Search Results - "Serena Maneesh, Evangelicals Lee\'s Palace Toronto September 13, 2006"

Friday, September 15th, 2006


I am going to open this review by stating that Wednesday night was my fifth straight day of concert-going, including the two-day soiree on the islands last weekend. Which is the say that my head was probably not right. Just a caveat.

If any bootlegs of Serena Manesh’s SxSW set exist, they probably sound a little like “KKKCCCHKKKSSSSSSSSGGG”, but with maybe more bass. But despite it being sonically incomprehensible, it was still a spectacle and a half and one of the best things I saw that week. The Norwegian glam-gazers were a whirlwind of scarves, hairs and guitars flung around the stage and a refreshing dose of over-the-top, in-your-face showmanship in a sea of introvert indie rockers. They had originally been slated to make their Canadian debut back in the Spring but had to cancel because of immigration issues related to getting back into the US, but had all that sorted out this time around as they finally rolled into Toronto.

Also in tow were Oklahomans Evangelicals, touring in support of their debut album So Gone (which I reviewed in June). On the record, I found the overriding feeling to be of youthful energy and optimism – live, however, there was something significantly darker going on. In part it was their stage setup, decking everything out with foliage, pillars and a smoke machine and relying on just a pair of green and red floodlights on the floor for illumination. The result was a kind of Hallowe’en funhouse meets haunted forest vibe which turned out to be pretty apt. Musically they were as high-energy as I’d been told, but more anxious and frantic than exuberant and rambunctious and overall a little unsettling. Though the story/cautionary tale about making out with transvestites was pretty funny.

Serena Maneesh’s set may have been short – barely 45 minutes – but what it lacked in duration, it more than made up for in volume, stage destruction and sheer ridiculousness. They often get dismissed as a My Bloody Valentine tribute but what I witnessed was a band channelling the spirit of The Velvet Underground’s “Sister Ray” with the chaos knob turned up to 10. I think the mix was far superior to the one in Austin, but damned if I could make anything out – instead, once again, the band’s physicality counted for as much as their music. Frontman Emil Nikolaisen, resplendant in leather, bandana and frills, was a dervish on guitar while sister and bassist Hilma Nikolaisen was a giantess Nico, bounding about the stage the rhythm of the omnipresent drone.

But curiously, for all the band was putting out on stage, there seemed to be this fundamental disconnect with the audience. It was a reasonable-sized crowd, but for a few exceptions most people seemed to be watching with the eye of the curious and not the converted. Which is fair since they’re not the most immediately accessible act, but it did make the general vibe in the club a little odd – I think for a fully enjoyable experience, you have to be totally into what the band is doing and I didn’t sense that level of buy-in from the audience for much of the show. They were cheering heartily by the end but that may have had much to do with the band’s wanton destruction of their stage setup. Everyone loves a good demolition derby. The fact that drummer Einar Lukerstuen’s kit was strewn all over the stage in many pieces also pretty much guaranteed there would be no encore.

Photos: Serena Maneesh, Evangelicals @ Lee’s Palace – September 13, 2006
MP3: Serena Maneesh – “Un-Deux”
MP3: Evangelicals – “Here Comes Trouble”
MP3: Evangelicals – “Another Day (And Yoor Still Knocked Out)”
Video: Serena Maneesh – “Drain Cosmetics” (YouTube)
MySpace: Serena Maneesh

Pitchfork rounds up the activities of the former members of On! Air! Library!. I’ve talked at length before about Daylight’s For The Birds and their new album Trouble Everywhere out October 31, but Claudia Deheza’s A Cloud Mireya and Alley Deheza’s School Of Seven Bells both seem worth investigating as well. All bands should break up so productively – I just got a copy of the Daylight’s record and it’s so very pretty.

NOW previews Asobi Seksu’s show next Wednesday at the Horseshoe which I’m giving away passes for – go here to enter. There’s also a new remix of one of their songs up for grabs.

MP3: Asobi Seksu – “Strawberries” (Cassettes Won’t Listen remix)

Brooklyn noise-poppers Dirty On Purpose are coming back to town on November 9 in support of The Album Leaf. That show is at Lee’s Palace.

JAM! declares Sloan to be still relevant. Sloan is relieved. Their new album Never Hear The End Of It is out Tuesday.

Beck is at the Ricoh Coliseum on October 16, tickets $42.50 on sale tomorrow at 2PM. Pitchfork has details and full dates. His new album The Information is out October 3.

File under: unexpected. PopMatters bids farewell to The Dance Cave, the dingy club atop Lee’s Palace where I also spent many (many) a wasted night in my twenties. Though I don’t think I ever liked it nearly as much as the author – it was just somewhere to go.

np – Daylight’s For The Birds / Trouble Everywhere

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Unified Field

Rob Dickinson has a new solo acoustic record, Live And Alone, which he will be shilling whilst on tour opening for The Church over the next month. But for those of us not on the itinerary, fear not – he’ll be selling it online after the tour’s done. As a teaser, he’s made the track of Catherine Wheel’s “Heal” available to stream off his MySpace. There’s also an interview and some live studio performances available over at

The Church are supporting the release of their umpteenth record Uninvited, Like The Clouds, which is an anthemic, stately and glistening thing. There’s not a lot of what you’d call fire or real urgency in the proceedings but the richness in Steve Kilbey’s voice, the textures of Marty Wilson-Piper’s and Peter Koppes’ guitars and general atmosphere of the record happily make up for it. They’re a band that seems oblivious to fashion, content to soldier on and turning what by rights should sound dated into something instead timeless. There’s something to be said for consistency.

You may (or may not) remember The Church from their one 1988 hit “Under The Milky Way”, which is probably as unfair as saying you may remember Rob Dickinson from Catherine Wheel’s one 1995 hit “Waydown”, but you know that’s how some of their shows are being billed… no justice I tells ya.

MP3: The Church – “Unified Field”
Video: The Church – “Under The Milky Way” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Church

Oklahoma’s Evangelicals tells Chart about the importance of always looking on the bright side of life. They are in town opening for Serena Maneesh and Film School on September 13 at Lee’s Palace.

Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s explains to Harp the appeal of Wes Anderson, from whose work the band drew inspiration for their horribly unwieldy name.

Oakley Hall’s Patrick Sullivan talks about the band’s influences to Harp. Oakley Hall are at the Mod Club September 11 with M Ward.

Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio tells The Independent how David Bowie came to appear on their new album, Return To Cookie Mountain, out in North America September 12. Via Largehearted Boy.

Camera Obscura frontwoman Tracyanne Campbell talks to Rolling Stone about the success of their new album Let’s Get Out Of This Country.

Tapes’N’Tapes tells NOW and The Toronto Star that they thank blogs for the success of their album The Loon. They play the Phoenix with The Futureheads next Wednesday.

And also in town next Wednesday – Mission Of Burma at the Horseshoe. eye talks to Clint Conley.

Not feeling especially inspired to write today. If you couldn’t tell.

np – Billy Bragg / Talking To The Taxman About Poetry

Friday, June 23rd, 2006

No Radio

I, like many others, fell for Brooklyn’s Dirty On Purpose’s debut EP Sleep Late For A Better Tomorrow after seeing them at SxSW 2005 and their first full-length, Hallelujah Sirens due out on Tuesday, was near the top of my list of anticipated albums for 2006. But between then and now, the band lost a member – keyboardist and vocalist Erika Forster – yet somehow became even stronger by the subtraction and carried on by changing everything and nothing.

Surprisingly and gratifyingly, Hallelujah Sirens sounds as good as anyone could have hoped, the boy-girl harmonies that were such a treat on Sleep Late aren’t missed nearly as much I’d expected. For the most part the remaining three singers, each with distinctive voices, pick up the slack either in harmony or lead. And in the few points where a female voice is really called for, guest Jaymay ably steps in to help. Anne Brewster, whose former band Sea Ray were similarly much-beloved shoegazing Brooklynites, also guests on cello.

The songwriting is also a lot sharper and focused, the band taking advantage of the long-playing format to stretch out and better explore their sound. While Sleep Late came off like a mix tape of all your (my) favourite indie rock bands, that eclecticism also worked against the band to a degree with them bouncing all over the musical map over the course of five songs. Hallelujah Sirens still draws on those influences but blend them together much more effectively and seamlessly, able to range from pure pop (“No Radio”) to gentle balladry (“Lake Effect”) to raging rockers (“Marfa Lights”). And resuscitated from their 2003 demo, instrumental “Monument” is pure guitar bliss.

The band is on the road through July to support the record, though no dates up here. They did stop by in March and if you were one of the dozen or so people in attendance, consider yourself lucky. As more positive reviews like this Pitchfork one stack up and the buzz continues to grow, elbow room at their shows will surely decrease.

Filter offers up some press-release-y comments and Clicky Click gets a tour of Dirty On Purpose HQ from guitarist/vocalist George Wilson. And if you like DoP, take a moment to vote for them on this Deli Magazine poll – I don’t really know what it’s about, but it seems to be a pretty big deal to them so help ’em out.

MP3: Dirty On Purpose – “Light Pollution”
MP3: Dirty On Purpose – “Monument”
Video: Dirty On Purpose – “Light Pollution” (MOV)
MySpace: Dirty On Purpose

As for the departed Forster, she carries on in keyobard trio Au Revoir Simone. Their album Verses Of Comfort, Assurance And Salvation has been trickling out in various territories since last year and a new full-length is forthcoming. Think gently layered girl vocals, tinkling pianos and humming synths, simple drum machines and electronic whir-clicks in the background.

MP3: Au Revoir Simone – “Hurricane”
MP3: Au Revoir Simone – “Through The Backyards”
MySpace: Au Revoir Simone

eye gets to know DeVotchKa, in town at the El Mocambo on Tuesday night with Norfolk & Western.

Some shows announcements of note – Serena Maneesh make good on their promise to make up their cancelled show in April with a stop at Lee’s Palace on September 13 and will do so with Film School and Evangelicals in tow (full tour dates here) and Mates Of State are in town September 16 at a venue to be determined (full tour dates here). Okay, look at that second week of September. Right now I’m REALLY hoping that there’s no one interesting on the bill for V Fest on the 9th and 10th, because otherwise that week becomes overloaded to an absurd degree. Oh, and of course, this is all happening smack dab in the middle of the Toronto International Film Festival. Sweet fancy Moses, is it possible to die from culture overload?

Filter talks to Teddy Thompson, Rufus Wainwright and director Lian Lunson about the new I’m Your Man tribute/documentary on Leonard Cohen. And Zoilus does some math on Lenny’s sex life and comes up with a startling number.

Pop (All Love) ponders the merit and futility of music awards like the Polaris Music Prize and wonders if Broken Social Scene might actually be Cornershop. Also check out his liveblogging the MuchMusic Video Awards. Inspired writing.

np – Dinosaur Jr / Green Mind