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Monday, November 27th, 2006

Ton Plat Favori

Of all the 2006 Polaris Music Prize finalists, you could argue that Montreal’s Malajube received the most net gains from the exposure. Sure, Final Fantasy took home the big cheque but Malajube saw their profile and audience grow exponentially outside of Francophone circles because of the nod.

And so it was that two months after they played a brief but impressive performance at the Polaris ceremony, the band returned to Toronto on Saturday night for a well-packed show at Lee’s Palace. I missed first openers Bocce but did see middle act Five Blank Pages for the first time since last May and while they’re still purveyors of earnest and jangly indie pop, their songcraft seems to improved considerably in the interim and they’re a more interesting live show as well.

While the strength of attendance was certainly a triumph, Malajube was once again struck by some bad luck on visiting Hogtown. At the Polaris show, their set was limited to but a single song as singer Julien Mineau was barely upright due to illness and this time, it was guitarist/keyboardist Renaud Bastien who was apparently felled by some bad street meat and was only able to play a handful of songs before surrendering to his gastronomical distress and leaving the stage. Not that you could blame him – the boy looked BAD.

But down a man, the remaining Malajubes compensated nicely by turning their own energy levels up to 11 and turning in a hyperactive and wonderfully destructive set – as manic and madcap as the band are on Trompe-L’oeil , they’re even moreso onstage. And just as not having any working knowledge of the French language doesn’t prevent you from appreciating the gloriously dense pop songcraft of the album, it sure as hell doesn’t keep you from getting whipped into a frenzy live (but apparently understanding the lyrics takes you to yet another level, if their pogoing Francophone fans were any indication). But as fast and fiercely as their fanbase is growing amongst us Anglos and as much as I respect their decision to sing in their native tongue (a choice they talk to The National Post about) I am very curious to see if and when the language barrier becomes a glass ceiling for them. Luckily for them, Telecaster smashing translates no matter what language you speak.

Photos: Malajube, Five Blank Pages @ Lee’s Palace – November 25, 2006
MP3: Malajube – “Montréal -40°C”
MP3: Malajube – “Le Metronome”
MP3: Malajube – “La Monogamie”
MP3: Five Blank Pages – “A Point Of Reference”
MP3: Five Blank Pages – “Richie T”
Video: Malajube – “Pâte Filo” (MOV)
Video: Malajube – “Montréal -40°C” (MOV)
Video: Malajube – “Fille à plumes” (MOV)
MySpace: Malajube
MySpace: Five Blank Pages

A couple other Quebecois bands seeking their fortunes in the English Canada market are Call Me Poupee and Les Breastfeeders – both will be at the El Mocambo this Saturday night, tickets $10.

You may (or may not) recall back in February that The New York Times ran a magazine feature about Broken Social Scene, Arts & Crafts, The Blocks Recording Club and the Toronto “scene” in general (you can read the article registration-free at the author’s website). Well nine months later, Chris Stroffolino – one of The Big Takeover‘s blogger/columnists – has crafted a response to the piece, which is interesting because he’s not from Toronto and has no personal connection or even knowledge of the principals involved. Instead, he says he is drawn into an “emotional intrigue of Chekhovian drama”. Well.

The Independent talks to Sam Beam of Iron & Wine for… no real discernible reason. But he does mention the next album will be more political in tone. That’s something.

The Guardian investigates the resurgence of “gypsy” influences in independent music.

So I went to see Casino Royale this weekend and thought it was really excellent – far and away the best Bond in recent memory and that’s not even taking into account the low standard the recent films have set (not a Brosnan fan). Some complain but I like the low-tech, sociopath Bond – especially when the action sequences are as spectacular as the ones in this film – the construction site chase was simply unbelievable. Mark me down as wholly in favour of Daniel Craig and the series reboot. Not so much of Chris Cornell doing the theme song. Ugh.

By : Frank Yang at 7:27 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    Great show! However, one thing you should note about Malajube – they are destructive, but not so dumb as to destroy the regular gear (smart boys!): the guitar Justin wrecked onstage was used only for that one song…

  2. Karl says:

    I liked the Bond reboot also, and hope that they don’t reincorporate the gadgets too quickly in future installments. I even liked the "Saul Bass channels Flash animation" look of the opening credits… and pretended Chris Cornell was Tom Jones.

  3. PG says:

    indeed it seems the tele destruction was a celebratory move to mark the band’s 100th show…very paul stanley…

    I’m having trouble taking stroffolino’s piece seriously due to its terrible spelling and grammar. jonny dovercoat?

  4. jack says:

    I was bemused by the report of Malajube’s guitarist being felled by "bad street meat". I can sympathize, having been botulized by a hot dog at Skydome last summer. I don’t eat hot dogs anymore as a result, although I do think about it from time to time.

  5. Chris says:

    I thought Casino Royale and Daniel Craig were both great, but those poker scenes were just cringe inducing.

  6. Frank says:

    re: the poker – agreed, especially with Mathis offering play by play. I just couldn’t deal with high powered international terrorists sitting down for some "Texas Hold’Em". Not the most sophisticated name around.

  7. Carrie says:

    Tried to email you, but it keeps bouncing back…hmm…

    Anyway, your shots turned out well, given the limitations of the lighting. Turns out the writer didn’t show up, so I got screwed over and the photos won’t be going in the mag…I even wrote a blurb for them just in case, but they need those audience profiles. :( Guess I’ll just throw the whole thing up on Torontoist, so it doesn’t go to waste.

    Fun show! And nice to see you, as always.

  8. kevin says:

    stoffolino is a poet of the american avant guard stripe as well as an english prof and he has a band called Continous Peasant that has toured a bit in BC (he lives in the Bay Area I believe). usually he can be quite funny.

  9. Frank says:

    carrie – yeah, I got a usable set but I pretty much tossed everything from the first half of the show till I figured out how to deal with the lighting. Bummer about the Spin guy, but they’ve got you on their rolodex now – that’s surely a good thing.

  10. Roland says:

    Thanks for the Big Takeover link; I look forward to seeing what sort of BSS organization emerges post-hiatus. I also enjoyed Casino Royale a lot, although I can’t really hate on the Cornell track, mainly because I don’t remember it.

    Keep up the good work!

  11. Matt says:

    Hahaha! I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who hated the Casino Royale theme song. I was a bit worried that it might be an indication of the movie to come, but fortunately it was easily the worst thing about the film. That chase scene was something else!

  12. Chris says:

    For those of you that enjoyed the chase sequence through the construction site, you should know that it was based on the newly-invented sport of "Parkour" or "Free Running". More information can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wik… There are a few documentaries floating around on the bittorrent sites: "Jump London", "Jump Britain", and "Yamakasi". Some of the stuff they do is pretty amazing.

  13. Idiotjed says:

    Frank:

    The interview you did with the New Music will air tonite.

    Check it:
    http://www.thenewmusic.net

    Just FYI.

  14. Jon says:

    I feel bad for you kids that missed Bocce. Disco Juan is one of the greatest songs ever written. Ever.

  15. dustin says:

    bocce is WAAAAY better than malajube.