Wednesday, June 11th, 2008
Believe In Me
Photo by Frank Yang
Yesterday marked the release date for
Sloan’s latest long-player Parallel Play, and to mark the occasion (or perhaps just coincidentally timed) they played a special intimate show at one of Toronto’s newer venues, the Tattoo Rock Parlour (which was indeed both a tattoo studio and a parlour of rock), as part of inMusic.ca‘s “Orange Lounge”, wherein the performance was to be recorded and webcast at a later date.
Though it was only intended to be a compact, showcase-y type set rather than a full show, there was still a warm-up act in Will Currie & The Country French, recent signees to Sloan’s own recently resurrected murderecords label. Though only allotted about 15 minutes to play, they took full advantage of the opportunity and barreled through enough jaunty, ’70s/AM radio piano pop – not unlike a less smart-ass Ben Folds – to make quite a favourable impression. It also reminded me that I had a copy of their debut album A Great Stage waiting for me at home and giving it a spin verified that this outfit had some great tunes and a friendly sound.
There weren’t quite enough people in the room to generate a convincing “SLOOOOAAAAAN” chant, but people were enthused when the foursome (plus keyboardist) took the stage. They started things off with a block of songs from the new album, one by each band member, and for my money all sounding better than anything off their last effort, Never Hear The End Of It. Jay Ferguson’s “Witch’s Wand”, in particular, was a real stand-out and a likely addition to the canon of Sloan classics, despite the gentle Middle Earth mocking from Chris Murphy in regards to the lyrics. They then took a brief intermission before returning to the stage with a mini-set of their greatest hits, consisting of “Coax Me”, “Good In Everyone” and a rather sad reading of “Lines You Amend”, thanks to some botched guitarwork from Patrick Pentland. It was obvious this gig rated low on the band’s intensity scale – there wasn’t a scissor kick in sight – but a little more effort so as not to mess up would have been appreciated. They got it together for a couple more new numbers and the show was done. I thought about sticking around to get a tattoo but decided that some dinner would be a better idea.
And if you were wondering, the results of the contest poll for band member tattoos came out with seven votes for Jay, three for Andrew, two each for Chris and Patrick and two for the whole band. Also, thanks to Beth from Rock/Paper/Pixels for submitting these terrific South Park and Simpsons tributes to Sloan.
Chris Murphy gives The National Post an entertaining list of Sloan facts, while Chart talks to the band about DJing and tattoo removal. The Toronto Star tries to discuss the new record with them and Metro talks process. I Heart Music is giving away a copy of the new record. Sloan are participating in NxNE with a gig alongside Ted Leo at the Mod Club on Thursday night.
Photos: Sloan, Will Currie & The Country French @ The Tattoo Rock Parlour – June 10, 2008
MP3: Sloan – “I’m Not A Kid Anymore”
Stream: Sloan / Parallel Play
MySpace: Will Currie & The Country French
Stream: The Hold Steady / Stay Positive!
And if you’re not at that show, you’d better be at Lee’s to see Lightspeed Champion. There are no other options for this evening. For a taste of what the full-band Lightspeed experience is like, check out the video of their recent appearance on Conan O’Brien at BrookylnVegan. And hopefully we won’t see any relapse of this. Nasty. Also watch this complete show from SxSW at Baeble Music – not quite as full a band as he’s got this time, but Emmy The Great and Florence And The Machine-enhanced. Ergo, awesome.
I haven’t talked about Florence & The Machine before, but most likely will in the future. For now, check out the video for her first single.
Coldplay have shuffled their Summer and Fall tour dates and the previously announced October 29 and 30 dates at the Air Canada Centre appear to be off, replaced by a July 30 appearance at the same venue.
Blurt is the new online magazine from the folks behind the dearly departed Harp, and it’s now live! Go poke around, perhaps starting with this feature on My Morning Jacket or maybe this one about She & Him, which comes with a bonus Zooey Deschanel primer. They’ve even got an online digital magazine that looks, well, almost exactly like Harp did. Hooray.