Monday, December 10th, 2007
All of the local media articles commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Horseshoe Tavern (officially celebrating its birthday yesterday) have run off a list of the unforgettable shows that have earned the Queen West institution its adjective “Legendary” – Golden Smog, Neutral Milk Hotel, The Rolling Stones”, to name a few. And while I’ve seen my share of great shows there over the years – hell, over the past week – the venue’s own birthday party on Thursday night was one for the ages.
Though the performers were kept secret when the invite-only party was announced, it got out pretty quickly that it was going to be Chicagoan country-rock shitkickers The Waco Brothers – an outfit beloved by the Horseshoe owners – and the closest thing the ‘Shoe has to a house band, Toronto’s own Sadies. And, of course, where go The Sadies, special guests are sure to follow.
And follow they did. Their set could well have been released as the follow-up to their In Concert: Volume One live set as they called friends and family onstage to play with them including the Good brothers’ parents, Blue Rodeo’s Greg Keelor, The Skydiggers’ Andy Maize and Josh Finlayson, Waco Brothers (from different mothers) Jon Langford and Tracy Dear – all of whom came as no huge surprise – and one who did: The Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie. I wouldn’t say I’ve been any sort of Hip fan for over a decade but there’s no denying the band – and especially their frontman – hold a special place in Canadiana so you could feel the energy levels in the bar, already well into the red, soar when he bounded onstage.
In hindsight, it probably shouldn’t have been a shock to see him – he had played with the Sadies just last month in a performance for CBC’s Fuse and here they reprised some of that set, opening with “Fire In The Hole” from 1994’s Day For Night and closing with an absolutely searing cover of The Stooges’ “Search And Destroy” (a reasonable-quality video of which you cans see below). Maybe it’s been a while since Downie’s played a stage as small and intimate as this one but he absolutely tore it up. It’s not often that it’s the audience that needs to take a breath after a performance while the band just won’t stop.
Calling The Sadies a tough act to follow is the very definition of understatement, but the Waco Brothers are no slouches in owning a stage. I was only minimally familiar with the Wacos before this night – basically I knew who they were and what they did, on paper anyways – but thankfully there’s not that much to get. If you can appreciate the magic of country and old-school rock’n’roll welded together by sweat and margaritas, you can appreciate the Waco Brothers. With an all-request set list made up of originals and covers, they were the perfect band to play a birthday party for a bar with the musical pedigree that the ‘Shoe has. I had to bail at 1AM but have no doubt they kept their word to keep the music and beer flowing till 2AM.
Happy 60th, Horseshoe.
Glide and The Vancouver Sun have interviews with The Sadies, who will once again be at the Horseshoe for their annual New Years Eve celebrations. And the final show of the Horseshoe’s 60th anniversary celebrations, scheduled for next Monday December 17, is set to be announced today. I’ve already basically told you who it is, but when the official word is out I’ll update accordingly.
Photos: The Waco Brothers, The Sadies @ The Horseshoe – December 6, 2007
MP3: The Sadies – “The Horseshoe”
Video: The Sadies – “The Horseshoe”
Video: Gord Downie with The Sadies – “Search & Destroy” (live at the Horseshoe)
MySpace: The Waco Brothers
MySpace: The Sadies
And after a pretty packed week of ‘Shoe shows, I capped things off with Jose Gonzalez’s in-store at Sonic Boom on Friday evening. I’ve no doubt his show that same night at the Mod Club was good but I found the intimate atmosphere of the in-store, with its wood-paneled rec room vibe and polite and attentive audience, to be the perfect setting for Gonzalez. Cross-legged on the floor is the right way to enjoy his music, which was hypnotically lovely over his short set.
Photos: Jose Gonzalez @ Sonic Boom – December 7, 2007
MP3: Jose Gonzalez – “Teardrop” (live)
MP3: Jose Gonzalez – “Crosses”
Video: Jose Gonzalez – “Teardrop”
Video: Jose Gonzalez – “Down The Line”
Video: Jose Gonzalez – “Killing For Love”
MySpace: Jose Gonzalez
CMJ talks a bit to The Acorn’s Rolf Klausener about Glory Hope Mountain, which is set for a US release on March 4 of next year and will apparently feature a bonus track, presumably not tied into the narrative thread of the rest of the record.
The New Pollution features Plants & Animals, in town Friday at the Mod Club opening for Patrick Watson. Their debut full-length Parc Avenue is out March 25 and you can check out an MP3 from said record below.
Stay Thirsty gives Feist some travel tips for Japan.
Losing Today talks to Owen Pallet of Final Fantasy. Final Fantasy, along with Laura Barrett and The Blankket, will be performing at the Gladstone on January 9 as part of a release party for Carl Wilson’s contribution to the 33 1/3 series of books, the much-anticipated tome Celine Dion’s Let’s Talk About Love: A Journey To The End Of Taste. And yes, all the performers will be doing Celine covers. Of course. The book is out this week.
Crawdaddy talks to author Jim Walsh about his book The Replacements: All Over But the Shouting: An Oral History.
Jonathan Richman will be in town February 28 for a show at the Phoenix – quite a step up from his usual digs at the Lula Lounge. Update: Never mind – Pollstar was wrong, Jonathan Rice opening for Matt Costa, which is more logical but less interesting.
The new Harold and Kumar film has a new title – Harold & Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay – and a new, decidedly non-PG trailer. It’s in theatres April 28.