Monday, June 13th, 2005
In The Clear
Astaire was not what I’d expected. Their website described them as “sexy europop with a Brazilian undercurrent”, so I was expecting some sexy europop with a Brazilian undercurrent. What I heard was some straight-up moderately-high energy indie rock music, though the frontwoman handled the “sexy” alright. There was nothing revolutionary in their sound, but it was solid and catchy enough that I could see them doing alright with a well-placed movie or television soundtrack appearance. They did, however, win me right over with a mid-set cover of The House Of Love’s “Shine On” (yes, the same House Of Love that the headliners are covering in my mp3 of the week – how coincidental is that?). I have a new rule – any band that covers House Of Love has my undying devotion. Even without the cover, however, I thought they were a fair bit of alright. Solid musicianship, good sound, a natural fit to open for Ivy. I approved.
It’s been a long three and a half years since Ivy was last in town and from what I can remember of that show at the Rivoli, the band didn’t seem especially peppy. It was servicable but not great. Well I don’t know if it was the three years of touring in the interim, excitement about the new album, the six-piece touring band or just the big-ass bus parked outside, but the Ivy that took the stage last night was decidedly superior. More animated, talkative, dynamic, they were just all-around better. Singer Dominique Durand in particular seemed more comfortable up there playing frontwoman, and she looked and sounded great. The mix struck just the right balance of keeping her voice audible, but not too far in front. I think it works better when it’s wrapped up in the sound instead of sitting on top of it. The set list drew from the last three albums though they acknowledged Guestroom and debut record Realistic in the encore with a sprightly reading of “Get Enough”.
While I like Ivy’s recorded output – albeit the earlier albums more than the last couple – I definitely prefer their live sound. They smoothness of the album versions gets roughed up just enough to give the songs an extra bit of zip. All in all, a compact, efficient set that left me quite satisfied, pics tomorrow. In the meantime, read this interview with The Detroit Metro Times.
Billboard talks to Bob Mould about gearing up to tour Body Of Song and what people might expect from the all-Mould-era set list. Me, I’m just glad that North America dates don’t start till after September 22. This is one show I do not want to miss.
Trespassers William have completed initial mixing of their third album, Having, and are on track for a release date early next year. Obviously not the Fall release initially reported, but maybe the iTunes session they’re recording next week for exclusive sale over the online store will temper that a bit.
I don’t know why, but I find it amusing that the new issue of Harp has a Vanity Fair-style gatefold cover featuring “The Faces Of Bonnaroo”. I wonder if there was any catfighting at the photo shoot about who got to be on the front and who had to go around back?
np – The House Of Love / The John Peel Sessions: 1988-1989