Friday, May 14th, 2004

Long Gone Before Daylight

Cardies rule, ok?

I think it’s been about five years since the Cardigans last visited our fair city, promoting the patchy Gran Turismo. I missed that show but remember the reviews being lukewarm and some of the live material I’ve heard from that era backs that opinion up. Thankfully, it looks like the band has made the most of their time away as the unit that took the stage to a packed house at Lee’s Palace last night was anything but lukewarm. Their choice of venue definitely underestimated their draw – even though they’re seven or eight years removed from their days of MTV ubiquitousness thanks to “Lovefool”, they’ve maintained a sizable fanbase worldwide, including Toronto, and I know of a number of people scrambling to find last-minute tickets. For those of us fortunate enough to have gotten tickets, though, the choice of a smaller venue was definitely a blessing. It’s not that often you get an opportunity to get that close and intimate with a veteran band perhaps more accustomed to playing European festivals.

Long Gone Before Daylight was one of my favorite albums of last year and I’m pleased to say the material translates even better live. The production on album inched perilously close to being overly-precise and -polite (some would say it crossed that line), but in performance it gained some excellent roughness around the edges that gave it a real kick. It certainly didn’t hurt that the band, augmented for this tour with a backup singer/guitarist/keyboardist (hooray for more cute Swedish girls!) are all stellar musicians and Nina’s voice was amazingly strong. I don’t think their musicianship is something they get enough credit for, as much of the lazy journalism about the band focuses on their perceived tweeness and Nina’s dimples. In truth, there’s always been a real thread of darkness through the band’s material and while it was brought to the fore a little too much with Gran Turismo, it sits quite nicely within the band’s new downbeat, country-flavoured rock direction. While the bulk of the set list was drawn from Daylight, they did include a few Turismo numbers re-arranged to fit their newer sound. “Explode” got the most dramatic overhaul and in my opinion, sounded a world better for it. A couple of new songs that sounded promising rounded out the set. Nitpickers might grouse about the absence of anything from First Band On The Moon or older, but honestly that material wouldn’t have fit in the band’s current repetoire and anyone who thinks it was anything less than a stellar show because of that is just silly. The band seemed genuinely enthused about the excitement of the crowd, so hopefully that’ll encourage them to not wait another half-decade before their next visit.

Opener Jonathan Rice was decidedly underwhelming. It became apparent three songs into his set when he decided to “go local” by covering Neil Young’s “The Old Laughing Lady” that this boy had little concept of restraint or delicacy. Pretty much everything was drowned in overwrought and over-emoted delivery that overwhelmed any redeeming qualities his songs might have had. Only Chad Kroeger can get away with holding a single syllable that long, and Chad Kroeger still sucks. By the end of his set, I was rooting around in my bag looking for a Game Boy, and I don’t even have a Game Boy.

On going into the club, security poked through my bag and said that cameras were discouraged – I said I wouldn’t use the flash and while they still didn’t seem wholly satisfied, they let me in. True to my word, I didn’t use the flash, but everyone else certainly was. Trying to stop concert-goers from snapping pics of Nina Persson is like trying to hold back a tidal wave with a fork. Just ain’t going to happen. My photos are here.

News from the Centro-Matic camp – a new Will Johnson solo record entitled Vultures Await is out late August or early September, and work is progressing on a new South San Gabriel record.

The Waxwings are going to be in town for the NXNE! June 11 at Healeys, 1AM. That will rule. Also in the list of things that rule is the fact that they have a new album, Let’s Make Our Descent, out July 13.

Got my Magnetic Fields tickets! That’s a load off my mind. Seriously, I was paranoid that it’d sell out on me.

np – Fruit Bats / Mouthfuls

By : Frank Yang at 9:40 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. sam says:

    i’ve always a soft spot for Gran Turismo. people who judged this band based on "Lovefool" never did their research.

  2. mishie says:

    hey frank, lucky me got tix at the door…so i got in. great show, was very impressed. i also picked up tix for the july 2nd magnetic fields show.

  3. Travis says:

    i didn’t even know the tickets for the magnetic fields show were on sale yet, i’ll have to get on that. A friend of mine got into the Cardigans show via ticket at the door too, who knew.

  4. Frank says:

    yeah, I saw the scalpers outside then I saw the sign at the ticket-taker saying "tickets – $20". But the sign out front didn’t say ‘Sold Out’… oh well, not my problem!

    Magnetic Fields tickets are only officially supposed to go on sale tomorrow, same time as Ticketmaster, but Rotate and Soundscapes just puts them on sale as soon as they get em.

  5. zhz says:

    i too enjoyed the rework of "explode" thanks to the availability of tickets at the door. before going in, i inquired a scalper for the ticket price. $50?!? wtf? they were $20 at the door (which happen to be even cheaper than ticketmaster).

    i’m all set for the magnetic fields too. i didn’t think soundscapes would have tix available yet, but luckily they did. (hurry, they are selling fast!!!)

  6. mike says:

    Firstly, I had just gotten downtown around 9pm yesterday after bowling with co-workers…I guess I shouldn’t have killed so much time at Sonic Boom because by the time I got to Lee’s around 10:30 I didn’t see that sign(or maybe I wasn’t looking hard enough) and the big lineup that was waiting to get inside was gone. Now I’m kicking myself for not asking the person at the door. Not meant to be yesterday. I’ll never assume anything again…because you know what they say about people who assume…you only make an ass out of ‘u’ and ‘me’…well ‘me’ in my case. ;-)

  7. graig says:

    actually the on-line retailer that the Magnetic Field’s site directs you to (the one you pointed out earlier this week) is not ticketmaster (although ticketmaster may be selling them too). It’s ""… uh, sure.

    Anyway, they were really cool about things as I got, today a note from them stating that they mistakenly charged me US prices for canadian tickets and that they were refunding me the difference in exchange as well as a reduction on shipping expenses. Bet ticketbastard wouldn’t do that…

    I could have waited to buy them at rotate, but with no cash and only credit left until payday, I couldn’t take that chance.

    Glad you got yours. I’ll see you there!