Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
My Heart Is A Drummer
Allo Darlin’ at The El Mocambo in Toronto
Frank YangI’ll admit that sometimes I get a bit protective of bands. Particularly those who tour from far and distant lands without the benefit of a lot of buzz behind them; I’ve seen too many bands play too less than double-digits of people and just felt bad for them… and for myself because you’re unlikely to get the best show out of a band who thinks they’re playing to no one.
These were the sorts of concerns I had leading up to the Toronto debut of Allo Darlin’ – in all the way from London – at the El Mocambo on Saturday night. None of the band, tour or show seemed to be particularly well-promoted (though I did my part) and even if they were, the timing was tough as the indie/Brit-pop contingent also had Gruff Rhys and Architecture In Helsinki shows that evening to choose from. I had fallen quite in love with the band’s self-titled debut, but had fears of walking into the El Mo and finding a near-empty room.
Happily, such was not the case and by the time the foursome took the stage at half-eleven, I guesstimated just shy of eighty or so people in attendance. Not a packed house by any means, but certainly a respectable one and one that got treated to about as adorable and entertaining a show as anyone could have hoped for. Their hour-long set was a study in fun, with frontwoman Elizabeth Morris proving that the ukulele was as headbanging an instrument as anything else, dancing and pogoing around the stage. And really, for a band that’s rather instantly and mostly fairly pigeonholed as twee-pop, they brought some seriously punk rock energy to the proceedings, Morris’ sweet voice and phrasing taking an unexpected but entirely welcome Louise Wener-ish edge in the live setting.
In between some colourful banter – apparently the show in Montreal the night before was interrupted when someone smashed the club doors with a sledge hammer – they melted hearts with a selection of songs from their debut, a few new tunes from their second album – entitled Europe and presumably finished though apparently not out anytime too soon – and a cover of The French’s “The Wu Tang Clan” to close the main set out. By this point a call for an encore was assured and they obliged with their hilarious single “Henry Rollins Don’t Dance”, wrapping a wonderful little set. Morris mentioned earlier in the show that she heard Toronto doesn’t get much in the way of indie-pop coming through town, and that’s probably true enough. If they want to up our regular dosage of Allo Darlin’, I won’t complain a bit.
Allo Darlin’s North American tour has less than a week to go (though they’ve sworn to reschedule the week of west coast shows cancelled on account of late vias) – if you’re in one of the cities remaining on the itinerary, go. Just go.
Photos: Allo Darlin’ @ The El Mocambo – June 11, 2011
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
MP3: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “My Heart Is A Drummer”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “If Loneliness Was Art”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “Dreaming”
Video: Allo Darlin’ – “The Polaroid Song”
A couple big British concert announcements over the last couple days; The Horrors will follow up the July 26 release of Skying with a Fall North American tour that includes a September 27 date at Lee’s Palace. Tickets $20 in advance.
And at long last, Elbow are coming back to Toronto for their own, non-Chris Martin-tainted show as part of a Fall tour. Not even the fact that the September 28 show is at The Sound Academy can dampen my happiness about this. Tickets are $38.50, on sale Saturday.
Video: Elbow – “Open Arms”
White Lies have a new video. They’re at The Phoenix on August 3.
Video: White Lies – “Holy Ghost”
Emmy The Great has posted an unabridged version of the feature that ran in The Guardian last week, making a worthy read even better. The Stool Pigeon has also posted a mixtape from Emmy as relates to her new album Virtue.
Nouse have an interview with Slow Club, whoe are gearing up for the release of their second album with a new website and a new video for their new single “Two Cousins”, though you have to sign up to their mailing list to watch the thing.
Belle & Sebastian have rolled out a new video from Write About Love and are teasing the release of another one coming later today – I’ll update when it’s up. And while we wait for the future to arrive, Magnet takes us back to the past by posting their cover feature on the band circa 2006, back when they were a magazine and had covers.
Stream: Sons & Daughters / Mirror Mirror
NPR has posted a World Cafe session with a couple of songwriting legends currently on tour together, Richard Thompson and Loudon Wainwright III. Thompson is here solo on September 8 for a show at Koerner Hall.
Spin and NPR have video and audio sessions, respectively, with Peter Bjorn & John, while The Huffington Post talks food with John Erikkson. They’ve got a two-night stand scheduled for Lee’s Palace on September 2 and 3.