Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sean Pinchin - The Savannah Room

All hail the plaid-shirt. A consummate acoustic singer-songwriter, glorious guitar-mojo combined with an entertainers spirit. Cuts right to the chase, whether it's the amusing commentary, or strutting musicianship.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Ladyfingers - Rancho Relaxo

A singer-songwriter troubadour taking cues from rockabilly, accentuated with a country-blues-romp. Pinched-wails, sultry vocals, a renegade poet rippin' loose on the guitar, with shining lyrical themes. Greaser cool meets smile-inducing sentimentality. Ladyfingers may not claim greatness. But he may come close to it.

Boxes & Bags - The Rivoli

Boxes & Bags put the 'Pop' back in Pop With Brains. A cacophony of sights and sounds, face-blasting noise-pop that's like a frantic runaway train called the 'Moonstruck Express'. Or perhaps a sci-fi trip to the land of wacky. No need to dust-off the old vinyl. Boxes & Bags are your favourite party album. Cue Gabby's trumpet.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My Bloody Valentine - Kool Haus

Making my way to the Kool Haus was almost like a pilgrimage of sorts. Mass destruction and sheer sonic power, an explosion of swirling guitars, Kevin Shields fleshing out roaring soundscapes like a master-craftsman. Blinding strobelights, visual projections, just enhanced the transcendental experience. Perhaps the highlight was the 20 minute punishing roar of 'You Made Me Realize' inflicting both pain and ecstasy. All hail the mythological purveyors of noise! Followed by a dignified, amen.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Yuka - The Boat

Funky-jazz-soul grooves that want to take you higher, yes, Sly Stone said it best. Yuka is like opening the vaults to the 70's, and dusting-off some vinyl, a burning uptempo of fun-filled vibes, an ass-shaking horn-blasting rhythm monster. Such dynamic power. So entertaining. Judging by the sweltering dancefloor, the people have spoken. Lets celebrate.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Tigerbomb (Secret Japanese Girlfriend) - The Horseshoe

This is eclectic music that remains true to an artistic direction. An avant-garde style that see's Doc Pickles fleshing-out impassioned tales, accompanied by a revived Emmit Rogan. An acquired taste to some, but this a unique vision where every note counts. And where every lyric has meaning. A starry-eyed surrealist that evokes that joy of performing. Always endearing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Donlands & Mortimer - The Drake

Painted-flesh, sweltering dance-floor. It doesn't get any better than this. Like entering the eye of the storm, the room was feeling some serious mojo where a funk-soul-rock blast of fun was unleashed. Horns a plenty. Reckless energy a plenty. This hustling and sweet-talkin' troupe has a burning desire to turn your venue into a musical playground.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Spiral Beach - The Drake

Welcome to the party. Balloons and teenage party-tactics. Lightening-charged power-pop that invokes catchy, bitch-slapping, sweet and crazy sounds. Every show is like a soundtrack to a hip frat-house, thrashy hooky-rhythms that's guaranteed to get the crowd up and freaky dancing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Caitlin Burgess - Holy Joes

A waiflike Joni Mitchell-type and an acoustic guitar, holding her own to a capacity room. A singer-songwriter finding fun in her music. At peace with the world. Stories to tell. An endearing acoustic escapade that soothes and moves you

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Saffron Sect - Rancho Relaxo

A transcendental trip to to a mind-expanding past, the Summer Of Love and psychedelic-folk, evoking images of free-love, drugs, and burning incense. This is a rich musical soundtrack that blends the past with the present, doomed love as pure bliss.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

SNFU - The Kathedral

SNFU are unarguably Canadian hardcore legends. Ken Chin, looking like an albino Wild Bill, led the fast and furious thunder, ear-piercing volume, pummeling sound, as audience members stage-dived like leather-clad missiles. Hysterical, grinding and relentless, this is classic old-school punk. The sound of the beast.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Ciara Adams - The Supermarket

Sophisticated and beaming of musical elegance, this is a lounge-jazz ensemble that evokes images of sunlit evenings and cuddling with a loved one. Ciara Adams is a chanteuse, potently sweet vocals, the band captures the spirit of seductively smokey ballroom, in a French city, where starcrossed lovers meet. Emotional energy, poignant lyrics, a ray of light in this fast-paced world.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Purrr - The Drake

Adrenaline pumping beats, rock-metal riffs, and steady pulsating drumming. A combination of electronica like The Crystal Method or early Prodigy, rippin' grandiose licks, overseen by a glam-like theatricality. It's like Phantom Of The Opera, meets a European dance-club, meets arena-rock.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Carmen Elle - The Drake

Commanding yet passionate Ani DiFranco-like vocals, with an onstage presence that reminds me of 90's alt-folk singer Michelle Shocked, strong, positive and charming, in the mold of Lilith Fair-type songwriters. This is a streetwise and vibrant performer that beams mesmerizing cool.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Hamilton Trading Co - The Music Gallery

Led by a songwriting-maestro, this is an uptempo hand-and-foot stomping revival, collective-chorus power, creating a dazzling brand of acoustic-gospel theatre. Clapping and foot-pounding with breathtaking accuracy, the HTC is well-bonded troupe that's guaranteed to deliver a rhythmic performance and salvation-saving vocals every time.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Two Koreas - The Neutral

Speed-freak guitar-fuzz, a droning vox, rippin' grooves, and razor-sharp rhythms. An energy-driven ride that combines the mindbending grooves of early Stereolab and The Velvet Underground, with Detroit garage-punk and the spikey-assaults of The Fall. A brash, raucous rock and roll work-out.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Cheap Speakers - The Velvet Underground

A pop-rock approach that's instantly catchy, the type of energy that captures that 70's feel-good spirit, well-crafted tunes, while maintaining that edgy indie-rock essence. A solid band with all the right ingredients, musical elements, artistic vision--in all the right amounts.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Guest Bedroom - Sneaky Dee's

A swirling carousel-ride of post-punk and prog, Sandi's glass-shattering vocals, blistering Television-meets-Johnny Marr style riffs, balanced by melodramatic-key playing, shades of Herbie Hancock on 'In A Silent Way'. A colourful arsenal of sound (and a sax to boot) rapidfire and convulsive, that reestablishes the band as one of the torchbearers of TO rock city.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nolan Natasha - The Gladstone

The transgendered MC Nolan Natasha in full effect, clever racy rhyming over sweet-sounding electro-funk grooves. NN bare-chested, well-chiseled (revealing surgical scars in all it's glory) lit-up the stage with a commanding, yet kinky stage presence. The queer manifesto in full effect, invoking the giddy crowd to collectively quiver with joy.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jay Spectre - The Horseshoe

There are certain bands that capture that spirit of 'the soul-funk ensemble', Tower Of Power, Memphis Horns, Sly Stone, Parliament. That's the sense I get here. Sometimes capturing the essence of the past makes for a brighter, colourful, and highly entertaining performance.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Leonids - Rancho Relaxo

Back in the early 90's, music was blossoming after grunge, with vibrant lo-fi bands like Pavement, Guided By Voices, etc. I hear that same spirit captured by The Leonids. Warm, spaced-out guitars and breezy harmonies that breathe fresh air into a diverse music scene.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Oasis - The Virgin Festival

Britrock anthems, pub sing-alongs, swaggering attitude--actually interrupted by an attacker--which potentially could've cut the set short and pissing-off 20,000 people. But the UK deities returned to complete the concert. Liam striking poses, Noel the creative force, Oasis being Oasis, the masses continuing to ride the shelf-life of their first 2 albums. I can take festivals in small doses and all it's corporate glossiness, but as a fan of Britpop, Oasis takes me back to the nostalgia of the mid-90's. So why not. Of course, I headed to Wavelength afterwards.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Sand Viper Command - El Mocambo

A band doesn't get any cooler than this, plaid-shirts, UK-style image, and inspired yet upbeat adrenaline-pumping hooks, a cross between The Sonics-style garage-rock, 90's Britpop and The Smiths chiming-riffs. The lead guitarist, props to him, John Squire-meets-Tom Verlaine flash, to compliment a dazzling high-energy package of ear-catching rock.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Cheap Trick - Molson Amphitheatre

Tonight was probably the closest I'd get to 1979's Live At Budokan. In the flesh. Robin Zander sounded fantastic, tuxedoed Rick Nielsen punctuated the performance with his energetic showmanship, tossing picks into the crowd. 'The Dream Police, Surrender, The Flame, Tonight It's You', a nostalgic reminder what made the band sell-out arenas in the late 70's. Full line-up and 3 decades later, the band can still rock.

Friday, September 5, 2008

October Sky - The Rivoli

Adventurous UK style rock, epic anthems, a dynamic stage-presence, the lasers and smoke just added to the larger-than-life feel. With such drive and ambition, this talented and hard-working Montreal band is ready to take on the world. Great turn out. The CD release was a success. The future looks bright.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Whale Tooth - The Horseshoe

Catchy indie-pop festivity, bouncy rhythms balanced by rockin' energy. Elise is a crooning starlet, and the band has this searing exuberance, a house-party blending upbeat colourful sparkle and blasts of spontaneous guitar-driven grit. Fun times.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

We Take Lovers - Rancho Relaxo

A kaleidoscopic pop/folk sound, diverse instrumentation, roaring voices raised in song. The tight, relentless energy just displays the bands unyielding attitude of rocking out.

Leaving Sangster - The Horseshoe

Hamiltonians fit for these hallowed walls, high-energy rock that's both ballsy and dynamic. The music has this soaring gritty quality, along with melodic vocals, and sparkling feel-good grooves. Justin a couple of times tried to spin his hat onto his head, but you know what? The band hit it's mark tonight. Well done.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Oblisk - The Neutral

Evoking images of Creation Records, Melody Maker, and the 90's British music scene--the UK spirit continues to live, covering the full spectrum, from early Verve, Joy Division, Slowdive, and Spacemen 3, infusing elements of Madchester and shoegazing. Oblisk seamlessly blends all these influences into a firebrand, hypnotic, sprawling sound all their own.