Monday, October 19th, 2009
The Horrors and Fucked Up at Lee’s Palace in Toronto
Frank YangThe second half of last week was one of those stretches where it seemed like there were a half-dozen things going on at the same time, each of which would under normal circumstances be a no-brainer as far as attendance was concerned but instead, would require some painful sacrifices. And so it was that after shooting the first three songs of Wilco’s set at Massey Hall, I bolted for Lee’s Palace to catch The Horrors. Some/most would call this madness, but I had Wilco tickets for the following night (which itself called for passing on the School Of Seven Bells Show – ouch) and I had already missed seeing The Horrors back in May and grown fonder of their latest record Primary Colours in the interim.
Also filed under the incentive column was the rather poorly-disguised fact that one of the openers was going to be reigning Polaris Music Prize winners Fucked Up. They’d already announced they’d be playing a secret show that week and the listing of a band called “Polaris Pricks” that otherwise didn’t exist pretty much sealed the deal. Seeing them play the Polaris Prize gala was my first exposure to the Fucked Up live experience and while it was as entertaining and chaotic as their reputation promised, it was still only one song so I was looking forward to this one. Unfortunately, they seemed to be consciously on their best behaviour and shenanigans were kept to a minimum. Fortunately, they were still loud and fast and there were some even minimum shenanigans equals some shenanigans. Singer Damian Abraham clambored around on the Lee’s Palace railings and speaker cabs, shed his shirt (of course) and frolicked in the crowd in the way that rather large, shirtless men frolic. I’ve listened to The Chemistry Of Common Life a few more times since the Polaris win but still have trouble distinguishing one song from the next, but that’s alright – it was still entertaining to witness. I expect they’ll more than compensate for the lack of carnage on this night when they host their annual Fucked Up Fest at various venues around the city at the end of the month.
The Horrors were largely an unknown quantity to me prior to their current record, but I was aware that most of the critical praise heaped at Primary Colours came with a healthy amount of incredulity that such an album could have come from a band that was previously not taken very seriously, to say the least. But the past is the past and all that was really relevant was that the new record is good and they no longer dress ridiculously. I’d also been told that they liked to play in total darkness and really didn’t move at all – both thankfully incorrect, though the latter far moreso than the former. No, their show was actually pretty animated and intense, feeding and feeding off an enthusiastic audience I didn’t know they had. Sonically, they did a fine job of reproducing the haze of metal shavings abrasiveness of Geoff Barrow’s production job, giving the brooding some extra juice for the stage, and while it could be argued that they overplayed the rock theatrics a bit, particularly frontman Faris Badwan’s lurching and grimacing (though being as tall and gangly as he is, the lurching may have been perfectly natural), it suited the dramatics of the material and the overall tone of the show. The encore pulled the energy levels up higher and felt looser and more naturally unhinged – seeing as how it was made up of (presumably) all older material, it whipped their already frothy fans into an even greater frenzy. Obviously they’ve accepted the band’s newer shoegaze-inspired sound but still love them some goth-punk. Yeah I know I missed a great Wilco show for this, but I think I came out alright in the end as well.
The Horrors are releasing a non-album single entitled “Whole New Way” on 7″ on November 3 and have just released a video for it and The National Post has an Q&A with Faris Badwan. Hearty has an interview with Fucked Up bassist Sandy Miranda.
Photos: The Horrors, Fucked Up @ Lee’s Palace – October 14, 2009
MP3: The Horrors – “Sea Within A Sea”
MP3: Fucked Up – “No Epiphany”
Video: The Horrors – “Whole New Way”
Video: The Horrors – “Mirror’s Image”
Video: The Horrors – “Who Can Say”
Video: The Horrors – “Sea Within A Sea”
Video: The Horrors – “She Is The New Thing”
Video: The Horrors – “Gloves”
Video: The Horrors – “Count In Fives”
Video: The Horrors – “Sheena Is A Parasite”
Video: Fucked Up – “Crooked Head”
Video: Fucked Up – “Black Albino Bones”
MySpace: The Horrors
MySpace: Fucked Up
State and The Independent have interviews and Uncensored a video chat with The xx. NPR is also streaming a World Cafe session with the band, who make their Toronto debut at the Phoenix on December 2 alongside Friendly Fires.
PitchforkTV is streaming for this week only the Bat For Lashes documentary short film Two Plus Two, which documented the making of her new record Two Suns. The deluxe edition of the record, which includes said doc on DVD and a second disc containing eight bonus tracks, will be out on November 3.
Video: Bat For Lashes: Two Plus Two
Florence & The Machine have released a new video. She’s at the Mod Club on November 2.
Lily Allen also has a new vid.
Video: Little Boots – “Earthquake”
The Yorker has an interview with Noah & The Whale, whose in-store at Criminal Records on October 31 has been moved up – way up – to a noon hour start. And that evening’s show at the Horseshoe has been dubbed “Night Of The Living Dead”, with attendees invited to come dressed as their favourite dead celebrity. I look forward to spending the evening surrounded by bad Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett lookalikes.
Drowned In Sound has a the third part of Fanfarlo’s tour diaries, which Black Cab Session features a session recorded way back at SxSW in March and Clash solicits a list of “Top Ten Tracks to stalk around a Norwegian Forest”. Fall North American dates are still trickling in, but the fact that they’ll be in Minneapolis in mid-November and Boston in mid-December implies a long stay, hopefully with a Toronto date in there somewhere.
Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit tells The Popcop that their breakout record The Midnight Organ Fight wasn’t the one he wanted to make and he likes the new one, due out in the new year, much better. Give the first single and video a listen and judge for yourself, if you can disregard the shabby audio quality.
BBC reports the future of Bloc Party appears in doubt, with the band canceling dates on their current tour so drummer Matt Tong can get medical attention and a lack of interest in his part on returning when it’s all sorted. Sad news if it’s true, because Intimacy is not the note any band wants to go out on.
Interview and The San Francisco Examiner have interviews with Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ian McCulloch. They’re at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tomorrow night for an orchestrally-enhanced performance of Ocean Rain.
Tags: Arctic Monkeys, Bad Lieutenant, Bat For Lashes, Big Pink, Bloc Party, Clientele, Echo & The Bunnymen, Fanfarlo, Florence & The Machine, frightened rabbit, Fucked Up, Glasvegas, Horrors, Johnny Marr, Lily Allen, Little Boots, Manic Street Preachers, Mumford & Sons, Noah & The Whale, Twilight Sad, XX