Tuesday, March 30th, 2004
I Was Meant For The Stage
It’s interesting to me how touring bands from the US feel compelled to tell us how much they love playing in Canada. I’m not sure if they’re genuinely expressing affection for our home and native land or just trying to tweak our internationally renowned inferiority complex. Last night, some of The Decemberists were sporting Canada toques newly bought at a Niagara Falls gift shop or playing instruments with Canadian flag stickers affixed. Cute.
At some point, the UK’s Clearlake were taken off the bill, I’m not sure when, likely because they’re opening for Stereolab at the Phoenix on April 10. I was a little disappointed as they sounded interesting, but it did mean the show would be starting that much earlier meaning I’d be home that much earlier.
That left Tom Heinl as the sole opener, and with his charming and often hilarious ‘Stereoke’ act which featured him singing along to his home 4-track tapes with the vocal track removed. His stage setup consisted of a double cassette deck, home stereo receiver, rocking chair and old living room lamp, among other sundry objects, and he alternated singing songs about IHOP, trailer parks and his many wives with readings from his fifth-grade diary. Bizarre but very entertaining.
The Decemberists played a joyous, concise set to a very full house, favouring the more upbeat numbers from their two albums and closing with a full reading of their new single/EP “The Tain”, which clocks in at a solid 18-minutes with several movements combining folk, prog and seventies hard rock influences and based on an ancient Irish myth. Yeah. I always enjoy seeing complex and intricately arranged music reproduced live, and the Decemberists used a whole aresenal of instruments, including accordians, xylophones, melodicas, mandolins, and upright bass alongside the more conventional band instruments to successfully recreate their records while Colin Meloy tunefully bleated out the lyrical intricacies of the material. They rocked out a little harder than you might have expected from a band with such a resolutely geek image, particularly when Tom Heinl joined the band in the trombone-demolishing encore closer “I Was Meant For The Stage”. A very solid Toronto debut for one of the more ambitious and unique bands on the indie landscape right now. Pics from the show.
Those Lollapalooza rumours from last week? Billboard says they’re true. I will reserve judgement until a) I see the rest of the bill, b) I see if they’re coming north of the border, and c) I see how much tickets are. I’m really not one for big outdoor festival-type shows, but I would like to finally see The Flaming Lips… Also confirmed on the bill are Modest Mouse.
Hayden’s new record Elk Lake Serenade will be coming out May 11. Want to know the extent of my celebrity elbow-rubbing here in the T-dot? I was at a bar Saturday night and Hayden was there, and then I went to another bar and Moe Berg from The Pursuit Of Happiness was DJ-ing. This jet-set lifestyle, it’s so glamorous.
Tickets for The Cardigans show at Lee’s Palace May 8 go on sale April 8, 10:00 AM. Hopefully this won’t be Ticketmaster-only.
The Toronto subway system is 50 years old today. Yaaaay. To celebrate, here’s a story from the New York Times about that universal phenomenon of subway crushes (yeah, you gotta register but the NYT is worth it). Ain’t it cute? From The Modern Age.
np – The New Pornographers / Electric Version