Friday, November 30, 2007

More favourites.

FN is busy packing her Toronto life away. She is leaving me and moving to Berlin for 9 months! This is crazy. It hasn't hit me yet . . . no more gourmet dinners!

Last night I went to Massey for a lecture. And then I went to Sneaky Dee's for Cold Dead Hands' EP release (for Novelization). SH didn't show up---what kind of friend would not cough up $5 to come to his good friend's release party? Even after he'd told me I'd better come? (Not only did I show up as promised, SH, but I bought the EP too.) But I had a great time! I met new people and got to see a couple of my favourite Toronto groups in addition to enjoying CDH's set: Barons and Lengthy, and The Vulcan Dub Squad. I thought B & L was fantastic last night. I was a bit down on B & L last time I saw them, but they've completely won me over. Could it be that they're better than Foxfire Forest? I'm thinking yes. I was even dressed like a real B & L groupie, which may have put me in the right headspace ;-). It had been too long since I last/first saw The VDS. They are just great, and a real class act. I must see them again soon.

I think I might stay in tonight to clean and get some work done. Because tomorrow the other conference organizers are coming over for an all-day panel-making party. We have about 80 proposal to sift through, and we can only take half of them. After that's done I'm going to the Rock Lottery at Sneaks. I love that place.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Good days.

Tuesday was a good day. It started out with a free lunch at Trinity. The Trin One kids were doing a quiz, and friend CS invited me to be one of the judges of the international relations questions. There turned out to be no need for me, but I participated and it was fun.

The next fun thing was going to the Cameron House after my day at school, to catch Maylee Todd, Dan Werb, and Sky Shark perform short sets. And it was great! Maylee has a wonderful voice and her charming, warm personality filled the room with happiness. She played a little guitar, and then a big harp. Dan Werb, whom I've also only seen as part of Woodhands so far, did a solo piano and voice set. Wonderful stuff, really. Maylee joined him in singing a song. A couple guys from The Trews were there to hear Maylee and Dan, and Sean couldn't get over how excellent he thought they both were. He was not completely sober, but he seemed sincerely appreciative. He was a highlight of the night in and of himself! Sky Shark was entertaining, and my friends (all new-ish or completely new) ate it all up. The whole evening was just fantastic.

But it wasn't over yet! Afterward, I dashed home, grabbed a bottle of wine, and walked over to PB's house to celebrate his birthday. It was a smallish gathering for him---meaning not very small at all---but the people who were there were quite awesome. The festivities moved to the Pour House so PB's housemates could get some sleep. When the bar closed, a few stalwarts headed off in the direction of Vesta Lunch; I went home. I had to get up early (for me) the next day!

Wednesday has been a good day so far too. I had a quick meeting at school this morning, and then came home for lunch. After eating I headed down to Queen West and spent a whole lot of money on clothing and a new pair of boots. I seriously spent a lot of money on some of the pieces, but I really like all of them. I didn't buy anything boring, and I tried to mix it up a bit: blacks and bright colours! I also gave in a bought a pair of skinny jeans. We'll see how these go over. I think they're alright, but even if I don't love them after giving them a try, they were only $40 or so. Of course, I still need more clothes. ;-)

I do have one small complaint, though: the absolute worst music was being played at H&M and Zara. (Completely uninspiring music for mostly uninspired clothing. I am becoming a real snob, eh.) I was only just willing to put up with the pop-y awfulness to purpose sweatshop/child labour-made pieces. At Aritzia, a Spoon album was playing---thank goodness. I didn't notice the tunes at other places . . . no doubt a good sign.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Why I didn't make progress on my dissertation today.

I got up early to read a draft chapter for a reading group meeting. The chapter was actually fairly well done, and led to some interesting discussion later. Though during the meeting I was sitting beside a squirmy, cute 16-month-old child, I was more interested in the history being spoken about then the girl. So it's just more proof that kids are probably not in my future.

And then I came home and was tired, so I read part of a new book that will be super useful for my own work. (In a general, historiographical, kind of way.)

In the early evening I spent a couple hours putting together a "mix tape," which felt a little silly but also was fun. Massey is doing a "mix tape" exchange. For some reason I wanted to participate. Even though I mostly only listen to music at shows. And when I'm at home I mostly only listen to music I've already heard at shows. More proof that it's more about the people/experience of music for me than about the actual music. I do, however, have definite likes and dislikes, so I suppose I care about music somewhat . . . I don't know; my brain hurts.

It's now after dinner and I'm taking notes from a book. This is incredibly tedious and so not what I want to be doing right now. I think I'll go back to reading that book. Which I totally shouldn't do, but maybe it'll put me to sleep.

I'm getting a headache just thinking about working right now. Pain.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Indie Music 11.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more, and never ones that require advance ticket purchases. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

This week the holiday charity shows get started in earnest. Competing with a solid lineup at Sneaks and another promises-to-be-good No Shame production on Thursday is Maylee and Slippers' workout party at the Boat; on Friday head over to the Rancho for a TWM charity show; Saturday at Sneaks there's a special Rock Lottery with a stellar bunch of musicians participating; and a Rock-A-Thon is happening all day at the Boat on Sunday. So this week you can get your indie fix and feel extra good about it.

I haven't listed shows happening at the Bovine (Queen W near Bathurst) this week. If you're curious, see their event listings here. I went there last night and had a blast. Tranzac (Brunswick just south of Bloor) showcases all kinds interesting of jazz, folk, and experimental acts. You can find their calendar of events here. It's not my scene, but there's definitely good quality music there on a regular basis. For a good all-round selection of musical happenings, check out Carl Wilson's Zoilus guide here. And, there are always lots of other inexpensive non-indie music/dance things happening outside the entertainment district. Let me know if you want some ideas about where to find out about these.

MONDAY (nov 26)

Indie Acoustic Songwriter Series with host Zach Kellum @ Supermarket, 9pm, $5.

Shoeless Monday featuring Magillvary Brothers (classic rock cover band) @ 11:30, Later That Same Day @ 10:30, and Blurred Vision @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, free.

TUESDAY (nov 27)

A Toronto Comic Jam featuring Sky Shark w/ Maylee Todd (from Woodhands and the Adorables, and Dan Werb (from Woodhands, doing a solo accoustic set) @ The Cameron House (Front Room), 8-10pm, free, followed by Run With the Kittens. I could very well show up to this.

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite featuring Zuku @ 12:00, Julia Set Generator @ 11:10, The Waking Eyes (Winnipeg) @ 10:20, and Bury The Bully @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, free.

WEDNESDAY (nov 28)

* Madrid (EP release and "Out to Sea" video premiere) w/ Off the International Radar, and a Vitaminsforyou DJ set @ The Drake Underground, 9pm, $5 or $10 with CD.

Pitter Patter Nights presents The Feminists @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

The Waking Eyes (Winnipeg) @ Supermarket, 9pm.

Local Hard Rock featuring Don't Church @ 11:15, Faithdown @ 10:15 and Stain On Society @ 9:15, Lee's Palace, $6.

Epigram w/ Flood, 8-Bit Revolution, and Sun Satellite @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5.

The Adores @ Tranzac (Southern Cross Lounge), 10pm.

THURSDAY (nov 29)

As usual, there is too much to do on Thursday night.

* The Maylee & Slippers Sweatshop Hop w/ Peter Project and DJ Darrin Scott @ The Boat, 9pm, $5. Watch the promotional video. "This Is a Workout Party . . . Maylee Todd (fitness instructor to jesus) will lead you in sweating and muscle-building, Slippers (guy who hears outer space) will be laying down the beats, and you workout in your workout clothes, and drink booze, and pick up hotties, and get sweaty with the rest of us sweaty bodies. . . . DJ Darrin Scott will pick up where we leave off. . . . After his set of boogaloo, you get to hear Peter Project. . . . Bring canned goods to use during workout, and donate to a food bank." Maylee is all kinds of cute.
Dance parties at the Boat are all kinds of fun.

* The Vulcan Dub Squad w/ Cold Dead Hands (EP release), Ryan Masters, THe WitHouts, and Barons and Lengthy @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $5. I may check this out.

No Shame presents Ghost Bees, Saffron Sect, and Evening Hymns @ The Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5. I've never not had a great time at a No Shame show.

Pear Shaped (CD release) w/ Captain Caveman and Sandro Perri @ The Silver Dollar Room,
9pm, $5.

Sunshine State @ Supermarket, 9pm.

Miss Scarlett (CD release) w/ Jenny Omnichord, Entire Cities, and Cunt Art @ Tranzac (Main Hall), 8pm, $5.

Sonic Unyon Indie Rock featuring A Northern Chorus, Bellewoods, Wax Mannequin, and Tusks @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $8.

MusiCan benefit show featuring The Sea Inside @ 11:15, The Racket @ 10:15, and All For Nothing @ 9:15, Lee's Palace, $8.

FRIDAY (nov 30)

Pitter Patter Nights presents Code Pie (Montreal), Street Light Light, and Flying Eyes @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Two Way Monologues' charity show featuring Golden Hands Before God, Key Witness, and Kansas City Shuffle @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $7. I'll be here if I'm anywhere (unless I'm at Sneaks).

Trinket Trance presents Mariposa, Secret Public, The Good Ideas, and Donlands and Mortimer
@ Concord Cafe, 9:30 pm sharp, $6 or pwyc.

Indie Pop featuring Roflcopter @ 12:30, Wildlife @ 11:30, Black Hat Brigade @ 10:30, and Dress Whites @ 9:30, Lee's Palace, $7.

Roger Edwards Annual XMas Fundraiser featuring Bunkhouse Romeo playing 2 sets @ 10:30 and midnight, The Horseshoe Tavern, $10 minimum donation or pwyc.


DJ Shit la Merde @ Sneaky Dee's, 10pm, $5.

Goin' Steady @ The Boat, 10pm, $5.

SATURDAY (dec 1)

* Rock Lottery featuring members of Woodhands, Blood Ceremony, The River, Jewish Legend, Entire Cities, and many more @ Sneaky Dee's, $7. "25 of Toronto's Finest & Bravest Unite for 1 Night. On the morning of Dec 1st, 25 musicians will gather and draw numbers out of a hat to randomly separate into 5 bands. These 5 bands have 7 hours to write a few original songs, enough to fill a 20min set. Everyone regroups that night at Sneaky Dees to show you what they've got. Proceeds go to the Regent Park School of Music. Bands go on at 10:30pm." I'll be there!

The Northwest Division (EP release) and Kensington Station @ Neutral (349A College), 10pm,

Demon's Claws (Montreal) w/ Marvelous Darlings and Teenanger @ Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5.

Last Pogo TO Punk Rock 29th Anniversary featuring The Mods, The Existers, Screamin Sam & The Screwed, and The Raclones @ The Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, $8.

SUNDAY (dec 2)

Wavelength 391 featuring First Person Shooter, Tank Hearts, Pants and Tie, and DJ Caesarian Selection @ Sneaky Dee's 9pm, pwyc.

Graveyards (Wolf Eyes side project), Disguises, Bottom Feeder @ Teranga, 10 pm, $6.

Soundproof Magazine and Pitter Pater Nights presents Rock-A-Thon @ The Boat, noon, $5. Fundraiser for CHUM/City Christmas Wish. "There will be door prizes and raffle tickets for sale . . . . Grand prize is a Nintendo DS Lite." DJ Lawrence and DJ Shoe from Kensington Station will be spinning between sets as well as the incomparable DJ Matt Rock. Here's the lineup:
12:00 Ian Strung
12:30 Pixie Moonshine
1:00 Ontario Power Generation
1:50 Static Lab
2:40 Malfunktion
3:30 The Narc Attack
4:20 Proposterous
5:10 Curses!
6:00 Fine Motor Control
6:50 Bound
7:40 Love Kills
8:30 Fire Hydrant
9:20 Now Yr Taken
10:10 Daddy Ashes
11:00 The Postage Stamps

Tin Bangs and the beautiful people.

FN's going away bash was indeed much fun. It started out at the Embassy with FN getting hit on by all the hipsters in the joint---ok, I exaggerate, but not much---and ended at Massimo's at 3:30am. In between, the party moved to the Red Room once we realized that our friends were being turned away because the Embassy was at capacity! In the middle of things. MB and I skipped out for an hour and a half to take in Tin Bangs at the Bovine.

Oh my. As I've written here before, the guys of Tin Bangs are fantastic performers. There are some real showmen in that group, folks. As MB pointed out to me excitedly as we walked back to the Red Room, each one has his own look and persona, and it comes across as totally sincere. They aren't posers; they aren't assholes. (In fact, the two guys I've talked to after shows seem genuinely nice.) Just pure rock performance brilliance. Great stuff. The songs are good, but the live shows are better. And the singer/guitarist, Ben, is, well, wow. If he was my thing, I'd be left speechless after seeing him perform. To be clear: the guy is hot. Robbie, the drummer, is incredible to watch. He's all kinds of entertaining. I had a couple more close calls with Ben's and guitarist Bryan's instruments during the set, but survived unscathed.

My only complaint was that the crowd wasn't that into it. MB and I were of course dancing it up at the front; almost no one else was. What the hell. I was disappointed in you, crowd. Ben kept having to ask people to "come closer." I was as close as I could get, and there was lots of room around me. Even an extended version of their last song, featuring Ben climbing over a railing, grabbing a tray full of shots from the edge of the bar, and handing them out to people---all while the band played on---didn't get most people into the show. Being at the front I didn't have to pay the crowd much attention, so I will put its behaviour out of my mind. Whoever is managing Tin Bangs is doing a good job, but the lesson I'd take from last night is: Don't play at the Bovine.

Last night was an EP release for the group; their next EP release---the fourth and final one in a monthly series---is happening at Lee's Palace on 15 December with These Electric Lives, The I Spies, and Songs From a Room. Awesome lineup! I'm so there. So there.

This was my first time at the Bovine. I would totally go back there, though the bands that play there tend to be a bit too hard rock for my tastes.

Back at the Red Room, the assembled FN-lovers from her many social circles were no end of entertainment. Lots of great people came out to wish her off to Berlin in a few days.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Non-indie Friday.

I was annoyed with myself on Friday because I was late to a meeting of our student society. Being a few minutes late meant I missed a by-election. Usually I wouldn't care, but I wanted to run for this position. I've been doing the job informally all term, so it would have been nice to have it formalized. No dice. I am slightly disgruntled that someone else will get to have this title---someone who hasn't been doing what I've been doing since September---but it's completely my own fault. But, as EW pointed out at lunch, it's not like I need another line on my cv under "Service." Quite right.

Last night FN and I had parties to go to, so we did that. We had good, clean, non-indie fun. Tonight is FN's going-away bash at the Embassy! Should be tons and tons of fun. Some of the same excellent folks we hung out with yesterday, plus others. I'm looking forward to it. Though I'm also looking forward to getting more work done on my dissertation. I'd be really nice to have half my chapter done (in terrible draft form) by the time I meet with my supervisor in December . . . .

Friday, November 23, 2007

No Shame. Wow.

I did some stuff school-related yesterday. And then went to dinner with my FN and my favourite Toronto couple (AG and JC, yes!) to this great sushi restaurant in Yorkville, called Asuka. That was really loads of fun. That, plus good tutorials and a good lunch and chat with a fellow history grad student earlier in the day, and I could have chalked it up to an awesome day in the life of Jen.

But then I went to No Shame, and wow. I've mentioned this Thursday night indie show at Tiger Bar before on this blog. I just love it. I went last night because We're Scared was playing, as well as a band Lauren told me she was excited about seeing: Harvee. When I arrived at the College St. Diner, though, I saw on the sign that the first two acts were playing, but Harvee had been replaced by something called Oh No Holy Fucking Forest Fires. What the? Clearly, Rajiv would be involved, but I didn't know what was up. Turns out snow kept Harvee away, and Rajiv (from Oh No Forest Fires) and Brad (from Holy Fuck) had agreed to fill in. Excellent!

First up was The Books Elusive, a rock duo with matching shirts. Good. Then We're Scared, who entertained with their friendly melodies and all around warmth and charm on stage. (This is me blogging about you, Paul, as you requested.) More and more people arrived during their set, so that there was lots of good energy in the audience. What's not to love about this pairing? I can't think of anything.

Between sets there were a bunch of great people to talk to. Half of LLIONS was there, as was Dan from Woodhands, and etc. But then Rajiv and Brad started playing and I don't think any of us were prepared for what was coming. The first two acts of the night were fairly disparate in style, and this last pairing continued this theme. But, oh my, what brilliance! I wish I knew much more about music so I could appreciate what we witnessed. It was just incredible. Rajiv (on bass and all kinds of equipment) and Brad on drums rocked out for a solid hour. No joke. I was exhausted by this point, but I couldn't not be up at the front for most of that hour. They played a few covers, including a Joel Plaskett song and Holy Fuck's Super Inuit. By the end, not many more than 10 of us were left, but it was worth staying.

After everyone cleared out I went to Sneaky Dee's with a few other people, and just generally had an excellent time. (I'd never hung out with these people off the dance floor before, or at all.) I was home by 3am. Which, actually, marked the 24 hour mark for how long I'd been awake that day (except for an hour nap in the afternoon).

Seriously: good day at school, amazing sushi dinner with excellent company, great show and hanging out with new friends at my two favourite College St. haunts. Wow.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

I'm better; I'm working.

Ok, I'm feeling much less like a crazed grad student today. All seems well with the world.

Yesterday was busy, but good. Although I did for a few hours think I hadn't been invited to a supervisor's book launch. I happened upon it when I arrived at Massey to set up a junior fellow lecture. First thing upon entering the building, I see the book . . . and then my main supervisor (now at Oxford)! Totally unexpected. Over the next few minutes I realized all these people I knew were there, and I hadn't even heard about it! Was feeling a little put out. But once I got home I discovered a phone message with the invitation. Phew. I couldn't have made it anyways, but it's good to know I wasn't completely forgotten.

Today I've been working, and have actually made some headway on my chapter. It hurts my brain, so I'm taking a break by putting together all 77 paper proposals the grad conference I'm helping organize received. Seventy-seven! I don't think we can even accept half that number.

And I now know that my supervisor hasn't forgotten about me, and we'll meet up in December when she's back in Toronto. Better have something more than what I've got now to show her . . . eek.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

No surprise here.

A, I am more Canadian than you ;-).

What American accent do you have? (Best version so far)


People from outside North America probably think you're from the States, but over here we wouldn't make such a mistake.

Personality Test Results

Click Here to Take This Quiz
Brought to you by quizzes and personality tests.

A bit of a wreck.

I am stressed. (But better now than a day ago.)
I am not sleeping well.
I am not prepared for class in the afternoon.
I am not eating enough.
I want to work on my dissertation.
I've been ordering (and receiving in the mail - yay!) books for my dissertation.
I am running out of shelf space for said books.
I have a 4-drawer, legal-sized filling cabinet waiting to be built.
On Monday evening I did not go to an event I said I probably would go to. Oh, and I didn't go to a lecture at school that I'd signed up for.
Today I am busy at school from 1:15pm to 9:15pm.
I am getting a headache.
I talked to a fellow grad student Monday afternoon and feel better about things, dissertation-wise, but only a little bit.
I am a bit of a wreck these days.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Necessary Woodhands.

Yesterday was difficult. If not outwardly, then I was certainly feeling very stressed out internally. I was tense and on edge and just generally disappointed with certain people. It didn’t help that I had slept the daylight hours away, waking up at 6pm. This was just in time to get ready and go to dinner with good friends JDS and TC, who now make their home in New Haven, CT. It was great to see them—they look the same! Except for JDS’s large, pregnant belly!—but the assembled group took its toll on me. I am sensitive to people being unpleasant; I can’t just dismiss it without their attitudes affecting me emotionally. Add to this my sense of aggravation at e-mails from a professor that I have to deal with: aargghhh! Said professor (thankfully not someone on my committee) is a problem.

All this is to say that by the time I got to Sneaky Dee’s last night, I was extremely glad to be there. The first person I saw was lovely PB: a harbinger of good things to come, no doubt! I let off some steam to poor SH and MB, but felt better after getting things off my chest. But it wasn’t until I talked to more people there and saw the first two acts that I started to finally feel relaxed. And just thinking about all this—and how annoyed I was by Ten Kens on Friday night—is stressing me out now! But I digress. Getting back to last night . . .

Garbarge! Violence! Enthusiasm! Yes! This is a totally appropriate name for this threesome. They are crazy. There’s just no better word that I can think of to describe them. SH was totally into what they were doing—throwing computer keyboards at each other, etc. I’d seen them before at PB’s trekfest, where they were done up in ST uniforms and fought each other with cardboard/duct tape bat’leths. It was something.

Next up was Kingston’s Magic Jordan, playing their first show in Toronto. (The bass player I’d seen before performing with Nich Worby at Tiger Bar.) Good stuff, though I wasn’t really that into it. I flitted in and out of caring—and on and off the dance floor—but that’s more a comment on my own state of mind than on what was being offered up on stage. EH arrived during their set and thought they were great. I think they’d be worth seeing again.

Finally, Woodhands. And I do mean “finally.” It had been two months since I’d seen them, and this time PB promised a “full-length set.” Just back from (another) eastern tour, they were excellent. Some of the regular groupies were out in force, and them combined with G!V!E! meant there was good-natured “dancing” (read: pushing and shoving) near the stage. I didn’t manage to stay out of it, but after a couple of songs found myself right in front of the stage and avoided the moshing (for the most part). But really, it was all okay since everyone was having a blast and dancing like mad. And it was just what I needed after several days of stress. Thank you, Woodhands. More, please.

After their set I and everyone else needed some time to come down from our respective Woodhands’ highs. Water was definitely in order, as was chatting with friends new, old, and indie. Good times. Necessary times.

Indie Music 10.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

The week starts out with two solid lineups on offer at the Horseshoe. The music is more standard rock fare than indie pop-rock, but there's enough variety to keep all but the most hardcore indie scenester happy. And, these shows won't cost you a thing. If you're looking for something to take your mind off school for a bit, head down to Queen West. I've got recommendations for Thursday through Saturday, again with plenty of variety. The Boat and Tiger Bar are good bets all week, and a couple popular indie dance parties are happening on the weekend. Although there aren't a ton a shows to choose from, you should for sure find something to your liking between Monday and Sunday.

As I write this I've got Woodhands stuck in my head. Great stuff. I seriously needed that show Saturday night. NEEDED.

At shows I am almost always to be found right up at the front, mere inches from the stage if I can manage it. I recommend this spot, unless you aren't into the music, in which case you should go drink and talk (and check out the crowd) at the back. There's a totally different vibe in different parts of a venue/crowd, so it's important to find the right spot for you. I hate being behind people. I go out to hear and see the performers---and hopefully talk to them afterward!---so it's annoying when I don't feel like I'm doing that. But do bring earplugs, because the front is usually the loudest spot. And depending on the act, beware of musicians suddenly jumping off stage and their wayward guitars threatening you with a concussion, as well as the excited dancers at the front who will knock you over if you aren't careful. (This isn't usually a problem, though.)

MONDAY (19 nov)

Shoeless Monday featuring The Feeling United @ 11:30, Derek Lathrop from Adams Rib @ 10:30, and The Earthmen @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, free.

I may go check out this non-musical event: Grownups Read Things They Wrote as Kids 3 @ Victory Cafe, 8pm, free. Details here and here.

TUESDAY (20 nov)

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman’s Nu Music Nite featuring The Last True Gentlemen @ 12:00, Summerside @ 11:10, The Struggle Fish @ 10:20, and One Second 2 Late @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, free.

Sky Shark w/ Mantler and The People of Canada @ The Cameron House (front room), 8-10pm, free. Followed by Run With The Kittens.

The Williamson Playboys w/ Boiled Wieners @ The Cameron House (back room), 8-10pm, free. Sketch (musical) comedy.

WEDNESDAY (21 nov)

Pre-Grey Cup Party presents B. A. Johnston @10:00 and 11:30, w/ Sean Ward and The Realness feat. DJ Human Kebab, Horseshoe Tavern, 9pm, free. "Watch as Sean Ward and B.A. Johnston musically recapitulate the age-old struggle between Hamilton and Toronto!" If for some reason you care about the CFL . . . .

Pitter Patter Nights presents Acres (Ottawa) and Cedar @ The Boat, $5.

Sarah Burton (CD release) w/ Cindy Doire, and The Ory No'Man Too, Supermarket, 8:30pm.

THURSDAY (22 nov)

* Tafelmusik w/ Rock Plaza Central, CBC taping, Trinity St. Paul's Church (427 Bloor St. West), 7pm sharp start time, free. This sounds great!! And once that's done, grab some dinner and then walk down to College for . . .

* No Shame presents Harvee (Valleyfield, QC), We’re Scared, and The Books Elusive @ The Tiger Bar, 9pm, $5. This will be awesome. No Shame's Lauren is uber excited about Harvee; the woman's got great taste. I am looking forward to We're Scared too. (Amy and Paul are great.) So I will be there.

Thee Diet Pills vs The Salarymen, hosted by Terror Lake @ The Boat, $5. Ummm . . . I'll let the The Salarymen explain: "We kill new enemy Diet Pill band with giant Kamikaze force. Terror Lake host gracious fight for death. Next we play Japanese Video Game for lock n’ loll supremacy. BANZAI!!!!" And now I'll let Thee Diet Pills explain: "ROCK OFF! Thee Diet Pills v. the Salarymen , hosted by Terrror Lake. this is happening! DJ Steve Shoe with guest referee Keith Hamilton." And finally, the host: "- - DEATH MATCH - - DIET PILLS vs. THE SALARYMEN {Terror Lake remains neutral at this time..}" This sounds ridiculous.

Blood Ceremony, Mean Red Spiders, Saffron Sect, Captain Caveman @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm.

The Knifings @ El Mocambo (first floor), 10pm, $5.

Six Shooter Roots Alt Country presents NQ Arbuckle @ 11:30, Jason Plumb and The Willing (CD release) @ 10:30, and Shannon Lee Briggs @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, $8.

FRIDAY (23 nov)

* Pop With Brains # 12 presents Zuku w/ Five Blank Pages, Eden Ants, Black Hat Brigade, and Neighbourhood Noise @ The Rivoli, 9pm, $5. Hosted by comedian Fraser Young. Proceeds go to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

* Pitter Patter Nights presents The Wooden Sky, Great Bloomers, The Weather Station @ The Boat, 9pm, $5. Huh . . . good lineup! Lighter, more folky fare, and pretty music. Definitely recommended . . . though not if you’re looking for something to keep you energized. For that you might be better off at Tiger Bar . . .

Easy Tiger presents Everything All The Time w/ The Outfit @ Tiger Bar, 10 pm, $5. After the bands, stay and dance the night away. This could well be a good show too. I just don't know the bands (yet!).

Never Forgive Action & Do Right! Music present Never Forgive Action vs Circle Research, Round 2. "Classic Hip Hop all night!" Supermarket, 10pm, $5.

Kick Ass Rock N Roll! presents The Guv'nor Generals @ 1:00, Oliver Black @ 11:30, Brad Monk and The Union Band @ 10:30, and Chris Eaton @ 9:30, The Horseshoe Tavern, $8.

The Parkdale Revolutionary Orchestra (CD release) w/ The Silt and more @ The Tranzac (main hall), 9pm, $10 (or $15 and you get the CD).


Shake A Tail at Sneaky Dee's, 10pm, $5. 1960s dance party. This is their second anniversary event.

SATURDAY (24 nov)

The Acorn is performing at Soundscapes record store (572 College St.), 5pm, free. While you're there, pick up tickets for upcoming shows (that cost more than $10).

Cavalcade Of Lights concert featuring Jully Black, Murray Mclauchlan, Sarah Slean, Louise Pitre, Kim Stockwood, Nikki Yanofsky, and The Imani Gospel Singers @ Nathan Phillips Square, 7 pm, free.

* Tin Bangs (EP release pt 3), with Fox Jaws @ Bovine Sex Club, 10pm, $5, and you get a copy of the EP for free. I experienced Tin Bangs a few weeks ago, and, oh my. These guys are fantastic performers. I've got something important to do that night, but if I can slip out for a bit, this is where I'll be.

Clothes Make The Man w/ Silent Seymour, and Charlemagne (Hamilton) @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $8.

Paperbag Indie CD Release presents The Acorn (Ottawa) @ 12:00, Bruce Peninsula @ 11:00, and Laura Barrett @ 10:00, The Horseshoe Tavern, $10. Laura Barrett is just so cool and uniquely talented, and I'm pretty sure all the indie boys are in love with her.


Yo! Remember the 90s? Retro dance party @ Teranga, 10pm, $5. I've yet to catch a show or dance party at Teranga in Kensington Market, but showcased some good acts lately. And being right across the street from The Boat, it can't be all that bad, now can it?

Zoi Zoi @ The Boat, 10pm, $5. French pop music from the ages. I didn't love it when I went, but maybe you will when you go. (Still had a good time, though.) This is the last one "for a while."

SUNDAY (25 nov)

Wavelength 390, The Silt, Sister Suvi, Barnyard Drama, Yellow Umbrella (opera singers) + DJ Rubpunzel @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, pwyc. See more about this show and the Wavelength series here.

Pitter Patter Nights presents Primes (Vancouver) w/ Sincere Trade @ The Boat, 9pm, $5.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Fantastic Five Blank Pages.

I love these guys more and more every time I see them. And last night Five Blank Pages was fantastic. Really. Playing in the second slot of the Two Way Monologues showcase at Rancho Relaxo, they undoubtedly earned themselves some new fans. Their music is infectious---in a good way!---and the band members' personalities come across well on stage: appropriately fun and nice and welcoming, with just the right amount of excitement. Great stuff. FBP plays shows all over southern Ontario, so if you live at all close to the GTA there's no reason why you can't catch them live. And make sure to pick up a copy of their new full-length album, Last Blush. I've seen this group a handful of times now, and they are consistently good, but I think last night they were the best I've seen them. *Gush*

Now, to the rest of the evening.

JH and I arrived in plenty of time to catch the start of now-moribund The Incidentals' set. This band's sound didn't quite fill the room like FBP's did, but with catchy tunes and a good onstage vibe, they are hard to dislike. I felt like I'd heard some of their songs many times before. I haven't, but my point is that they feel familiar and make me want to sing along even though I don't know the words. The trio played a few new songs, so we'll get to hear those again when the band resurfaces at Young Mother sometime in the spring. Good luck recording, guys!

I was looking forward to hearing the headliners, Ten Kens. There's been some buzz around this group, and their MySpace offerings are good. But, well, I just didn't like them live. As I am wont to do, I did my best to get into what they were doing. It didn't work, and before the end of their set MB and I just couldn't take it anymore, so we left. (JH left a couple songs earlier.) They weren't actually bad; their shtick did nothing for me. I felt no desire to talk to the band members afterward. For me, this is a bad sign. Maybe it should be all about the music, but it's not: if I think you're uninteresting and giving off a prima donna attitude for no earthly reason that I can discern, then I probably won't like your music. But don't take my word for it.

MB and I ended the evening at the revamped Massimo's. And CLM was there too. Small world. (DT, with whom I went to high school and who I now run into at indie shows, was at the Rancho too last night.)

Friday, November 16, 2007

I am tired.

Today I will stay in and laze about and hopefully get some work done between naps. And then tonight I'll go out. Somewhere. Not sure which show yet.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007


While I was at Massey Tuesday evening for the junior fellow lecture, I met two guys who were taught by both my father and grandfather back at Ashbury College in Ottawa. They graduated high school in 1990---8 years before I did---and both also attended the junior school, which is where my dad and granddad taught. It was so random meeting those two.

I introduced myself to one of the men because he was an unfamiliar face, and he was sitting with a friend of mine. Then I saw him later and asked him again what his name was, because of course I had forgotten. It turned out that he was just visiting the college with an alum friend of his, who presently appeared. We introduced ourselves to each other. The man's first name was familiar.

See, at some point in the recent past I noticed that one of my father's old students seemed to have a connection to Massey. (I think I saw that he became "friends" with Masseyites I knew on Facebook.) I'd heard this guy's name a lot growing up: my dad was very fond of him and he was very bright, etc. So I remembered his uncommon name and noticed it. Then when I heard the friend's name, I asked him was his surname was . . . and, sure enough, it was him! "You know my father, DP!" "Yes, Mr. P! He was my favourite. Actually, we both know him, and his father too." Crazy!

They proceeded to tell me a few stories, but by then the lecture was starting, and as an organizer, I had to dash off. I got the men's business cards, and later e-mailed my dad to let him know. He will get a kick out of his happening, for sure. (My grandfather died in 1989, and he had Alzheimer's, so I don't remember much about him. But he made a big impression on the two guys I met last night. It was nice to hear.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Damn chapter.

This damn thing is taking absolutely forever. The existing secondary literature that I need to internalize is excellent and deep and detailed and it doesn't matter how many times I read it, I still need to read it again. Diplomatic history, with all these different individuals making all kinds of decisions on a daily basis, is complicated! And then of course there's everything going on in New York and Washington and London and Moscow and etc. But I'm ignoring those things for the moment.

There was so much swirling around Americans in Petrograd (etc.) in 1917-1918 that it makes my brain hurt trying to figure it all out. And I need to place the American Red Cross and YMCA work in the midst of it. I go to write one sentence, and it's like: shit, now I have to go read about the Root Mission. And the thing is, I've read about this so many times before, but I can't for the life of me remember what I need to to write about it. SIGH.

I think I'm writing too much, but I also think I need to write it all out before I know what I can take out. You know? For me, the thinking process is tied directly to the writing process. If I don't write out what happened, I can't have properly thought-out thoughts on it. At least, I don't think so. Chronology and personality and context are all important because the individuals mattered a lot and the situation changed constantly. The only constant was confusion . . . but that's not really a constant at all, now, is it?!

Ok. I gotta get back to reading. (The book I'm on now is a fantastic study, very impressive in its consideration of the complexities, etc. I need to memorize it.) I just hope my committee members get that I am working even if I don't have anything concrete to show them.

Good thing I've got things to take my mind off my work every so often. I would wallow in despair and self-pity at my own inability to produce if I didn't. (Yes, I have a great life, and I wouldn't trade it for anything. But that doesn't negate the fact that writing a dissertation is difficult. I love it, but I also love to complain about it.)

Not to worry, though: I still love my topic :-)

Monday, November 12, 2007

Wavelength 388: Remember Toronto.

Great show tonight. I don't have the energy to give you a full rundown, so let's just say it was very well done, ran smoothly for the most part, had a great vibe, and everyone seemed to be having a good time celebrating music and publishing and Toronto.

I introduced myself to a bunch of people I'd seen before (in bands and otherwise) and will certainly see them all again soon. I ran into a couple friends I hadn't seen in years. I got a taste of Hip-Hop Karaoke . . . and, wow: what fun! I got stepped on by Jonny Dovercourt. (His band's covers were ridiculously amazing.) I finally got to see The Bicycles. Etc.

Now I must dissertate.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Indie Music 9.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

Here we go again.

A note on times: The times I've indicated below usually mean "door" time. So, you can start going at the time indicated, but the music doesn't usually get started for another 45 minutes or more. Go early and start drinking in preparation for dancing up a storm, or show up later hoping to catch the first strums of the opening act.

I've seen some great shows in the past few months. Good music, cool venues, friendly bookers and promoters, musicians happy to chat between sets, the occasional free CD, and more . . . what else could one ask for? Let me know if you want to join me for anything. We'll have a fun time. As much as I love school and all things having to do with it, it's great to meet and hang out with people who have nothing to do with U of T, or at least nothing to do with anything I have to do with at U of T. It clears my head.

If you want to check something out but aren't sure about how you'll like the scene, good places to start are the No Shame shows at Tiger Bar on Thursday nights and the Sunday night Wavelength shows at Sneaky Dee's. No Shame especially has a constantly good lineup scheduled, and the crowd is usually pretty decent too. Wavelength can be hit and miss depending on your music tastes, but Dee's (or Sneaks) is an excellent place to hear live music. There aren't usually tons of people, so you can take things in without feeling claustrophobic. Drinks are relatively inexpensive at both places, and excellent late-night pizza (Massimo's) is close by!

Here's this week's lineup of cheap indie (mostly) music:

MONDAY (12 nov)

Shoeless Monday featuring Andy Butler @ 12:00, Punger @ 11:10, Night Life @ 10:20, and Wildbirds (Fox Valley, WI) @ 9:30. The Horsehoe Tavern, free.

TUESDAY (13 nov)

The Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman’s Nu Music Nite featuring The Balance @ 12:00, The Amber Room @ 11:10, Hello Beautiful @ 10:20, and Prize Fighter @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, free.

Pitter Patter Nights presents Jewelry Rat w/ Bicyclette, and The Miles @ the Boat, 9pm, $5.

WEDNESDAY (14 nov)

Ummm... nothing particularly indie that I can see. Check the Zoilus gig guide for non-indie options. There's a jazz-improv festival happening at Tranzac, if you're into that sort of thing. It starts Tuesday and runs through Friday.

THURSDAY (15 nov)

TONS, TONS, TONS to do. Here are my top 4 picks, in order of what they'll cost you, followed by the rest of what's on in no particular order.

* Born Ruffians @ Hart House (Arbor Room), 9pm, free.

* No Shame presents The Mission District (Montreal), The I Spies, and Love Kills @ The Tiger Bar, 9pm $5.

* Clipd Beaks (San Francisco), Hot Friends (debut), and The Deathset (Baltimore) @ Sneaky Dee's, 9pm, $6.

* Fox Jaws w/ Oh No Forest Fires, and Foxfire Forest @ The Drake Underground, 9pm, $7. Foxfire Forest is taking a bit of a break after this show, I believe. So if you've been meaning to check them out, you should go to this. They are a lot of fun. ONFF is a newish Toronto band that plays intricate indie rock music. They will put on a good show. (They are on my "bands to go see when I can" list.) The Drake Underground is a nice venue, though it will require streetcar'ing it out to west Queen West.

If none of the above appeal to you, then there's still more to do for seven bucks or less:

Constant Crush presents War Child Benefit show at Supermarket, featuring Shortwave, OPOPO, Brigitte, and DJ Nut Notch, 9pm, $7. All proceeds go to War Child Canada.

Hip-Hop Karaoke @ The Boat, 9pm (for signup, with 10pm start), $5. I got a taste of this on Sunday at Wavelength, and . . . what fun! If it's at all your thing, this should prove a blast.

Local Alternative at the Horseshoe Tavern featuring The Stormalongs @ 12:00, The Electric Tigers @ 11:10, Brane @ 10:20, and Sleep To Dream (Halifax) @ 9:30. $4.

Obviously Five Believers, The Salingers, and The Superstitions (Montreal) @ Mitzi's Siter, pwyc.

Local Punk featuring Dark Pearl @ 11:15, Jar @ 10:15, and Kansas City Shuffle @ 9:15, Lee’s Palace, $5.

FRIDAY (16 nov)

Like Thursday, there is just too much to do Friday. I've highlighted 2 shows, but I'd recommend the next two or three for sure also. The rest . . . well, it depends on what you like.

* Two Way Monologues presents Ten Kens, Five Blank Pages, and The Incidentals, playing their last show @ Rancho Relaxo, 9pm, $5. This will be a great show, and the range of indie styles---but with nothing too heavy---will appeal to lots of folks. FBP is one of the bands I go see when I can, and I've liked The Incidentals. Jesse's decided to go in a different musical direction, so this will be The Incidentals' last hurrah. I have yet to see Ten Kens, but hear good things.

* Steam Whistle Unsigned 4 presents The Carps, OPOPO, and The Bicycles @ The Roundhouse, Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner Blvd.), 8pm, $5. Between sets Woodhands' members Dan Werb and Paul Banwatt will spin tunes. What fun! Great bands! Fabulous people! This should be a great show too, certainly more energetic than the TWM showcase. Someone else is excited about it, too. Hmm. Can't be two places at once, unfortunately.

LLIONS w/ Zeroes (Montreal) @ The Drake Underground, 8pm, $5. Wow... these guys are really going somewhere, I guess. Set times are 9pm for Zeroes and 10pm for LLIONS, who are lovely.

Easy Tiger presents One Heart Many Hands (EP release) + Easy Tiger DJs @ Tiger Bar, 10pm, $5. A popular indie dance night that's not totally my scene. Could be yours, though.

Etaoin Shrdlu, Place Hands, Sleeping Pilot @ Teranga, 9:30, $6.

The Nymphets (Montreal), Shitt Hottt, Teenanger, DCT @ Babydolls (227A Ossington just south of Dundas), $5. Yes, this is a strip club. No, there won't be stripping at this show.

"Very Special Secret Dance-worthy Act"---I know who it is; I'm not allowed to tell you---w/ Entire Cities, Andre Charles Therault, Owl Eyes, and the slam poetry of Spencer Butt @ Tranzac (main hall), 7pm, $6. Also raffles and art for sale. This is "a fundraiser on behalf of the Photo Thesis students at OCAD."

Intransit w/ Isle of Thieves @ the Boat, 9pm, $5.

Supernal and All the Brightness @ The Bovine Sex Club, 9pm, $5. If harder stuff is what you're into, check out more show listings at the Bovine here. It's not really my scene---although I am going to a show there next Saturday. Who knows, maybe I'll love it!

Steal the Days, The Corporation, Johnny Exxtasy, Mark St. Aubin @ Smiling Buddha (961 College, just west of Dovercourt), free. This is a small bar. I've never been but maybe I'll check it out one day if I happen to be in the area.


Fuck Faces presents DJs Passions AKA Mathead, Dirty 30, and Nasty Nav @ Sneaky Dee's, 10pm, $5.

SATURDAY (17 nov)

* No Shame presents Plants & Animals, Forest City Lovers, Great Bloomers @ The Drake Underground, 7:30pm, $5. Once you've sampled this, head on over to College and Bathurst for . . .

** Woodhands w/ Garbage! Violence! Enthusiasm!, and Magic Jordan (Kingston) @ Sneaky Dee’s, 9pm, $6. Yes! Yes! Yes! Finally a chance to see Woodhands perform a full-length set, and at one of my favourite venues. You can't keep me away. Oh, and these guys were recently rated no. 25 on a list of "hottest Canadian bands of 2007." So see them before they hit the big time.

Sandro Perri w/ Valery Gore and Melissa Boraski @ Tranzac, 10 pm, pwyc. Perri's got a new album out that's been generating some buzz.

Women Rockin For Charity presents Masia One @ 12:30, Priya Thomas @ 11:30, Tara Slone @ 10:30, and Melissa McClelland @ 9:30. The Horseshoe Tavern, $6. Not my thing, but the Horseshoe is a good place to see and hear live music.


Goin’ Steady @ the Boat, 10pm, $5.

SUNDAY (18 nov)

Wavelength 389, Williamson Playboys @ 12am, Alex Headley @ 11pm, Wee Golden @ 10pm, DJ Gawd Yes @ Sneaky Dee’s, pwyc.

Or, for something else completely different, there's this:

Trinket Trance presents Left Of Zero, Tripping Hazard, and My Flea Circus @ Tiger Bar, 9:30pm, pwyc.


I've just finished a bar of Poulain Ultime Noir 86%. (I don't mean I ate the whole thing now, just that I ate the last part of it today.) It's very good, but now I'm out of chocolate. I'll have to buy more tomorrow.

The Cameron House (Back Room).

On Friday night I ventured off the indie music path I've been on for a few months now, and took in a bit of the city's non-indie rock scene. A friend of mine from the department is friends with a guy from another department who has a band. That band was playing. I've been wanting to check out the Cameron House as a music venue. So we went. FN, MB, and LT came too.

Although we arrived after 10pm, it was nearly an hour before the first act came on. This was The Harold Wartooth, a hard rocking, young-looking foursome with impressive guitar solos and scratchy singing. (For a pre-show mini profile of the band, see Torontoist.) They were pretty decent, but it all sounded like too much of the same for me. And it's too bad about the singer's voice. This stuff just isn't for me, though I appreciate the band's musical chops. During one song we were treated to a long guitar solo by a guy who's name I did not catch [Danny Lindsay, see comment below]---he came up from the audience; the same man later joined the singer to belt out a few lines of a song he wrote (which the band was covering). So that was different.

Next up was the group we came to see, Luz Atomica. I liked these guys better---there was a more variety in their songs---but it's just really not my thing. The rock, funk-rock, and psychedelic-rock tunes were well-played. I was reminded of the Doors at times.

We didn't stay for the last band, but did get a kick out of their groupies in the audience. (Three nice-looking but significantly-older-than-me women, all with large breasts and tight clothing, came in together and hugged an imposing bearded man. They went out frequently to smoke, so there were lots of chances to notice them. Entertaining.) In fact, the crowd was quite different from any I've seen at indie shows. I think, actually, that everyone in the room was either performing that night or a friend of someone who was. Which is kinda unfortunate, really, but there you have it.

The Back Room at the Cameron House is a small space with tables and chairs and benches. You go find a place to sit, talk amongst yourselves, drink, and listen to the music. I'm glad I checked the place out, and now I know what the deal is. I won't go back unless a band I'm really into plays a gig there . . . and that seems unlikely to happen. But if you like rock or the other styles of music on offer, then you should go. It's grungy but clean, the sound is good, the staff friendly, and the patrons might just make the whole thing worth while, if nothing else does.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Turkish dance music in the wee hours.

The woman who lives upstairs is very quiet. Only occasionally do Ihear her cleaning or moving about or listening to music. Except, that is, for the past several days. In fact, it's almost like a different person is living up there now.

Several days ago Turkish dance music started playing one night, and it went on for a while. And since then I've heard it often. It's playing now . . . at 4:50am! I don't imagine it would keep me awake, but I can hear the beat of it. Strange.

Maybe there is someone new upstairs.

Friday, November 09, 2007

No Shame.

I was feeling better after a long day-time sleep, and decided I really should hit up Tiger Bar for the No Shame show Thursday night. I'd told a friend I'd be there, and I was keen to check out the bands and get back out into the scene after nearly a week out of it. I could have stayed home and worked on my dissertation, but I didn't.

Although I'm no expert on such things, I think No Shame at Tiger Bar is the best indie music night in the city. Sure, Wavelength can be great, and so can Pitter Patter Nights at the Boat, but for my tastes, No Shame is consistently good and palatable. Wavelength deserves props for showcasing different kinds of new music and bringing in some great out-of-town acts, and PPN does this well too. But I'm not drawn to every show, like I am with NS. Fortunately, indie aficionados can take in No Shame this month at the Drake Underground, and a couple all ages affairs at Whippersnapper Gallery in December. Unfortunately, there are only a few more Tiger Bar shows left before Lauren takes a break from it all. So, go while you still can!

Last night's lineup was pretty solid. I enjoyed The Schomberg Fair, danced to Barons and Lengthy, and was front and centre for Haligonian Rebekah Higgs. There weren't many people around for the first act, so I was alone listening to the band from the dance floor . . . until a probably drunken Mexican man started grooving beside me. (I did my best to ignore the man, named Julio.) After their set, I met the band and chatted for a while with one of the guys and their manager, whom I'd met at a Wavelength show a few weeks back. It took a long time for B and L to show up and get ready, but I was happy making new friends.

The next group I'd seen before at a Pitter Patter show. This time around, I found it took me a few songs to get into what they were doing. (Maybe I was just distracted by the young people dancing wildly in front of the stage.) But by the end the band had me, and even took my mind off the annoying kids for several moments. No mean feat. Don't get me wrong: I want people to have a good time and dance up a storm as appropriate. But I do mean as appropriate. Well . . . maybe I'm just getting old and grumpy. One thing is for sure: B and L have a following. And it doesn't include people like me. I would add them to my list of "bands to see when I can," but I'm not sure I can handle the groupies. Perhaps I'll give them another shot. I will see them next at Sneaky Dee's toward the end of the month.

The last act of the evening was Rebekah Higgs. She and her two bandmates did yeoman service, performing well music clearly intended for more musicians. I don't think the sound system did them justice, but they made the best of things. I was looking forward to checking her out. In the end, though, I was a little disappointed. I probably wouldn't go out of my way to see her again even though I did enjoy her set. I imagine her albums are better.

I've got to be up and presentable in a few hours, so I'd best see about getting some sleep. Here's to hoping I fall asleep within a reasonable amount of time!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Late night worker.

So I guess this is just how it's gonna be. I get up in the afternoon, do what I have do during the day---go to school, etc.---have a nap after dinner, and then work all night until the wee hours. I recognize this sounds like a terrible schedule, but I can't shake it. I'm sick and tired but I just can't go to sleep like a normal person. Which I suppose is fine except on those days when I have to wake up early and then I will suffer.

But anyways, I've been semi-productive for the past several hours. No, I haven't made headway on the dissertation, but I am going to get going on that now. It's going really slowly. I think it's because I'm trying to hash out a chapter. It just takes a long time to go from notes and primary materials scattered across several different media to prose. A very long time. I remember this stage being the hardest part of my MA. But also it was fun. I'm still waiting for the fun this time around.

I'm going to take it easy this week on the social front. I don't think the illness is going away anytime soon---drugs are the answer to my problems, I'm convinced---so there's no point making it worse. But we'll see how things go, because I wouldn't mind hitting up No Shame on Thursday night.

In unrelated news, the weather is now god damn awful in Toronto. Wet and windy and miserable. Ugh. Welcome, November. (I broke down and ordered a heater from Canadian Tire. This should make my life better, at least when I'm indoors.)

Monday, November 05, 2007

Yes, I am still sick.

And I hate getting up early. FN pointed out to me that I did wake up regularly with an alarm when I was on my research trips, and it was fine. I was tired, but not unhappy. However, right now I don't have to get up in the mornings (usually) and so when I do it's quite the disaster. I guess maybe I'm just unwell and it makes things much worse.

All I want to do is go to sleep. I will do that.

Quiet weekend.

In between surfing the net, compiling my music list, blowing my nose, and coughing, I managed to get a bit done on my dissertation. I'm going through some archival materials now, and it's really slow. I'm just reading and taking notes and putting them in some kind of order. It'll all have to be thought over and arranged and written down properly at some future date. How the heck did I ever write 225 pages in less than a year for my master's thesis?!

Although I was less productive on Saturday than I should have been---blame this illness, which will not go away---Sunday wasn't very conducive to work either: I had to go grocery shopping at Kensington Market and then it was off to dinner with FN at JC's place. He and AG prepared a delicious meal; great company, too!

I've got things I need to do at school almost every day this week, I am going to try to avoid getting sucked into spending hours upon hours running into people on campus and having impromptu lunches and gossip sessions. It'll be hard.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Indie Music 8.

Welcome to my weekly roundup of inexpensive indie(ish) musical happenings in downtown Toronto. I try to list as many shows here as I know about, though with a preference for listing those happening at venues I especially like, or featuring performers I know something about. This list is thus not comprehensive. In addition, I rarely list shows that cost $10 or more. If I'm missing something or you have any comments, please do let me know.

After last week's time crunch, I'm getting a jump on things this week. So now there's no excuse to miss a show.

There's not a lot happening early on this week in the indie scene, though see the listing at Zoilus if you want more musical options. Come Thursday there's a ton of shows to go see, all costing you under $10. And stay tuned for next week's indie update, because there are some great shows coming up. (Woodhands! A show at a brewery! And more!)

The reason I cringe when I pay more than $5 for a show is not because I don't want musicians to get paid properly, but because this way I can go out more often and support bands who perform primarily for the love of it. There's nothing worse (for me) than dishing out $25 for a big show and finding oneself stuck behind teenagers smoking up. When I go to Sneaky Dee's, the Boat, Tiger Bar, or the Horseshoe Tavern (etc.) I can stand right up at the front if I want---and I do---and not be bothered by the rest of the crowd. And, after the show, I can go talk to the performers---who invariably recognize me from the front row---and they are always happy to hear how much I liked their set.

And now about ear plugs. These really are necessary, I think. Although you can stand farther back and avoid pain, I recently dropped $15 for a pair of proper plugs and can't imagine ever going back to the foam ones (or nothing at all).

Want to go with me to a show? That can probably be arranged . . . .


Two good options tonight, for those of you who worked all weekend and now want a night-or a couple hours-off. Head over to Supermarket (on Augusta, just south of College) for We Are the Take and Lights. Doors at 9pm, $5 cover. If you miss this show, the bands are playing a few more there in the upcoming weeks, trying out new songs.

If Queen Street West and the famous Horseshoe Tavern are more your speed, this week's Shoeless Joe lineup includes Megan Hamilton & the Volunteer Canola @ 11:30, Jon McKiel (Halifax) @ 10:30, and The Eatons @ 9:30. And it's free.


My pick for tonight is the Edge 102.1 Dave Bookman's Nu Music Nite at the Horseshoe Tavern. On the lineup this week are Lives of Many (Winnipeg) @ 12:00, GRAND:PM @ 11:10, Wheatmonkeys (Saskatoon) @ 10:20, and Sam Hell @ 9:30. No cover.

Over at Supermarket starting at 9:30pm, you can take in Moriarty, a French indie folk group. No word yet on what cover is, but I'm guessing $5 or so.


Rabbit Season with Fire Flower Revue, and Texas Hold'em at the Boat, 9pm, $5.

Lives of Many and Later that Same Day at the Bovine Sex Club, 9pm, $5. Many of the shows at this venue are too loud for me, but if that's your thing, check the event listings on the club's website.

Mariposa with !frankenstein @ the Renaissance Cafe, 8pm, pwyc.


* I will likely go check out what's happening at Tiger Bar tonight. No Shame presents Rebekah Higgs (Halifax) with Barons and Lengthy, The Schomberg Fair, and Marvelous Darlings. It all gets going at 9 pm and costs $5 as usual. I quite enjoyed the dance-y B and L when I saw them at the Boat a few weeks back. Rebekah Higgs is much more low-key, and much better known. (She's currently touring.) The show's probably worth seeing.

And there's lots of other options for under $10. Check it out:

B.A. Johnston, Dead Love Triangles, The Raccoon Wedding, Go Ghetto Tiger (Vancouver) at the Boat, $5, doors open at 9pm.

Ghostlight, Young Flux, and Women at Smiling Buddha, $5.

Two Hours Traffic (Charlottetown) @ 11:30, Amos the Transparent (Ottawa) @ 10:30, and 6ixty8ights @ 9:30. $8, Horseshoe Tavern.

M.a.n.d.y. (Berlin), Nasty Nav, Jonny White, Nitin at The Social, doors 10 pm, $5.

Kae Sun, Mexican Standoff, Sleep the Season at Supermarket, $7.

Dirt & Diamonds @ 11:15, Soft Copy @ 10:15, and The Dregs @ 9:15. Lee's Palace, $5 at the door.


* Femme Generation (EP release), OPOPO, We Take Lovers, DJ Shit La Merde at Sneaky Dee's, 9 pm, $6.

The Northwest Division
(Charlottetown), David Picco & Jetset Motel at the Eton House Tavern (710 Danforth Ave. just east of Pape), free.

Melissa Laveaux (Ottawa) at Hart House's Arbor Room, 9 pm, free.

Constant Crush presents popular Toronto band The Disraelis with DJ Davey Love. At Supermarket.

Easy Tiger presents The Coast, Tiger Bar, 10pm, $5. After the band, stay and dance the night away with the assorted hipsters and their friends. These can be really fun parties, though they aren't completely my style.

Go dancing at the Boat: Bang the Party, 10pm, $5. Should be fun. This or Dee's? Hmm.


No Shame, the Thursday night indie show at Tiger Bar, is now putting on early Saturday night events at the Drake Underground. Same great booker, same cheap cover; fancy, new digs. This week's lineup includes Montrealers Hexes and Ohs, our own The Craft Economy, and The XYZ Affair from Brooklyn, NY. The show starts at the Drake at 7 pm, and it'll cost you $5.

And two indie dance parties for later:

Doin' it to Death at the Boat, 10pm, $5.

Fuck Faces presents DJs Dave Nada, Syntonics, Dougie Boom, and Fistfight at Sneaky Dee's. This is a popular indie dance party and will set you back $5. (Free before 11pm.) I might want to see what all the fuss is about . . . if I am in the mood for the Dee's dance crowd. Always entertaining, but occasionally too much, if you know what I mean.


** Wavelength 388: "Remember Toronto" (T.O. bands today cover all-time great T.O. songs, in celebration of the launch of GreenTOpia: Towards a Sustainable Toronto from Coach House Books, launched in the afternooon at the Gladstone) with The Bicycles, The Two Koreas, The Blankket, Laura Barrett, Etaoin Shrdlu (feat. Jonny Dovercourt), and the Hip-Hop Karaoke Crew (feat. More or Les, Abdominal) at Sneaky Dee's, doors 8:30 pm, pwyc. Nice! To include songs by:

(The) Dinner Is Ruined (Band)
Fifth Column
Main Source
Maestro Fresh Wes
Martha & the Muffins
Michie Mee
Phleg Camp
The Pursuit of Happiness
Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet
The Ugly Ducklings
David Wilcox

And the order of bands:

1. We Take Lovers, at 9:30pm sharp
2. Laura Barrett
3. The Blankket
5. Hip-Hop Karaoke
6. The Two Koreas
7. The Bicycles

iNSiDEaMiND with Hamilton Trading Co. and Shalyn Gray Project at the Boat, 9pm, $5. This is part of the Gather Round series.

The Slipper Orchestra at the Tranzac (front room). Show starts at 10:30 pm and it's pwyc.

Wednesday Night Heroes (Edmonton), Living Darkness, Reprobates, and Younger Strike at Rancho Relaxo (College at Robert), $7. I haven't been to a show at the Rancho---yet---but a friend of mine who puts on shows there regularly claims it's a good venue for such things. This particular showed is billed as a "Remembrance Day punk blowout!" Ok . . . .

See more listings---for more money---here.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Easy Tiger.

On Friday night I took in, as promised, The Rural Alberta Advantage and The Wooden Sky at Tiger Bar. I’ve seen the RAA a handful of times now, and think they are just great. I wasn’t sure when I first saw them about the dynamics between the musicians, but now they seem like a mature group. All the performers are crucial to how the music sounds and how the shows go over. They each have their own personalities on stage, and . . . well, I gush. Good stuff. They won’t be playing another show for a while, which is too bad. But it means I’ll appreciate it all the more when I get to hang out with them again. (And I finally got myself a copy of their EP and a band t-shirt.)

The real draw of the evening—judging from how the crowd grew between sets—was The Wooden Sky. These guys are really good. Their music is pretty and mellow and just basically quality stuff. For the occasion the band members were done up like the dead—white and black face paint—which was kinda weird, but whatever. They played a good show; the crowd was very appreciative and got an encore out of them. Actually, I don’t remember bands playing true encores at any $5 show I’ve been to. So that’s something, I guess.

If I sound less than thrilled about the evening, though, I am. Easy Tiger, the show that was celebrating it’s first anniversary last night, is a dance party: after a band or two plays, the DJ takes over and hipsters and their (wannabe) girlfriends drink and sway on the dance floor. The Wooden Sky was, frankly, putting me to sleep during their set. The last two songs were more upbeat than the rest. But I was actually yawning. I was ready for excitement after the RAA’s set, which was mellow but still energetic, if you know what I mean. I don’t wish to quibble with the booker, but seriously: it seemed an odd choice to me. Great band, but wrong venue, night, and crowd for this.

By 1am I’d had enough of the hipsters and left, ready for bed. I’m all for mellow, but I don’t think Easy Tiger is the place for it.

At the moment I’m listening to and enjoying Oh No! Oh My! And getting back to work on my dissertation.

My internet is wonky. Why?

Friday, November 02, 2007

The weekend is now.

Meaning, I think after tonight my weekend will end. Or, it should. I haven't gotten much done this week, primarily because I've been ill. But also because I just haven't worked a lot.

I was feeling able to work last night, but instead I went to the Boat for Tom's 13th birthday party. And it was great! I arrived just after 11pm, which meant I missed Tom's own sets---he did three or four of them, I'm told---but got to hang out with some guys I know (and met last night) before taking in sampler sets by George Furtney (good) and Carlos Antenna (fun). And then The Gravity Wave did a full set. Very entertaining, as usual. As I've said before: GW is a phenomenon. You all should see Ken Farrell perform, preferably with Tom. There should be more opportunities in the new year, since he's got both an EP and album coming out at the end of February, and is putting together a 9-piece band to play live shows. Yes! After GW, Paul Banwatt (helped by Laura Barrett on xylophone) played a few songs. My life needs more Paul.

The evening ended with sets by Germans, Keith Hamilton (solo), Entire Cities, and The Weather Station. By the time Entire Cities came on there were very few people in the audience. And once 2am rolled around, there were perhaps a dozen people around, almost all of them musicians. Tom's mom was sound asleep in a chair near the stage. Poor woman!

The evening also provided me with an opportunity to try out my new, fancy earplugs. I ordered some Earlove ones because I find the cheap foam ones muffle sound too much. They worked great---the sound was a little less loud but everything was still clear. Totally worth the $15 they cost me.

Today I slept in very late and then did laundry. Which brings me to now. Later tonight is the second half of my weekend. I'm headed to Tiger Bar for the Easy Tiger anniversary show, featuring the RAA and The Wooden Sky.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I'm still sick.

And it's horrible and I hate it. My nose is stuffed up and I'm tired and I don't wanna do any work. I am going to go back to bed now.

Three students came to tutorials today. But three of us had a really good, productive discussion this afternoon. Until people from the class after ours came in and started setting up and colonizing the seats. I didn't saw anything at first because it was odd. But then it was all just so blatantly rude that I wanted to stand up and tell them all to leave and come back at 1pm (in 10 minutes). I don't know why I didn't. I think it's because I didn't want to interrupt the conversation I was having with my students. But seriously I should have bitched out the other TA/instructor and students. Next time I will for sure.

What's wrong with people?

Historians, however, tend to be just lovely. Apart from a certain someone whom I think is actually a terrible person, all the historians in my life today were awesome. I had lunch with a couple of them.