Thursday, January 7th, 2010
The Balconies at Supermarket in Toronto
Frank YangIs there any better/lazier way to start of the new year’s concert calendar than with the band that closed out the old year’s sched? I think not. And so The Balconies, who were one of the last bands I saw in 2009 are the first I’ve seen in 2010, thanks to last night’s show at Supermarket. And seeing as how I was sort of running out of things to say about the trio that time, it being third time I’d seen them in less than four months, I pretty much expected to have even less to offer, editorially speaking, this time.
As it happened, the show wasn’t a carbon copy of the others, and not just because it took place somewhere besides the Horseshoe. Maybe it was a bit of holiday hangover, but this gig didn’t feature the band at their best. While spirited by most standards, compared to their fire of their previous performances, they weren’t as tight as I’ve seen them and the energy felt somewhat subdued. Part of this, I think was technical – frontwoman Jacquie Neville’s guitar and vocals both seemed to be buried in the mix somewhat, her Telecaster missing some of its signature bite. Its absence, however, allowed bassist Steve Neville’s parts to come to the fore and while I’d always appreciated his contributions – and acknowledge his vocals are stronger live than on records – it was only last night that I realized just how complex and downright funky his basslines were. I’d always let his sister’s wiry, hooky guitarwork define my impression of the band, but in addition to all that, he ensures that The Balconies are wholly danceable as well. I know this because people were dancing. So not the band at their best, but still probably better than many.
The Balconies are setting out on an eastern Canadian tour and with it, they run the very real risk of no longer being the best-kept secret of the Ottawa-Toronto 401 corridor. They could well be on their way to delivering on the blue-chip prospects that “next big Canadian things” surveys conducted by The National Post and Resonancity peg them to be.
Oh No Forest Fires, with whom The Balconies shared the bill at that show last December, have announced that their upcoming January 23 gig at The Horseshoe will be their last and they’re calling it a day. It’s a damn shame that Toronto is losing one of their most entertaining live bands, but all good things, as they say. Your last opportunity to be showered in Rajiv’s sweat will be shared with The Darcys, Songs From A Room and Arietta, cover $7.
The Besnard Lakes have offered up the first taste of their forthcoming album The Besnard Lakes Are the Roaring Night, out March 9. The single “Albatross” will be available on 12″ as of February 9. They’ll be at the Horseshoe on March 11, presumably as part of Canadian Musicfest. Spinner talks to Jace Lasek about the new record.
Video: Islands – “No You Don’t”
Woodpigeon are now streaming their new album Die Stadt Muzikanten on their website in advance of its release next Tuesday, while Beatroute interviews Mark Hamilton. Woodpigeon are at the Drake Underground on February 11.
Owen Pallett graces the cover of this week’s NOW, thanks to the upcoming release of Heartland and his sold-out show at the Mod Club, both happening this coming Tuesday. He has another show scheduled for April 8 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
Diamond Rings-master John O’Reagan chats with Spinner and NOW. He’ll be appearing at the aforementioned January 12 Mod Club show opening for Owen Pallett and at the Roundhouse on February 11 as part of Wavelength 500.
CBC Radio 3 has compiled a list of notable Canadian indie releases for the first part of 2010 and some heretofore unannounced bits to take note of include the March 23 release of Holy Fuck’s Latin and a live Weakerthans document entitled Live At The Burton Cummings Theatre, plus a May target for the new Broken Social Scene record.
Macleans looks at the unfortunate phenomenon of bands getting their gear stolen in Montreal. Hey Montreal, what the hell?