Thursday, December 14th, 2006
So yeah, that was it. The streak ends at 1050 days. Mark it. Felt good. Now let’s get on with our lives.
It’s been a while since I was last at the Drake Underground, and in the interim they’ve made some changes – what looks to be a much bigger PA and this crazy riser thing in front of the stage that’s a good half foot higher than the rest of the stage. Maybe it’s useful for rock star-approved guitar solos, but that wasn’t going to much be the case on Tuesday night when Jenn Grant and Barzin performed.
Barzin caught my interest last month and I’ve been enjoying his album My Life In Rooms when I’m in the mood for really quiet folkistry. Live, Barzin Hosseini and his bandmates were somewhat less cloistered-sounding than on record though still not nearly what you’d call extroverted. They ably blended the warmth of Neil Halstead with the melancholy of Mark Kozelek, all served up on a shimmering bed of slide guitar and vibraphone. Terrifically pretty but for some reason, they played hardly anything from the record – tres odd.
It’s entirely possible I’ve seen Jenn Grant perform before as she did time as touring vocalist for The Heavy Blinkers back in the day. But that was then and this is now and the now is that Jenn has a solo career going and that’s what brought her to Toronto for a whole series of shows in and around southern Ontario. Taking the stage with a four-piece backing band The Night Painters, she treated the audience to selections from both her old EP and her forthcoming album Orchestra For The Moon and even if you were unfamiliar with her material, it was instantly welcoming and thoroughly enjoyable. Her rich voice and jazzy singing style combine for some sophisticated pop not unlike Feist’s, but trades Gallic urbanity for an appealing Maritime rootsiness. With a charming and personable stage persona, Grant seems well set to do big things in 2007, but you can still say you saw her when as she’s got another show at Supermarket in Kensington tonight and shows in London and Guelph tomorrow and Friday night, respectively – then it’s back to her old stomping grounds out east. Definitely keep an eye and ear out for this one when her album hits in the Spring, but in the meantime there’s a 2-song single available at Endearing Records. Chart talks to Grant about the making of her album.
And there was a third band on the bill – Halifax’s Down With The Butterfly – but alas I was too tired to stick it out. They’re also playing again tonight at the Rivoli.
Photos: Jenn Grant, Barzin @ The Drake Underground – December 12, 2006
MP3: Jenn Grant – “Dreamer”
MP3: Barzin – “Leaving Time”
MP3: Barzin – “Lets Go Driving”
MP3: Barzin – “Won’t You Come”
eCard: Barin / My Life In Rooms
Video: Barzin – “Leaving Time” (YouTube)
MySpace: Jenn Grant
The Boston Globe catches Andy Partridge in a prickly, immodest and entertaining mood (via Largehearted Boy). Maybe it’s because he saw the figurines that are being made of XTC. And contrary to what Pitchfork says, they’re not really action figures if there’s no articulation. I will wait for the XTC figures with swivel-action battle grip, thank you very much. The Pitch caught Partridge in a sunnier mood.
“The Kit Kat has a red wrapper up here. The Kit Kat I grew to love had an orange wrapper. When it comes to a chocolaty treat with a curiously crispy wafer center, ‘a pox on multiculturalism,’ I say”.
We love you too, Joe. And we have Coffee Crisp up here.
So what did I do with my day off? Got a sweet deal on a telephoto lens and just happened to have it with me when Duarte pointed out that Toronto eatery and celeb hangout Sassafraz was on fire. Cue photos, cue Toronto Star linkage. What an afternoon. I bet if I quit blogging altogether, I could become an astronaut.