Friday, January 29th, 2010
Woodhands at The Smiling Buddha in Toronto
Frank YangSomething of a cold snap hit Toronto yesterday, so I was fortunate to have an invite to what was promised to be a hot and sweaty dance party at the Smiling Buddha bar, soundtracked by Woodhands showcasing their just-released second album Remorsecapade. Granted, it’d have probably been just as warm if I’d just stayed home, but experience has taught me that the odds of dance parties breaking out in my living room tend to be close to nil.
I think there’s a temptation to not take Woodhands entirely seriously – I mean, the image of Dan Werb shrieking himself hoarse whilst rocking out with a keytar will tend to elicit double-takes. But perhaps the visuals are meant to disarm, because you dismiss Woodhands at your peril – the energy and intensity of their aural experience is deadly serious… or at least as serious as synth-rock that intends to grab you by the lapels and scream, “ARE YOU HAVING A GOOD TIME?” in your face can be. It was something I experienced first in September when the duo were a last-minute addition to Toronto stop of the ill-fated Perez Hilton tour, but this setting was much better suited for them as far as atmosphere went.
With drummer Paul Banwatt behind his kit and Werb manning a massive bank of synths and mixers to go with his keytar, Woodhands takes up almost as much room on stage as a conventional rock band and were about as loud. Their set drew from both their debut Heart Attack and the new record, with this being the first time some of the new material had been translated live. Any hiccups were lost on the packed bar, though, whom I think were attempting to dance though it was hard to tell past the wall of photographers up front – myself included – trying in vain to shoot in the near-darkness of the room. There was definitely swaying and bobbing, at least, and a Rockwell nod from Banwatt. The high point of the set came at the finale when guest vocalist Maylee Todd joined them to reprise her vocals on “Dissembler” and “Dancer”, easily my favourite cuts off of Remorsecode and Heart Attack, respectively. Werb and Banwatt are great on their own but the addition of the female element really puts them over the top.
Evil Monito talks to Dan Werb about their past touring experiences. Their future touring experiences will include a free show at MTV Canada on February 2 (hit them up for tickets) and a cross-Canada tour that includes a March 11 show at the Opera House opening up for k-os.
Photos: Woodhands @ The Smiling Buddha – January 28, 2010
MP3: Woodhands – “Pockets”
MP3: Woodhands – “Dancer”
MP3: Woodhands – “I Wasn’t Made For Fighting”
Video: Woodhands – “CP24”
Video: Woodhands – “I Wasn’t Made For Fighting”
The Vancouver Sun, The Calgary Herald and The Georgia Straight talk to Joel Plaskett. In addition to those Thrush Hermit reunion shows at Lee’s on March 26 and 27, it appears Plaskett is making a Canadian Musicfest appearance at the Mod Club on March 13 as part of the Sirius Songwriter’s Cafe, so think acoustic-y and talk-y. And Jeff Martin from the Tea Party is there too, so ask your self how much you like Joel Plaskett.
And speaking of Canadian Musicfest, the list of confirmed performers has gotten bigger, more hyperlinked (that’s right, I said “hyperlink”. In 2010. Deal with it) and a very preliminary schedule is up.
A few more-specific-than-previously-known-but-still-vague album release dates… look for a new record from Land Of Talk this Spring, the next effort from The Acorn come May, which is approximately when Born Ruffians’ Say It should be out. The Acorn are at Lee’s Palace on March 12 and Born Ruffians at The Phoenix on March 14.
Ear Farm has a short interview with Sharon Van Etten, in town twice in the next while – opening up for Great Lake Swimmers at Trinity-St. Paul’s on February 6 and then at the Horseshoe on April 5 with Megafaun.
The Bird & The Bee have announced they’ll release the self-explanatory Guiltless Pleasures Volume 1: A Tribute To Daryl Hall And John Oates on March 23, which I personally find quite exciting because having grown up in the ’80s I have a distinctly unironic appreciation for the works of Hall & Oates, and having seen The Bird & The Bee do “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do)” at SxSW last year, I know they’ll do a fantastic job with them. Yep.