Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review: Amos the Transparent, The Love Machine @ Rancho Relaxo.

I was working steadily on Saturday night, and unsure whether I should even leave the house for some fun, but about 11:30pm I decided it was time for a break. I was at Rancho Relaxo by midnight, in time to catch the final two bands on the bill that night: Ottawa's the Love Machine and Amos the Transparent, also from the nation's capital.

The Love Machine played a full, happy set of exuberant, catchy songs. Mostly new ones, they said. I was impressed, and the crowd certainly was, too. Although I'd never seen the band before and hadn't a clue what to expect, I was definitely late to the party. Audience members were singing along to some songs, knew the right hand-claps, and etc. Their music wasn't the most cutting edge pop I've ever heard, but their energy and enthusiasm made it all the better. Great four-part harmonies and a little synth action didn't help either. Good stuff.

The last song was the show-stopper. It ended "This is the way that we scream our hearts out." It's not on the disc I got afterward (their 2007 EP, If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird), and a little internet searching revealed that's it's on their first (self-titled) EP, put out in 2005. I believe the band is currently putting together another album. Something to keep an ear out for.

It'd been several months since I last saw Amos, one of my favourite bands of 2008 that's only gotten stronger since then. By all rights they should be playing much larger venues---and they sometimes do---so I knew I was in for a treat. The first time I saw this band was at Rancho, they are always so much fun in that long, narrow room. Plus, a look at their new website earlier that day informed me that the band had new, red t-shirts! (Embarrassing admission: One time I went to Rancho to see Amos play wearing one of their band t-shirts.)

Things were running really late at Rancho, and if I'd been relying on the subway, I would have had to miss their set, seeing as it started at about quarter after 1am. (Thank you, bicycle.) The band had noticed the late start, too, taking the opportunity to drink perhaps a little more than usual in advance of playing. Lead-man Jonathan Chandler noted as much to us, paraphrasing local blogger Bob Battams. But, so much the better, I say! The band played rousing versions of songs off their albums, 2007's wonderful Everything I've Forgotten to Forget and the 2009 EP, My, What Big Teeth You Have . . . . (I was planning on stealing the set list after the show, but I got distracted [see below]). One of things that sets this band apart from others is that each time they perform, their songs sound just a little different. The changed instrumentation is on purpose, and helps keep things interesting. Although the crowd had thinned a little, there was still a good contingent out, dancing and singing along. The band expects their audiences to know the words to their songs when they play Toronto, and we didn't let them down.

Soon enough, Two Way Monologues' promoter Dan Wolovick and his wife, Terri Coles, were handing out shots of J├Ągermeister to the band members. But, somehow, there was one left over, and since I was right in front of him, Chandler told me to drink up. (That's him in white; also pictured is Daniel Hay.) Oh boy. So then the set got a little more fun and a bit more sloppy and I had to concentrate more on not losing my balance. Ahem. There were attempts at contests to give away EPs, a rendition (feat. audience participation) of "happy birthday" for Chandler's wife, much hooting and hollering and etc.

I had a blast. I bought a red t-shit---$10!---and tried to sober up a little before heading home. Note: One shot of Jager is apparently one too many.

Download: The Love Machine, "Green Tea and Honey" (If You're a Bird, I'm a Bird, 2007).
Download: The Love Machine, "We Are Squirrels and This Is Nuts (The Family Song)" (The Love Machine, 2005).
Download: Amos the Transparent, "Lemons, aka BigFishLittlePond" (My, What Big Teeth You Have..., 2009).
Download: Amos the Transparent, "Title Track" (Everything I've Forgotten to Forget, 2007).

Amos the Transparent are playing at Ottawa's Capital Music Hall on 27 November, competing for a $250,000 grand prize (the Big Money Shot). They've already won a tidy $25,000, and I, for one, would LOVE for them to take home the "big money." If you're in Ottawa that night, go see them!

Photo credit: Terri Coles.


Steve said...

Jen = cheap drunk.

Terri said...

I have photographic evidence of that shot being consumed. Also, this is perhaps proof that me and Dan are bad influences.

Mechanical Forest Sound said...

(Embarrassing admission: One time I went to Rancho to see Amos play wearing one of their band t-shirts.)

A brave confession.

Nice piece.

historyjen said...

Yes yes and yes. !