Tuesday, March 5th, 2013
Phoenix rises with new festival and cross-border shopping opportunities
Arnaud PotierAs It’s been kind of funny to see the incredulity that has that has met the announcement of Phoenix as a top-billed act as the Summer’s festival lineups are rolled out in the US and Europe, with people scoffing “since when are Phoenix festival headliners?”. The answer, of course, being “since they began headlining festivals” – which is to say this year, following the massive success of 2009’s Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix and in anticipation of the April 23 release of Bankrupt!.
This elevation is obviously good news for those headed to Coachella, Primavera, or what have you – as well as for the French band, who are finding themselves in the enviable position of being able to gold plate anything they like – but is less good news for cities who don’t host big A-list Summer festivals… which includes Toronto. And while the return of something even on the scale of Virgin Fest seems unlikely – though you may recall Phoenix played the first one way back in 2006 with a decidedly non-headlining, early afternoon slot – we’re actually doing pretty well with somewhat smaller to-dos, particularly ones that are in a position to align with more established festivals relatively nearby. This year’s inaugural Toronto Urban Roots Fest is drafting quite nicely off of Ottawa Bluesfest and Montreal Jazz Fest, and yesterday’s announcement of The Grove Fest, taking place August 3 at The Commons at Butler’s Barracks in Niagara-On-The-Lake – looks to take full advantage of being located midway between Montreal and Chicago on Osheaga/Lollapalooza weekend.
Phoenix will headline this event – if that wasn’t obvious from the opening paragraph – and be joined by a diverse bill including Girl Talk, Hot Chip, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Pretty Lights, The Gaslight Anthem, Bob Mould, Earl Sweatshirt, Wavves, Icona Pop, Palma Violets, Young Empires, and Nightbox. It’s a lineup that spans the globe, is heavy on the dance party vibe but with a decent dollop of guitar angst. The bill actually feels like those Rogers Picnics that ran for a few years down at Fort York in that there’s something to satisfy everyone and something to annoy everyone – mostly Macklemore, I would imagine.
Early bird tickets go on sale today at 10AM for $74.50, and after those are gone regular passes are $79.50; VIP tickets are available for $140. And no, Niagara-On-The-Lake is NOT in Toronto, but a 90-minute straight shot down the QEW isn’t bad, and if you want to make a long weekend getaway out of it, Buffalo is just across the border. And you know you’ve been looking for an excuse to go to Buffalo.
The Line Of Best Fit has an interview with Phoenix.
Video: Phoenix – “Lisztomania”
Video: Girl Talk – “All Day”
Video: Hot Chip – “Night & Day”
Video: Macklemore & Ryan Lewis – “Thrift Shop”
Video: Pretty Lights – “So Bright” (live)
Video: The Gaslight Anthem – “45”
Video: Bob Mould – “The Descent”
Video: Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum”
Video: Wavves – “Sail To The Sun”
Video: Icona Pop – “I Love It”
Video: Palma Violets – “Best Of Friends
Video: Young Empires – “White Doves”
Video: Nightbox – “Relocate You”
And just as the likes of Field Trip and TURF further entrench Garrison Commons at Fort York as one of Toronto’s go-to Summer concert venues and former War Of 1812 battlegrounds as great places to throw parties – if only Olympic Island had seen bloodshed, perhaps it would have remaind in favour – southern Ontario concertgoers may want to keep Niagara-On-The-Lake’s Butler’s Barracks in their GPS. On June 29, it will also hosting a one-day mini-fest headlined by City & Colour and supported by Metric, Jimmy Eat World, Serena Ryder, and Yukon Blonde. Tickets for that are $64.75 and on sale now.
And back to TURF, another batch of acts has been announced for the four-day event running July 4 to 7. We’ve got Yo La Tengo, who will be playing on the 7th since they will follow headliners Belle & Sebastian on tour after that, and also JD McPherson, The Barr Brothers, and Larry and his Flask. Each week finds the lineup getting stronger and more eclectic; by the time the schedule and ticket information is released later this month, it should be a doozy.
And in club show announcements – no, not everything is happening at a national historic site: Peter Murphy will mark the 35th anniversary of Bauhaus with a set comprised entirely of material of his old band. That happens May 10 at Lee’s Palace, tickets $29.50 in advance.
Doldrums will play his first show in town since last week’s release of Lesser Evil at The Horseshoe on May 11 – you know, in case there wasn’t enough going on that night with Foals, Charles Bradley, and The Breeders elsewhere in town. Tickets are $10 in advance.
MP3: Doldrums – “Jump Up”
If you’ve been waiting for Los Angeles buzz band Haim to come to town and are a Vampire Weekend fan, congratulations – the sister act have been named as support for their May 16 show at The Sony Centre. And if you’re not a Vampire Weekend fan… sorry, but you can at least take comfort in the knowledge that you’re not a Vampire Weekend fan.
Video: Haim – “Falling”
While it’s all well and good that Laura Stevenson is coming back to town – I enjoyed her set opening for Maps & Atlases back in August 2010 – I’m more excited that Brooklyn’s Field Mouse will be opening up for her at The Drake on May 21; verily do they hit my indie-pop sweet spot. Tickets for that are $12.50 in advance.
It’s like a cross-generational synth-pop summit; Diamond Rings will open up for Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark at the Danforth Music Hall, both on the previously announced July 11 date and the just-announced July 19 second date. Tickets for both are $35 in advance.