Tuesday, February 24th, 2004
Take Me Out
The first thing that occurred to me when I stepped in the Horseshoe tonight was, “Shit, I forgot my earplugs”. Because I did. And since Scotland’s Franz Ferdinand aren’t really known for their gentle acoustic lullabies, it was off to the washroom to snag some toilet paper to cram in my ears. That stuff actually works pretty well, to be honest. I was also sorry that the Leafs game didn’t make it into overtime, because that would have allowed me to miss more of Anagram’s set. I’d seen them before so I pretty much knew what to expect, but the big Scotsman behind me put it best: “Please stop. For the love of God, stop”. Nuff said.
The hype around Franz Ferdinand is pretty big right now, but to call them this year’s Strokes is unfair and inaccurate. One, they sound nothing like The Strokes – instead of ripping off 70s NYC punk bands, they crib from a lot of 80s NYC post-punk bands. I was hearing Talking Heads and Blondie, as well as some Gang Of Four. Secondly, I don’t think they’ve got the same commercial potential as The Strokes. Note that this is no comment on their music, as I don’t really like The Strokes, but FF are considerably less accessible. Jagged guitars, four-on-the-floor disco drums-and-bass, jerky vocals with the right balance of tunefulness and abrasion don’t go down too easy with the suburban kids. And no bridges stolen from Tom Petty. That certainly doesn’t mean that they can’t kick some ass amongst the indie kids, though. The ‘Shoe was sold out and packed with hipsters and the curious but the crowd was surprisingly restrained. There was some dancing and enthusiastic applause, but I didn’t get the feeling that people were having their worlds spun around. Could be because with these buzz bands, the crowd will be evenly split between the zealous, the curious and the skeptical, and there’s little chance they’ll win them all over. Whatever it was, it wasn’t because of a lack of effort on the band’s part – FF played a highly energetic albeit short set (one hour including encore, but understandable since they have but one album), displaying some impressive stage presence for such a young band. There was just the right amount of in-your-face confrontational attitude mixed in with their eagerness to impress. These guys are pretty good. Not life-changing, but definitely deserving of some attention. And, of course, photos here.
I was checking out the Canadian Music Week schedule for next weekend, and to my surprise there’s actually a few shows that look interesting. Friday night at the 360 is the Boompa Records showcase, featuring The Salteens, Sekiden, Girl Nobody, Kevin Kane, Natasha Thirsk, Billy & The Lost Boys and Reverie Sound Revue. Some of this bill will also be playing on Sunday afternoon at the same venue. On Saturday night at Healeys, you’ve got Endearing Records’ showcase – I went to this last year, and it was a pretty good time. This year’s lineup has The Meligrove Band, The Heavy Blinkers, Aaron Booth, Novillero and The Waking Eyes. I may do that one or the Weewerk show the same night at Sneaky Dees. Acts on tap for that one are Jon-Rae Fletcher and The River, The Barmitzvah Brothers, Great Lake Swimmers, The Two-Minute Miracles, Elliott Brood and Singing Saw Shadow Show. If you think I’m linking to each of these bands individually, you’re nuts. However, each label page has info on the band and some samples.
We’ve been asked to take part in a Smiths tribute night at the ElMo March 13, but the ridiculously short lead time and the fact that our drummer is in England till the end of the month will probably force us to decline. Which is both a shame and a relief. A shame because those tribute nights are fun, but a relief because I won’t have to learn how to play “Bigmouth Strikes Again”. I have the tab and could conceivably learn the parts, but my right hand simply doesn’t move that fast. But at least its gotten me to dust off my Smiths CDs, which I haven’t played in ages.
Gotta say though, I don’t understand why everyone’s getting so hot and bothered about a new Morrissey record. Sure, he hasn’t done one in seven years, but he hasn’t made a decent one in ten (Vauxhall And I). I suppose hope springs eternal for the daffodil-wielding, but I’m one of those who thinks he really needed Marr to make interesting music and its been a slow decline since Strangeways.
np – The Smiths / The Queen Is Dead