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Posts Tagged ‘Brian Wilson’

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Misty's Nightmares 1 & 2

The Father John Misty prescription for touring burnout? More touring, of course

Photo By Emma GarrEmma GarrUntil now, it’s been kind of funny ha ha how Josh Tillman has kept the Father John Misty touring roadshow going for so long – after all, he’s hardly been off the road since his post-Fleet Foxes debut Fear Fun came out last May, having come to Toronto alone no less than five times since then, starting with a show at the Horseshoe shortly thereafter and, as both headliner and undercard, working his way through Lee’s Palace, The Opera House, The Phoenix, and this past Saturday night at The Danforth Music Hall (his second time there; he opened for The Walkmen there in January).

But things apparently got a little more funny weird at said show; I wasn’t there as I was busy being kicked in the head by crowdsurfing Phoenix fans at The Grove Fest, but according to NOW and corroborated by acquaintances in attendance and Twitter, Tillman started the encore with a monologue about feeling increasingly detached from his songs – perhaps because he’s been playing them live almost every night for 15 months? – and then perhaps pushed over the edge by constant heckling through the night, smashed his guitar and stormed off stage, ending the show. Uncomfortable for everyone, and maybe a sign that Tillman needs to take a little break?

Or maybe he just needs to get back on the horse. Clearly he believes the latter, because with the pieces of his guitar barely picked up off the Danforth stage, he’s announced another return engagement – that’s six times in seventeen months which has to be some kind of record – this time on October 15 at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, tickets running $21.50 to $29.50. This will be part of his previously announced solo variety tour with comedian Kate Berlant as support, and for those who like his decidedly out-there stage banter, this show should be a delight; those who like his interpretive dancing might not be so happy since that’s a little weird in a solo setting. But then, nothing’s too weird for Father John Misty.

Earlier this year, Paste ran a story about what they called “J. Tillman’s brilliant, antagonistic relationship with his audience”; it may be relevant reading.

MP3: Father John Misty- “Nancy From Now On”
MP3: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”
Video: Father John Misty – “Funtimes In Babylon”
Video: Father John Misty – “Nancy From Now On”
Video: Father John Misty – “Hollywood Forever Cemetery Sings”

English trio London Grammar, whose chilled-out atmospheric pop recalls a Florence-fronted xx which is probably exactly the point, have announced a North American tour behind their debut album If You Wait, which comes out September 10. They’re in Toronto at BLK BOX on October 4 and there’s features on the band at Fortitude Magazine, Consequence Of Sound, and Gigwise.

Video: London Grammar – “Strong”
Video: London Grammar – “Wasting My Young Years”

Teenage New Zealand electro-soul up-and-comer Ella Yelich-O’Connor, aka Lorde, is looking to make inroads in North America and is playing some Fall dates behind the September 30 release of her debut, including October 6 at The Hoxton; tickets are $20 in advance. The Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post have feature interviews.

Video: Lorde – “Tennis Courts”
Video: Lorde – “Royals”

Chillwave survivors – or at least they certainly hope they are – Keep Shelly In Athens and Chad Valley, hailing from Greece and the UK respectively, have teamed up for a North American tour that hits Wrongbar in Toronto on October 15, tickets $15 in advance. Keep Shelly In Athens’ debut At Home comes out September 17, and a couple tracks from it are available to stream.

MP3: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Running Out Of You”
MP3: Chad Valley – “I Want Your Love”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Oostende”
Stream: Keep Shelly In Athens – “Recollection”

I can’t say as I understand the logic of the pairing, but Brian Wilson – along with fellow founding Beach Boys Al Jardine and David Marks – and English guitar hero Jeff Beck for a Fall tour that stops in at The Sony Centre on October 26. It seems Beck will sit in with Wilson as well as playing his own set, so if you’ve always thought that Pet Sounds could have used more jazz fusion/metal guitar, your ship has come in.

Video: Brian Wilson – “Heroes & Villains”
Video: Jeff Beck – “Cause We’ve Ended As Lovers”

With his appearance at OVO Fest in the books and completely overshadowed by the likes of Kanye, Ma$e, Diddy, and TLC, James Blake has filled in the Toronto-shaped hole in his previously-announced Fall tour itinerary with a show at The Kool Haus on November 10, tickets $30. 3News and The Age have interviews.

MP3: James Blake – “I Never Learnt To Share”

With the August 20 release of their new album Crimes Of Passion almost nigh, Crocodiles have released a new video via Rolling Stone and tour dates via Exclaim. The Toronto date comes on November 19 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $13.50.

Video: Crocodiles – “Cockroach”

Born Ruffians have announced a hometown show in support of their latest effort Birthmarks; they’re at The Danforth Music Hall on November 22, tickets $18.50 to $20.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

Sunday, June 19th, 2011

"God Only Knows"

Elvis Costello covers The Beach Boys

Image via WikipediaWikipediaAt some point last night, probably around 11PM, Brian Wilson took a bow on a Toronto stage for possibly the last time. The show at Massey Hall was originally a promo stop for last year’s Reimagines Gershwin album, but following an interview with The Evening Standard last month wherein he mused that he could be retiring from touring following this year, it also became a sort of farewell tour.

So this week’s selection is both a tribute to the man and his work and also a nod to another pop music legend coming by for a visit this week, though I don’t think anyone is worried that Elvis Costello will be retiring anytime soon even if his current Spectacular Spinning Songbook tour has a whiff of victory lap-ness about it. Crowd-pleasing was rather the last thing on his mind back in 1993 when he released The Juliet Letters, a collaboration with English string ensemble The Brodsky Quartet. In addition to the original material on the record based on fictional letters written to one Juliet Capulet, Costello took advantage of the players at his disposal to reinterpret some favourite songs including the Pet Sounds classic, this live version of which didn’t appear on the original album but was included in the 2005 reissue.

Costello will be at The Sony Centre in Toronto this Thursday, June 23, and being backed by The Imposters it’s unlikely any Juliet Letters material will be found on the song-selecting wheel of fortune. As stated, we probably won’t see Wilson in these parts again unless those persistent rumours about a Beach Boys 50th anniversary tour come to fruition, and I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one.

MP3: Elvis Costello & The Brodsky Quartet – “God Only Knows”
Video: The Beach Boys – “God Only Knows”

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Been Listening

Johnny Flynn and Evening Hymns at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangI’m sure it was only coincidence, but the fact that Mumford & Sons sold out the 3000+ capacity Sound Academy the night before Johnny Flynn was slated to play a solo date at Lee’s Palace made for some interesting parallel drawing. The two toured together – along with some girl named Laura Marling who’s gone on to do some stuff – a couple Autumns ago and Flynn headlined all of their Toronto debuts at the dinky Rivoli back in October 2008.

Not that playing Lee’s is any small potatoes – some great careers never got to rooms much bigger – but one can’t help but ask why the former have skyrocketed to fame while the latter hasn’t. It could be because Mumford and co may work with the musical implements of folk and bluegrass, but their songs are unabashedly emotive, arena-sized anthems and I’ve heard more than a few people express surprise that they’re British rather than American. Flynn, on the other hand, ploughs a more traditional folk furrow in his music, more given to character-driven narratives and steeped in Englishness in both form and content. Not that these distinctions likely mattered to the hundreds of predominately female fans gathered at Lee’s on Sunday night – I’ll wager that most were at Mumford the night before and just as excited to be here.

Support for the evening came from Toronto’s own Evening Hymns, operating as just a two-piece. Their debut Spirit Guides had fallen out of rotation somewhat since finding its way onto my year-end list for 2009, but this show did a tremendous job of reminding me why I was so won over by it in the first place. At past shows, I’d noted that expansive sounds captured on the record worked better live the more hands they had on deck. So it was quite the pleasant surprise that the stripped-down configuration of principal Jonas Bonetta on guitar and keys, Sylvie Smith on bass and divine backing vocals and some looping pedals were able to turn some choice selections from Spirit Guides, a promising new composition and a cover into maybe the most affecting Evening Hymns show I’ve seen yet. Particularly ingenious was the way Bonetta pulled off “Mountain Song” solo, building rhythms and guitar parts via looper and then turning to the keyboard – loaded with all manner of patches and samples – to pile on the sounds that it would have otherwise taken a small orchestra to pull off. Judging from the tremendously appreciative audience during their set and the number of people wandering around with Spirit Guides LPs afterwards, I’d say Evening Hymns made more than a few new fans that night in addition to reaffirming old ones.

If by most standards Evening Hymns’ setup was minimalist, Johnny Flynn made their stage setup look like Pink Floyd’s. Appearing with just a resonator guitar and without his band The Sussex Wit, he proved himself to be one of the rare performers who can hold an audience’s attention for a full set with just their voice, guitar and songs. And banter. Between songs, Flynn was understated and charming, offering stories from tours past and present, and during the songs he was even better. Playing necessarily stripped-down versions of songs from his debut A Larum and the just-released follow-up Been Listening, he found enough range in what was at his disposal to do justice to the material and excusing the absence of the horns and drums which buoy the recordings. It didn’t come without cost, as singles “Kentucky Pill” and “Barnacled Warship” were conspicuously absent from the show – presumably too difficult to pull off alone – but “The Water” still sounded great even without Laura Marling’s harmonies and had he been playing with a band, you probably wouldn’t have had fun moments like when his voice cracked in the middle of “Shore To Shore”, necessitating a mid-song pause and apology before continuing. It was the sort of episode that underlined the intimacy of the show, but that said it’ll be nice if the next time Flynn returns, it’s with band in tow. And maybe at a room on the same scale as his peers, like the Sound Academy (kidding – no one wants to see anyone at The Sound Academy).

The AV Club talks to Johnny Flynn.

Photos: Johnny Flynn, Evening Hymns @ Lee’s Palace – November 14, 2010
MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Pill”
MP3: Johnny Flynn – “Drum”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Dead Deer”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Broken Rifle”
MP3: Evening Hymns – “Cedars”
Video: Johnny Flynn with Laura Marling – “The Water”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Barnacled Warship”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Kentucky Pill”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Tickle Me Pink”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Leftovers”
Video: Johnny Flynn – “Brown Trout Blues”
Myspace: Johnny Flynn
Myspace: Evening Hymns

I think some kind of universal concert announcement embargo expired yesterday because show news was coming fast and furious, making 2011 something to look forward to. In chronological order:

It will be a very different Concretes at The Horseshoe on January 17 than the band that was there last in May 2006. The date is part of a North American tour in support of their disco-powered new record WYWH, which frontwoman Lisa Milberg talks to Spinner about. Tickets for the show are $15 in advance, Class Actress supports.

MP3: The Concretes – “All Day”
MP3: The Concretes – “Good Evening”

That previously mentioned Decemberists date has been confirmed as part of an extensive tour in support of their new record The King Is Dead, due January 18. And yes, come February 1, the faithful will have to trek down to the Sound Academy to see them. See kids, this is what happens when you like bands – they get big and popular. You’ve no one to blame but yourselves. But as an extra incentive, Wye Oak are opening, and they’re lovely.

MP3: The Decemberists – “Down By The Water”
MP3: Wye Oak – “Take It In”

Jim Bryson will be at Lee’s Palace on February 4 with The Weakerthans backing him up as they do on his new record The Falcon Lake Incident. Tickets for the show are $17.50 in advance.

MP3: Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans – “Wild Folk”

The reigning prom king and queen of California stoner garage pop – Wavves and Best Coast – have made good on their promise to tour together next Winter. Look for them at The Phoenix on February 6; Snacks the cat will DJ between sets.

MP3: Wavves – “Cool Jumper”
MP3: Best Coast – “Something In The Way”

Wire are back. Both on record, with their new record Red Barked Tree due out January 11, and live, with a North American tour that kicks off April 1 at Lee’s Palace. Tickets $22.50.

MP3: Wire – “Dot Dash” (live at CBGB)
MP3: Wire – “3 Girl Rumba” (live at the Roxy)

Lykke Li has released a video for the new single she’s been giving away, and has also slated a Spring tour that includes a May 22 date at The Phoenix, which is interestingly 1/3 the size of the room she played last time she visited.

Video: Lykke Li – “Get Some”

Brian Wilson will bring his as-advertised album Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin to Massey Hall next Summer, on June 18; tickets will range from $55 to $85.

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Patrick Wolf covers The Beach Boys

Image via Amazon.comAmazon.comThat Patrick Wolf is a bit of a unique character isn’t really up for debate, his unique personality apparent to anyone who’s ever read an interview or followed his Twitter and his music also refusing to submit to easy categorization. So thematically, having him cover The Beach Boys’ “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times” for the 2006 Pet Sounds tribute album Do It Again made good sense, but stylistically you had to wonder if pairing such a dramatically inclined singer with one of Brian Wilson’s most vulnerable and wistful compositions was a good idea. Happily, Wolf is able to dial it down enough to keep its poignancy yet still impart his personality on it.

“Dialed down” are not words you’d use in conjunction with Wolf’s latest album The Bachelor, but the grandiosity why his fans love him. He’s at the Mod Club in Toronto this Wednesday night, June 17, to support. PopMatters has a feature piece and Clash the second part of their interview with Wolf. Brian Wilson released a new solo record in That Lucky Old Sun in late 2008 and more recently, Summer Love Songs was the umpteenth Beach Boys compilation to hit the market, seeking to set itself apart by offering new stereo mixes of a half-dozen songs as well as a previously unreleased Dennis Wilson composition.

MP3: Patrick Wolf – “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”
Video: Brian Wilson – “I Just Wasn’t Made For These Times”