Friday, May 6th, 2005
The Nature Of Maps
Quite a decent crowd showed up for the opening night of the Over The Top Fest at Sneaky Dee’s last night. While Matt Pond PA was the big draw for me on this bill, I was also curious about the other acts on the bill – Chicagoan Saddle Creek friends Head Of Femur, Brampton’s Five Blank Pages and Toronto indie rock veterans By Divine Right.
First up was local act Five Blank Pages. While their sound was fairly stereotypical indie pop-rock, they were still quite enjoyable and had some nice touches with the Farfisa organ and three-part harmonies. They were were followed by Head Of Femur, who somehow managed to cram seven bodies onto Sneaky’s stage and still find room to jump around some. They played some entertainingly frantic, high-energy kitchen sink pop, including a requisite Band cover. Do people think that all Canadians know the entirety of The Band’s catalog? Because folks seem to think we do.
My first exposure to Matt Pond and co. came last December when they opened up for Ted Leo at the Mod Club (a show also put on by OTT Festival organizer Eric Warner). I was almost immediately won over by their lovely blend of chamber pop and indie rock, and cellos will almost always seal the deal. Since then, their profile has grown somewhat with an appearance (or was it just the song?) on The OC, covering “Champagne Supernova”, which I give them credit for not playing. They did manage to throw in no less than three references to Canada in their songs (the crowd only cheered once, though) but since they were the original lyrics, I won’t dock marks for pandering.
Their set was a good mix of material from their latest album Emblems (which might well have made my 2004 year-end list if I had gotten it earlier in the year) and earlier works. As with their last show, I was greatly impressed with the set – I will have to make a point of investigating more of their back catalog. I suppose I could have just stocked up from the merch table but I settled for getting their most recent release, the Winter Songs EP.
I didn’t end up sticking around for By Divine Right – three shows in three nights has put rest at a premium as is. I don’t want to be staying out later than I really need to. I was quite content with the evening’s entertainment and beddy-bye was calling. Oh, and it was far and away the best sound and lighting I’ve ever heard/seen at Sneaky Dee’s. Enough light for ISO 100? I weep at the cleanliness of the images. My camera thanks you.
Arts & Crafts have formally announced the signing of Milton’s The Most Serene Repbulic. I think this is the first non-Broken Social Scene-related act on their roster? I know nothing about this act except for the mp3 on their new website (sounds pretty good, they don’t sound like they’ll be out of place in the A&C lineup) and that I’ll be seeing them twice in the next couple weeks – tonight opening for Amy Millan at the Poor Alex and opening for British Sea Power at Lee’s on May 17. I expect by then I’ll have a much more definite opinion on ’em. A&C will be re-releasing their debut album Underwater Cinematographer in Canada on June 28 and in the US on July 14.
Wayne Coyne tells NME about why The Flaming Lips have covered “Bohemian Rhapsody” for a Queen tribute album, and mentions that At War With The Mystics has now been pushed back to a January 2006 target release date.
np – Six By Seven / :04