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Monday, July 15th, 2013

Amanaemonesia

Chairlift at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangAs mentioned when this show was originally announced in May, I was quite pleased to see that New York’s Chairlift were coming back to town as part of Harbourfront Centre’s Soundclash festival because I didn’t realize how much I liked their second album Something until they had finished touring it. And that’s largely because I found their 2008 debut Does You Inspire You? intermittently entertaining but largely uninteresting, the overall quality not matching their iTunes advert-elevated profile. I didn’t appreciate how much better they got after founding member Aaron Pfenning left, leaving the duo of Caroline Polachek and Patrick Wimberly to regroup and realize ditching the cutesy/goofy songwriting o the debut for an approach that understood Polachek’s remarkable vocals were better cast in a more soulful, yet more synthesized context, would produce much stronger work.

So of course they opened up with an opera number. Or operatic, at the least. I’m not sure if it was an original composition, but if the intention was to grab the attention of passers-by out for walk along the waterfront with a riveting vocal performance, it did the job. “Sidewalk Safari” immediately followed to reassure fans they weren’t, in fact, at the wrong show, and the next song, a slinky slow-burner, was one of a few new songs in that vein. Compared to the recent and new material, the simple singalong pop of “Bruises” sounded almost quaint and emphasized how much more sophisticated of a band they had become, but there was no disputing its crowd-pleasingess, hence its inclusion though rather earlier in the show than one might have thought. And though they cited “I Belong In Your Arms” as a request, I can’t believe it’d have been omitted from the show otherwise – surely there’s consensus that it’s one of the best songs in their repertoire?

Chairlift on this evening were a three-piece, with a guitarist/keyboardist/multi-instrumentalist augmenting the core duo. Apparently they’ve toured as a larger live band in the past, allowing Polachek to focus on frontwoman duties rather than anchor herself to a keyboard for parts of the set, but even so she was still a presence on stage, all tassels and shampoo commercial hair – to say nothing of her remarkable vocals, even rangier and more expressive live than on record – as she roamed the stage and danced. The audience, in typically polite Toronto fashion, was appreciative but it took a direct invitation from Polachek to dance to get up out of their seats. I’d like to think, however, that they’d have done so on their own by the time the show closed with “Amanaemonesia”. A terrific way to spend a Summer’s evening, and cement my appreciation for the band, if somewhat late to the party.

Photos: Chairlift @ Harbourfront Centre – July 12, 2013
MP3: Chairlift – “I Belong In Your Arms”
MP3: Chairlift – “Lift Cool As A Fire”
MP3: Chairlift – “Garbage”
Video: Chairlift – “Met Before”
Video: Chairlift – “Amanaemonesia”
Video: Chairlift – “Bruises”
Video: Chairlift – “Evident Utensil”

American experi-folk collective Akron/Family are coming to southern Ontario for some Hillside Festival action, but aren’t forgetting their Toronto fans – they’ll play a free in-store at Sonic Boom on July 26 at 8PM.

MP3: Akron/Family – “So It Goes”

eMusic and Pitchfork have features on Northampton, Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz, who’ve been making a lot of noise – literal and figurative – with their wonderfully ’90s-vintage jagged-edge melodic rock on Major Arcana; they’ve just been confirmed as support for Thurston Moore’s Chelsea Light Moving at The Horseshoe on September 15 so that’s gone from can’t miss to CAN’T MISS.

MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “No Below”
MP3: Speedy Ortiz – “Tiger Tank”

Though they’re down a number of members since becoming band du jour in 2005, Philadelphia’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are still a going concern and will be at Lee’s Palace on September 28 to prove it. Tickets for the show are $22.50 in advance.

MP3: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah – “Same Mistake”

Brooklyn surf-punk-garage quartet Obits have readied a new long-player in Beds & Bugs, given it a September 10 release date and will be at The Horseshoe on October 4 as part of a North American tour, tickets $13.50. Hear one of the songs from the new record below.

MP3: Obits – “Taste The Diff”

Unclassifiable Ameri-Parisian sister act CocoRosie have assembled a North American tour behind their latest album Tales Of A GrassWidow and will be at The Phoenix on October 15. Exclaim has the full tour itinerary.

Video: CocoRosie – “Gravedigress”

If you were concerned because Ty Segall hasn’t been through town in a few months, don’t worry – he’s coming back as part of his psychedelic FUZZ project for a date at Parts & Labour on October 16 following the October 1 release of their self-titled debut album; Exclaim has all the dates. And don’t worry, the August 20 release of Sleeper, his next album under his own name, is still on track so expect some dates behind that sooner rather than later.

MP3: FUZZ – “Loose Sutres”

Brooklyn rock machine The Men have finally set a local date behind this year’s surprisingly Americana-ish but still fierce New Moon. They’ll be at The Horseshoe on October 20 and the rest of their Fall dates are up at Consequence Of Sound.

MP3: The Men – “Open Your Heart”

You don’t often see bands play support in rooms smaller than they headline, but with their date at Lee’s Palace opening for Wire in the books, NEVER MIND THAT PART. Minus The Bear have announced a show at The Opera House on October 20, tickets $25. This is partly but not really in support of their crowdfunded acoustic-versions record Acoustics II – they’re promising to play an acoustic mini-set as part of a fully-plugged in show.

MP3: Minus The Bear – “Hooray”

If you chose either Foals or The Breeders over Charles Bradley in this past May’s show-mageddon with the expectation that he’d be back before the others, congratulations – Bradley and his Extraordinaires are bringing No Time For Dreaming to The Kool Haus on December 12, tickets $25.50. As a bonus, you get this video session from NPR as well as a World Cafe session.

Video: Charles Bradley – “Strictly Reserved For You”

Superchunk are streaming a new tune from their new record, I Hate Music, due out August 20.

Stream: Superchunk – “Me & You & Jackie Mittoo”

Pitchfork have details of the new record from Of Montreallousy with sylvianbriar is out October 8, and the first single sounds like this.

Stream: Of Montreal – “fugitive air”

Widowspeak have announced the release of a new EP entitled The Swamps on October 29. Details at Pitchfork, lead track from said EP below.

Stream: Widowspeak – “True Believer”

NPR has premiered the new video from John Vanderslice’s latest album, Dagger Beach.

Video: John Vanderslice – “How The West Was Won”

Sterophile interviews Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips.

By : Frank Yang at 9:09 am
Category: Concert Reviews

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RSS Feed for this post4 Responses.
  1. SilberMusicFeed says:

    Chromewaves – Chairlift at Harbourfront Centre in Toronto http://t.co/B83A48S1Uq

  2. RT says:

    Can you imagine there was once a time when the National headlined over Clap Your Hands and no one stayed around to watch them?

  3. benp says:

    Bear in Heaven opened for Wire, not Minus the Bear :)

  4. Frank Yang says:

    OOPS. Me = dumber than the average minus the bear in heaven.