Monday, March 10th, 2008
CMW 2008 Day 3
Photo by Frank Yang
My snow boots make for truly lousy concert-going footwear. But the 30 cm of crap dumped on the city from Friday through Saturday night made then a necessity – thankfully, I had gotten my fill of club hopping the previous two nights and with the exception of one early stop, was planning on spending the whole evening camped out at the Palace of Lee.
But first, a stop at one of the venues in town I’d never been to before – the Annex Wreckroom. I’d never graced the second-floor club with my presence because it seems to cater to the leather pant crowd rather than the cords and jeans demographic I usually roll with. It’s a surprisingly large room and every inch of available space was put to good use by the outfit I was there to see, Boys In A Band. Obviously believers in truth in advertising, the five-piece from the Faroe Islands (midway between Denmark, Scotland and Iceland) were indeed both boys and a band and, though not explicitly stated in their name, big believers in the healing power of rock music. Though the samples on their MySpace implied a moden/classic rock hybrid (no, I don’t really know what I mean by that), their live show was pure old school rock’n’roll adrenaline. They struck a fine balance between being deadly serious and deadly unserious (with a keyboardist who looks like a kimono-clad Capt. Jack Sparrow with a wireless keytar, how serious can they be?) but wholly entertaining. There were stage invasions, audience invasions, rocking out on top of the bar and group hugs. Great fun.
Toronto’s Sunriser got the privilege of welcoming the crowd who’d braved the weather to come out Lee’s Palace and there were certainly more of them (us) than I was expecting. And they welcomed us with a set of pleasant if innocuous guitar pop of the sort you’d expect to hear over the closing credits of a WB teen drama. Their set was most memorable for the subtle but effective keyboard work and a frontman who really seemed to like the sound of his own voice – his thank yous to the crowd and club went on longer than most Oscar acceptance speeches.
Rock Plaza Central may be critically acclaimed and local heroes of a sort, but I’ve never gotten into them. They came around when my tolerance for big, ramshackle bands with hoarse and hollered vocals was at an ebb so they’ve stayed off my radar. But when faced with them live, I found them surprisingly enjoyable. Chris Eaton’s voice is still an acquired taste that I’ve not acquired, but the band are superb musicians and craft their joyful chaos with the most meticulous care and a genuine energy that’s impossible to resist.
Photos: Rock Plaza Central @ Lee’s Palace – March 8, 2008
MP3: Rock Plaza Central – “My Children, Be Joyful”
MP3: Rock Plaza Central – “When We Go, Where We Go, Pt 2”
Video: Rock Plaza Central – “My Children, Be Joyful”
Video: Rock Plaza Central – “Anthem For The Already Defeated”
MySpace: Rock Plaza Central
It’s just as well that I had little interest in seeing Yoav play because if I did, I would have had a lousy time. Because standing right behind be were a gaggle of drunken girls who seemed to regard the solo acoustic guitar and loop artist as akin to the sixth Backstreet Boy and spent the whole set screaming… inappropriate things. But since I didn’t really care, they were more amusing than irritating. Still irritating, don’t get me wrong, but amusingly so. There’s not denying that Yoav has talent, but his approach is interesting for a few songs but becomes exponentially more repetitive and stultifying after that. The only thing that made it all worthwhile was, after he finished and left the stage, a couple of the aforementioned girls climbed onstage and ran after him and one of them tripped and fell down the stairs. It’s okay, they were a short flight and she wasn’t hurt. But it was funny.
The Pigeon Detectives, looking to release their sophomore effort This Is An Emergency on May 14, are one of those bands that have been tipped as one of the next big things coming out of the UK this year (yeah, yeah) but this show seemed to have preceded any serious buzz about them on these shores. But I don’t think any British band has ever played to an empty room in Toronto so a healthy and enthusiastic audience was in place when the Leeds five-piece took the stage. Anyone looking for the next Blur or Kinks or other such band that combined a sharp songwriter’s eye on society with indelible guitar pop hooks… keep looking. But if you’re in the market for an entertaining, high energy rock band with an in-your-face frontman who has obviously spent a lot of time practicing his pogo jumping and microphone twirls, your ship has come in. The songcraft is simple but effective and the choruses made for drunken audience shoutalongs. The Pigeon Detectives could be this year’s Kaiser Chiefs – take that as you will.
Photos: The Pigeon Detectives @ Lee’s Palace – March 8, 2008
MP3: The Pigeon Detectives – “I’m Not Sorry”
Video: The Pigeon Detectives – “Take Her Back”
Video: The Pigeon Detectives – “Romantic Type”
Video: The Pigeon Detectives – “I Found Out”
Video: The Pigeon Detectives – “I’m Not Sorry”
MySpace: The Pigeon Detectives
And to segue CMW to SxSW – My Old Kentucky Blog has an interview with The Acorn, who by all accounts put on a great show at the Horseshoe this past Thursday night and will surely do so again when they play the second day of Hot Freaks down in Austin this coming Saturday at the Mohawk. The band has got a gorgeous new animated video for “The Flood, Pt 1” but the only place I’ve found it is at MuchMusic (what are they doing with music videos?). Go the the link there, search for “Acorn”, sit through the Gwen Stefani commercial and then enjoy. Hopefully it’ll propagate to YouTube or even their MySpace soon. Glory Hope Mountain gets an American release tomorrow and you can stream the record in its entirety at Spinner.
Stream: The Acorn / Glory Hope Mountain
And a bit more link-clearing before heading to Texas.
John Darnielle of The Mountain Goats rattles off some of his favourite songs for Harp. Harp also goes record shopping with Patterson Hood of the Drive-By Truckers, who are playing the Opera House next week on March 18.