Search Results - "Midlake, St Vincent Lee\'s Palace Toronto February 12, 2007"
Monday, December 19th, 2011
St. Vincent and Cold Specks at The Phoenix in Toronto
Frank YangIn discussing the latest St. Vincent album Strange Mercy, I mentioned that Annie Clark’s greatest strength as a songwriter was her creative restlessness; a trait which has over the course of her relatively short career already taken her to more interesting places than some artists even conceive of visiting. If we turn our attention to her live show, that title of “most appropriate single adjective” would probably have to be “control”.
Just as she has a very specific idea of how her compositions should sound on record, she hits the road with a very specific idea of how they should be presented on stage, such that each time I’ve seen her its been not only with a different set of musicians, but a different configuration of instruments and sounds. Not that you need much more than Clark, her voice and her guitar to spellbind; that’s all she brought on her first visit back in February 2007 before her debut Marry Me was released and it was far more memorable than Midlake’s headlining set. Her last time through Toronto in August 2009, the more complex orchestration of Actor necessitated a multi-instrumentalist, multi-tasking five-piece St. Vincent. So who and what would they be for the leaner and more snarling Strange Mercy?
First, opening up were Cold Specks who had to make waves in Europe with her debut 7″ release before getting some attention back home; though Cold Specks is now based in London, Al Spx originally hails from the borough of Etobicoke. Performing seated as a two-piece with an accompanying guitarist/vocalist, Cold Specks tried to win over the packed, talkative room without a lot of success. Her meditative gospel-folk songs and their low-key deliver was designed more to haunt than command, and this wasn’t really the environment for that approach to succeed. Those of us up front were able to appreciate its subtleties and the way the weight of the material built slowly as the set progressed, but even from in close it was very gradual. Getting the opportunity to make her debut on a big stage like this may have been an impressive achievement, but Cold Specks is probably better suited to smaller rooms and more attentive audiences for now.
St. Vincent, on the other hand, has well and properly graduated to rooms of this size. Backed by a drummer manning a kit the size of which seemed physically impossible for an individual to manage and two keyboard/synth players, Annie Clark delivered a set that was configured for and leaned heavily on Strange Mercy – no horns or second effected vocal mic this time – only dipping slightly into Actor and not even acknowledging Marry Me until the finale of the show. The new material was delivered with gusto, Clark shifting from siren to shredder with the shake of her head and unleashing the squalling guitar breaks that so happily punctuate the record, unleashing chaos but in a totally precise manner (though having the strobe lights continually synched with the solos seemed a bit on the nose over the course of the night). The intensity of her performance was an interesting counterpoint to her poise between songs, where she would graciously acknowledge the shouts of, “we love you!” and “you’re so pretty!” from the audience while tuning or offer up some charming anecdote to make everyone fall in love with her just a little bit more.
This isn’t to suggest that it was an operation of military precision; “Dilettante” took three tries to get right, with Clark having to stop herself twice on account of forgetting the lyrics though she made the exercise of soliciting cues from the audience one of the most endearing moments of the night. It was with the late-set cover of The Pop Group’s “She Is Beyond Good & Evil” – rendered far more aggressively than any of her own material – that the show seemed to allow more anarchy to seep in. Shortly thereafter, Clark appeared to break the theremin during its solo on “Northern Lights” and though the encore opened with a lovely keyboard-vocal arrangement of “The Party”, it closed with a riff-heavy, almost metal-derived version of “Your Lips Are Red” which saw Clark turn an edge-of-stage guitar solo into an impromptu crowd surf – while sustaining both the soloing and her perfect posture – before getting back on stage and basically attacking her roadie with her guitar (in what I presume was a playful manner). It was a fantastic finale to an impressive show and showed that maybe the best thing about Annie Clark’s being in control is her ability to lose it.
NOW, The National Post, and The Globe & Mail also have reviews of the show while The Grid has a quick interview. The Toronto Star has a profile of Cold Specks.
Photos: St. Vincent, Cold Specks @ The Phoenix – December 15, 2011
MP3: St. Vincent – “Surgeon”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
MP3: St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Now Now”
Stream: Cold Specks – “Holland”
Video: St. Vincent – “Cruel”
Video: St. Vincent – “Laughing With A Mouth Of Blood”
Video: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Video: St. Vincent – “Jesus Saves I Spend”
NYC Taper has got one of The National’s homecoming High Violet finale shows available to download, including the two new songs – “Rylan” and “I Need My Girl” – that the band has been premiering on this tour.
Also at NYC Taper – My Morning Jacket’s Madison Square Garden show from last week.
Rolling Stone has premiered the new video from Nicole Atkins’ Mondo Amore.
Video: Nicole Atkins – “Hotel Plaster”
Exclaim reports that Cat Power will be releasing some new material in the form of a charity single on Christmas Eve. Details are still forthcoming but it’s confirmation that Chan Marshall has been doing stuff. Musical stuff.
That new Guided By Voices album, Let’s Go Eat The Factory? NPR has got that up to stream, two weeks before its January 1 digital release and a full month before its January 17 physical release.
Stream: Guided By Voices – “Let’s Go Eat The Factory”
Their visit in the Fall a casualty of the cancelled Vaccines tour, Tennis have made a date at The Horseshoe for February 29, just a couple weeks after their second album Young And Old is released on February 14.
MP3: Tennis – “Civic Halo”
MP3: Tennis – “Self-Seal Mishap”
Video: Tennis – “Deep In The Woods”
Youth Lagoon will bring his much year-ended debut album The Year Of Hibernation to Lee’s Palace on March 31. Blare has an interview.
MP3: Youth Lagoon – “July”
Memphis country-punk stalwarts Lucero are back at Lee’s Palace on April 14. Their new album Women & Work will be out in the Spring, presumably in time to sell at these shows.
Video: Lucero – “What Are You Willing To Lose?”
Spin has got the new Sleigh Bells single available to stream. Reign Of Terror is out February 14.
Stream: Sleigh Bells – “Born To Lose”
Paste has posted a video session with Centro-Matic.
Tuesday, August 11th, 2009
St. Vincent and Gentleman Reg at The Horseshoe in Toronto
Frank YangSome shows you want to see in a packed, sweaty club. Others you don’t. In the case of St. Vincent, more than two years removed from her last visit to Toronto, you’ll take her anywhere you can but as much as I love the Horseshoe Tavern, its sweltering environs on Saturday night weren’t what I’d call the ideal setting for Annie Clark’s elegant pop and its Jekyll-and-Hyde/frosted miniwheat balance of beauty and abrasion. The band did what they could to dress it up, hanging white drapes across the back wall and setting up some dramatic lighting, but something more akin to a church or theatre would have seemed more appropriate. Or perhaps just somewhere with more effective air conditioning.
Opener Gentleman Reg has been somewhat ubiquitous on Toronto stages since the Spring release of his latest record Jet Black, but considering the length of the layoff between it and 2004′s Darby & Joan, he can be forgiven for making the most of the opportunity. Reg Vermue has always had a gift for blending folk and pop, but I’ve felt he needed the proper backing players for his songs to properly shine – an opinion that was shared, apparently, because the band that he’s assembled for Jet Black really hits that sweet spot, though I’m not sure if the players on the record were the same ones on stage with him on Saturday – I don’t have the proper roster notes to comment. Either way, the balance of feyness and punch on display this evening seemed just right and it was good to see Reg settled so comfortably in the role of frontman. I’d missed numerous opportunities to see him play throughout the Summer – glad to have finally rectified that.
As distinctive as Annie Clark’s creative vision is, live she’s also much-defined by her band, or lack thereof. The first time I saw her in February 2007, she was supporting Midlake and operating solo, and as such made heavy use of looping pedals and a Stompin’ Tom-approved board for percussion. The next time in Austin that September she’d expanded to a power trio format and though that configuration sounded a little more conventional, it freed her up musically. This time, she was fronting a five-piece St. Vincent complete with utility players tasked with handling a myriad of instruments including guitar, bass, keys, violin, saxophone and clarinet – obviously ready to do the orchestrations and textures of Actor justice.
And the presence of those extra players made a world of difference in recreating the new material, of which the set list was mostly comprised (as well as the solo cover of “Dig A Pony” which again seems to be a set staple). It’s hard to imagine “Marrow” or “Black Rainbow” without the trill of the woodwinds and brass, but there they were, adding crucial accent to Clark’s crystalline voice (or chorused/delayed/voice when she sang through her second mic) and then getting gleefully obliterated when she went in for a fuzzed-out, shred-happy guitar break. And it was that wanton and wonderful collision of beauty and brutality, punctuated by Clark’s charmingly off-kilter banter, that defined the evening. That and the stifling heat.
Panic Manual and eye have reviews of the show. The Globe & Mail has a feature interview with Annie Clark while Renegade Bus has an interview with Evan Smith, one of the backing musicians who makes St. Vincent a band and not just a pseudonym.
Photos: St. Vincent, Gentleman Reg @ The Horseshoe – August 8, 2009
MP3: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
MP3: St. Vincent – “The Strangers”
MP3: St. Vincent – “Now Now”
MP3: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
MP3: Gentleman Reg – “How We Exit”
MP3: Gentleman Reg – “Plan On Including Me”
Video: St. Vincent – “Actor Out Of Work”
Video: St. Vincent – “Jesus Saves I Spend”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “How We Exit”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “Rewind”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “We’re In A Thunderstorm”
Video: Gentleman Reg – “Boyfriend Song”
MySpace: St. Vincent
MySpace: Gentleman Reg
Here’s some news – St. Vincent’s one-time bandleader Sufjan Stevens has announced the details of his previously-implied Fall tour, and it’s a small one. As in venue. Though he could easily fill rooms two or three times the size for his first local show in four years, Stevens is opting for a club tour and will return to Lee’s Palace on October 1, where he played last in November 2004. Contrary to previous speculation, this show will not be in support of the BQE show/soundtrack coming out October 20, which raises the question not only of what material will be aired – a melange of Illinois, Michigan and Seven Swans seems most likely – but what the theme of the costumes will be. There had better be costumes, Sufjan. Don’t you be going sensible on us. Support for the tour will be Cryptacize, and tickets will be doled out very carefully. Ticket details are forthcoming later this week, but they will go on sale Satureday and be limited to two a person with them only being available to be picked up at the venue the night of the show. But you know that they could also insist that patrons have to eat a jar of flaming cockroaches before being admitted and Lee’s would be packed before 8PM.
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “The Henney Buggy Band”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “The Man Of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Casimir Pulaski Day”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Sister”
MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “Holland”
MP3: Cryptacize – “Blue Tears”
Flavorwire talks to Dean Wareham of Dean & Britta.
Pitchfork has a feature on Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons. Their new Aeon EP was released last week.
Mark Eitzel has revealed details of his next solo record, entitled Klamath and due out this Fall. Work is also beginning on a new American Music Club record.
Those holding their breath for the release of Final Fantasy’s Heartland can circle January 5, 2010 as a date to exhale. Owen Pallett revealed via Twitter that the record would be out the first week of the new year, and that’s the Tuesday of said week. Also noteworthy is that he has signed with Domino Records to release the album worldwide, though Blocks will presumably continue to handle things in Canada.
Victoria Bergsman will release her second album as Taken By Trees in East Of Eden, due out September 8. The first MP3 from it is available to sample and there’s a feature piece at National Geographic that follows Bergsman to Pakistan where she recorded the new record.
MP3: Taken By Trees – “Watch The Waves”
Paste reports that Built To Spill’s next album There Is No Enemy has finally been given a release date of October 6 – that’s the same day as night one of their two-night residency at Lee’s Palace in Toronto.
DCist, The New York Times and The Valley Advocate talk to Joe Pernice about his new book and album, It Feels So Good When I Stop. He’s at the Dakota Tavern on September 24.
There’s now some context for Thao with the Get Down Stay Down’s upcoming November 1 show at the El Mocambo – she’s releasing a new album in Know Better Learn Faster on October 13. Details at Blurt.
Wednesday, June 13th, 2007
My ideal itinerary for NxNE’s Saturday would have required me to either be in three or four places at once or at the very least, access to a helicopter to get from one venue to the next so the best compromise I could come up with was to plant my ass at Lee’s Palace, which was hosting a decently eclectic bill.
Portland’s High Violets were a name I’d seen a number of times before and I think I’d intended to see them play at at least one SxSW in the past. Well score one for passively waiting for the band to come to me. Led by Kaitlyn ni Donovan’s angelic vocals, reminiscent of Emma Anderson or maybe Meriel Barham, the High Violets sound like someone took all the shoegazey bits of my CD collection and threw it all into a blender – all the ingredients are familiar and tasty, but for whatever reason goes down a little flat and texture-less. I really wanted to like them and to a modest degree, do/did, but wasn’t bowled over the way I’d hoped I would.
I then ducked out for some dinner, intending to miss the next band whose bio compared them favourably to Finger Eleven. That plan succeeded, but I wasn’t able to kill enough time to miss the next act, local girl Tara Slone. Slone has had some success initially fronting the 90s Garbage wannabes Joydrop and then as a contestant on the INXS edition of Rock Star. Fronting what looked like an alt.rock band assembled by focus group, Slone copped what I can only assume was intended to be a “tough, sassy rocker chick” pose – cursing liberally, talking about her boobs and performing songs from her new album Just Look Pretty And Sing as well as Joydrop’s hits (both of them). The audience response was muted – something Slone took note of – and I couldn’t help thinking about the irony of something ostensibly called “modern rock” sounding so utterly dated.
Great Northern came all the way up to Toronto from Los Angeles to show off material from their debut album Trading Twilight For Daylight. The record is filled with lush and lovely pop built around the tight harmonies of Solon Bixler and Rachel Stolte. It’s terribly pretty but rather soft around the edges, production-wise. Happily, in a live setting things snap into much sharper focus – there’s more sonic punch and the delivery rawer, but without sacrificing any of the beauty. A pleasant surprise and they also take the prize for traveling with the absolute biggest keyboard I’ve ever seen. If you told me that after the show, they strapped some wheels on it and rode it to their next tour stop, I would’ve believed you.
While the crowds at Lee’s ebbed and tided through the night depending on who was playing, things definitely began filling up for the headliners, Chicago’s Urge Overkill. I figure there’s three kinds of UO fans – those who only know them from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, those like myself who discovered them with 1992′s Saturation but didn’t explore much further and the hardcores, who’ve worn out multiple copies of Stull and Americruiser and shoot eye daggers at fan types one and maybe two. Somewhat surprisingly, the crowd seemed heavily weighted towards fan type three and it was for them that the Urge delivered a shockingly rocktacular set. While I by no means expected them to be bad, I also didn’t expect them to be so damned good.
Fronted by a still-emaciatedly lean Nash Kato and a decidedly not-lean Eddie “King” Roeser (drummer Blackie Onassis is not part of the reunited lineup), the band was medallion-less but not unfashionable – the matching purple crushed velvet pants and mustard shirts were classic Urge style. I also assume the set list was classic Urge – it consisted mainly of material unfamiliar to me and I presume it was old material though they could well have been airing out new material as well. Either way, you didn’t need to know the songs to appreciate their foot-stomping guitar fury and pure rock bliss. Saturation was represented by just three songs – surprisingly one was “Heaven 90210″ though delivered while the band was still riding an adrenaline rush, it wasn’t nearly as pretty as I remembered the album version being. Similarly, “Girl, You’ll Be A Woman Soon” was saved for the second encore but lacked the flamenco flair of their recording. No, the band wasn’t in delicate mode this night – just the rock, please. A top-notch, utterly exhausting cap to what turned out to be a pretty damned good NxNE. The festival may earn that acronym yet.
Roeser talked to NOW before the fest about the fall and rise of Urge Overkill, leading up to the current reunion.
Photos: Urge Overkill, Great Northern, Tara Slone, The High Violets @ Lee’s Palace – June 9, 2007
MP3: Urge Overkill – “Sister Havana”
MP3: Great Northern – “Home”
MP3: The High Violets – “Sun Baby”
Video: Urge Overkill – “Sister Havana” (YouTube)
Video: Urge Overkill – “Positive Bleeding” (YouTube)
Video: Tara Slone – “We Were Stars” (YouTube)
Video: Tara Slone – “My Little Secret” (YouTube)
Video: The High Violets – “Love Is Blinding” (YouTube)
Video: The High Violets – “Invitation” (YouTube)
MySpace: Urge Overkill
MySpace: Great Northern
MySpace: Tara Slone
MySpace: The High Violets
Congratulations to Cat Power on winning this year’s Shortlist Of Music prize for The Greatest, an honour well- and hard-earned. Billboard has more details. Cat Power brings the Dirty Delta Blues band to the Phoenix on July 10.
The Cleveland Free Times welcomes native sons The National back to Ohio.
The Hold Steady are feeling chatty and talking to folks like Bend Weekly, Stereogum, AZCentral.com The St Louis Tribune and The Idaho Statesman. They’re at the Opera House on August 6.
St Vincent, who impressed when opening for Midlake back in February, returns for her own show at the Horseshoe on July 20 with Scout Niblett as support. Her debut Marry Me is out July 10. Give a listen.
MP3: St Vincent – “Now Now”
PopMatters revisits Joe Pernice’s Scud Mountain days, marveling in particular at “Silo” from Massachusetts. I should really dig my Scuds stuff out, it really was excellent.
Idlewild frontman Roddy Wooble’s solo record, My Secret Is My Silence, will get a North American release on July 10. It came out last year in the UK so it’s good to see the Idlewild curse of extended staggered releases lives on! This record is where Woomble put his quieter, folkier material, leaving the rockers for the band’s Make Another World, released earlier this year.