Wednesday, May 7th, 2008
Photo by Frank Yang
How about that – shortly after mentioning last week that I’d never seen the Constantines’ live, I got an invite from Arts & Crafts to see them play a CFNY-presented show at the dinky Supermarket in Kensington Market, the same Kensington from which their latest album Kensington Heights takes its name. I wonder if that’d work for anything else… Hey internet – I’d like a pony.
And now we wait.
In the meantime, I’ll recount my first Cons show. The Supermarket is a fraction the size of the Phoenix, where they played on Thursday night, there was no doubt this would be a rare and intimate show. I didn’t expect an opener but Jennifer Castle, aka Castlemusic, was tapped to warm things up as she did at the Phoenix. Though the smaller room was surely a more sympathetic setting for her tender and trembly folk songs, they were unable to quell the chatty audience who’d shown up for a rock show. Luckily, that’s exactly what the Constantines had in mind.
Though five more unassuming looking guys you’re not likely to find, they’re like a force of nature onstage. A steamroller of sound, powered by sweat and riffs. I don’t need to know that lightning is created by the buildup and discharge of electrical energy between positively and negatively charged areas (ref) to respect and fear it, and similarly I didn’t need to be familiar with the Constantines’ back catalog to be well and properly rocked. That said, it was the older, unfamiliar material that had the most live impact – some of the old school fans have been talking about Kensington Heights as a (relative) disappointment as an album and while I think it’s pretty solid taken on its own merits, I do now understand where they’re coming from. Some of those songs – which I obviously couldn’t identify – were monolithic. In a sense, it was nice to be at a show without expectations of what might or might not be played – I could just take it all in and be impressed. And yes, I get it now. I don’t know that I’d be the first to stand in support of a formal “The Constantines are the best live band in Canada” declaration just yet, but I certainly wouldn’t oppose it.
CBC Radio 3 gets some facts from guitarist Steve Lambke.
Photos: Constantines, Castlemusic @ The Supermarket – May 5, 2008
MP3: Constantines – “Hard Feelings”
MP3: Constantines – “Nighttime Anytime It’s Alright”
MP3: Constantines – “On To You”
MP3: Constantines – “Love In Fear”
MP3: Constantines – “Soon Enough”
MP3: Constantines – “Arizona”
MP3: Castlemusic – “Heaven”
Video: Constantines – “Hard Feelings”
Video: Constantines – “Working Full-Time”
Pitchfork brings us a taste from the next installment in the “Broken Social Scene Presents” series, also known as the solo but not really solo record from Brendan Canning. Maintaining the tradition of ellipsis abuse started by bandmate Kevin Drew on last year’s Spirit If…, Canning will release Something for All of Us… on July 22 – details here.
And sometime Broken Social Scenester, all-time ex-Treble Charger Bill Priddle is back with his new outfit The Priddle Concern. Chart, The Sault Star and JAM talk to Priddle about his new self-titled record. He’ll play an in-store at Soundscapes on Saturday, May 10 at 5PM and yes, I think requesting “Red” would be bad form.
A couple to file in the “I was wrong” box – I had speculated that Fleet Foxes would be returning to town whilst on tour with A Hawk & A Hacksaw and thus be at the El Mocambo on July16. As it happens, they will be here that day but be playing the much larger Phoenix as support for Stephen Malkmus. PitchforkTV has a video feature on the band recorded at SxSW.
I also figured that the All Tomorrow’s Parties show in upstate New York would be as close to Toronto as My Bloody Valentine’s North American tour would get, especially since early announcements explicitly called it a US tour… well we must have been annexed when I wasn’t looking because the tour dates are up and lo and behold – September 25 at Ricoh Coliseum… My Bloody Valentine. Tickets go on sale Friday at noon and will run $47.50 plus fees, gougings, etc. Not cheap, but certainly more reasonable than the $1200 that the ATP tickets would have run me, though that came with a 5-bed hotel room… Yeah, I’ll take the local show.
CNET has coverage from Neil Young’s press conference at Sun Microsystems yesterday where he officially announced that the Archives series would be released on Blu-Ray discs – finally, an excuse to get a PlayStation3. They’re still supposed to be released starting this year, so keep an eye open and a grain of salt handy.
The Saturday night (June 14) lineup at the Horseshoe for NxNE has been announced – staying from 8PM till the wee hours of Sunday morning will net you performances from Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Hey Rosetta, Ladyhawk, The D’Urbervilles, Spiral Beach and Rebekah Higgs. A partial list, but not schedule, of NXNE acts is also now up.