Search Results - "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Berkeley Church Toronto September 7, 2007"

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013


Yeah Yeah Yeahs at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangIt’s just about scientific fact that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t put on a bad show. The New York punk rock/New Wave trio have built and cemented this reputation since their inception in 2000, and though I missed their earliest visits to Toronto, I can testify to the spectacularness of their last two visits – an undersized semi-private TIFF party at the Berkeley Church in September 2007 circa their Is Is EP and their two-night stand at The Kool Haus in support of It’s Blitz! in August 2009. And so while their fourth long-player Mosquito is a relative disappointment – the high points are decent and the rest largely forgettable – their show at Echo Beach on Monday night behind it was plenty of reason to get excited, even if the long weekend timing meant that Echo Beach wasn’t even half full to greet them.

The band’s elevation towards the top of festival lineups this Summer meant that regular tour routing was largely out the window and as such, this date – announced barely a month ago – felt squeezed in between other commitments, and the relative spartan-ness of their set dressing – there basically was none – added to this feeling, though if that meant that we didn’t have to look at a giant backdrop of the Mosquito album art, then that was hardly a bad thing. And if any band could feel confident about having to come out and get by on the strength of their songbook, it’s the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. And having Karen O as a frontwoman certainly doesn’t hurt.

Because let’s be honest, even if they’d gone full Flaming Lips with their stage show, no one would be looking at anything but Karen O. As her bandmates – guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, plus live utility player David Pajo of Slint and Interpol fame – got down to business, O bounded around the stage as magnetic a performer as you’ll find in rock music today. Decked out in a tasseled white outfit and with a headlamp strapped to her forehead, presumably keeping in theme with show opener “Under The Earth”, O kept the energy levels and audience enthusiasm in the red, even when the confetti cannon that should have doused everyone in glitter at the peak of “Black Tongue” failed to go off.

And that kind of set the tone for the front half of the show – trying their best but not quite clicking. There were several missed cues, the usually super-tight band felt a little out of step with each other, and midway through the set, O declared she’d forgotten the words to “Down Boy”. Being followed by the largely aimless “Subway”, it was starting to feel like this might be a rare off night for the band. They might have felt it as well, as “Maps” – as much of a sure thing in the Yeah Yeah Yeahs arsenal as you’re likely to find – got an extended intro where O dedicated the song to everyone she could think of that perhaps allowed the band to regroup.

If that’s indeed what they did, then it worked. Current single “Despair” was given a reading that put the album version to shame, and the double-whammy of “Y Control” and “Turn Into” elevated things to a far more characteristic Yeah Yeah Yeahs level; Zinner’s guitar solo in the latter was especially fiery. Again, perhaps symbolically, when O stomped on the confetti cannon trigger in jubilant main set-closer “Heads Will Roll”, that shit went off. The first encore opened with one of their finest pop confections – “Cheated Hearts” – amusingly featuring pretty much the whole of the front row being passed the mic to sing (badly) the “oooh ooooh”s in the bridge – and closed with a razor-edged “Tick”, and though by this point much of the crowd had begun inching towards the exit, those who stayed up close got an eyeful in second encore as in “Date With The Night”, O shoved the microphone down her pants and then into her mouth. As you do.

At well under an hour and a half, the show felt a bit slight in length and, compared to the terrifying Berkeley Church and triumphant Kool Haus shows, in substance. But if it failed to deliver in awe, it still more than did so in fun and the only reservations, really, come from the fact that while Yeah Yeah Yeahs don’t ever put on a bad show, they have put on better.

The National Post, Toronto Sun, Toronto Star, and NOW also have reviews of the show.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ Echo Beach – July 1, 2013
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Machine”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Miles Away”
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Art Star”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Despair”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Mosquito”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Sacrilege”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Skeletons”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Turn Into”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Y Control”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Pin”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”

Given that putting out a record on New York label Captured Tracks is becoming as much a sign of quality in the ’00s as doing the same on, say, 4AD, was in the ’80s – some/many will be pleased to know that Los Angeles-based duo Soft Metals are coming to The Drake on August 16 in support of their forthcoming Lenses LP, out July 16. They’ll also be pleased to know admission is $10.

MP3: Soft Metals – “The Cold World Melts”
MP3: Soft Metals – “Psychic Driving”

It’s been a while since North Carolina songstress Tift Merritt has been through town – Spring 2008 in support of Another Country, I think – but she’s here at The Drake on September 6 in support of last year’s Traveling Alone. Tickets for that are $17.50 in advance.

Video: Tift Merritt – “Virginia, No One Can Warn You”

Chicago folksinger Angel Olsen has been getting a lot of attention for her debut album Half Way Home, originally released last Fall and reissued in May, and she’s just announced a Fall tour that brings her to The Drake on September 26, tickets $13.50 in advance.

MP3: Angel Olsen – “Always Half Strange” (live at Saki)
MP3: Angel Olsen – “Free” (live at Saki)

Nashville singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott trades under the name Torres and her self-released, self-titled debut has garnered enough praise and turned the right heads to get her added as support to Okkervil River’s Fall tour, which means she’s in town at The Phoenix on September 27. Do yourself a favour and get to know her before then.

Video: Torres – “When Winter’s Over” (live in studio)
Video: Torres – “Jealousy & I” (live in studio)

Even though tales of their… troubles on the road continue to pile up, Los Angeles’ Foxygen continue to tour behind their debut We Are The 21st Century Ambassadors Of Peace And Magic; they’re back in Toronto for the third time this year with a show at The Hoxton on October 1, tickets $15.

MP3: Foxygen – “Waitin’ 4 U”

NYC Taper is sharing a recording of Wilco’s no-request set at their Solid Sound festival last month; they’ll play a shortened version of the set at The Molson Amphitheatre on July 15 whilst opening for Bob Dylan.

Billboard talks to Mac McCaughan of Superchunk and Merge Records about Superchunk and Merge Records. The latter releases the new album from the former, I Hate Music, on August 20.

The Guardian talks to Janelle Monáe about her new album The Electric Lady, which is out September 10 and has just produced a new video.

Video: Janelle Monáe – “Dance Apocalyptic”

NPR has a World Cafe session with Iron & Wine. They play The Sound Academy on September 28.

DIY gets to know Katie Crutchfield of Waxahatchee.

Monday, August 10th, 2009

It's Blitz!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Amanda Blank at The Kool Haus in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI haven’t done any sort of formal review of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest album It’s Blitz!, mainly because I think it’d be redundant. Not just because it’s already gotten largely universal praise, but because it should be evident to anyone listening to it that’s it’s a wholly splendid record, and to my ears, the band’s best yet and one of the top of the year from anyone. Heady praise? Yes, but considering my head is pretty much consistently enveloped in a bubble of happy before the end of opening track “Zero” and it doesn’t evaporate for the remainder of the record, I’ll stand by it. It’s remarkable that a band who made their name with abrasive, in-your-face, punk-infused rock would find their crowning achievement – so far – in a record as sleek, synthy and hooky as It’s Blitz!, but there it is. As good as they were at their original sound – which is pretty damn good – they’re better at this.

And as good as they are on record, they’re even better live. My only such experience came in September 2007 at the now-legendary Berkeley Church show, where I have fond memories of getting crushed by hundreds of fans drunk on free booze surging forward towards a mesmerizing Karen O, who just happened to be grabbing my head and screaming in my face. Getting one’s ass kicked was never so much fun, and I couldn’t wait for last week’s two-night stand at the Kool Haus, for which I went to night two, to experience it again. And considering that the Berkeley gig was a semi-private party, many of Toronto’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs disciples had been waiting even longer. A hotly anticipated show? You might say that.

Before the main event, of course, there was the support and for these shows it was a sort-of double-bill with two members of Spank Rock doing DJ duties for fifteen minutes or so before being joined by up-and-coming (based on the PR emails I get) hip-hop artist Amanda Blank, whose debut I Love You just came out. Her short set was high-energy and with a party vibe to it, but she seemed as interested in playing Yeah Yeah Yeahs cheerleader as performing her own material, calling for the crowd to show their love for Karen O on numerous occasions, the audience obliging each time.

Of course, no one in the sold-out house needed a cue to scream in adoration for Ms Orzolek – as soon as the band strode onstage, it was shrieking bedlam. And why not? O is easily one of the most charismatic frontwomen in rock today, complimenting her formidable vocals and presence with a most distinctive sartorial sensibility. Which is to say the woman does love her costumes. And we do love her and her costumes. And I do love photographing her and her costumes. Considering the Berkeley show was notable for being essentially unlit – fitting the dark vibe of the then-current Is Is EP, sure, but a bitch to shoot in – the fact that they decided to match the big and bright production of the new record with equally big and bright stage design was greatly appreciated. It’s never the wrong time for confetti cannons.

I suppose I should talk about the music some, but for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, more than most bands, the visuals are just as crucial as the sounds. With every strut across the stage, every point with her impossibly long fingers, every dramatic pose and particularly appropriate for Blitz!, every huge grin, O is physically embodying their music. It’s the whole package. Just as for all the praise laid at Karen O’s wonderfully stylish feet, equal accolades must go to her bandmates, drummer Brian Chase and guitarist/keyboardist Nick Zinner (and also to nameless fourth utility player) for laying down the massively tight and wall of sound behind her for the career-spanning, 15-song set – glam and glossy when appropriate as on “Heads Will Roll” and “Hysteric”, rough and jagged for the likes of “Y Control” and “Kiss Kiss” when not, though even their jags tend to sparkle like the rhinestones on O’s “Zero” leather jacket. And of course, as predictable as “Maps” was, dedicated to Toronto no less, it still broke your heart. No one loves you like Yeah Yeah Yeahs love you. It’s true.

The National Post, Exclaim!, Panic Manual and eye were all in attendance at the Wednesday show and offer their thoughts.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Amanda Blank @ The Kool Haus – August 5, 2009
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Bang”
MP3: Amanda Blank – “Make It Take It” (Eli Escobar remix)
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Heads Will Roll”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Zero”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Down Boy”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Turn Into”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Y Control”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Pin”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Date With The Night”
MySpace: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Exclaim talks to Thurston Moore and Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth.

PopMatters talks to Kim Deal, who will be seeing a lot of the 416 (and 705) in the next while as she’s in town this Saturday at Lee’s palace with The Breeders and then returns a fortnight later with Pixies at V Fest Ontario. And if Blurt has their information correct, their set will NOT be a Doolittle set, which is actually perfectly fine with me – they’ll still play the best tunes from that, and we may still get to hear the likes of “Where Is My Mind?”, “Velouria” and “Head On”. I’ll take it.

Under The Radar has an interview with Mew, who are playing the second day of V Fest on August 30 and who will release No More Stories on August 25.

The Line Of Best Fit chit-chats with Mum and Drowned In Sound have declared this Mum week, and are running all manner of Iceland-themed pieces including this one on the state of the Icelandic music scene, post-economic collapse. Their new album Sing Along To Songs You Don’t Know is out August 24 and they’re at the Phoenix on October 27.

Daytrotter offers up a session with Longwave.

The new video from Julian Plenti, aka Paul Banks from Interpol finally escaped from the spectre of Carlos D’s dubious facial hair only to grow some of his own, features him canoodling with Metric’s Emily Haines in Toronto’s super-sketchy Waverly Hotel. The album, Julian Plenti Is… Skyscraper, came out last week.

Video: Julian Plenti – “Games For Days”

Matt Johnson gives The AV Club a tour of Kim Schifino’s iPod. Matt & Kim are at the Reverb on October 1.

Threadless (the online t-shirt shop, yes) has a video interview with Ume.

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Class Of 2007 – Field Trips

Oh god, the clips episode!

Yeah, copping out on the post today and taking a (brief) look back at my year in live music. It’s funny that a couple years ago, I think I was looking back at a year where I hit around 60 shows and thought, “that’s crazy. I have got to scale back”. And now, with 2007 almost in the books, I’m looking at having gone to almost 100 shows PLUS all the festivals. As I write this, the Flickr set that provides the images in the above slideshow – which is more interesting/goes by faster if you move the delay slider to, like, two seconds – indicates that I’ve seen 319 live acts this year (I only missed shooting three of them). That’s… a lot. A co-worker recently remarked he’d never seen me not tired. Probably true.

And with so much to choose from, you can understand why it’s near impossible to pick out which I’d consider the “best” of the year – I saw a lot of great stuff. Of course, if you regularly read my reviews you might be under the impression I only saw great stuff – I’m quite aware that many of my writeups dwell on the well-buffed side of shiny but you understand that I rarely go see anything I’m not already favourably inclined towards. I have much better things to do than see shows I’m not really interested in let alone review.

But if I had to pick out some top shows of the year, I’d have to go with…

Patrick Wolf @ The El Mocambo – May 11, 2007
Wilco @ Massey Hall – June 30, 2007
Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Berkeley Church – September 7, 2007
Okkervil River @ Lee’s Palace – September 21, 2007
The National @ The Phoenix – October 8, 2007
Neil Young @ Massey Hall – November 26, 2007

…and that doesn’t even come close to all the highlights. It was a good year. It was a very good year.

But before I sign off, a few noteworthy concert announcements for 2008… Cat Power brings her Jukebox (out January 22) to the Kool Haus on February 9, tickets $30 on sale Thursday, full tour dates at Tripwire. All of you who avoided the Phoenix shows because the venue was too big… what, you thought they were going to get smaller? Or cheaper? Nah.

Also official – Nicole Atkins & The Sea’s first headlining show in Toronto… once again on a Sunday night – February 17 – and once again at Lee’s Palace. Tickets $10.50 in advance. I believe The Cloud Room are supporting this tour but don’t know for sure. Either way. Attendance is mandatory.

And The Drive-By Truckers are rolling back into town with a date at the Opera House on March 19, tickets $18.50. A bit of a smaller venue than last time but that just means more concentrated rock. Their new one, Brighter Than Creation’s Dark, is out January 22. Update: First MP3 from the album is also now available, more to stream on their MySpace.

MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Zip City”

And finally, Pitchfork’s Top 50 Albums of the year. You know you were waiting for it. And the AV Club’s Worst Films of the year? You probably weren’t waiting for it but you know you want it.

Saturday, September 8th, 2007

Something Like A Phenomenon

Well just wow.

It’s kind of ironic that I’d leave a concert/party sponsored by cosmetics and fragrances looking like I’d been through a hurricane and smelling like I’d been bathing in the sweat of a thousand sweaty people but so it was last night after seeing the Yeah Yeah Yeahs absolutely demolish the Berkeley Church. An rsvp-only sort of private but not really after party, presumably to coincide with the Toronto International Film Fest, the so-called Festival Ball was not what I expected. The interior of the converted church bore almost no advertising (save for a couple logos projected on the back wall) and there wasn’t any of the hard-sell marketing I’d have thought unavoidable. Instead, there was just a room of showgoers (and I didn’t spot a single celeb though I heard Jessica Alba was in the house) and a two hour plus wait for things to get underway. Happily, free drinks help the time go by.

The band finally took the stage around 11:20 and the place just went apeshit. Every celebrity in town for TIFF could have been in attendance and no one would have noticed – all eyes were on Karen O. Far and away the most insanely riveting and charismatic frontwoman I’ve ever seen, she was feral and ferocious, a dervish in spandex and tinsel, seemingly oblivious to the crowd and lost in the music one moment and then feeding off the audience’s love like her life depended on it the next. I’m sure their live show has been deconstructed by a million and one critics before, but I’m a relatively recent convert and this was my first time seeing them so allow me to gush. Being a “corporate” gig, I had expected in the back of my mind that they might phone it in a bit but no – everyone on the floor was a fan through and through (or would be by the end of the set) and the band seemed to thrive in the club-like atmosphere.

They tore through 14-song set that covered both albums and EPs and though I have no idea where they got the energy – I was completely spent from fighting to maintain front row position from all the moshers and crowd surfers – they still came out for a four-song encore that didn’t let the intensity up a bit. I left soaked to the bone with sweat, tears, spit, water, beer and gin and utterly exhausted and exhilarated, with a bag of cosmetics and a copy of Vice (the marketers were camped outside) and quite possibly utterly ruined for V Fest this weekend. I sorta kid – I’m still really looking forward to the next couple days – but that Yeah Yeah Yeahs show was simply not one could or should be followed.

Photos: Yeah Yeah Yeahs @ The Berkeley Church – September 7, 2007
MP3: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Bang”
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Maps” (YouTube)
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Gold Lion” (YouTube)
Video: Yeah Yeah Yeahs – “Cheated Hearts” (YouTube)
MySpace: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

And some last-minute V Fest dispatches – JAM! talks to Editors, who close the Future Shop stage tomorrow night. Spinner’s Interface features Voxtrot, appearing on same stage today, and Billboard reports that tonight’s headliner Bjork is hoping to release a live studio session album featuring her current band before the year’s end. The Montreal Gazette talks to Stars, who’re playing tomorrow and who are doing a free show at on Tuesday – ticket info here. And that mystery 5PM slot for today has been filled. Who had Kid Koala in the pool? No one? Yeah. React as you see fit.

Ellipsis-fetishist Kevin Drew will bring his Spirit If… orchestra to Lee’s Palace on September 27. Tickets are $25 and on sale now. Spirit If… is out September 18. There’s a video.

Video: Kevin Drew – “Backed Out On The… (YouTube)

For Southern Ontario/western New York fans of The National, take note that they’ve added a show in Buffalo at the Traf on October 9, the day after their show at the Phoenix in Toronto. The News-Observer talks to bassist Aaron Dessner and The Tallahassee Democrat interviews singer Matt Berninger.

Doug Martsch tells AZ Central that there’s much more building and spilling left in the tank.

Thursday, August 23rd, 2007

Yeah, Yeah, Yeah

Kind of a messy day yesterday for those watching the V Fest lineup leaderboard yesterday, which is to say – me. Once again, no official announcement was forthcoming about who was playing, let alone when, but there were some updates to the official Facebook group and then updates to those updates as the day went on. Final boxscore as of now for day one? Paulo Nutini still on, k-os added then removed, The Coral removed, Hayley Sales and The Most Serene Republic added. So by any measure a net subtraction and certainly no replacement for Amy Winehouse.

The act I was expecting to be added and and broadly hinted as such – pure speculation, understand, and though it could still happen I’m far less certain than I was 24 hours ago – is The Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Why them? Well, they played the Baltimore one a few weeks back, they’re not at Osheaga and oh yeah – they’ll already be here. The night before V Fest kicks off – Friday, September 7 – the band will be in town playing a show at the Berkeley Church as part of a party being put on by Vice, Rimmel (the cosmetics people) and CK (the fragrance people), an event that is almost certain to be equally strange and excellent Admission is by guest list only which is to say you need to RSVP to and even then, I suspect that it guarantees you nothing. It’ll most likely be first-come, first-serve and you’ll still need to show up muy early to get in. But everyone loves a good wait-in-line, right? You can bring s’mores, make friends. I’m trying to get more info on exactly how the doors at the Festival Ball will work and still have my fingers crossed that they’ll hang around town one more day to give the first day of V Fest a much needed dose of awesome.

Update: Well, the V Fest press release finally arrived and k-os is it for bigger names added. No Yeah Yeah Yeahs, no one you could consider a replacement for Amy Winehouse at all. Bummer. Schedule forthcoming on September 4.
Update 2: First-come, first-serve for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs is exactly how it’s going to work (from Vice). Get there early, kids.

Nick Zinner talked to MTV about their new EP Is Is. You can watch live videos of every track from the EP at YouTube.

MySpace: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

New Editors vid. They’re playing day two of V Fest.

Video: Editors – “An End Has A Start” (YouTube)

Congratulations to Okkervil River, whose The Stage Names debuted at #66 with a bullet on the Billboard Top 200. Consequently, Will Sheff is a wanted man for interviews – The AV Club, Exclaim!, Pitchfork and Chart all talked to him about the new record. The River flows through Lee’s Palace on September 21 and carries on to Hamilton at the Pepper Jack Cafe on September 22.

NOW asks Camera Obscura keyboardist Carey Lander about her experiences in Toronto – experiences that she’ll be adding to come Sunday night when they’re in town for a show at the Phoenix. eye settles for asking her about regular stuff. AM New York doesn’t ask Tracyanne Campbell about Toronto at all. Don’t forget my contest for passes to see this show ends tonight!

Cleveland Scene tracks the meteoric success of Band Of Horses. Their sophomore record Cease To Begin will hit stores on October 9 and this is what it’ll look like.

Matt Pond PA discusses Last Light, out September 25, with Spin. You can hear a couple of tracks from the new record at their MySpace. Update: BrooklynVegan points us to this downloadable track from the new record featuring Ms Neko Case.

MP3: Matt Pond PA w Neko Case – “Taught To Look Away”

FilterTV has a video interview with the boys of Dirty On Purpose, in town on October 3 at Lee’s with Fujiya & Miyagi.

Wireless Bollinger gets sunshiney with Tilly & The Wall.

Queens Of the Stone Age, who just Tuesday night played a secret Molson-sponsored gig at the Guvernment, will be back in town on October 15 for a proper, everyone’s invited show at the Hummingbird Centre.

Many are intrigued by Todd Haynes’ Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There (whose website exists only in Spanish), but when it opens on November 21, only a few will get to see it – it will initially open on only four screens in the US (and expand to over 100 later on). It will get it’s premiere right here in Toronto, however, as part of the Toronto International Film Festival. Yay us. Check out the trailer for the film below:

Trailer: I’m Not There (YouTube)