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Posts Tagged ‘Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers’

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Into The Great Wide Open

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers and Crosby, Stills & Nash at The Air Canada Centre in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangHonestly, I’d thought that Tom Petty had retired. Between the themes of he and The Heartbreakers’ last studio record, 2002’s The Last DJ, and the victory lap of 2006’s 30th anniversary tour, I thought that he’d called it a day on active touring and my opportunities to see him perform had dried up. I don’t know how or why I had that notion, but it was clearly wrong as Wednesday night, there I was at the Air Canada Centre, ready to see Mr. Petty and company for the first time and, needless to say, excited about it. Update: And further proof I thought he retired – I completely forgot about the existence of 2006’s solo record Highway Companion. Oops.

Conversely, I’d never thought that Crosby, Stills & Nash had called it a day. Even though they’d not released a CSN record proper since 1994, they’d been touring constantly – sometimes with Neil Young, more often without – and though I had respect for their work and reputation, had never felt compelled to see them live. That said, I had no problem with adding another legendary act to my, “yeah I saw them” list. And that’s about all I got out of their almost headline-length opening set, as it was clear that whatever magic they had in their younger days was greatly diminished.

I appreciate that the ’60s are a long ways gone and all three had done more than their share of living in the interim, but hearing how shaky their once-pristine trademark harmonies had gotten was disappointing to say the least. They still performed with aplomb – more rock than their folk roots with Stephen Stills taking more than a few big rock guitar solos and Graham Nash chatty and charming as the group’s de facto spokesman – but the numbers that should have shone brightest, like “Our House” and “Love The One You’re With”, came off the wobbliest and they only got away with it because most of the audience was loudly singing along with all the old chestnuts and probably weren’t paying that close attention to the actual performance. One couldn’t help but think how this would have gone if Neil were along for the ride? He’d have probably kicked their asses backstage.

Petty and The Heartbreakers likewise came to give the people what they wanted to hear but did it almost perfectly, the way you’d expect one of America’s finest rock bands of the past 35 years to do. Petty, dapper in a duster and sporting a sharp-looking beard, was all smiles and Southern charm and opened with the big bold jangle of “Listen To Her Heart” before sliding effortlessly into a slightly greased-up “You Don’t Know How It Feels”. The band sounded nothing short of amazing as a unit – maybe not so surprising considering how long they’ve been playing together, but remarkable to see and hear nonetheless. The arrangements of the songs were largely faithful to the recorded versions, leaving their perfect pop structures and southern accents intact, but improvisationally pushing the edges just enough to let them stretch out and show off a bit. This mainly applied to lead guitarist Mike Campbell, whose economical solos on record serve the song perfectly but in live setting, allow him to inject that extra dose of flash and bang.

One gets the sense that letting Campbell better showcase his talents was a large part of the reasoning behind their blues-centric new record Mojo, which I should and do appreciate for giving them the excuse to head back on the road but not much else. The blues is not alien territory for the band, being an essential part of their Americana stew, but brought to the fore as it is on the new material, it’s just not interesting with their faithfulness to the genre coming at the expense of the hooks and melodies. The four-song set of Mojo material dropped in the middle of the set really put the damper on what to that point had been some terrific momentum though on the plus side, it did give Campbell some impressive solos and allowed a good portion of the audience to refill their beer.

That said, there wasn’t any better way to get things back on track than with a gorgeously stripped down version of “Learning To Fly”, followed by a thundering “Don’t Come Around Here No More” and a grand “Refugee” to close the main set. At this point the 11PM curfew was drawing awfully close, but there was no way the nearly-full arena was going to let things end without the encore, and so they returned for “Runnin’ Down A Dream” and what I thought for sure would be the coup de grace show stopper – and my favourite Petty tune – “American Girl”. But instead of the big ringing D chord I expected, they broke into the Wildflowers-vintage descending riff of “You Wreck Me” and while I like that song a lot, it’s not “American Girl”. And after the big linked-arm bows and the house lights came up, it became clear that there would be no “American Girl”. And as great as most of the show was to that point, it was and remains a bit of a bitter finish for me… In time I’ll be able to focus on the great 100 minutes they did play and not the three they didn’t, but y’know Campbell, you could have soloed just a little less and bought some time and it would have been perfect. Just saying.

The Toronto Sun, The Toronto Star, The Globe & Mail and eye all have reviews of the show.

Photos: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Crosby, Stills & Nash @ The Air Canada Centre – August 25, 2010
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Walls”
Video: Tom Petty – “You Wreck Me”
Video: Tom Petty – “You Don’t Know How It Feels”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Mary Jane’s Last Dance”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Peace In L.A.”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “King’s Highway”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Into The Great Wide Open”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Learnin’ To Fly”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Yer So Bad”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “A Face In The Crowd”
Video: Tom Petty – “Free Fallin'”
Video: Tom Petty – “Runnin’ Down A Dream”
Video: Tom Petty – “I Won’t Back Down”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Jammin’ Me”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Rebels”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Don’t Come Around Here No More”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “You Got Lucky”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “A Woman In Love (It’s Not Me)”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “The Waiting”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Here Comes My Girl”
Video: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – “Refugee”
MySpace: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
MySpace: Crosby, Stills & Nash

As expected with such a massive tour already lined up, Sufjan Stevens will release his first new and proper album in ages on October 12, the day before he plays Massey Hall. Pitchfork has details on what to expect from The Age Of Adz and the first MP3 is up for grabs.

MP3: Sufjan Stevens – “I Walked”

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem clarifies (or makes vaguer) his intentions to retire the band to The Quietus.

New York Magazine talks to Kevin Barnes of Of Montreal. Their new record False Priest is out September 14.

The Montreal Gazette and Chart have feature interviews with Land Of Talk’s Elizabeth Powell. They play Lee’s Palace on September 16.

alt.ohio interviews Scott Hutchison of Frightened Rabbit, complete video of whose show in San Francisco from this past May is available to stream in its entirety at Revision 3.

Rose Elinor Dougall has premiered a new video from Without Why over at The Guardian. Her debut album is out on Monday.

Video: Rose Elinor Dougall – “Carry On”

The Vine interviews Warren Ellis of Grinderman. Grinderman 2 is out September 14 and they kick off their North American tour November 11 in Toronto at the Phoenix.

The second part of Le Blogotheque’s Take-Away Shows from NXNE is now up.

Friday, February 26th, 2010

And This Is What We Call Progress

Toronto in-store announcements galore, including The Besnard Lakes, The Balconies and Tinariwen

Photo By Chris GergleyChris GergleyOne of my very favourite developments in the Toronto music scene over the past few years has been the rise of the in-store performance – whereas not so long ago there were maybe just a handful a year, they’re now occurring all the time at most of the independent record stores in the city and featuring bigger and bigger acts. Not only is it giving fans the opportunity to see artists in an intimate setting, it’s also often the only chance for underagers to see them live. And while I’ve often bemoaned the lack of a day show culture during either of the two major music festivals during the year, in-stores have done a good job of adding that extra layer of excitement to the official proceedings, with most stores hosting at least a few events during the weeks of festivities.

And Criminal Records is doing a good job of keeping that trend going through this year’s Canadian Musicfest. In addition to the triple-bill of Aidan Knight, Dan Mangan and Hollerado on Saturday March 13, announced last week, they’ve landed The Besnard Lakes to perform on March 10 at 6:30PM, their first show post-release of their new record The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night the day before. Their official festival showcase goes the following night, March 11, at the Horseshoe at midnight. Jace Lasek of the band talks to The Fly, Chart and Exclaim about the new record, which is epic. But with the Besnards, epic kind of goes without saying.

MP3: The Besnard Lakes – “Albatross”

Further, their Friday night lineup will kick off at 5PM and feature locals faves The Balconies and Calgary’s Ghostkeeper. The Balconies’ official Canadian Musicfest show is at 9:20PM the Horseshoe on Saturday night while Ghostkeeper can be found on the 11th at Bread & Circus at 11PM and the 12th at The Garrison at 8PM.

MP3: The Balconies – “Serious Bedtime”
MP3: Ghostkeeper – “By Morning”

And a reminder that Kurt Vile is playing at Criminal tonight at 6:30PM. eye, hour.ca and NOW have interviews.

Not presently hosting anything during CMF but also not being left out is Sonic Boom, who’ve got some different but exciting fare lineup next week. On March 3, time TBA, they’ll have Malian legends Tinariwen in the house and the next evening at 6:30PM, Tuvan throat singers Huun Huur Tu will perform. Admission is free with the donation of a canned good. Tinariwen will be at the Phoenix on March 4 and Huun Huur Tu will be at the Mod Club on March 5. The Province has a feature piece on Tinariwen.

Video: Tinariwen – “Lulla”

Soundscapes’ upcoming in-store schedule has only one entry, but it’s a good one – Zeus on March 6 at 6PM. They’re the co-cover boys of this month’s Exclaim, alongside sometime bandleader and tourmate Jason Collett, while Metro has a piece on Zeus alone. Both are at Lee’s Palace on March 10.

Filter has some initial impressions of Born Ruffians’ new album Say It, due June 1 on Paper Bag in Canada and Warp elsewhere – check out the first MP3 below. They’ve got a show at the Phoenix on March 14.

MP3: Born Ruffians – “Sole Brother”

CBC, Vue, FFWD and The Gateway profile Basia Bulat.

PopMatters has not one but two interviews with The Hidden Cameras.

Singing Lamb chats with Gentleman Reg.

The Music Slut asks 8 questions of Fucked Up’s Damian Abraham. They play the Opera House tonight.

California girl Best Coast, recently named by Paste as one of the “Best Of What’s Next”, is hitting the road and has a date at The Garrison on April 13. We All Want Someone To Shout For has an interview with Beth Cosentino.

Los Angeles post-rockers Red Sparrowes are at The Garrison on April 17 presenting their new album The Fear Is Excruciating, But Therein Lies The Answer, which is out April 6.

MP3: Red Sparrowes – “Giving Birth To Imagined Saviors”

Dead Meadow have a date at Lee’s Palace on April 22. Their new record/soundtrack/film Three Kings is out March 23.

MP3: Dead Meadow – “I’m Gone”
MP3: Dead Meadow – “What Needs Must Be”

With the Sex Pistols reunion perhaps providing diminishing returns, John Lydon has kicked Public Image LTD back into gear. A North American tour has been announced and brings them to the Kool Haus in Toronto on May 7.

Video: Public Image Ltd – “(This Is Not A) Love Song”

Massive Attack are bringing their latest Heligoland across the pond for a North American tour which will kick off with two nights in Toronto at the Sound Academy, May 7 and 9. On the 8th, they will be going to Dave & Busters to play skee-ball.

Video: Massive Attack – “Paradise Circus”
Video: Massive Attack – “Splitting The Atom”

Thee Silver Mount Zion will take their new record Kollaps Tradixionales out on tour with a stop at Lee’s Palace on May 29, tickets $15.

MP3: Thee Silver Mount Zion – “I Built Myself A Metal Bird” (Live VIdeo Version)

Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers will play the Air Canada Centre on August 25 with Crosby Stills & Nash. I’ve never seen Tom Petty live. I should do something about that. Their new album Mojo is due out this Spring.

Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Bill Janovitz covers all kinds of stuff

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo I’ve been posting a cover a week for about seven years now, and that’s kind of neat and all, but I bow down before Mr. Bill Janovitz, erstwhile frontman of Buffalo Tom, who’s been engaged in a much more impressive weekly cover series at his blog “Part Time Man Of Rock” over the past year, where he’s been recording and posting a reinterpretation every week since last November.

Over the course of the past year and a bit, Janovitz has tackled The Replacements, Neil Young, The Clash, Radiohead and so many more, including the latest installment – a tribute recorded Christmas Day to Vic Chesnutt, who passed away earlier that day. All have been accompanied by thoughtful writeups, interpretive explanations, social commentary, biographical bits – the couple of weeks around the start of November wherein he dealt with the sudden death of a relative are particularly affecting – and oh yeah, great tunes.

There’s so much worthy stuff available on his site, both to read and to hear, that I think I could spend all of next year just reposting whatever he puts up and feel perfectly comfortable that the quality of what’s being shared hasn’t gone down a bit (and probably even up). I won’t, but here to close out 2009 is a (large) selection of stuff I’ve loved from Bill’s blog and note that you can quickly check out all the others. Share and enjoy.

MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Little Mascara” (Replacements cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “The Campaigner” (Neil Young cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Straight To Hell” (The Clash cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “No Surprises” (Radiohead cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Rocket Man” (Elton John cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Man Out Of Time” (Elvis Costello cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Wendell Gee” (R.E.M. cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “American Girl” (Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers cover)
MP3: Bill Janovitz – “Florida” (Vic Chesnutt cover)