Thursday, November 7th, 2013
My Bloody Valentine at The Kool Haus in Toronto
Frank YangMy Bloody Valentine’s last visit to Toronto in September 2008 was a singular event on a few levels. Besides being their first visit in over a decade and a half, it was in-the-flesh proof that one of the most improbable returns to active duty in recent years was actually happening; considering that the seemingly simple task of reissuing Isn’t Anything and Loveless was already months overdue at the time and would actually take another three and half years to come out, only the most optimistic would have expected them to get their act together enough to pull off a North American tour. But they did, and it was glorious.
And so Tuesday night’s show – again at the Kool Haus – in support of their long-promised third album mbv came without some of that weight of expectation that surrounded their previous visit, but was still cause for excitement – these were still legends, after all… But even legends are still human. Unexpected for a band as epically amplified as they, both Kevin Shields and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig started off with acoustic guitars and Belinda Butcher on keyboards for a reading of “Sometimes” that kept drifting out of synch with itself, the basic click track underpinning it not quite up to the job of keeping everyone in time. Shields would comment, “We really fucked that up” when it was over and he wasn’t wrong.
But a few more missteps aside – most notably “Thorn” getting two false starts before being abandoned midway through a third shot, Shields blaming a guitar “in the wrong key” – it was another immensely satisfying show. For being expectedly and incredibly loud, the mix was surprisingly clear with drums, keys, and most importantly vocals being sufficiently audible over the six-string din (a third guitarist beefed things up even further when not covering on keys). That they achieved this in a room that can be unforgiving to less proficient sound techs was remarkable, and it allowed the beauty of their softer moments – like mbv‘s “New You” – to come through and allowed the more violent numbers to do their work with surgical elegance rather than just as blunt instruments.
The set list drew fairly evenly from their three albums and b-sides, showcasing both their elegant and aggressive sides, with highlights including a deliciously bent “Only Shallow”, an impressive “Wonder 2” that again brought Ó Cíosóig from behind the kit to add a guitar while a drum track kept time, and the still-irresistibly dancey “Soon”, to say nothing of the endless parade of offset-body Fender guitars. The usually silent Shields was a bit chattier than normal, if just to explain and apologize for their technical hiccups, with Butcher adding a polite “thank you” before their closing salvo of “Feed Me With Your Kiss” and the scorched-earth “You Made Me Realize”, though rather than try to top the 23-minute ‘holocaust’ section from 2008, they capped it at a reasonable nine. There’s not many bands that you’d actually feel some disappointment that they didn’t apply the aural equivalent of a dental cleaning with a space shuttle booster rocket for the length of a network sitcom, but there’s not many bands like My Bloody Valentine. Or any.
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Only Shallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine- “Soon”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “To Here Knows When”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Swallow”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “You Made Me Realise”
Video: My Bloody Valentine – “Feed Me With Your Kiss”
Stream: My Bloody Valentine / mbv
Stream: Blood Orange / Cupid Deluxe
Artist Direct, The Telegraph, and Yahoo talk to Shane Meadows about directing the Made Of Stone documentary on The Stone Roses. It gets a Toronto premiere at both The Bloor and Cineplex Yonge-Dundas on November 22, and continues screening at YDS from November 24 to 28.
When it was announced that Until The Colours Run – the new record from Lanterns On The Lake – wasn’t getting a North American release until January 14 despite coming out in the UK in October, I hoped it meant that the record would get a much-deserved proper promotional push over here. And indeed, they’ve announced a North American tour for next year that brings them to the Drake Underground on February 1. Under The Radar has the full itinerary as well as a stream of a new song, but you can hear the whole thing via a link in my review of the record last month.
Johnny Flynn has released a new video from Country Mile as well as some North American tour dates in the first part of next year. Interestingly, there’s no Toronto date but there is a Montreal one on January 21 and several days off around it, so I’m guessing it will be announced sooner or later.
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Gypsy Hymn”
Video: Anna Calvi – “Suddenly”