
  • Bry Webb with Bird City at the Pump House (Grimsby, ON) on June 18
  • Thursday with Fucked Up and MeiwthoutYou (did not see) at the Danforth Music Hall on June 24
  • Big Thief with Twain (skipped) at the Horseshoe Tavern on June 28
  • Elvis Costello at the Sony Centre on July 20



Sondre Lerche at the Bowery Ballroom; Tuesday September 23, 2014

I love New York. At any given time or date you can find someone amazing performing… I’m looking at you, Ted Leo at South Street Seaport in 2011 and the National (a few times over). I always peruse the wonderful Oh My Rockness to keep me in the loop for all of my concert needs.

The last time I saw Lerche play the Bowery Ballroom, it was to an empty house. I was surprised to find so many people this particular gig. Lerche’s new album titled Please is filled with everything I was expecting, wonderful hooks, full swells and lots of sing-along opportunities. Many folks in the crowd seemed to be hanging on to the words of many of the new tunes.

Lerche played with a three-piece band, which with Lerche sounds like a band twice its size. He had a three girls from the opening band Teen provide back up vocals and keyboard on three or four songs throughout the set.

The first gig I’ve see him as a single man, Lerche appeared in good spirits despite the happenings. He appeared to be having a great time, which is something very unique to the guy. He’s active and full of energy on stage without coming off as forced or planned. Music comes easy to him and he’s not afraid of showcasing older tunes. He drew from his older catalogue, playing a number of older tunes such as “Two Way Monologues,” “My Hands Are Shaking” and “The Tape,” while playing a number of newer tunes that the crowd loved.

Since the release of Dan in Real Life, Lerche has been playing “Modern Nature” at his gigs. The first time was sweetly with his tour mate Sylvie Lewis, but without a female counterpart he has been drawing from the audience for help. I’ll admit, it’s a sweet song and it’s mighty nice to be involved, but I’m growing tired to hearing knobs yell the lyrics out like maniacs. I sadly was positioned next to the village drunk who was sluggishly, yet confidently yelling out all of the words he could string together.


Goodbye Kim’s Video & Music

I found this place a few years back when a friend and I were stumbling around New York. There has been a bit of buzz about the shop because it’s set to close down mid-July.

The record store didn’t leave a mark on me, but my interactions were brief. It’s interesting to hear a take from a former employee of the store, as well as some of its history.

From my last visit to the store in June 2012:


Sondre Lerche at the Bowery Ballroom; Tuesday October 15, 2013

New York is easily one of my favourite places to visit. At any given time, there’s something exciting going on in the city. This time around, I caught the very end of the CBGB Film Festival and the beginning of CMJ. I only got a taste of the latter with Sondre Lerche’s all too short set this evening. His gig was hosted by writer Michael Azerrad, founder of the website The Talkhouse and writer of the very wonderful book This Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground: 1981-1991. This evening, for me, was a celebration of Sondre Lerche’s incredible charm and a time to shine a light on Azerrad’s website, which Lerche recently contributed to.

Sondre Lerche (pronounced Son-dre Ler-kay) is only thirty-one. It’s astounding to think I’ve been listening to this guy for ten years, a time when we were both young pups. What’s even more astounding is that he wrote some of my favourite songs of his before turning twenty-three years of age. Lerche is a musical prodigy, high up there with three members of the Beatles and Zach Condon of Beirut. Some things come easy to people and I am envious. At the age of thirty-one, Lerche appears older in-person than he actually is. He was in excellent form tonight with his core two bandmates who reside in Norway. They were in New York to record Lerche’s new album. There was a particular comfort and enjoyment Lerche was sporting this evening and I have a feeling it was because of the presence of his bandmates. Additionally, this was Lerche’s first show in a very long time, perhaps even of 2013. He expressed how much he “missed us,” meaning playing for an audience. Much in the vein of Canadian Thanksgiving, Lerche was expressing immense gratitude. His sincerity shone through brightly, which made the performance particularly wonderful to watch.

I was surprised to hear all of the old tunes he sported. I suppose with a seven album catalogue, there’s a lot to chose from. He opened up his set with Two Way Monologue opener “Track You Down,” which despite being nearly ten years old, sounded as playful as ever. The line “you were naked/which was weird,” always makes me chuckle. There was also a coy look when Lerche delivered them. It was really a weird mash of tunes: slow, fast, plugged, unplugged, solo, with band, old, new. Well, just one new song, which sounded excellent.

I was overjoyed to hear my favourite tune from his self-titled album, a song titled “Domino.” The tune features a lazy guitar riff that works eloquently and translates just as amazingly live. Many of the tunes he played developed into a hard jam at the end, while not completely true to their studio versions, it was still really exciting to see Lerche and his band completely let go, in the best way possible. Tunes like “Airport Taxi Reception” were played with vigor, as expected, but it was unexpected jams in fan favourite “Two Way Monologues” and “Faces Down” that surprised me most.

He played a few tunes alone, one of which was the one new song he showcased. His two bandmates crept up on stage half way through the tune and Lerche genuinely looked surprised. He had forgotten that they had worked on the song in the studio and didn’t realize that they knew how to play the tune. After the tune, the band clipped out to let Lerche play the very delicate tune “My Hands Are Shaking,” which was used in the film Dan in Real Life. He played this tune without a microphone claiming he “doesn’t always like one of those things in his face.” I was really surprised to hear “Sleep on Needles” as his closer. Maybe I shouldn’t be so surprised because he introduced it as the only good set closer he’s ever written, based on that introduction, he’s likely done it before. He followed his statement claiming that he’s still trying to write a good album closer, but “they’re so hard to write.” Lerche is modest and mega attractive, really the ultimate man!!!!

Before he introduced the last song, he called out Delicate Steve onstage. With no response, or anyone entering the stage, Lerche shyly asked if he was even in the building. Again, no response, his drummer commented that he thinks that Steve had run off to play another CMJ set at another venue. Lerche mentioned the two had been emailing regarding collaborating on a tune and that he realized they had never even met! A bit of a flop at the end, but Lerche and band played it off cool.

This show was my favourite Lerche show since his 2007 gig at the Mod Club in Toronto. I assume it was because it was the same band he played with six years ago pushing the very good album Phantom Punch. I remember how much fun it looked like he was having and tonight, it looked like just as much fun.

I was surprised to see how empty the venue was, it certainly was nowhere near selling out. This was my first time at the Bowery Ballroom, despite residing so close to it with each visit. It’s a great little venue that I would guess fits no more than 1500 people. Another gem to add to the list of amazing things in New York…

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‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ directed by the Cohen bros

I like most of the films the Cohen Brothers make… I’m looking forward to seeing Inside Llewyn Davis, a film set in the 1960s folk scene in New York. I always get super excited any time I step in Greenwich Village in New York, thinking about how it once was the old stomping grounds for Dylan, Ochs, Seeger etc.


I cannot get enough of Carey Mulligan with long brown hair, this is my very favourite look on her:

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Poliça with Solid Gold at the Brooklyn Bowl, Brooklyn, NY; Friday June 7, 2013

Seeing Poliça for a second time in two months has been an absolute treat. After racing to, and nearly missing their Coachella week 1 set, seeing them in much less of a panic made things so much  easier and more enjoyable. It was a late gig intending to cap off the Governors Ball, a festival I was aware of but didn’t really make a great attempt to seek out. It was a beautiful, serendipitous unveiling of events because Friday was the rainiest day I’ve experienced in a while, cancelling some of the events of the Friday portion of the festival. Fortunately, Poliça, not too wet, were still ready to rock in the evening.

Something about this gig felt different from the Coachella 2013 performance. Maybe it’s because I was closer, or less sweaty, regardless, they were bang on. The venue was packed and apparently sold out. I managed to get a ticket from Ticketweb, the day before the gig. It was sold out the week prior so I was really relieved to find a ticket online. My pal, Naomi, scored one off of Stub Hub for just $10 more than me. Worth it.
We got to the venue at about half past eleven to find that no one had gone on yet! It wasn’t until about midnight that openers, Solid Gold, took the stage!! So, I took the opportunity to suck back a few Brooklyn Lagers whose plant is located next door to the Brooklyn Bowl. Yummy stuff.

I was extremely excited to try my hand at bowling, but my date was not feeling it. I’m still a bit bitter about it, I had even packed socks in excitement and preparation to bowl. Lanes were $25/half hour and shoe rentals were $5. It was cute to see people wearing their bowling shoes at the gig, I’m not sure if that was a drunken move or just a hipster effort, maybe a combination of the two. I was surprised to see that there was 0 line to bowl, perhaps it’s the high rates deterring the kids from partaking. I get it, but I was still in vacation mode and wanted to splurge!

Poliça were absolutely stunning, lead woman Channy Leneagh’s mesmerizing stage presence, was getting everyone pumped. She’s kind of an odd woman – pixie hair cut, 1920s thin eyebrows and donned a very unconventional long dress with chunky red Fluevog-like shoes. For me at least, it was certainly her rhythmic dance moves and amazing voice that got me, not her thread selection. Throughout the whole show, there was a dude verbally melting with every minute letting out “ooohs” and “oooh yeah baby.” I found it a bit funny, but not as funny as the girl behind me singing each word in my ear. It was probably more funny for someone to watch me cringe with each syllable this tequila-drunk girl sang to me.

I was most happy to hear the band open up with “Leading to Death” which they neglected play at their Coachella 2013 week 1 set. I was also super stoked to have heard “Tiff,” which was just as amazing sans Justin Vernon. They also shut her down with my absolute favourite tune “Amongster.”

Two drums is really the way to go.

Openers Solid Gold were good. I really didn’t feel anything however in sheer bliss after ending Poliça’s set, I splurged and bought Solid Gold’s album for $10. You really can’t beat that price. I listened to the album through once at work on Sunday and wasn’t really feeling it. It had a glorified ’80s sound that most of the new Bon-Iver-family-Mid-West bands mimick. The album was recorded at Justin Vernon’s studio in Wisconsin. I love the Mid-West and the Bon Iver family, but these bands have gotta find a new sound!

But maybe I’ll try again later, I have warmed up to Gayngs after almost 3 years of owning their album!

Broken Social Scene to play ‘You Forgot It In People’ from start to finish

This week is going to be nuts. I am visiting some dear friends in New York and seeing the National. Friday, I am going to try and squeeze in Polica at the Brooklyn Bowl and perhaps Brit Daniels’ DJ set.

Catching a ridiculously early flight Saturday AM I have decided that I am going to go to the Broken Social Scene Field Trip after all. Can you keep up with me?

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The National with My Brightest Diamond at the Beacon Theatre, New York, New York; Friday December 16, 2011

I had a moment earlier today when I realised how amazing it was that I was able to squeeze in one more trip as well as seeing the National in 2011. It’s been a pretty stunning year as far as music goes and I’m really excited to unveil all my escapades with you once again in one post. So, stay tuned!

I can’t stress my almost immediate infatuation with the National after seeing them with some song knowledge under my belt. Their live show oozes effortless cool and ease while maintaining a powerful intensity. It is now wonder the band was able to sell out a six night stand at the Beacon Theatre in New York. I went to the second last gig of the string of shows.

Having seen them just over a week before, I was really happy to see that Berninger’s banter and presence wasn’t completely duplicated each show. Although it did feel significantly more personal at this show. I credit this to two very evident differences between the two gigs – first, the venue was definitely more suitable for the band. It would be a joke to say that the Air Canada Centre is appropriate for a concert. I lucked out because I was able to squish to the front. Many others were not so fortunate. Secondly, the National now reside in Brooklyn, New York (neé Ohio), so these shows were more or less home coming gigs.

The New York gigs had a different (fantastic) opener each night. My night featured My Brightest Diamond, a mix of colourful, deep vocals with a cabaret sound.  I was immediately taken by the song “I Have Never Loved Someone,” a bare bones love song. I stumbled in a bit late into her set, but I managed to hear “I Have Never Loved Someone, which she played alone followed by her GORGEOUS cover of “Feeling Good.” She originally contributed the cover to the Dark Was The Night compilation a few years back. The compilation was organised and arranged by the Dessner Twins of the National. My Brightest Diamond front woman Shara Worden introduced the cover as her final song and dedicated it to the late Nina Simone. Worden said she had saw her at the Beacon Theatre ten years ago and was anxiously waiting to have the opportunity to play that same stage. The couple next to me asked me if I knew who originally performed the song, much to my surprise I had no idea and the only version that came to mind was the Michale Bublé rendition. Turns out it was originally written for the musical The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.

It’s always nice to recognise songs at a live show, these two ditties were an absolute surprise and pleasure.

Everyone who loves the National always talk about how they saw them five years before. It seems that the way I look at Bon Iver as “my little secret” is the way big fans see the National. I’ve forever known about them, but really haven’t given them a good listen until this year, or a listen at all. Heck, I adored the Dark Was the Night compilation and skipped their tunes. Major loss. It wasn’t until my last minute Coachella cramming was I able to really dip into their music. I didn’t have an easy time rolling into my adoration with them, but quite instantly fell in love with “Mr. November” and “Fake Empire.”

I bought tickets for this tour initially on the grounds that I wanted to witness “Mr. November” live again. It’s kind of an odd reason to drop $80 for.

I found an unlikely love with this band after seeing them just over a week ago. High Violet had served as my study soundtrack for nearly three weeks on repeat. Just dynamite.

Going to see them in New York was sheer gluttony, I could see them again, so I did.

As I mentioned before, I was really happy to hear that their banter changed, but I was really overjoyed to find that they wrangled up guest artists to contribute to their live tunes. At just the Friday show, someone from Kings of Leon, Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Trey Anastasio (Phish) and Rob Moose (Bon Iver, Jay-Z & everyone under the sun!).

Parry’s contributions were absolutely key to the sound of the tune “Conversation 16.” Hearing it at the Toronto show I really felt it was missing something. The National’s lead singer Matt Berninger introduced the song with a very grateful shout out to Parry’s contributions to the tune. He said that after Parry had heard a rough cut of the tune before the album was released, he suggested an alteration to the tune. He laid down an eight part vocal arrangement to the chorus to accompany the guitar bits. I couldn’t even imagine the song without the harmony bit, it didn’t sound right at the Toronto gig. Parry’s accompanying vocals to the gig was absolutely critical. It made a world of a difference:

Avec Parry:

Sans Parry (horn substitute):

Rob Moose’s violin contribution to the new tune “I Need My Girl” was absolutely breathtaking, especially in the last minute or so (the video really doesn’t do justification). Also, pretty impressive was the band’s debut concert performance of this song with Owen Pallet, who Berninger claimed had never heard the song before. Pretty flawless.

New York gig with Rob Moose:

Toronto gig with Owen Pallet:

Their first time playing this tune live on our very own Q:

Just a few thoughts revisiting the show on here. I’m sure I’ll give a few more thoughts as I fondly remember the show in the near future.

Berninger and co. closing up with “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks”:

What the band was looking at:

If you like the National at all, you should check out this fab blog called Fuck Yeah! The National. They really frame the National well.



The National’s six night stand in NYC at the Beacon Theatre

Damn it, CAIT!