Tuesday, April 27th, 2004

You Were Here

I worked out that I’ve been going to see Sarah Harmer either solo or with Weeping Tile for almost seven years now, and though it’s been about two and a half years since I last saw Sarah live – too long by far – she’s/they’ve always put on a great show, last night being no exception.

Local tunesmith Hayden was tapped for the opening slot and he filled it with 45 minutes of his understated, gravelly folk music. I’ve seen Hayden a couple times and he’s usually been pretty engaging but last night he had it dialed down just a little too low for my liking – not two or three songs in and I was already nodding off. Not entirely his fault – warm dark theatres will do that to a fellow who has been having recent bouts of narcolepsy – but he certainly didn’t do much to keep me up.

Sarah was on the first leg of her tour to promote All Of Our Names and this was the first of a sold-out two-night stand at the Winter Garden Theatre in Toronto. I’d never been to this theatre before, being more a creature of the dingy club, but this was certainly a beautiful venue. Watercolour murals on the walls, artificial foliage all around the stage and ceiling and low-slung mezzanines creating a cozy but not cramped feel. I was in the sixth row, orchestra level, so I had a pretty good view of everything though the sound was unnecessarily bass-heavy, a consequence of sitting in direct line of the PA, I guess. Sarah had assembled a fine band for this tour, including Mike O’Neill on guitar and Julie MacDonald of Flux AD on keys, flute and backing vocals. MacDonald was a fine choice for the band as her voice blends exceptionally well with Sarah’s pure, crisp, emotive voice. Sarah Harmer’s voice is a happy place for me.

The show itself was terrific, I was especially pleased to see her strap on the old Telecaster for a few of the more rocking songs – let’s not get TOO acoustically adult contemporary, thanks. Highlights were her graciously fulfilling requests for old Weeping Tile numbers (which sounded so good and sat quite nicely alongside the newer stuff) and her being taken by surprise by her neice and nephew onstage with a bouquet of flowers during the encore.

The pic above comes from the Sarah Harmer website, and was taken from a show at the start of this month in the Netherlands. I didn’t take any pictures last night, I wouldn’t have gotten anything usable from the sixth row anyway.

JAM! also has a review of last night’s show, as does The Toronto Star.

Pop Culture Press gives you the condensed yet still massive Big Star story. From Catbirdseat.

Some interview links from GPC: Splendid talks to The Wrens, who will be back at the Horseshoe June 5, and The Advocate talks to Stephin Merritt about the new Magnetic Fields album i, out next Tuesday.

Dilbert looks at the silent victims of music downloading.

The mailman brought me much postal happiness yesterday. In no particular order:

  • The New Year / The End Is Near – New album not out until May 18, and I have a copy. The Kadanes are branching out their sound – the first instrument you hear is… piano?!? Whoa.

  • Sea Ray / Stars At Noon – Haven’t listened to it yet.

  • Franz Ferdinand / Franz Ferdinand – Had this album in mp3 for ages, never really listened to it. The album should get more proper rotation. I hadn’t noticed how much some of this sounded like old XTC. You heard it here first – XTC are the new Velvet Underground. Or not, I just wanted to be the first to call something.

  • Iron & Wine / Our Endless Numbered Days – limited edition double disc, haven’t listened to it yet.

  • A full-size theatrical poster for I Am Trying To Break Your Heart. What is the best/most cost-effective way to mount/frame/preserve a movie poster?

np – The New Year / The End Is Near

By : Frank Yang at 9:45 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Five Seventeen says:

    Framing: If you just want to put it on your wall, just pick up poster frames at Walmart or somewhere like it. It’ll set you back $11.00 or so. Also, I’ll be looking to rid myself of a few posters. Want a Yo-Yo a Go-Go Poster? I think I have a few of them. A small Beaulah Poster (it’s a little worn)?

  2. Frank says:

    Oh, so the great ‘cleaning out my closet before I MOVE’ cull begins, eh?

    I will take the Beulah one. I don’t know what Yo-Yo a Go-Go is.

    Wal-Mart? But they’re evil. I shall try to find a Zellers, instead.

  3. janelle says:

    if see ray ever comes to toronto, they put on a great live show.

  4. tim j. says:

    Wow. What Weeping Tile songs did she play?

  5. Frank says:

    Off the top of my head, she did Good Fortune, Old Perfume and Dogs & Thunder – pretty much all my very favorite songs, solo acoustic, back to back to back. Sounded glorious.

    I’ll see if I can find a set list and check if I missed anything.

  6. sam says:

    where did you get the cd’s from? and did you get that 2cd edition iron & wine album at amazon.ca? i forgot who i told that’s where i’d ordered it.

  7. Frank says:

    I got everything except The New Year from Truthflies (http://…/). My order was held up a bit while they got more of the double-disc Iron & Wines in, but they did eventually. I don’t think they’re available anymore so get em while you can.

  8. Frank says:

    Sea Ray are halfway through booking a Canadian tour at the end of June – I just hope their Toronto date isn’t a) on the 23, when we’ll possibly have a show of our own, or b) from the 26/27 through 2nd of July, since I’m planning a vacation for that week.

  9. Five Seventeen says:


    couldn’t we just see about playing the Sea Ray show?

  10. david says:

    I saw Sarah Harmer (and Hayden) the other night in Portland (Maine), she puts on a great show. I’d love to see her again and take my wife this time, but she’s staying pretty far north this tour.

    If you know an artist-type, they can usually frame a print or poster much cheaper than a shoppe.

  11. Five Seventeen says:

    http://…/ yoyo a gogo.

    I think the poster I have is from 1997… Tae Won Yu designed it (and sent it to me).

  12. james says:

    if you think franz ferdinand sounds like xtc, then you should listen to dogs die in hot cars. i thought they were a straight-up cover band when i first heard them.

  13. david says:

    By the way, Frank, The Daily Charlie pulled a paragraph nearly verbatim from, me today… I’ll blog about it tomorrow and send him a note.

  14. Timothy says:

    The new Iron & Wine is awesome. I got the double disc as well. Beautiful record, in a similar vein as the new Sufjan jawn.

  15. kyle says:

    Sea Ray are fucking brilliant live, and Stars At Noon is a great record. was my #3 or #4 of 2003 actually

    i’ll email jeff & see if i can get any info about a Toronto date