Thursday, November 12th, 2009
I Can’t Wait To Hear The Noise
Rae Spoon at The Rivoli in Toronto
Frank YangThe post title, taken from one of the song titles on Superioryouareinferior, kind of says it all. Since discovering Albertan Rae Spoon’s 2008 release earlier this year and slipping it onto my Polaris ballot, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to see him play live. And while most of the Summer was spent overseas, the Fall brought some local dates including last night’s show at the Rivoli.
“Noise”, however, isn’t the first word I’d use to describe Spoon’s music. Delicate? Certainly. Affecting? Absolutely. Noisy? Well, come to think of it, it’s not inappropriate. Spoon’s voice – high, tremulous and possessed of a light twang and operating at the resonant frequency of heart-rending – is made for the quiet, folk-country that makes up a large part of his repertoire, but his ambitions range well beyond that particular nook, as this show would prove.
The show began with just Spoon, his acoustic guitar and songs of exactly the sort of aforementioned stark beauty but this wouldn’t be a set of vulnerable, heart-on-sleeve weepers. Spoon’s between- and during-song anecdotes were too funny and entertaining for the mood to get maudlin, and it wasn’t long before the laptop at his side was brought in for rhythm and loop duties and then the distortion pedal at his feet. Noise? Yes. In addition to material from Superioryouareinferior, there were selections from Worauf wartest du? his concept album with Alexandre Decoupigny about the Berlin subway and a few new songs including one foray into electro-pop that sounded like the most natural (and catchy) thing in the world. Pigeonhole Rae Spoon as a sensitive singer-songwriter at your peril. Tourmates Mark Bragg & The Butchers joining him onstage for “Come On Forest Fire Burn The Disco Down” (fitting, since Rajiv from Oh No Forest Fires was handling bass), closing out a set that was short but almost everything I’d hoped it would be. I’d drop the “almost” if he’d deigned to play “Great Lakes”, but that’s a negligible complaint.
Rae Spoon’s eastern Canadian tour continues through November and swings back in December, where he has another Toronto date on December 5 at the Tranzac.
Chart talks to Joel Gibb of The Hidden Cameras while Spinner solicits a list of Gentleman Reg’s five favourite covers. Reg opens up for The Hidden Cameras at The Opera House on December 5 and releases his Heavy Head EP on December 2.
Jarvis Cocker talks film in a couple interviews with The Quietus, discussing his voice acting role in Fantastic Mr. Fox animated feature, in theatres this Friday, and contributing songs to the Russell Brand vehicle Get Him To The Greek, out next year.
You know things are slowing down in blog-land when I have to resort to getting a show review up the next morning to put a post together and it’s still this short.