Saturday, August 30, 2008

Quick reviews/photos from my week.

On Wednesday and Thursday nights I hit up two shows each, seeing 7 bands I had not yet seen. Yay for seeing new bands! I don't have the energy (or expertise) for proper reviews, but here are some photos and words about what I thought.

First up, Medallions at the Horseshoe, part of a bill that also featured new band Authen Heathen, Seedy Ease, and the Sean MacDonald Band. Medallions are an indie rock band which boast members with lots of experience in other indie rock bands. Some of the songs verged on radio-friendly, but not in an annoying way. I liked them, but wasn't blown away. Would see them again. I think I would like them better the second time around.I went to the Horseshoe that night to check out Seedy Ease, a band which includes drummer Robbie Butcher, whom I knew originally from local Brit-pop, post-rock outfit Tin Bangs. Seedy Easy is very different. The three-piece is a vehicle in part for guitarist Daniel Brook's strong pop vocals. They delivered melodic rock with an older vibe, a sound I can definitely see going over well on mainstream radio. Good stuff; a bit less indie than I'm used to seeing, that's all, though I do think they could do well on a bill with more indie-pop bands. I would be happy to take them in again. Have a listen to the MySpace tracks: they're catchy.After Seedy Ease I biked over to the Boat in time to catch most of This is Picture's set. This is another three-piece (that night, at least) with strong vocals. Complicated rythms and ever-changing time signatures meant TIP plays indie pop songs that are difficult to dance to, and for me were therefore better appreciated at home. (I like dancing.) I picked up a demo disk at the show, and have listened to it several times since then. Awesome tunes.Thursday night I went to the Drake to see Olenka & the Autumn Lovers. Wonderful stuff. Polish folk-tinged indie acoustic pop with fantastic instrumentation and meaningful lyrics. A nice treat for me. Olenka is a warm, charming performer (and person, no doubt), and after hearing so many good things about this band---and playing one of Olenka's songs on my own podcast many weeks ago---it was great to finally get to see the group for myself. The Drake was fairly empty that night, but I can see this band serenading much larger groups at folk festivals, outdoor concerts, and the Tranzac's main stage.
It seems most fans at the Drake that night came out for Idle Tigers, a witty, wacky performer with equal amounts charm and comfortable awkwardness. Without knowing how to describe what I saw and heard---both were important---I know that I had a smile on my face the whole time and thoroughly enjoyed the performance. I left wanting to know more about Ross Hawkins and his music, and will definitely be spending some time listening and thinking. He's putting together a Halloween show at the Boat. Now that should be something. Check out the photos: how could this not have been awesome?I decided to leave shy of the end of Idle Tigers' set, not because of boredom, but because I wanted to make it for at least some of Green Go's set at Rancho Relaxo. I timed things really well, because I heard the Guelph electro outfit starting up as I walked up to the door. Yes! I've danced to these guys (and one gal) a few times before, but this was my favourite performance of theirs. I couldn't believe how packed Rancho was---on a Thursday approaching midnight!---but it's testament to the excellence that is Green Go and the success of the No Shame series. It seemed most of the cool indie kids in town were there that night. (I won't name-drop, but trust me.) Great fun. No photos because although the lighting's good at Rancho, I was too busy dancing mid-crowd to take out my camera. I spotted David Waldman around, so maybe he'll have some shots.

The final act of the night was The Magic, another band originally from Guelph that No Shame first introduced me to several months ago. I think they're great, and had a blast dancing. If I had taken any photos, you'd know---like I do---how cute this band is, too.

Conclusion? Toronto is awesome. The quality and variety of bands/performers I saw in two week nights at four different downtown venues is really something, ain't it?

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