Saturday, September 16th, 2006
Return Of The Native
An upside to Serena-Maneesh’s stage-destroying short set on Wednesday was that I was able to hoof it a couple blocks down to the Tranzac to see Early Day Miners. I was exhausted but also really wanted to hear them play their latest album Offshore, which is rapidly becoming one of my favourite albums of the year.
If the album Offshore is described as the “director’s cut” of the song, originally off of Let Us Garlands Bring, then the live show was like the “edited for TV” version – still maintaining all the sex, violence and language as well as the widescreen aspect ratio, just trimmed slightly for length. The fact that they began a fair bit later than their scheduled start time which was a concern, considering the Tranzac has a pretty firm midnight curfew and with the intention being to play the album in its entirety, it’d have been a travesty if they were cut off.
Happily, they were able to get through the whole thing, or at least the important parts – I think they cut maybe five to ten minutes of droning and jamming. As I mentioned earlier this month, the record tends to blur into a singular, epic entity for me. High points were the thundering drums of opener “Land Of Pale Saints” and closer “Hymn Beneath The Pallisades” as well as the majestic centrepiece of “Return Of The Native” with keyboardist Kate Long ably handling Amber Webber’s recorded vocals. I’m pretty sure all points in between were present and accounted for, nothing sounded missing. In fact, it actually sounded better live – the seven-piece band making the compositions even more dynamic than they are on the album without losing any of the rich, mournful ambience. Excellent. I’ve seen a lot of live music over the past week on stages huge and tiny, and this lightly-attended show in a converted community centre was one of the best. I’m very glad that I was able to stick it out.
Only downside was right before they started playing when they said, “you can turn all the lights off – we can pretty much play in the dark”. Le sigh.
Bradley’s Almanac comes through again with a live set from Austin’s The New Year, who may well be the last band I have yet to see live and whom I have no great expectation of ever seeing unless I go to them. They never seem to want to cross that ol’ border.
Anyone disappointed with the track selection for the North American edition of The Best Of Luna will be pleased to know that Beggars, the label that handled most of their career in Europe, will be releasing their own two-disc edition on October 9. It’s not perfect either, also criminally overlooking swan song Rendezvous though to be fair, I don’t think they had the rights to that album. But it does have a number of tracks that the US edition is missing and more importantly, is a double-disc set with a CD-version of the covers compilation released in digital-only form over here as Lunafied though again, the tracklist varies slightly. Which is to say that Luna completists had better get their credit cards out…
Filter‘s recent cover story on TV On The Radio is now online. Return To Cookie Mountain came out on Tuesday and while I dutifully pre-ordered it, it still hasn’t arrived from Insound. Bastiches! But to compensate (slightly), they’ve got the first single available to download. TVOTR are at the Opera House October 12.
My second (and last) TIFF film this year was Exiled, a new film from director Johnnie To who apparently is quite the big name back in Hong Kong. I had never heard of him and had basically selected the film blindly – well I guess I got lucky because it was excellent. Ostensibly a gangster flick about five childhood friends double-crossing gang leaders in Macau, it’s really more a buddy flick with lots of stylish gunplay, action sequences and a strong dose of humour. If this film is typical of To’s cinematic output then I really have to investigate further, maybe starting with The Mission, to which Exiled was an unofficial sequel/prequel featuring much of the same cast and some common plot threads. To also had two other films running at the festival – now that’s impressive. Consolation Champs was also in attendance and has a more detailed, equally postive review.
Trailer: Exiled (YouTube)
Has anyone else upgraded to iTunes 7 and found that they have no desktop icons for the shortcuts? Weird.