Friday, September 19, 2008

Wednesday night @ Tattoo.

There's a newish venue on Queen West at Portland, which is a just a block east of Bathurst. It's called the Tattoo Rock Parlour, and it does indeed offer both tattoos and rock music. It's claim to fame is, I think, that Edwin bartends there. Since I don't really remember Edwin, I don't care, but I've come to think that this place---despite the terrible name and my knee-jerk indie-hipster hatred of anything that sniffs of mainstream---is actually a pretty good venue. The lighting can be wonky, but this means that there is lighting! All kinds of lighting, and it's pretty snazzy. The sound seemed ok, though I could hardly hear the singer from Dinosaur Bones on Wednesday night. But the layout of the place is its real selling point for me: a long stage with two small bars on either end means lots and lots of room to be near the front, enjoying the band. This ain't no narrow Rancho Relaxo. It may lack indie cred, but it's got my vote as a good place to see good music, when it's on offer. Which is semi-regularly.

I went last Wednesday to see a local band named Dinosaur Bones. These guys have been playing live shows for less than a year, and they've built themselves a healthy local following, judging from the bills they've been on and the fact that so many well-wishers came out to an $8 event on a Wednesday night. At first I wasn't sure whether I'd like them, but they were pretty darn good. I wasn't bored like I worried I'd be. They have a hint of U2 to their sound, and a few of their songs really grabbed my attention. The so-so "Royalty" (on record) was performed marvelously, and the set left me wanting to see more of these guys. I'll get a chance in October when they open for Oh No Forest Fires and Black Hat Brigade at Supermarket. I'm looking forward to that show, even more than I was before.

So far, so good.

The real draw to Tattoo that night for me was Ottawa band Amos the Transparent. I'd seen these guys play Toronto at least 4 times previously, missed them put on "the best performance of the festival" (according to Pete Nema) during NxNE, and absolutely love their album. They were great this time around, switching up how they performed most of the songs. The addition of a fifth regular member (guitarist Dan) worked well. I hope they are gaining themselves a bit of a following here, and get the sense that they must be. As for me, I bought myself one of their new t-shirts.

Tattoo Rock Parlour, you've won me over. I'll see you again. Just do me a few favours: more indie bands, please; turn the sound down a wee bit; and for goodness sakes change your website, which is clunky and annoying and takes forever to load.

The first photo, to the left, features Mark (on the left) and Jonathan from Amos the Transparent. Mark is now the hardest working guy in the band, providing back-up singing and playing back-up drums, keys, and various guitars. The second photo, below, shows Mark, Jon, James, and Dan. Chris is behind the drum set. At top, Dinosaur Bones' set list.

1 comment:

Pete Nema said...

Tattoo books a lot of local independent bands, although normally more geared toward the rock portion of the spectrum. Here are some shows I've seen there:

Search "Tattoo Rock Parlour" on PETE NEMA

And I'm so with you about your complaints. I might stick around and talk for a bit after the shows, but they keep the music cranked at full volume, so I leave because I can't hear anyone anyway. And that website is snazzy but *completely* useless. One more complaint from me: They only have bad weak beer (Coors Light, Corona, Heineken). Another reason for me not to stay.

Good place to see bands, though.