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


Ty Segall seven: King Tuff

King Tuff, aka Kyle Thomas, is from Brattleboro, Vermont. He’s in his early thirties and started making music in his parents’ house. Spin has high praises for his work and even took the time to showcase his 2008 album, Was Dead, in the form of an oral history.

With light hooks and nasal-heavy vocals, King Tuff sounds a bit like Girls.

Tuff’s playing guitar in Ty Segall’s band the Muggers. Pretty excited to see this guy take the lead.

Throwback: Eaux Claires music festival, July 17-18, 2015

My girlfriends and I didn’t make a video of our experiences at Eaux Claires, but the Stavely-Taylor girls did (aka The Staves). They get the festival’s buzz perfectly in this sweet little video for the song “Horizons.”

A few things about the festival:

  • Sweet program book/Eaux Claires passports – bright yellow, comprehensive, artistic and handy
  • Timely rain. Nothing during festival hours, but the scariest hazardous conditions I have ever endured. Tornado warnings and high winds forced us our of our tent and into our car. We called all our loved ones in fear of losing our lives (see 1:43 in the video above). Something tells me the Staves weren’t sleeping outdoors!
  • A killer line up that never tired me: Charles Bradley, Spoon, Sylvan Esso, The National, Bon Iver, Phox, The Tallest Man on Earth, Poliça and that’s just off the top of my head.
  • Movies – a short film by Tom Berninger, a short partly-fictional film on the band Phox
  • Shitty food
  • Our discovery of Buzzballs

Feeling some major summer nostalgia right now.

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.


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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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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Justin Vernon (Bon Iver) does Bonnie Raitt, Minnesota Love

I found myself humming the tune “Nick of Time” this evening… I had to set my ears on this lovely ditty:

While I’m at it, I am going to put a plug in for Bon Iver’s drummer S. Carey, who showed me one of the most truly lovely moments of my Summer of 2012.



He played at the Harriet Lake Park in Minnesota at no cost to anyone who cared to watch. It was a lovely summer evening in August and I dragged my Mom out, who had no real interest in my music but was open to anything I wanted to do.

We later then went to Cheapos and later the Lagoon Cinema to see Celeste and Jesse Forever, where I certainly experienced heaps of Mid-Western love.