Friday, May 29th, 2009
'60s resurrection/reconstitution tours featuring Love and The Zombies come to Toronto
www.california66revue.com/MySpaceWe always seem to be talking about (relatively) new music hereabouts. Let’s talk about some old. A few acts with legendary names recently announced tours that are coming through town, but as is the case more often than not, the actual product bears some extra scrutiny.
First, you’ve got ’60s British pop giants The Zombies, who have a date at the Mod Club on July 15 – tickets $39.50. Though four of the five original members still survive – guitarist Paul Atkinson died in 2004 – and they’ve reunited for special shows in the UK in recent years, this touring outfit boasts just two original members. Those members are singer Colin Blunstone and pianist Rod Argent, though, so it’s probably reasonable to think that they’ll sound pretty damn good when running through their stone-cold yet still probably underappreciated classic tunes like “She’s Not There”, “Tell Her No”, “Care Of Cell 44” and “Time Of The Season”. I think The Zombies have toured through Ontario in the past, but usually well out of town at casino resorts and such – their playing a show in downtown Toronto could well draw a completely different but hopefully appreciative audience.
Slightly more questionable in the credentials department is the California ’66 Revue, which will be at Lee’s Palace a month later on August 14, tickets $25. That bill is topped by psych-rock forebears The Electric Prunes and also features Sky Saxon, who once fronted garage rockers The Seeds, but it’s the middle act that is simultaneously the most intriguing and most probably disappointing – Love.
When I was younger and was far more keen on amassing a more comprehensive musical education, I spent a lot of time with albums that had been acknowledged as “classics” but I think one of the only ones that I really, really grew to love beyond the historical context – and that includes from the Beatles and the Stones – was Love’s Forever Changes. It’s such a unique record, towering with ambition and somehow delivering on every promise – glorious both for its singles and as a single, unified artistic statement. With a number of reissues over the last few years, each with different bonus goodies, as well as a live CD/DVD set, one could argue that it’s no longer the criminally overlooked treasure it once was, but it’s also so good a record that you could also argue that it’s simply not possible for it to get the praise it actually deserves. I hold this record in that high esteem.
And so on one level, it’s exciting that Love is coming to town, but also problematic due to the fact that Love frontman and mastermind, Arthur Lee, died three years ago. The current outfit isn’t without some claim to the name – they boast guitarist Johnny Echols and drummer Michael Stuart-Ware, both of whom played on Forever Changes and are otherwise comprised of Baby Lemonade, who were Lee’s backing band in his later years while performing as Love with Arthur Lee but they also actually fired Lee in 2005, citing his unpredictable and unprofessional behaviour, and continued on as The Love Band. It later turned out that this was due, in part at least, to Lee’s battle with leukemia which he would eventually succumb to the following year.
The point of all this being that though they’re called Love, and have members of Love, and may even sound a helluva lot like Love (I don’t know who’s handling vocals), it’s just not Love. But that doesn’t mean it won’t be good, just not Love. And it makes me wistful about the show that Lee and the band had originally scheduled for Lee’s Palace back in 2002 but had to cancel on account of immigration issues – apparently Canada took exception to Lee’s criminal record for firearms offenses. That would have been something.
Video: The Zombies – “Time Of The Season”
Video: Love – “Alone Again Or” (live)
Video: The Electric Prunes – “”You Never Had It Better/I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)”
Video: The Seeds – “Can’t Seem To Make You Mine”
Blurt reports that in addition to the upcoming reissues of Big Star’s seminal Number One Record and Radio City albums – as a remastered single CD or individual LPs – on June 16, there’ll be a four-disc box set chock full of unreleased goodies due out September 15. Update: Pitchfork has box set details, including the title – Keep An Eye On The Sky.
Magnet plays over/under with Elvis Costello’s oeuvre, hoping to point out that Declan’s post-2000 output is worth your time. I wonder if that’ll apply to his new one, Secret, Profane & Sugarcane, when it’s released next week. There’s an interview at The Wall Street Journal as well as a feature piece and The Irish Times also has a chat. Costello plays Massey Hall on August 28.
Aquarium Drunkard is offering a recent Neko Case session from CBC Radio 3 for download. Neko is at Massey Hall on July 14 with Jason Lytle as support. The Georgia Straight and Paste have interviews with the former Grandaddy frontman.