Tuesday, November 9th, 2004
The show was set up rather unconventionally, with the Velvet Crush’s set sandwiched between two Matthew Sweet sets. It was all academic anyway, as it was the same band up there, distinguished only by the songs and Paul Chastain stepping up to the mic instead of Matthew. The net result was a solid two hours of music to rock the crowd of maybe 250-300 punters. The Matthew Sweet portion of the show drew heavily from the ‘rock’ side of his repetoire and any songs played that weren’t necessarily that loud or fast certainly got dressed up that way. Numbers like “I’ve Been Waiting” or “Time Capsule” traded in their jangle and chime for more riff and grind as the band played up the ‘power’ in power-pop pretty strongly. Maybe it was a deliberate attempt to not sound anything like The Thorns, but everyone onstage seemed to be having a blast with the rocking out.
While ostensibly on tour to promote his two new albums Living Things and Kimi Ga Suki, the material also drew heavily on Girlfriend and Altered Beast, while almost completely ignoring 100% Fun, Blue Sky On Mars and In Reverse. While the ‘loud fast rules’ approach definitely made for a higher energy affair, I did wish that they’d laid back a bit on some of the numbers instead of burying everything with the full-on three guitar assault.
And one third of that guitar assault was probably my biggest beef on the night – the lead guitarist just didn’t do it for me. Technically a member of the Crush, I didn’t like his style. He copped enough of Richard Lloyd’s and the late Robert Quine’s licks to remind me that it wasn’t either of them. He was much more aggressive in both his tone and attack that it seemed too abraisive to ears that were so used to hearing the more fluid and melodic guitar work on the records. But what can you do.
As for the Crush, they made the most of their too-brief set, bringing out material from their In The Presence Of Greatness to this year’s Stereo Blues and really, went toe-to-toe with Matthew in terms of quality material and performance (though the latter point isn’t much of a surprise since it was the same band!). It would have been nice to see them with a longer set or headlining their own show, but as it was, they were a perfect compliment to the headliner’s show.
It wasn’t a cheap ticket, but it was definitely worth the price of admission. Pictures will be up tomorrow, I got home too late to go through them.
And as a footnote – spotted in attendance was new Toronto transplant Joe Pernice along with wife Laura Stein. He’s sporting a Dennis Miller-ish beard and the hair’s a little shaggier, but it’s Joe all right. Keep an eye out for him on the streets and your fingers crossed that he (maybe) starts playing some local solo shows. Hey, look at me, I’m playing celebrity sighting!
Check out Ted Leo’s journal entry for November 3… The poor boy was having a BAD week. I mean, on top of the election debacle, the guy’s DOG died. Don’t worry Ted, come to Toronto. We love you. Thanks to Information Leafblower for pointing it out.
np – The Jam / Greatest Hits