Monday, September 13th, 2010
The Dø at Wrongbar in Toronto
Frank YangIt’s not quite a French invasion, but the success of acts like Phoenix and Daft Punk in North America – and to a lesser degree M83 – certainly made the idea of bands hailing from France making inroads over here a plausible idea, not something you could have said a few years ago. Seeking to be part of this wave are Franco-Finnish duo The Dø, whose debut album A Mouthful was a hit in France when it was released in 2008. And while it’s not nearly as accessible a record for the masses as a Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix, it has plenty to offer the more adventurous listener and singer Olivia Merilahti is the sort of woman who could sell anything to anyone. And so it was that the album was released in North American back in May, when the band would otherwise have been hard at work at album number two, and a Fall tour that brought them to Toronto’s Wrongbar on Saturday night.
The show was originally scheduled for the fancier digs of The Mod Club but was relocated to cozier digs late last week to provide a more compressed concert-going experience. And if anyone thought that having to downsize venues at the last minute was a bad luck, then having the club’s power go out entirely as the band were soundchecking would have been a veritable bad omen. The darkness only lasted a few minutes, though, and would be as bad as things would get – from there, everything got considerably better.
Though A Mouthful is almost dizzyingly eclectic in the sounds and styles it encompasses, The Dø live were a much more focused entity, operating in a conventional four-piece band configuration and locked into “rock” mode. This didn’t mean that they were all about extended solos or feet up on monitors (though both of those things did happen), but many of the jazz and folk idiosyncrasies of the album were checked in favour of focusing on their more immediate pop material – and a few smouldering ballads – and putting on a more direct, impactful performance. With co-conspirator Dan Levy handling bass duties, Merilahti – occasionally armed with a guitar but always with her fascinatingly plaintive voice and considerable charisma – led the band through a set including much Mouthful material, a good crop of new material and an extended and deconstructed rendering of Janelle Monáe’s “Tightrope”. When they left the stage after an hour, they seemed to think they were done – as did the house DJ and roadie, who was shutting off amps – but the audience demanded more and they returned for one final song. Encores that are unplanned are great; so are shows that are over by nine. Yeah.
Photos: The Dø @ Wrongbar – September 11, 2010
MP3: The Dø – “At Last”
MP3: The Dø – “Tammie”
Video: The Dø – “At Last”
Video: The Dø – “On My Shoulders”
Video: The Dø – “The Bridge Is Broken”
Video: The Dø – “Stay (Just A Little Bit More)”
MySpace: The Dø
A non-geoblocked version of the new Manic Street Preachers video startting Anna Friel (I hear you Kristen Chenoweth) and Michael Sheen is now up on the internets, though the official making-of video is available to all to see. The Guardian’s stream of Postcards From A Young Man, out September 28, is still for residents of the UK only though.
I’m not sure what the context for this just-released Clientele live video is – the song is from 2007’s God Save The Clientele and not the new Minotaur EP – but it’s pretty so it’s worth watching regardless.
MP3: PVT – “Quick Mile”
When tours collide! The just-announced tour teaming Small Black and Class Actress will be hitting Toronto on the same day as Delorean and Lemonade, so naturally they’ll be teaming up for one uber-show at the Mod Club on November 18.