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Friday, April 16th, 2010

Bizarro

The Wedding Present and Girl In A Coma at The Horseshoe in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI would say that a band that’s been around as long, as influential and as consistently excellent as The Wedding Present has been over their quarter-century existence is entitled to a little indulgence, and what better occasion than the 21st anniversary of one of your most beloved albums? But indulgence isn’t the Wedding Present’s style, so rather than make a big production of it, they rolled into town on Wednesday night to do their thing, same as they’ve done a number of times since David Gedge put the Cinerama name on the shelf and brought The Wedding Present out of mothballs.

Unlike their past few visits, however, this show was booked into the cozier Horseshoe rather than their usual digs at Lee’s Palace – a greater than normal number of hot tickets in the city that evening meant that the Toronto concert-going public would be split amongst any number of venues, but another benefit of longevity is a loyal fanbase – for many, when the Wedding Present comes to town and promises to play Bizarro in its entirety, there is no plan B.

Support for this leg of the tour seemed a curious choice on paper – Girl In A Coma hail from San Antonio, are named for a Smiths song and are signed to Joan Jett’s label. What woud you expect them to sound like? If you said a catchy blend of punk aggression and rockabilly twang, you’d be correct. Frontwoman Nina Diaz was petite but had a big presence, both with her guitar and voice – the latter, in particular, was an elastic and expressive instrument that she mostly chose to utilize via snarling but was obviously capable of more. I hadn’t gone in expecting a lot, but was pleasantly surprised and entertained.

My past reviews of Wedding Present shows tended to focus on how consistently good they were and, with the exception of incorporating material from the latest record, how fairly the song selection covered all eras of The Wedding Present’s career. That held true on this night, even with 3/5 of the set fixed in stone 21 years ago. The front bit of the show covered the non-Bizarro material – three new songs and four more strategically picked from key points of their career and which, if presented to someone who’d never heard the band before, would have provided a pretty accurate picture of what they were all about. At any other Wedding Present show, selections like “Corduroy” and “Everyone Thinks He Looks Daft” would have been more than a meal, but at this one they were just the appetizer.

The beginning of the main course was heralded by the PA, through which came an audio collage of the late, great John Peel intoning the band’s name over and over again – it went on a little while as the Wedding Present were one of Peel’s very favourite acts and were fixtures on his radio show, and as soon as it ended, the wonderful descending riff of “Brassneck” began and they were off. Bizarro might now be old enough to drink in all 50 states, but it’s aged amazingly well, as the live renderings would attest. The dry, dueling guitars with their combination of jangle and pummel have lost none of their vitality and the tales of romantic frustration and futility that David Gedge has been mining and pointedly articulating for a quarter-century will never cease being topical. And they certainly still inspire fervor amongst the faithful, a fact borne out by the enthusiastic middle-aged mosh pit that frequently broke out throughout the night, particularly for the heavier moments of “Kennedy” and the nine minute-plus centerpiece, “Take Me!”. The relatively gentle “Be Honest” provided the denouement to a run-through of a classic album that’s sadly not really appreciated as such – just as The Wedding Present aren’t properly appreciated for all they’ve done. But that’s those who don’t get it’s loss. For the rest of us, well, Seamonsters turns 20 next year. See you there.

And oh yeah, early on in the show I got hit in the head with a semi-inflated sex doll. Why someone had that with them and not a beach ball, I will never know. But I’m over it.

Exclaim was also in attendance and has some thoughts on the show.

Photos: The Wedding Present, Girl In A Coma @ The Horseshoe – April 14, 2010
MP3: The Wedding Present – “The Thing I Like Best About Him Is His Girl Friend”
MP3: Girl In A Coma – “Clumsy Sky”
MP3: Girl In A Coma – “Static Mind”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Don’t Take Me Home Until I’m Drunk”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Ringway To Seatac”
Video: The Wedding Present – “I’m From Further North Than You”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Don’t Touch That Dial”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Interstate 5”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah Yeah”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Chant Of The Ever Circling Skeletal Family”
Video: The Wedding Present – “No Christmas”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Loveslave”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Boing!”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Come Play With Me”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Silver Shorts”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Three”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Go Go Dancer”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Blue Eyes”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Dalliance”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Crawl”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Brassneck”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Why Are You Being So Reasonable Now?”
Video: The Wedding Present – “Nobody’s Twisting Your Arm”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “Static Mind”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “El Monte”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “Their Cell”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “Clumsy Mind”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “Say”
Video: Girl In A Coma – “Road To Home”
MySpace: The Wedding Present
MySpace: Girls In A Coma

Kate Nash tells Spinner that people seeing her on her upcoming North American tour – which begins April 26 at the Mod Club in Toronto – shouldn’t automatically assume they’ll hear “Foundations”. But they will hear her new record My Best Friend Is You, which comes out next week. One assumes.

So Much Silence talks to Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison.

Gareth Keenan investigates the new video from Slow Club.

Video: Slow Club – “Giving Up On Love”

CBC and Spinner talk to Handsome Furs about how it feels to be Juno Award nominees.

White Hinterland will follow up her show at the Drake on Sunday night, April 18, with an in-store at Soundscapes on April 19 at 6PM.

MP3: White Hinterland – “Icarus”
MP3: White Hinterland – “No Logic”

The Acorn will celebrate the June 1 release of No Ghost with a show at Lee’s Palace on June 11 and a handful of other dates around southern Ontario and Montreal.

All those who like their synth-pop slinky and ’80s-styled would do well to check out New York’s Class Actress at Wrongbar on June 12.

MP3: Class Actress – “All The Saints”

The folks at Buffet Libre have put together some impressive compilations in the last while, but they may have outdone themselves with Peace, a 180-song collection featuring artists from all over the world and assembled in conjunction with Amnesty International. They’re offering the collection for a minimum donation of 5 Euro to Amnesty and if you need further persuading, they’ve made a number of tracks available to download for free. Goodness knows that these ones – a Kate Bush cover by Patrick Wolf, a new Voxtrot song and – most excitingly – the first new Dubstar song in a decade. Dubstar! With Sarah Blackwood! Exclamation!

MP3: Patrick Wolf – “Army Dreamers” (Kate Bush cover)
MP3: Voxtrot – “Whiskey and Water”
MP3: Dubstar – “I’m In Love With A German Film Star”

Record Store Day hits tomorrow, April 17, and honestly the list of RSD exclusive goodies that will go on sale Saturday has reached ludicrous proportions. There’s a few digital items being made available but the emphasis is hugely on limited edition wax, which I find both exciting and bewildering. I mean, I know that vinyl continues to make a comeback – I myself decided to buy LPs whenever possible at the start of this year – but to see people who weren’t even alive the last time turntables were in vogue scrambling for 7″s is… neat. To do their part in marking the occasion, PitchforkTV is streaming I Need That Record, a documentary on record stores for one week, and if you miss it (or love it), it is one of the items that will go on sale tomorrow. Convenient! Spinner also talks to Flaming Lip Wayne Coyne about the phenomenon of Record Store Day.

Video: I Need That Record! The Death (Or Possible Survival) Of The Independent Record Store

NOW looks forward to Record Store Day by talking to some of the proprietors of Toronto shops taking part in the event – I’ve tried to round up as many of the specials and special happenings that people can look forward to at the various shops in the 416 in addition to random and unknowable quantities of the aforementioned RSD exclusive items (most of the store links have details on what they have going on), while eye has done the same in map format:

Criminal Records has been reporting arrivals of goods via Twitter and Facebook and will be offering discounts on regularly priced merchandise as well as door crashers.
Soundscapes will be offering 10% off all CDs, vinyl, DVDs and books
Sonic Boom is having giveaways and hosting an in-store festival starting at 3PM and featuring sets from Valery Gore, Buck 65, METZ, Meligrove Band, Adam Green and Sloan, who are slated to go on around 9. Admission free with donation of a canned good. Update: Lullabye Arkestra are now kicking things off at 2:30, Adam Green is on at 4:45, METZ at 7PM and Pink Eyes from Fucked Up is MC-ing all day.
Rotate This is having a sale
Vortex will have a day-long 25% off sale on used items and holding raffles of sweet prizes
Kops will be hosting an in-store with The Junction at 5PM and City Sweethearts at 6PM.
Sunrise Records at Yonge and Dundas will have in-store sets from Justin Nozuka, Moneen, Ash Koley, Fox Jaws and Hunter Valentine. Those get started at noon and run all afternoon.
Slinky Music is having a 10% off sale
Penguin Music, Neurotica and Hits & Misses are also all listed as participating stores, which means at the least there should be some sort of sale and/or RSD exclusives to be had.

And maybe the greatest record-related thing I’ve seen this week is the return of the Sound Burger, albeit under the less moniker of the Crosley Revolution. There’s probably no way this thing sounds anything but terrible, but the sheer cool points you’d get from having one of these hanging from your belt more than makes up for that. Right? It’s cool, right?

By : Frank Yang at 8:31 am
Category: Concert Reviews

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post5 Responses.
  1. BlackGrease says:

    Now to decide which stores to hit up tomorrow and in which order. I haven’t seen any news about them opening early, so I take it most are going with their regular Saturday hours?

  2. Frank Yang says:

    I might have something to report on that topic later today. stay tuned.

  3. Frank Yang says:

    okay, it’s out there now:

    from Criminal Records:

    WE WILL BE OPENING OUR DOORS TONIGHT AT MIDNIGHT TO KICK OFF RECORD STORE DAY!

    Only a SMALL portion of RSD product will be available at midnight to keep things fair for those who line up on Saturday morning at 9:30am. However, it’s an excellent opportunity to beat the morning crowd and score some goodies and take advantage of the incredible sales. We have received more than 20 boxes of vinyl in the last few days so we will be very well stocked for both midnight and the morning. If you wait for Saturday, you will not miss out.

  4. Jen says:

    So RSD is like xmas for vinyl freaks? Sounds like fun!

  5. pete says:

    good post – also flying pig records is offering 20% off…