Thursday, February 10th, 2005
I admit, I was kinda surprised when I saw on 20Hz that Blow-Up was ending with a grand to-do at the El Mocambo (upstairs and downstairs) on March 26 – it had always been one of those things I took for granted as a constant in the city, whether I cared or not. For non-locals, Blow Up was/is a local dance night that caters to the indie/Britpop/mod/soul crowd. While these sorts of themed nights are everywhere these days, Blow Up has been kicking around the longest. When I first moved downtown six years ago, it was one of a couple regular hangouts for my friends and I. Almost every Saturday night, like clockwork, we’d congregate there and dance, hang out, whatever, into the wee hours of the morning.
This isn’t to say that I actually enjoyed going. I didn’t hate it (for the first while), but at best it was something to do. I mean, I’m not a big dancer or drinker, I never picked up or got picked up there, it was quite literally just somewhere to go and meet up with my friends. And ogle girls, yes, but mostly just an excuse to get out of the house. I was actually quite relieved when we eventually stopped going… The crowds got younger and younger, I got older and older. The music got stale (Ooh, they’re playing the Strokes/Hives/White Stripes block! Again!) and my crowd of friends who usually went inevitably thinned out as real life took them far away (like the suburbs). I’ve been maybe a few times in the past couple years, but they mostly reinforce how little I missed going. More than anything, it’s become an object of scorn and ridicule. Mostly by me.
And yet, seeing that it’s all coming to an end, I am overcome by a wave of nostalgia – odd, since as I already said, I don’t have much to be nostalgic about. Maybe it’s the timing – I’m turning 30 and one of the places I spent a good chunk of my twenties is going away. It’s like the cosmos is telling me there’s no going back. Like many, I will probably end up going just to bid farewell… and the lineup of bands they’ve got on tap is pretty good as well (click on the graphic for details). It is nice that they’re holding it at the ElMo again, which was easily the best of its many different venues over the years. Betcha they play the Strokes, Hives and White Stripes back to back to back.
So while one Toronto institution is calling it a day, another is celebrating an anniversary. The Wavelength music series celebrates its fifth birthday this weekend and is celebrating with a full slate of shows happening all over town. Festivities start at Cinecycle tonight, continue tomorrow at Lee’s Palace, Saturday at the Music Gallery and the grand finale is in the usual WL slot of Sunday night at Sneaky Dee’s – check out the website for full lineups and times. Wavelength has been crucial in helping launch pretty much every indie band of any reknown to come out of TO in the past five years and is something this city can be immensely proud of. I must confess, however, that I rarely go. I just can’t get the energy to head out on Sunday nights, what can I say.
Local media props: Torontoist sat down with one of the founders of Wavelength, Mr Jonny Dovercourt, to talk about the little music night and ‘zine that could (though the February issue of the zine will be the last one and will henceforth only exist online). eye pays tribute and previews the weekend’s shows. NOW talks to Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy, who is performing at the Saturday night show and releasing his first FF record Has A Good Home on Tuesday. The Toronto Star (bugmenot: firstname.lastname@example.org / sowhat) profiles The Creeping Nobodies, playing the Friday night show.
There’s release dates for Ryan Adams’ other two releases this year. Jacksonville is out July 19 and 29 is out November 1. These will go along with the double-disc Cold Roses, scheduled to come out April 19.
A couple show announcements – The Soundtrack Of Our Lives are at the Guvernment March 26th, tickets $25.75, Josh Rouse is at Lee’s Palace April 5 with Amy Correia and Scout Niblett is opening for The Kills at the Horseshoe April 7, $12.50. Also, those excited about the prospects of seeing a reunited Wonder Stuff at the Horseshoe on April 9 should know that it’s not the complete original lineup, but instead frontman Miles Hunt with some hired players using the old moniker. The other Stuffies aren’t impressed and say so on the .com website. If you visit the .net website, everything is sunshine and lollipops. Finally, April 2’s Bloc Party show has been moved from Lee’s to the Opera House.
There was a starling lost in the hallway of my office building today. It seemed embaressed to ask for help, choosing to constantly fly into the windows instead. I know a cry for help when I see one, so I assisted it by first giving it directions into a cardboard box and then out the back door. Silly bird, I thought starlings were supposed to be smart?
np – Husker Du / New Day Rising