Toronto got flashed back into the early 2000s at The Opera House this past Thursday May 9th!
Well, not exactly, but they did get to take a trip down memory lane. The Opera House was jam-packed with Tyler Hilton, Teddy Geiger, and Ryan Cabrera fans as they played their first Canadian show on their 2013 tour.
Hundreds of adoring fans from preteens to post-teens came out to listen to the trio play. Doors opened at 7 p.m. but the show was scheduled to start at 8. However, it was a bit delayed and didn’t happen until 20 minutes later.
But that didn’t discourage anyone! Ryan Cabrera, now 30, came out to a cheering crowd. Unfortunately his first song did start out of tune, and after the chorus he stopped playing. “I can’t play my first song in Toronto out of tune!” he yelled out to the crowd. As he quickly started tuning his guitar, his fans chanted his name until he was done.
“Now, let’s just pretend that never happened...we are starting all over again,” said Cabrera, with a little smirk on his face. “Hello Toronto!”
He started the song from the second verse, and the rest of his act went on without any more hiccups. He even cracked a few jokes in between songs, keeping his crowd entertained with more than just his music.
You may know Cabrera as a young 20 year old with spiky blond hair. But now almost 10 years later, his hair was not spiked and a dark brown, but his voice still sounds the same. He played his older songs from his 2004 album, Take It All Away
, which was his most popular one. He played On the Way Down
, which was his first breakout song to hit the charts.
After playing four of his own songs, he asked the audience to pick any artist and he would play a bit of their most popular song. Through all the requests, he covered We are Young
by fun, Beautiful
by One Direction
, and gave a little Canadian love when he played Call Me Maybe
by Carly Rae Jepson.
As Cabrera was finishing up the last song, Teddy Geiger surprised the crowd by joining him on his final song, True,
which was Ryan’s top charting song.
After a brisk intermission, Geiger came onto the stage, and jumped right into one of his most popular songs, These Walls
from his 2006 album, Underage Thinking.
The whole venue was revved with excitement, including a few of the bartenders who were singing along with the rest of the crowd.
Geiger started off on memory lane, but quickly changed to songs that will be on his newest album, expected to come out May 14. “This is the biggest crowd we have played yet,” said Geiger. [Listen to new music from Teddy HERE
After having a successful start to his first album in 2006, then 18 year old Teddy Geiger skyrocketed to fame, and become known as the shy American heartthrob. In 2008, he took to film in The Rocker
alongside Emma Stone. Geiger admitted that this wasn’t the first time he was at this venue. “I was here when we were filming The Rocker,” said Geiger, adding that it was one of the opening scenes in the movie.
He played eight songs on his set, and brought out Tyler Hilton, the final artist, on the song For You I Will (Confidence)
. He kept the beat the same, however made it more acoustic and a little less rock.
As a funny gesture, and great photo op, all three artists came back on stage to cover the song Ignition
by R Kelly. It seemed funny and original, but with a little digging on the inter-web, it was noted that they’ve done that at their other concerts on this tour.
Nonetheless, it was still amusing.
Eventually, it was only Tyler left on stage. You may remember him as an actor on the hit T.V. series, One Tree Hill
or as Elvis Priestly in the 2005 movie Walk the Line
. But Hilton has also been making music throughout the 2000s and just released a new album called Forget the Storm
“We love you Chris Keller,” was yelled at some points, but Hilton didn’t seem phased by it. “I wonder if he even likes being called that,” someone yelled from the crowd.
Hilton mostly played songs from his latest album, such as Loaded Gun
and Prince of Nothing Charming,
which was written for his Toronto-born girlfriend who he met here eight years ago. “I feel like I’m just a filler until she meets Ryan Gosling,” joked Hilton. “But I’m O.K. with that!”
The rest of the night went smoothly and no other technical errors.
Overall, the concert was great for people who have or have not kept up with them since their glory days. All of them seemed to have got better with age, in looks and in their voices. The venue gave an intimate setting and allowed the artists to get close and personal with their fans. There was even a booth set up for people to buy Hilton’s latest album (as a CD or a record) and had Geiger T-shirts and other memorabilia as well. And although there were a few glitches at the beginning of the show, the boys did not disappoint.--by Jennifer Barr
Paramore made their stop at the Sound Academy on May 13th to promote their new self-titled record as a trio, and they definitely did not disappoint the crowd that awaited them.
Paramore. (Photo: Joshua Ongys)
The tour only features one opening act – Kitten. The vocalist had a lot of energy throughout their performance and they were really fun to watch. The fact that they’ve only been a band a band since January 2009, they’ve come to establish themselves quite nicely and the response they received from the crowd was pretty incredible. With a fairly short set list, they pleased the fans and made their mark in Toronto.
Paramore hit the stage at 9pm, to a packed venue of fans who have been waiting patiently for them to play. They opened with “Interlude: Moving On.” This led into three songs from previous records – “Misery Business,” “For A Pessimist, I’m Pretty Optimistic,” and “Decode.” They balanced their set list out nicely with a good mix of old songs and new. Some of the new songs they played were “Now,” “Fast In My Car,” “Anklebiters,” and “Still Into You.” During the performance of “Anklebiters,” Hayley was picking out some fans from the crowd to come up on stage with her during the song. With only two songs to go, they kicked off their final songs of their set with “That’s What You Get” and their current single “Still Into You.” With confetti and streamers flying everywhere in the crowd, they made a lasting impression on the night overall. But they weren’t finished yet – the venue filled with chants for an encore, and Paramore delivered. They ended the night with one new song, “Proof” and one old song, “Bring by Boring Brick.”
The energy Hayley Williams has on stage just shows how much she loves what she does and doesn’t let anyone doubt that for a second. She vocalized her appreciation of the fans and their support more than a few times throughout the evening.
Catch Kitten and Paramore on the remaining dates of the tour, they won’t disappoint! --by Chelsea McCormick
Their name sounds like something from Sons of Anarchy. Their songs sound like it too. Oh and their music was used in the pilot episode for Sons of Anarchy. Are you getting the picture? Burly, biker men besieged the crowd. You would think you would find a band named Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at a Dive Bar but instead this Thursday, they played a show at Kool Haus to promote their 7th album, Specter at the Feast which dropped on March 18th.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Photo: blitzgigs.de)
Going into this show, all I knew about opener’s thenewno2 was that frontman Dhanni Harrison, is a former Beatle’s son. Throughout most of their set, Kool Haus looked like a Middle School dance. There’s all that empty space in the gym to make you feel sufficiently awkward and supervised. Not to mention there’s that one girl who decides it’s appropriate to grind on her boyfriend-- to alternative, experimental, ambient rock! But even as the venue starts to fill up, the stage seems more crowded than the audience. With 6 members lined up in rows of two’s and what appeared to be equipment-hoarding on display, there was little room for movement; which seemed to suit the rather still band. That being said, in a band of hipster-looking, scarf-wearing, multi-instrumentalists, the most compelling performer was the animated drummer who seemed every bit out of place with his Mohawk and tattoos. Despite many interesting elements infused into the set; like on one song which featured dual-ukuleles overtop of an electronic loop, the messy experimentation simply didn’t communicate into an enjoyable live experience.
When three-piece Black Rebel Motorcycle Club took to the stage the issues of the openers weren’t present. For one, the band had more space. They also had a better setup and overall a more palpable chemistry and presence.
For those curious, they get their long-winded name from Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in 1953’s The Wild One.
In the film, the rival gang was known as The Beetles (ironic considering the night’s opening act). BRMC is composed of drummer Leah Shapiro, bassist Robert Been (son of Michael Been of The Call) and guitarist Peter Hayes who had a brief stint in the neo-psychedelic band The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Been and Hayes share vocal duties. Each frontman has their own distinctive style; Peter Hayes provides a croaky, blurred psychedelic croon whereas Robert Been offers more of a hoarse and conventional tenor for rock.
The set opened with a cover of The Call’s 1989 hit “Let the Day Begin”. The song is played frequently live as homage to the late Michael Been who suffered a fatal heart attack while working as a sound engineer at a BRMC show in 2010.
At times, the band draws from country and folk influences but they are also apt to incorporating blues licks and elements of Garage rock alongside the disarray and duration of noise rock. Truthfully however, the band often seems to exude a blatant fondness for traditional rock. Due to this transferrable affection, classic rock-tinged numbers: “Beat the Devil’s Tattoo”, “Conscience Killer”, “Ain’t No Easy Way” and Specter at The Feast
’s “Rival” proved to be the night’s highlights. The accompanying light show was impressive and notable to say the least. During breakdowns, the lights chaotically flickered in epileptic flashes on cue as the crowd pulsated with a lively energy
However, by mid-set, Hayes and Been both played back-to-back solo acoustic numbers which put somewhat of a damper on the high-octane set. Spirits were once again revitalized when Hayes instructed the crowd to move in past the barriers, saying “This has been bothering me all night. There’s so much space between us.” A lone crowd-surfer was passed around during “Six Barrel Shotgun”. The set ended with “Spread Your Love” off of their debut album; which left the crowd chanting for more. Their pleas were met with a two song encore; ending officially with a down-tempo, softer song revealing a different side of the band.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have always had somewhat of a dark mystique about them but after seeing them live it is apparent these are musicians who care less about image and more about putting on a good show. It was not a bad way to spend a Thursday night! --by Laura Molinaro
The garage-rocking sister act, Bleached from Los Angeles, California, made a Toronto pit stop April 25th for some vintage shopping and a gig at the Silver Dollar while touring their punk-guised pop album, Ride Your Heart. Jessica and Jennifer Calvin front the band, backed by dreamy John on drums, and tight lipped Alex on guitar (who could double as Aubrey Plaza on Parks and Rec if they ever need her). Inevitable happenings at a Bleached show are as follows: beer, dancing, good times, and tequila.
Brews Willis kicked off the brisk Thursday at the Silver Dollar. This Toronto act must soak up as much of our four months of lakeshore sun & sand as possible with their full on beach bum facade. They are not bad, as they get the proverbial (inflatable) ball rolling on the night’s themed acts, encompassing ‘fun in the sun’ rock n’ roll. Also, the lead singer has a love of Mac Demarco caps too.
Next are BB Guns, who are mad and want you to know it, but still manage to amass hit after hit of sunburned tracks that keep you grumpy all your hangover-day-long. “Thank you so much to bleached to having us on this bill!"
The aggression continues to mount with Hunters, who are epileptic with energy and bobbing pink bobs—which are much less light surf-pop of Bethany Constantino, and much more Alice Glass.
Bleached hit the stage just after midnight (Note: Jessica drinks Canadian). Getting right into it, the foursome begin with, “Looking for a Fight”. The gals are nothing short of immediate. Their energy is engaging as lead Calvin does a shimmy & shake center stage in a snug floral-print dress before getting to kool-aid jammer, “Next Stop.”
"I love this place,” says Jessica, “We played here for three night during North by North East. I think Toronto is our favorite city ever!”
“Searching Through the Past” is easily a crowd favorite, acting as a trip back to the girl’s 7” EP of the same title from 2011, and a much-welcomed inclusion on Ride Your Heart
. “Waiting by the Telephone” is a bit more desperate in it’s approach to boys, but
The crowd needs no time to embrace the upbeat jams, with virtually the entire mass rocking out to the California girls’ brand of punk-pop. Maintaining the atmosphere of beer spilling frolic even into slower tempo tunes, like the ‘misery loves company’ sounds of “Dead In Your Head,” the band have a strong command of their fans.
"Can somebody get me a shot? Of whatever you want!” exclaims Jessica. This was evidently not such a great idea for the Calvins, as the next song got de-railed by some unseen force. "Sorry guys, we fucked that song up…" Some mumbling I didn’t quite hear—Did she just admit she was stoned? That I will never know, but moving onward.
Bleached thankfully recover with a terrific rendition of “Love Spells,” a song about escaping the clutches of an overpowering kind of passion. This is followed by “Outta My Mind,” another track describing our two sunshine sisters’ wit’s end attempt to gain control, this time however, escaping memories of the past that haunt us is a struggle they don’t seem equipped to win.
Speaking of haunting, the Calvins take a second to discuss some of their real life specter encounters. "We have lost so many things. We are convinced that there is a ghost haunting us and it is going to start a band”. Alex asks, “What is it called?” to which Jessica replies, "We haven't figured that out yet". Do let us know Jessica, will you?
The gals finish the night with an encore selected from the Ramones’ catalogue, reaffirming their roots while maintaining an aesthetic of a ‘punk rock Best Coast’. Here is hoping they somehow manage to ride their hearts back up to Toronto again for NXNE in June. --by Michael Natale
It’s a Monday night around 9pm; this is what I attribute the silence to as I climb two flights of stairs to reach the bar (lawsuit pending). After much anticipation, I finally arrive the Hard Luck where rightfully hyped, Vancouver punk band White Lung are set to headline.
However, I soon learn that being on time to a punk show, means I’m way too early. A sentiment echoed when I reach the makeshift box-office (read: foldable table) and peer in to the empty, intimate venue. When my eyes are brought back to the vender, he simply says: “You should get a Shawarma. There’s a good place down the street.”
Post-Shawarma Hard Luck was hardly any busier with first-on-the-bill openers, Hamilton-based T.V. Freaks, playing to a barely half-full venue. Despite a low-energy crowd (if you could call it that), the band plowed through songs with fervour led by the skittish but charismatic frontman David O’Connor. The band offered up a classic proto-punk sound playing a track off their new self-titled LP with a descending bass line, channeling The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog”. By mid-set the crowd’s energy was picked up notably by the tight musicianship and intensity of O’Connor. Following the condensed punch of “Mall Punk”, O’Connor announced: “Teenanger’s on next”. When met with silence, he continued “…well that’s getting annoying!”, and abruptly the band broke out into the catchiest and most immediate song of the set “Be Kind Rewind”. Just as more people started to trickle in, the set curtly ended.
With a squealing, annoying sound check and a few false starts, Teenanger took to the stage. Frontman Chris Swimmings snarls in a mock British accent, sounding indebted to the Sex Pistols. Backing vocals from the bassist were shrill and thankfully kept to a minimum. Overall though, the band had a lively stage presence. At times they could be droney and at other times the guitar had wailing, psychedelic qualities to it. Despite this, the songs had a tendency to blur together. Standout tracks were the self-titled "Teenanger” and “Bank Account”.
Judging from the sudden claustrophobic density of the crowd that poured in just in time for their set, it was apparent White Lung was the night’s main draw. The lineup: ¾ female, 1-part male guitarist, fronted by a platinum blonde, aggressive, thrashing yet in control Mish Way bore striking similarities to Pretty on the Inside
era Hole. Way is in debt to Courtney Love like Love is in debt to credit card companies. With her gruff vocals, cutthroat stage-persona and overall lack of inhibition, it is no wonder the place was packed.
With 2012’s Sorry,
White Lung unapologetically released an album that not only would garner much critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, SPIN and Rolling Stone; but also spit in the face of believers in “Sophomore Slump”. While 2010’s debut It’s the Evil
showcased a raw, passionate and new to the scene band, Sorry
sees the band refining, expanding and pushing their sound.
A sizeable mosh-pit formed and stage-diving and crowd-surfing broke out nearly as soon as the band took the stage; and didn’t let up for the remainder of the jam-packed half-hour set. High energy was sustained as the band shot through their liberating and visceral repertoire; playing the likes of "Two Seen", "Glue" and "Bag".
Closing with Sorry
’s urgent first single, "Take the Mirror", the crowd was left chanting for an encore. When reality hit that their pleas would not be met, the crowd clambered down two flights of stairs with bruises, ringing ears, stretched smiles and memories of cathartic brutality, back out into Monday night.
On top of a showcase at this year’s SXSW,
White Lung are also set to play NXNE this summer. It’s no surprise that festivals are racking up for this band, as they have been gaining traction with their solidified status as a gripping live act.
Clearly not ones to dwell on anything too long (no song on Sorry
surpasses two minutes), Mish Way divulged plans to release a new record this coming fall; stating: “This record, it’s had its day in the sun. Good job, Sorry, but now it’s time to move on the next one.” --by Laura Molinaro
Fact: No active members of Ivan & Alyosha are named either ‘Ivan’ or ‘Alyosha’. Instead, the folk rockers from Seattle are named after characters from a Dostovesky novel, The Brothers Karamazov. Original duo, Tim Wilson and Ryan Carbary welcomed two more members, Pete Wilson (Tim’s brother) and Tim Kim (Just another ‘Tim’ with no relation to the first) into the fold over the course of four EPs since 2007. Touring their new album, All The Times We Had that was recently released on Dine Alone Records on Feb 26, the foursome played a sold out show at the Drake Underground. My, what foresight ticket holders had to snap up a chance to see these guys before they hit Mumford levels of success.
Ivan & Alyosha
With the success of recent Grammy winners Mumford & Sons and like-sounding radio dominators, The Lumineers, it appears as though folk rock has carved out an expanding place in the mainstream. Not that Ivan & Alyosha need to be hitched onto a genre as if it was a bandwagon heading for success, because they will do that based on their own unique sense of talent. They are simply are a band to keep track of, especially if you enjoy the genre… and feeling goosebumpies all over.
“Hey guys, we are Ivan and Alyosha. We are happy to be here in Canada," says Wilson, as his brother Pete saunters on stage a minute later than everyone else while holding a drink. "Shhhh!" whispers Pete to the crowd.
They have an appealing four-part harmony that makes you tingle, broken up by main vocalist Tim Wilson’s shouts and multifaceted vocal nuances. The style is woodland in nature, minus any jangly banjos. There is also a ‘60s vibe, most prominent in the slow dance sounds of “Falling” set to The Drake Underground’s revolving disco ball.
"By the way, my outburst during a song-- that just means I like it. How are you all doing? What day is it today?” asks Wilson with a knowing look before he accuses us, “A Monday? —Students.."
Their music puts a feel good smile on your face in a sweeping romance kind of way, playing through new album cuts, “Easy To Love” and “I Was Born To Love Her”. Each player is engrossed in their element. It makes the illustration of their gross talent and genuine enjoyment of performing look like a breeze to pull off. That is until Wilson reveals, "It's getting sweaty up here".
"The last time we came through Toronto, it was with a band called Hey Rosetta,” said Wilson, “We love those guys… We got a few more here for ya”
To get nit picky for a second, the live version of their choruses get a bit lost for sake of not being hooky enough, but their soulful appeal is much larger than their pop structure. And overall, their set is a wonder to take in. Also interesting to note, Tim Wilson’s voice (as well as their production in general) is recognizable and uncannily similar to that of Fran Healy, of the alternative Brit-rock group, Travis.
The chords of “The Fold” chime in and are instantly emotive, much like the other cathartic, heartstring-weighing first single, “Running For Cover”.
‘Too sad’ you think? Well, just wait for Ivan & Alyosha to invite their evening’s opening acts to join them onstage. This was really just their excuse for everyone to start a stage party and dance around with precision instruments while singing a lively rendition of "Don’t Want To Die Anymore.”
“Whaaaooow! ... That was so much fun, we are going to do another one. This one is called, ‘Be Your Man."
After the ho down and set are over, Ivan & Alyosha are invited back on stage by applause they suggest is not something they always get, inciting that sometimes they walk off, ready to return, and the crowd just leaves.
The encore is an interesting choice, but still a splendid one with the religious jubilation track, “Glorify.” The boys thank us and turn to leave again, but are stopped by a fan close enough to request their favorite song. "They want it. I will not turn down a request,” says Pete as the boys give each other unsure looks.
“You know bands are afraid to play your town. It is like LA,” they say. "We are not like LA!" we shout back, followed by a round of laughter.
“Everything is Burning” was the request, and a tearful, soul trembling end to a fantastic set.
The sold out crowd was taken with Ivan & Alyosha, but who wouldn’t be intoxicated by their lush tunes backdropped by the velvet red curtain of the Underground? It all made for an intimate set of which a show labeled ‘SOLD OUT’ rarely does. - by Michael Natale
You may know of Matt Mondanile as the drummer of a little indie group called Real Estate, but he is also the man behind Ducktails, a side project of his that pulled together a jazzy kind of psych pop at the Garrison this past month.
Mondanile had a bit of tech trouble throughout the set, but managed to deliver a wealth of shimmering sounds that oscillated between subdued disco pop and psychedelic rock. “Under Cover,” off of Ducktails latest LP The Flower Lane
released in January, offered a smoky, lo fi enticement that might make you blush with lyrics, “Do you want to go under? The covers under,” accented with bright, punchy synths.
Mondanile is now a four-piece band this tour around, boding well for the Ducktails project as they build a tantalizing rhythm about them, soring in and out of power pop climaxes and psychedelic trances.
"So, most if us are from New Jersey, so Toronto isn't that far away,” says Mondanile pulling back the mysterious shag hair in his eyes, "So, there are a few guys up here who are looking for a place to party or crash or whatever. You can come talk to me later, my name is Matt." The Flower Lane
has a cozy vibe to it when experienced live, much like its studio version. Though it might be easy to miss just how just how slyly sensual it is it is. Pointing to songs “Under Cover” and other coaxing lyrics, "Won’t you to stay / Won’t you stay and sleep for a little while" from “Sedan Magic,” off the same record, wont you agree it tries to get you in the mood? The chorus of “Sedan Magic” is sung by Madeline Follin of Cults on the original recording, but here, Mondanile presents it in the same breezy, nonchalant way that still urges the requestee to feel something and give into the invitation.
Among the more somber numbers are light and fun anthems that are reminiscent of your high-school dances. Others push their reverb full force in Tame Impala-like fashioned trips, but this seems decidedly more sober. The title track, "The Flower Lane" is in line with this, incorporating Fleetwood Mac-type guitar strums as well as glinting synths that sound much like Montreal band, TOPS. Clearly a lovers song, as the couple next do me does a slow grind up on each other with some complementary smooching.
"I hope Toronto isn't the kind of city that just leaves after a show is over are you?” questions Mondanile, “Are you?" I thought about how disappointed he would be in about ten minutes, as it is a Wednesday.
Next is a real leg shaker, and I mean that as un-sarcastically as possible as pockets of dance jams happen among those stoics too cool to break their aloof stance.
"Thank you, this is our last song. Thank you so much."
The washing reverb is getting a bit tiresome by the final song, but the track evokes a lot of energy, not that I could identify what track it was. I’m sorry Matt, but I won’t be staying for a drink, even if I am one of those people who don’t need to be up early tomorrow. Not that I thought you were bad, I rather enjoyed your set actually. I just didn’t want to and that is ok too.
Ducktails’ latest album is The Flower Lane
and was released January 29th, 2013, so get it now if you want an album that makes for a chillaxed Sunday make-out soundtrack.
- by Michael Natale
By 9:30 the sidewalk of 1279 Queen St West was bare as everyone packed inside Wrongbar eagerly anticipating How To Dress Well, aka Tom Krell, (the U.S. Philosophy PHD student making music out of Cologne, Germany), and Sky Ferreira, the emaciated, everything girl; taking on acting, singing, and everything in-between (hence, ‘everything girl’).
Sky Ferreira via Embrace
Krell is something of a hypnotist; his soulful falsetto embraces with a grip that is tender yet – in charge – keeping you entranced until he is done with you. “& It Was You” was a definite standout and crowd favorite with its upbeat adherence to more traditional R&B style. But How To Dress Well is all about the experimental and maintaining his signature ethereal productions.
“This one is about competing desires. This one is a duet with myself. Like when you think, I want to be with this one person for the rest of my life—No, I want to have sex with everyone!” explains Krell on stage before getting into “Talking To You”.
Accompanied by occasional projections that blur lines between music video and art instillation, Krall illustrates the intensity and tension of, “Set It Right,” a song inspired by the passing of his best friend. The backdrop was an aggressively disturbing depiction of a suited man painting his entire face and hair, green and black, until he looked nothing like his former self – then rewinding halfway through. This was haunting to say the least.
“These are features of affective terrain that I want to like, be taking you to, or taking myself to when I write,” says Krell in an interview with Pitchfork, speaking about the idea of his image versus musical juxtapositions.
Krell’s project has been compared to Justin Timberkale and R. Kelly (whom he covers during the show with a rendition of “I Wish”), but he is all his own. Taking a risky move, Krell abandons his microphone to sing an a cappella song dedicated to his brother called “Blue.” He asks for help from the audience to keep it down as he was having troubles of his own with the sound system. The result was an isolating beauty (aside from some drunken underage snickering). ‘Don’t worry guys,’ I thought. ‘I’m sure Sky will be on soon enough for you to get home to study for your biology exam tomorrow.’
And sure enough, she was.
The already minimal amount of space usually set aside for breathing, or bodily comfort, was taken away by the hair-flipping brigade of Ferreira fans who couldn’t help but squeeze themselves, their friends, and their friend’s cousin twice removed to the front of the stage. Ferreira, accompanied by two guitarists, keyboardist, and a strobe light (that did minimal strobing) played a fascinating set. I say ‘fascinating’ as her performance was one that had me at times believing she is a deeply tormented soul, then the next minute wondering if it was all rock ‘n roll musician-inspired window dressing for her current incarnation as a singer.
“So, thank you guys for coming… I dunno, thank you. I'm not used to having to talk up here,” articulated Ferreira starring at a sea of camera phones, seeming unsure whether her band was ready to continue or not.
Beginning with an electro-pop favorite of hers, “Lost In My Bedroom”, from the latest EP Ghost
(2012), she had me convinced it was the latter, mostly drowned out by the sound system. As her set carried on however, playing through “Sad Dream”, “Red Lips”, and “Werewolf,” her vocals were more in control and could compete with the synths.
While performing, “You're Not the One,” she channeled a lot of fallen beauty queens (a role she looks used to). As she does not sing with a large vocal range at her disposal, belts come from a place that has very deep cut sorrow. Maybe it is the façade of the actress again, and if so, she is looking at some sort of award.
In the end, this show will not have to be counted among Ferreira’s list that influences her closing hymn, “Everything is Embarrassing,” leaving me with a tad more respect for her as an artist, yet still unsure about how genuine the art.
Look for Ferreira’s upcoming debut album, I’m Not Alright
sometime this year as well as her starring role in the indie art short film, IRL, shot by her “Everything is Embarrassing” video director, Grant Singer.
- by Michael Natale
I found myself receiving press approval for a show last Wednesday that I thought was as impossible to get into as getting The Rolling Stones to stop playing music. I’m in fact referring to is the infamous British progressive rock band YES, which I am at least 30 years too young to have the pleasure of reviewing, because let’s face it – if you’re under the age of 30, odds are that you’ve never seen or heard this band before.
YES via blogTO
Coming from the Pink Floyd/Rolling Stones era, my first exposure to this band came from a 50-year-old family friend who insisted YES was the only music in the world worth listening to. Powering through communal dinners and large-scale gatherings, my family friend managed to have me hanging on to his every word, curious about his love for the group.
To put it simply, if you haven’t heard of the music before, it’s not too late to give it a chance. (It’s never too late for good ole’ rock n roll!!!)
Arriving at Massey Hall a modest 45 minutes early, it gave me leeway to get acquainted with the venue for the first time. Being one of the first attendee’s I found my seat easily, feeling lucky that I didn’t have to push my way through the sold out crowd that had been promised for the night. After taking a brief walk around the venue, scoping out the balcony and mezzanine area’s in complete jealously, I returned to my seat and observed the unvaried group of people slowly dragging their feet into the venue.
Spotting three men rolling in wheel chairs and a handful of patrons with walkers and canes, I realized that I was the youngest audience member, reasonably, by at least 20 or 30 years.
When 7 p.m. hit and YES took the stage, I was completely enveloped by the extraordinary sound that was taking over the whole venue. However, for the first ten minutes or so, my experience was diminished by late arrivals slowly finding their seats – entirely blocking my view of the beautiful presentation that the band had prepared to exhibit their careers success as a band.
YES kicked it off with the opening track from their 1972 album of the same name, Close to The Edge
. Seeing as they were a band with some history under their belt, they jumped right into their performance, conveniently displaying their set list on large monitors. Without even realizing how many songs had gone by, as they all transitioned together in easily the most beautiful display of sound I have ever had the privilege of experiencing, I glanced at the clock noticing they had been playing for 45 minutes straight. It was then that bassist, Chris Squire, stopped and explained to the audience that they had just heard the whole Close to The Edge
album in its entirety, and not only that, but next up they were going to grace us by playing Going for the One
from front to back as well.
All eyes were on guitarist Steve Howe as he took over the stage, strumming into the title track off the album and continuing on with the first leg of their show. Changing from guitar to keyboard to a mounted guitar (tuned differently than his upright guitar) Howe entertained the crowd in the most brilliantly original and remarkable way seen.
Now aged and experienced, this group of mix n’ matched modest men, who let their music speak for itself, were in need of a break after their impressive two album play through. So when it came time for intermission the band quickly walked off stage, projected “Intermission, back in 20 minutes,” up on the monitors, which signalled the audience to jump up out of their seats and stretch their legs.
Outside a man easily three or four times my age approached me and requested to borrow my lighter. After complying with his request, he decided to stick around and chat for a minute. “It’s my 20th time seeing them,” he said completely dumbfounded after I had told him that it was, unfortunately, my first. “I saw them for the first time in 1975 with the original line-up,” he bragged, capturing my attention like a puppy waiting for a bone. He then continued on with his short, unforgettable monologue. “I’ve been to washroom 4 times since the start of the set. Either these guys are superman, or they’re wearing diapers,” he said jokingly, and with that he turned around and walked away. It wasn’t until this point that I had realised how truly lucky I was to be there.
Considering whether the man was right or not, I found my seat again and got comfortable for the second part of the spectacle. The band jumped right into their 1971 release titled The YES album
. It took all but two songs for Howe to produce his signature sound “Clap” that he performed with such energy that he managed to get everyone – and I mean everyone – standing. Chris Squire blew the crowd away when he disappeared for all but a second only to return holding a three-headed bass guitar that he played with such ease it seemed to be a joke to play anything smaller.
Finally as the album came to its end, so too did the band as they subtly walked off stage, giving the crowd a minute-and-a-half heart attack in hopes for an encore. Re-emerging, the audience heard Howe speak for the second time as he began to introduce his fellow band mates. Each generated more and more applause until it was Howe’s turn to be recognized, and Squire took the honor. As he did the crowd erupted with applause for the legendary guitar genius.
They kicked their encore off with “Roundabout” and continued to blow minds for the last twenty minutes. Every minute or so, when the song would hit a climax, the audience would erupt in applause and supportive yelling. It was bittersweet when the group finally finished their set and put down their instruments, as no one in the crowd wanted to believe that it was over.
The sound itself was completely indescribable and incomparable with anything that has hit the mainstream in the past ten or twenty years. If you’re curious to hear what the group sounds like, and I highly suggest you take the plunge, listen to The YES Album
below. - by Misha Kotok
When fans of Lydia heard they would be returning to Toronto April 9th, so soon after they had just visited, they were ecstatic – yet hesitant when they read the venue location. Instead of the MOD club or the Phoenix, the indie rock quartet from Gilbert, Arizona, booked a small intimate show at Sneaky Dee’s, a venue deemed quite suitable for their soft sound.
Lydia via facebook
Arriving to the sold-out show just in time for Lydia, the upstairs floor at Sneak’s was packed, and any attempts to move closer to the stage were quickly aborted. So I hung back, enough to get a good view of the band as well as the audience below who were creeping, squeezing, closer and closer to Leighton Antelman.
Ironically, they opened with two lead tracks from albums; starting with “This Is Twice Now”, the opening track from 2008’s Illuminate
(their most recognized), followed by “The Exit” from their latest, Devil
The mood in the room seemed to match the soothing sounds as Lydia drifted into “Best Nights” while the audience swayed calmly back and forth. ‘No one is dancing’ was a critic that arose as I watched the flock of Lydia fans gazing up to Leighton & the band. However, as Leighton introduced the next song to be “Hailey”, I saw that the energy and passion in the room was indeed truly there, just disguised behind attentive ears and ‘deer-in-headlights’ happiness. The whole crowd seemed to be petrified with such glee, it was deceiving to think that they were unresponsive or uninterested. It may have been influenced by the many young ones in attendance due to the all age nature of the show, however the dance floor heated up a little as they strummed into title track “Devil”.
The rest of the night continued on quite the same, Lydia alternating between tracks from Illuminate
, while the crowd happily allowed Leighton and his crew to engulf them with his sweet sounds.
“Dragging You Feet In The Mud” was followed by “Knee Deep”, which was a nice play on words, whether intentional or not.
Fans chanted enthusiasm as the beginning notes of “Woke Up Near The Sea” were played, transitioning straight into “Back to Bed”.
Without realizing a whole set had gone by, Lydia closed with “Take Your Time” and “A Fine Evening For A Rogue”, and were quick to return as fans pleaded for one more song. Announcing “Hospital” as their encore, it was evident that fans were really waiting for this one, as no foot or hand was left still.
Despite a few audio problems during the first half, Lydia’s over all performance was serene and magical. The talent of Leighton was quite evident in his live performance, as his infamously high singing voice was perfectly distinct and on point throughout the show. The few hundred in attendance made for a perfect intimate show, fitting for the soothing slow melodic sound of Lydia.
Thinking back, it was hard to differentiate which song was clearly their best, because every tune was delivered with the same integrity and received with the same excitement. This was one of those shows where you’d kick back, close you eyes, chill, and just sway to the beautiful lullabies coming from stage.
Not only was it the best live show fans could’ve asked for, the whole band did a meet and greet afterwards and took photos with what appeared to be every fan present.
Watching, listening, and witnessing the whole night gave me hope that these moments in history haven’t died, and the relationship between music and listener will continue to be closely personal. After all, what’s the point of making music if you don’t want to connect with the world on some level? - by Katlyn Fledderus