Monday, January 17th, 2005
The Tigers Have Spoken
First concert of the year! After my record-breaking 2004 calendar, I took almost exactly one month off, but it’s time to get back on the horse. Yee-haw.
It’s an odd thing to go see a show that’s promoting an album that you were present for the recording of. What was Neko Case going to do at the Toronto stop of her tour to support The Tigers Have Spoken, play the same songs she did last Spring at Lee’s Palace when she was making the record? Short answer, yes. The set list drew heavily from Tigers, with only a few older selections and one new track from the still-being-recorded new record thrown in. What this meant was that the show was cover-heavy, like the album, but light on originals. Not getting to hear favourites from Furnace Room Lullabye and Blacklisted was one of my only complaints about the Tigers making-of shows last year, though I understood why. This time, I was a little more disappointed by their omission – I mean, I’d already seen this show last year… But anyway, that’s the extent of my griping for last night. That and the relative brevity of the set. While they played for about an hour and fifteen total, that included a lot of chatter and tuning time. They actually ended the main set after 45 minutes!
But on to the good, and any time you get Neko Case and The Sadies (AKA on this night, Her Boyfriends) on the same stage, there’s gonna be lots of good. Neko’s voice was in marvelous form, helped along by Kelly Hogan on backing vocals. It’s worth noting that Neko was considerably more relaxed at this show than she was last time, where the pressures of making a live record were pretty obvious. This time, she was extremely jovial and chatty, bantering with Hogan (who was celebrating a birthday) like they were a veteran comedy team. The Sadies were a little more restrained supporting Neko than they usually are at their own shows, but they still tore it up on a few occasions and got to slip in their signature reading of the Benny Hill theme song. It was obvious everyone was having a good time playing this show – it’s just a shame it couldn’t have gone on longer. But if there’s one thing that can be accurately said, it’s that the live show sounded just like the album.
Opening things up was Johnny Dowd, who is seriously old-school. He seems like the kind of guy you’d feel compelled to call “sir”, even if you don’t call anyone “sir”. He and his band played a tight, half-hour set of swampy, grooving blues-country soul and brought Neko out to take vocals on a couple songs. Good, toe-tapping stuff.
With a month off between shows, I almost forgot how to use my camera. Thankfully, the Phoenix was well-lit last night, so getting back into the swing of things was fairly easy. Results here.
At long last, there’s news from the land of Longwave (also known as New York) – they’ve finally finished recording their third album There’s A Fire and are looking at a late April release, mad touring to follow.
Some shows: Out Hud is at the Horseshoe April 10. Xiu Xiu are at the Gladstone on June 25. Kids these days and their crazy band names. In my day, bands had proper names – like Screaming Trees, Pearl Jam and Smashing Pumpkins.
np – Six By Seven / :04