Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Concert Review: Gaslight Anthem with Tim Barry and The Menzingers, July 14, Toronto

I was slightly apprehensive about going to the Gaslight Anthem gig on Wed., July 14, because the hype surrounding these boys from Jersey has been crazy. They were featured on the cover of Exclaim!, and had feature articles on them in both the Toronto Star and the National Post. Would they live up to the hype, or are they just another bunch of tattooed pretty boys that the kids are think are cool? And the show was at the friggin' Sound Academy, one of my least favorite venues in Toronto.

First, let me say that if you are an old jaded person like myself, and you want to avoid the moshing kids, and you don't mind paying a few extra bucks, the Sound Academy VIP section is genius. GENIUS! I totally change my mind about the Sound Academy being a bad venue. In fact, I saw the most beautiful crescent moon set over the city skyline that night from the VIP patio. Dammit I wish I had something besides my awful cell phone camera with me. And there is never a line for booze, nor a line for the bathrooms. Awesome. Totally changed my concert experience.

Gaslight totally lived up to the hype. Blew me away actually. This was the opening night of their tour which is continuing across the US. They blasted into the title track "American Slang" and never looked back. The kids went crazy. I went crazy.

Gaslight are filling in a much needed niche in music right now: they are a solid rock band. They don't fart around with pretentious new sounds, or have weird outfits, or feel the need to do namby-pamby acoustic folk songs (and I like namby-pamby acoustic folk songs). American Slang is essentially following the same Tom Petty/Bruce Springsteen rock formula that they have been using since their 2008 debut album Sink Or Swim, except that they have become better singers/guitarists/musicians in general. In fact, they aren't doing anything that Lucero hasn't been doing for the last twelve years. Which begs the question as to why Lucero is still stuck at Lee's Palace (500 person capacity), while Gaslight can sell out the Sound Academy (capacity 3000). Is it because Lucero is from Memphis and has a bit of twang in their music? I'll save this discussion for another blog post, but I will note that Gaslight Anthem has been covering Lucero's "The War" on this tour. Check out this video from the July 24 Denver gig.

Back to the Toronto show. Just before playing their 2009 hit, "The '59 Sound," lead singer Brian Fallon profusely thanked the crowd for their support, and thanked Canada for Neil Young and Tegan and Sara. Then they launched into four more songs, plus a six song encore including a cover of Pearl Jam's "State of Love and Trust." The Gaslight guys were young teenagers when grunge was in fashion, and you can tell that grunge was a huge influence on their musical development. This show was an all-ages event, and I was in the 19+ balcony section so I couldn't tell if there were any parents lurking in the back while their kids danced up front, but I'm hoping that the Gaslight Anthem will get today's teenagers interested in rock and roll. God knows that popular music needs it.

Set List
1. American Slang
2. Casanova, Baby!
3. Old White Lincoln
4. Stay Lucky
5. Even Cowgirls Get the Blues
6. Bring It On
7. Boxer
8. Angry Johnny and the Radio
9. The Spirit of Jazz
10. The Queen of Lower Chelsea
11. The '59 Sound
12. Boomboxes and Dictionaries
13. Old Haunts
14. Blue Jeans & White T-Shirts
15. Great Expectations

16. She Loves You
17. The Diamond Church Street Choir
18. We Came To Dance.mp3
Buy: Sink or Swim (2008)
19. State of Love and Trust (Pearl Jam cover)
20. Here's Looking at You, Kid
21. The Backseat

Some sweet photos from the show on Chartattack.

The show opened with a 45 minute set from the punk band The Menzingers. I don't know much about this band other than they are a four piece from Philadelphia, and there were loud, with lots of energy, and generally awesome. When I went to buy their new CD Chamberlain Waits, their merch dude told me that the band left after playing their opening set so they could go to the Bovine Sex Club and play another gig. Hard core! I love the Bovine. I need to hang out there more often. I listened to the CD last week and if you like hard rock, you will like this album.

The Menzingers - Home Outgrown.mp3
Buy: Chamberlain Waits (2010)

As I told my new concert buddy Ellen, I mainly attended this show to see Tim Barry. Gaslight Anthem was an added bonus! Barry is intense, and pissed off, but also deeply sincere and forthright. He has deep convictions, and he stands by them.You don't fuck with Tim Barry.

First The Menzingers tore the roof off of the place, then Barry took the stage solo, with just his acoustic guitar. He said, "I'm the obligatory old man with an acoustic guitar who used to be in a punk band." I was concerned that the youngsters at the show would ignore Barry, or talk over his set. Fortunately, I was wrong. Barry held the audience in the palm of his hand, much unlike the Wrongbar fiasco a few months ago.

He sounded really good. And in addition to being a wonderful musician and storyteller, Barry is one funny dude. "I'm nervous as a motherfucker tonight," Barry quipped after his third song. You can imagine that Barry is mostly used to playing in front of a few hundred people. After his second to last song Barry thanked the security staff, the bartenders, and then Gaslight Anthem. He told the crowd that Gaslight was letting him crash on their bus, which, considering the economics of touring, is a wonderful thing for Gaslight to do. Apparently Alkaline Trio did the same for Gaslight Anthem back in the day. It gave me a whole new respect for Gaslight.

Someone needs to follow Barry around and write down all of his quotes. "Canadians are the nicest motherfuckers ever!" "I'm not afraid to die, but I'm afraid to not fuckin' live." "I wrote this song at work, cause that's how I fuckin' role." "Please clap along as the end of this song sucks." "Fuck! That felt good! Thank you!"

No, thank you, Tim.

Set List
1. This November
2. Moving On Blue
3. Idle Idylist
4. Church of Level Track
5. Tim Barry Making Fun of Tim Barry (Video from The Grist Mill in Waterloo, Ontario)
6. Prosser's Gabriel.mp3
Buy: 28th & Stonewall (2010)
7. Avoiding Catatonic Surrender
8. Dog Bumped

Beautiful moon set, terrible camera.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Rock Schedule July 26 - Aug. 2

I'm still on a Hillside high, and a bunch of the bands I saw over the weekend are continuing their tours through Toronto. If you are in or around Toronto this week, check out these gigs:

Monday, July 26
1. Scott H. Biram, Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), $9
I mentioned this show last week, but seriously people, you should go to it. Bad-ass southern blues rock!

Scott H. Biram - Blood, Sweat, and Murder.mp3
Buy: Dirty Old One Man Band (2005)

2. Andy White with Kristin Sweetland, The Dakota Tavern (249 Ossington Avenue)
I saw White at Hillside yesterday and he was fantastic. He reminds me of Billy Bragg meets Paul Kelly, only Irish. He plays a small, custom made 12-string guitar that sounds like a full size acoustic. Very cool. His show is in the early time slot at 8:00 pm. Go see him, then head over to the Horseshoe to see Biram.

3. Shane Koyczan and the Long Story Short, Hugh's Room (2261 Dundas Street), $22.50
You may know the name Shane Koyczan from his "We Are More" poem from the opening ceremonies from last winter's Vancouver Olympics. I'm not usually big on spoken word, and the only reason I saw him yesterday was because he was performing in the beer tent area, and I was thirsty and wanted to get out of the sun. Wow! He recites his poetry while a band backs up his verses. Totally blew me away. He also plays on Thursday at the Drake (1150 Queen West).

Tuesday, July 20
1. The Felice Brothers, Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), $18, doors open at 8:30, Felice Bros at 10:45 pm.
Get your butt to the Horseshoe for some alt country goodness!

The Felice Brothers - Whiskey in My Whiskey.mp3
Buy: The Felice Brothers (2008)

2. Tim Harwill, Reba's Cafe & Gallery, (3289 Dundas St. W.)
Harwill is a 12-string country/folk troubadour from Thorsby, Alberta. He has an early start time at 7 PM. Go see him, then head to the 'Shoe for the Felice Bros.

Tim Harwill and Friends - The Ballad of Kenny Holmes.mp3
Buy: The Wander Man Revisited (2009)

Two other artists which I saw at Hillside yesterday are supposed to be playing Toronto this week, but I can't find any info on their gigs. If anyone has any intel on Morgan O'Kane or Sam Doores and the Tumbleweeds, can you please let me know? Nothing is jumping out at me for the rest of the week, so if I am missing something please shoot me an e-mail at rockstaraimz at gmail dot com.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Concert Review: James McMurtry at Lee's Palace

James McMurtry is surly, grumpy, and intense, which is why I love him and his music. He played to a criminally small crowd at Lee's Palace last Tuesday, July 13. When I arrived there were about 60 people in the audience, and by show time there were maybe 100 people. Not a great turnout for a place with a capacity of 500. Although there was a lot happening in Toronto that night, including an Old Crow Medicine Show gig at the Phoenix, which may have pulled some people from the McMurtry show.

If you went to something else instead of McMurtry's gig, it's your loss. The 48-year-old singer/songwriter/guitarist played songs from his entire catalog, but mostly focused on his most recent studio release Just Us Kids (2008). He gave a shout-out to his friends from Peterborough, Ontario, and dedicated his classic "Choctaw Bingo" to them. I loved watching the Peterborough contingent dance up a storm.

He played a new song which he described as "country music for KISS fans," and told the audience that where he grew up (in northern Virginia), no one listened to country music and "everyone listened to KISS." Then quipped, "They didn't listen to Ernest Tubb." McMurtry can see a phony a mile away.

He and his band, bassist Ronnie Johnson and drummer Daren Hess, played for nearly two hours. McMurtry did play a few songs solo with this guitar, but I was too dumb (drunk?) to write down which ones. Hell, I have a hard enough time keeping a set list! Regardless, McMurtry is a master storyteller with a commanding voice. He takes no shit, but doesn't dish it either. Just straight-up, no-nonsense country/rock music. Next time he's in town, more of you fuckers better show!

Set List
1. Bayou Tortous
2. Red Dress
3. Just Us Kids (live).mp3
Buy: Live in Europe (Bonus DVD, 2009)
4. Hurricane Party
5. You'd a Thought
6. Choctaw Bingo
7. Ruby and Carlos
8. Childish Things
9. Frauline O.
10. Restless (live).mp3
Buy: Live in Europe (Bonus DVD, 2009)
11. Freeway View
12. New Song???
13. Fire Line Road
14. No More Buffalo
15. Levelland
16. Too Long in the Wasteland

17. Lights of Cheyenne

I bought the Live in Europe album on eMusic, but it was highly recommend to me that I pick up the DVD. I've been told it's killer. Also, I don't know who runs the pre/post-show music at Lee's, but I greatly enjoyed hearing The Flying Burrito Brothers pre-show, and Uncle Tupelo post-show. Awesome.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Rock Schedule July 20-26

Gigs in the Toronto area you should check out this week!

Wednesday, July 21
1. Langhorne Slim with Ha Ha Tonka, Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), $15
I've seen both of these artists before, and I highly recommend them. I've only see Langhorne Slim as an opener, so I am looking very forward to his full set.

Ha Ha Tonka - Hold My Feet to the Fire.mp3
Buy: Novel Sounds of the Nouveau South (2009)

Langhorne Slim - Be Set Free.mp3
Buy: Be Set Free (2009)

2. Bon Jovi with Kid Rock, Rogers Centre (1 Blue Jays Way)
I'm only advertising this show because I have seen tickets being offered for as low as $15. If you have $15 and you are bored you should see Langhorne Slim and Ha Ha Tonka. But if you want good people watching and overpriced beer, you should hit the Rogers Centre. If the above artists were on a different night, I would be there! Ohhh, we're half-way there. Ooooo-ooooo! Livin' on a prayer!

Thursday, July 22
Calexico with Elliott Brood, The Phoenix (410 Sherbourne), $21.50
Arizona alt country artists with Toronto indie rockers. Should be a great show! Win tickets here.

Calexico - Two Silver Trees.mp3
Buy: Carried to Dust (2008)

Elliott Brood - Without Again.mp3
Buy: Mountain Meadows (2009)

Friday, July 23
Black Mountain, Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), $20
I don't know much about this Vancouver-based band, but a lot of people have been telling me I should check them out.

Black Mountain - Tyrants.mp3
Buy: In the Future (2008)

Friday, July 23 - Sunday, July 25
Hillside Festival, Guelph Conservation Area
Tons of artists of all genres. I am looking forward to Sarah Harmer, Basia Bulat, Corb Lund, and Stars, but I always find something new at Hillside. Will report back next week!

Monday, July 26
Scott H. Biram, Horseshoe Tavern (368 Queen Street West), $9
If you like blues-base rock, you cannot miss this! Ho-lee-shit it will be awesome!!!

Scott H. Biram - Blood, Sweat, and Murder.mp3
Buy: Dirty Old One Man Band (2005)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Suburban Home Records Mix Tape Vol. 5, Someone’s Gonna Die

Our friends at Suburban Home Records are offering another killer mix tape for Free! This is good stuff people! Thirty songs and over 135 minutes of excellent tunes. Suburban Home is one of the best indie record labels going. After you download this comp, peruse their fine catalog and pick yourself up records form a few of my favorite artists like Two Cow Garage, Drag the River, and Tim Barry.

Download zipped mix tape here (via YouSendIt).

1. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House - Swear to God
2. I Can Lick Any Sonofabitch in the House - Postcards and Apologies (Two Cow Garage cover)
3. Two Cow Garage - Postcards and Apologies
4. Micahel Dean Damron - Waiting Around to Die (Townes Van Zandt cover)
5. Townes Van Zandt - Waiting Around to Die
6. Austin Lucas - Sleep Well (Demo)
7. Trampled By Turtles - Wait So Long
8. Oblio's Arrow - End of the Burning Moon
9. Tim Barry - Exit Wounds
10. Slobberbone - Placemat Blues
11. John Moreland and the Black Gold Band - Bastards of the Highway
12. Jeff Rowe - Kate
13. The Replacements - Unsatisfied
14. Jon Snodgrass - Fast in Last
15. Arliss Nancy - Stella Lovely
16. Jr. Juggernaut - Another Two Weeks
17. Alexander Hudjohn - Down So Low
18. Calling Morocco - Break Your Heart
19. Tin Horn Prayer - Louis Collins
20. Jared Grabb - Devil Between
21. Lucky Old Sun - Back in Style
22. Armchair Martian - ...Not Fine (Demo)
23. The Takers - Drift
24. Look Mexico - Take it Upstairs, Einstein
25. Geraldine Fibbers - Lilybelle
26. Pariah Beat - Elvis in Jerusulum
27. Drag the River - Beautiful and Damned
28. BEERS - I Love You (But I Don't Trust You)
29. The Evening Rig - Half Asleep
30. Hank Williams, Jr. - If You Don't Like Hank Williams

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Happy Birthday to Moi!

My Aimz is True turns TWO today. Happy birthday to me! Thank you to all of the readers who indulge in my vanity and actually read the crap that I post. I will always celebrate my blog anniversary by posting some Pavement and Stephen Malkmus. Today I hit shuffle on Media Monkey, and these were the first two Pavement/SM tracks to pop up. Cheers!

Pavement - Yeah Baby (Live).mp3
Buy: Slanted & Enchanted: Luxe & Reduxe (2002 deluxe edition)

Stephen Malkmus - Jo Jo's Jacket.mp3
Buy: Stephen Malkmus (2001)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rock Schedule July 12-19

Sweet merciful crap, there are so many good gigs in Toronto this month that I could go to one every day of the week, and still miss out on some. Someone needs to get on cloning, pronto, cause I need to be at two, sometimes three, shows at once. If you are in or around Toronto this week here are the shows which I think you should see.

Tuesday, July 13
1. James McMurtry - Lee's Palace (529 Bloor)
It was a toss up between JM and OCMS, but I decided to catch JM. When I saw him in 2007 at the El Mo, he was amazing.

James McMurtry - The Governor.mp3
Buy: Just Us Kids (2008)

2. Old Crow Medicine Show - The Phoenix (410 Sherbourn)

3. Colleen Brown - The Horseshoe (370 Queen W.)
Part of Dave Bookman's New Music Night. FREE!

4. Rush - Molson Amphitheatre (909 Lakeshore Blvd. W.)
If there was nothing else playing, I would be there.

Wednesday, July 14
1. The Gaslight Anthem with Tim Barry and The Menzingers - The Sound Academy (11 Polson St.)
Dude. I would go to this gig just to see Tim Barry! The Gaslight Anthem is an added bonus. I am turning into Grandpa Simpson so I bought a VIP ticket so I could avoid all of the underage kids. Get off my lawn!

Tim Barry - Thing of the Past.mp3
Buy (Suburban Home): 28th and Stonewall (2010)

The Gaslight Anthem - Bring it On.mp3
Buy: American Slang (2010)

2. Delorean - Wrongbar (1279 Queen W.)
Lots of good buzz about this band, and the only venue I hate more than the Wrongbar, is the Sound Academy.[/Grandpa Simpson]

3. Titus Andronicus - The Horseshoe (370 Queen W.)

Friday, July 16
1. The Hold Steady with The Whigs - The Phoenix
Ohhh, my liver hurts already.

The Whigs - Right Hand on My Heart.mp3
Buy: Mission Control (2008)

The Hold Steady - Rock Problems.mp3
Buy: Heaven Is Whenever (2010)

Saturday, July 17
1. Rush - Air Canada Centre (40 Bay St.)
ACC shows are out of my budget, unless its Neil Young, or Bob Dylan. If anyone wants to do a guest review of a Rush show, shoot me an e-mail. Better yet, if anyone wants to give me a ticket....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

NXNE: Outlaws and Gunslingers Showcase

Above: the disaster I found on my condo terrace the morning of June 18.

First three photos by Jason Verwey, last two photos by Steffan Paulus.

I'm a few weeks (months?) late and several hundred dollars short on my reviews lately. But in my defense, in the words of the late Kurt Vonnegut, the "the excrement has hit the air-conditioning big time, big time." Here is what I have had to put up with lately: G20 lockdown and ensuing chaos in my 'hood, trying to navigate the G20 riots to get to/from my friend's wedding, last minute trip to Boston for work, family visiting for Canada Day, terrible intestinal illness, a mini-blackout, a Shriner's parade, world cup fever, and now stifling heat and smog. And I still need a haircut! So let's reminisce about happier times, like NXNE!

For my first official event of NXNE, this intrepid reporter decided to park her sorry butt at Lee's Palace for the Outlaws and Gunslingers showcase, sponsored by Six Shooter Records and Starfish Entertainment. I missed the opener, Andy Kim, who turns out to be a legendary songwriter who recently came out of retirement. Check out his bio on Wikipedia. Everyone at the bar was talking about what a great performance he put on. Dammit. Its really hard for me to get out of work in time to make it to 8:00 pm shows. Damn you day job!

I did arrived in time for the first trio: Danny Michel, Justin Rutledge, and Oh Susanna. I had seen all three of these artists before: Michel and Rutledge at recent solo shows, and Oh Susanna opening for Rhett Miller a few years ago. I love all three of these artists, and they made a terrific trio. Rutledge opened with "Mrs. Montgomery" from his new album The Early Widows. It sounded fantastic. I haven't really listened to his new album yet (weak, I know), but the songs he played that night all sounded wonderful.

Michel followed with the track "Wish Willy" from his brand new album Sunset Sea, which was officially released July 1. He told the audience that he actually picked up the final CDs four hours before that night's gig, and put the album on sale early just for us. My two sentence review: Sunset Sea is a great album for summer. It makes you want to sit by a pool, drink cocktails that contain rum, and revel in your sunburn. What I love most about Michel is that he is such a good entertainer. He has that rare combination of being a great songwriter and supremely talented musician, with more stage presence than he knows what to do with.

I'm not overly familiar with Oh Susanna (aka Suzie Ungerleider), and it seems she hasn't updated her website in a while, but regardless, she has a great voice, and backed by the band that frequently supports Rutledge (including guitar virtuoso David Baxter and bassist Basil Donovan, currently with Blue Rodeo) she sounded even better than when I saw her solo. She hasn't released an album since 2007, and I think most of the songs that she played are new, as I could not figure out the names of any of them.

Here's a rough list of the mini set:
1. Rutledge - "Mrs. Montgomery"
2. Michel - "Wish Willy"
3. Oh Susanna - ??
4. Rutledge - "Be a Man"
5. Michel - "Maybe You Can Find it in Your Heart"
6. Oh Susanna - "Little Sister" ???
7. Rutledge - "The Heart of a River"
8. Michel - "Who's Gonna Miss You?"
9. Oh Susanna - "See What Promises Can Bring" ??

Danny Michel - Maybe You Can Find it in Your Heart.mp3
Buy (Maple Music): Sunset Sea (2010)

The next trio was composed of three artists that I was not as familiar with: Royal Wood, Amelia Curran, and Andy Maize of the Skydiggers.  I only knew of Amelia Curran because she recently won a Juno award for Roots and Traditional Album of the Year.

I was blown away by all three artists. Amelia Curran is my new heterosexual girl crush (sorry Kathleen Edwards). Wow, I just loved her folk/rock music. Her first track, "Bye Bye Montreal" from Hunter, Hunter was a bit on the mellow side, but still pleased the near capacity audience.

The music did a complete 180 with Andy Maize. He was loud and brash and awesome singing "Where's My Baby Tonight," from his new release The History of Forgetting, which is a collection of new songs as well as re-recording of favorites he wrote or co-wrote for the Skydiggers. Maize danced around the stage and looked completely goofy and awkward, but in a good way. He's another very entertaining dude.

The very well dressed Royal Wood is apparently from the Toronto area, and when he broke into his second song, "A Good Enough Day" blending into "Juliet," the entire audience seemed to sing along. I felt like a real dumbass because I had never heard of this guy before! I'm glad that has now changed. He is a very talented piano player, who also picked up the acoustic guitar to play along with the rest of the trio.

Mini Set List:
1. Curran - "Bye, Bye Montreal"
2. Maize - "Where's My Baby Tonight"
3. Wood - ???
4. Curran - "Hands on a Grain of Sand"
5. Maize - "Northern Shore"
6. Wood - "A Good Enough Day" into "Juliet"
7. Curran - "Julia"
8. Maize - "A Penny More"
9. Wood - "On Top of Your Love"

Andy Maize - Where's My Baby, Tonight.mp3
Buy (Maple Music): The History of Forgetting (2010)

I assumed that most of the capacity audience was there to see the last trio: Colleen Brown, Hawksley Workman, and Jim Cuddy. Of this group, I had only seen prior performances from Jim Cuddy and his band Blue Rodeo. Of course I had heard of Hawskley Workman, but I had never seen him live, and this was my first experience with Colleen Brown and her music.

Brown started out with set with "Love You Baby" from her 2007 album Foot in Heart. She played keyboard while Workman and Cuddy backed her up. Then Workman took center stage and blew the roof off of the place. Ho-Lee-Shit! I had no idea that Workman was so amazing on electric guitar. Plus he has an incredible vocal range. Wow! At one point he surprised Cuddy and had him take over for an acoustic guitar solo. Cuddy, looking slightly uncomfortable said, "That's not the way we rehearsed it!" Yeah, its Hawsley Workman's world, and we're just living in it.

Cuddy's three songs were all interesting selections. I imagine that most of the audience wanted Cuddy to do Blue Rodeo's greatest hits. And while he did do "And When You Wake Up" from the Blue Rodeo catalog, and "One Fine Day" from his 2006 solo release The Light That Guides You Home, what blew me away is when Cuddy found his inner Gram Parsons and covered Aretha Franklin's "Do Right Woman." Whoa! I was not expecting that! Plus, Workman threw in a bad-ass electric guitar solo to make the song that much more incredible.

I wasn't nuts about Colleen Brown's first two songs, but for her third song she had Workman and Cuddy leave the stage, and did a solo piece on piano with the spotlight solely on her. The song, which I think is called "On His Mind," was fantastic, and I could really hear the Joni Mitchell influence in her vocals. But I did think it was bad form to send Cuddy and Workman off stage. Here you have two very established musicians, who could easily back you up. And really, they don't need this. They can do dozens of other gigs on a Friday night. Why shoo them off?

Brown plays in Toronto on Tuesday, July 13, at the Horseshoe, for FREE!

Mini Set List
1. Brown - "Love You Baby"
2. Workman - "Autumn's Here"
3. Cuddy - "One Fine Day"
4. Brown - "Gasoline"
5. Workman - "Warhol's Portrait of Gretzky"
6. Cuddy - "Do Right Woman"
7. Brown - "On His Mind" ???
8. Workman - "Don't Be Crushed"
9. Cuddy - "And When You Wake Up"

Hawksley Workman - Warhol's Portrait of Gretzky.mp3
Buy (Six Shooter): Milk (2010)

As expected, at midnight about 2/3 of the audience cleared out. I figured most of the people were there to see Cuddy, and the rest had to work early the next morning, or at least get up to watch world cup soccer. No rest for the wicked!

Local heroes The Beauties took the stage for a 45 min set, and they brought along a huge cheering section. I have not seen The Beauties before (shameful, I know), but they have a reputation of putting on a wicked live show. This was their first time at Lee's Palace, and they seemed a bit out of place in a larger venue (as opposed to the Dakota Tavern or the Horseshoe). They reminded me of early 1990's Old 97's, with their punk/country/rock style. Their devoted fans sang along to nearly every song, and danced up a storm. I can see how The Beauties (below) would be fantastic in a slightly smaller venue.

To close out my night, I stuck around for Joel Stewart. My buddy Steffan at Turn it Up or Turn it Off told me to stay as Stewart is an elusive musician. He rarely performs. He doesn't have a web site, much less a MySpace site. To get one of his two albums, you have to know someone who knows him. His band, "The Future Hall of Famers," is made up of musicians who regularly perform at the Dakota Tavern.

He started out his set by saying, "These are songs about my disappointing life so far." Now THAT'S a good alt country intro. His style is very much like that of Blue Rodeo, on the country/rock side. I really enjoyed his set, and am glad that I hung around. If anyone has more info on Joel Stewart, please share!

Throughout the night I noticed various other alt country-ish musicians who were not on the lineup milling around Lee's Palace. I saw Luke Doucet, Serena Ryder, Dallas Good from The Sadies, and I am pretty sure I saw Jason Collett. I love how the local musicians in Toronto support each other.

The Warped 45s were slated for the final 2:00 a.m. time slot. I had seen them before, and I wanted to catch up with some friends at another venue. I wasn't so keen on the last two bands I saw at this other venue, and since I am not a hater, I will not comment on who they were. Suffice to say that they are young, and they will get over it. My crazy night of killer alt country ended with a hipster sigh. I was drunk as hell and needed to go home and sleep it off. Eleven alt country-ish artists/bands in one night ain't bad.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No Phosphorescent Tonight

As you all have probably heard by now, some shithead pinched Phosphorescent's touring van after their New York show on June 8. Inside of this van was an enormous amount of equipment, plus a bunch of merch they were going to sell during their six week US Tour. They have subsequently canceled tonight's Toronto gig at the Horseshoe, which will probably be rescheduled for the near future.  You can get your ticket refunded at the point of purchase.

Most indie bands make their income from touring and selling merch at the shows. This theft is a huge blow to the band, especially since it occurred on the first day of the tour.  I imagine it's also a loss to the Horseshoe in terms of booze sales.  The 'Shoe also got hammered (financially) when they had to close and cancel the These United States show on June 27 due to the G20 riots. Side note:  Jesse Elliott of These United States made a remarkable video about his experiences with the G20 riots, which was picked up by the Huffington Post.

Phosphorescent's management has set up a donation site where you can help out the band. Why don't you donate the door price that you would have paid to see the band ($15), order a CD ($11 on Dead Ocean) and then head to the Horseshoe and have a pint (~$6). That's what I am going to do! Criminals suck.

It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama).mp3
Buy: Here's to Taking it Easy (2010)

The Party's Over.mp3
Buy: To Willie (2009)

Phosphorescent also has two killer sessions up at Daytrotter from 2007 and 2008.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Independence Day

I'm just getting over my yearly bout of the summer plague, but I wanted to post something about the anniversary of when the country of my birth stuck it to those imperialistic bastards across the pond. Of course, now I am living in another commonwealth colony, and the Queen is even in town today for today's Pride parade (Not really, but I thought that was funny. Get it? Queen? Pride? OK, maybe not so funny.)

I'm reposting the same tunes I posted last year. They are songs that describe the hope, fear, love, pride, frustration, and joy about the country that is America.

Ray Charles
- America the Beautiful.mp3
Buy: A Message from the People (1972, reissued 2009)
The definitive version. If you listen to the Celine Dion version today, you lose your citizenship.

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers - American Girl.mp3
Buy: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers (1976, reissued 2002)
My anthem.

Vigilantes of Love - America.mp3
From: V.O.L. (1996, out of print)
Questioning the country is a very important part of being a citizen of it.

Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band - This Land is Your Land.mp3
Buy: Live: 1975-85 (1986, reissued 1997)
The Boss's version of the Woody Guthrie classic speaks for itself.

Jimi Hendrix - Star Spangled Banner.mp3
Buy: Experience Hendrix: The Best of Jimi Hendrix (1998, reissued 2007)
I know everyone is posting this track today, but too bad. It rules!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day to my Canadian peeps! This US ex-pat has to go to work.... boooo!  For those of you in the Toronto area, I highly recommend that you get off of your lazy ass and get down to the Harbour Front (notice Canadian spelling) for a free show by out heroes The Sadies. Whoo-hoo!

For those of you not in the GTA, have a great day, and rock out to this track from one of my favourite (Canadian spelling) Canadian groups and one of the best albums of 2009.

Carolyn Mark and NQ Arbuckle - Canada Day Off/Toronto.mp3
Buy: Let's Just Stay Here (2009)