Archive for the ‘Concert Reviews’ Category

I’m About To Pop

Pop Montreal

It’s that time of year again folks. No i’m not talking about Christmas (although I kinda wish I was) but the annual Pop Montreal Festival that takes place all over this great city of mine. Just take a look at the list of names above. All i can think is that there is one notable emmission. Where is Sufjan? If he’s on that list I am blind. So anyways, I’m basically just trying to plan out which shows to see. It’s a little bit tough since they all play at the same time but here is my tentative schedule:

Wensday, September 30th:

The Phenomenal Handclap Band – 8:00 – Le National

Amy Millan – 10:00 – Ukrainian Federation

Elephant Stone – 11:00 – O Patro Vys

Matt & Kim – 12:00 – Club Lambi

Jay Reatard – 12:30 – La Sala Rossa (if I can make it)

Thursday, October 1st:

Habs vs. Leafs – 7:00 – Air Canada Center (In Toronto)

Friday, October 2nd:

Tune Yards – 7:00 – Musee D’art Contomporain (maybe)

Ghost Bees – 8:00 – Ukrainian Federation

Cryptacize  – 8:45 – Cabaret

Sufjan Stevens – 9:45 – Cabaret

Hexes & Ohs – 10:40 – Il Motore

The Do – 11:30 – Theatre Plaza

Shapes & Sizes – 12:00 – O Patro Vys (if I can make it)

Saturday, October 3rd:

Jarusalem In My Heart – 9:00 – Theatre Outremont

Les Momies De Palerme – 10:00 – Barfly

Forest City Lovers – 11:00 – Casa Del Popolo

Os Mutantes – 11:30 – Le National

Fresh and Only’s – 12:00 – La Sala Rossa

The Oh Sees – 1:00 – La Sala Rossa

or (they’re right across the street so it’ll be a game time decision)

The D’Urbervilles – 1:00 – Casa Del Popolo

Sunday, October 4th:

I’m not really sure what to see since I’m not really familiar with any of the bands playing on Sunday so if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to let me know. I was thinking about these two:

Nadia & The Tchotchkes – 9:00 – Green Room

Arianne Moffat – 10:00 – Ukrainian Federation

White Pine Waltz – 10:00 – Casa Del Popolo

For updates on what’s going on check my twitter page as I will most likely be posting stuff on there while I’m at the shows.

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This is by far the best concert they have filmed so far! I was at the show and let me tell you it was amazing. Take a look at a sample from the show:

Vodpod videos no longer available.

And click here to see the rest of the show.

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Ratatat – Club Soda – 03/10/08 (Pop Montreal)

I saw Ratatat play last night at Club Soda in Montreal as a part of the Pop Montreal Festival. I’d first like to say that Club Soda is a piece of shit. Secondly, Ratatat was incredible. I was expecting it to be one of those shows that you say to yourself, “I could have just listened to the record”. But it was way more than that. They seriously rocked the house. The crowd went insane for every song, and the band seemed to feed off of them, getting really into the music themselves. They didn’t really say anything to the crowd, besides a few thank you’s, but words weren’t really necessary. They let the music speak for itself, and it did just that. They had some pretty psychotic videos going on in the background, including the great Abba mash-up they created for the song “Shempi”. The highlight for me was probably when they played my all-time favourite Ratatat song, “Montanita”, in the encore. I was a little thrown off by the crowd surfers, but whatever makes you happy I guess.

Where in the world is Laura Marling?

So I figured I could get two shows in last night, but it wasn’t meant to be. The schedule for the Johnny Flynn, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons show on the Pop Montreal website was this:

  • 21:00 Mumford and Sons
  • 22:00 Laura Marling
  • 23:00 Johnny Flynn

So after seeing an excellent performance by Mumford and Sons, who I haden’t heard of until last night, I was ready to see Laura Marling’s performance and then head over to Club Soda to catch Ratatat’s 11:30 PM shceduled performance. It became apparent to me that the band that was setting up to play second wasn’t Laura Marling. I asked the girl next to me if she played already and she said that she was playing last. This left me very upset, because I knew I had to leave if I wanted to catch the Ratatat show. If I haden’t already seen Marling perform once before, and if I didn’t already have my Ratatat ticket I probably would have stayed, but alas, my choice was made and I grugingly left the interesting Temple Maçonnique, and headed over to Club Soda. Hopefully I will get another chance to see Marling play again soon. And I hope to see Mumford & Sons play again too. They really impressed me.

Here is a video of Laura Marling and the lead singer of Mumford & Sons peforming a song called “Blackberry Stone”:

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From The Yellow Bird Project written by me:
September 21st, 2008 by themiddledistancerunner

So I saw Stars last night at Terminal 5 in New York City. This was my second time seeing Stars and my first time at Terminal 5. When we got there, the opening band was still on the stage. They were called Bell X1, and since I only heard them play a couple of songs I can’t really judge whether they were something I would want to listen to on a regular basis. The crowd seemed really into them though, so you may want to check them out.

Before Stars’ set they had guys putting red roses all over the stage. The flower theme went really well with the music that was being played, which was like sad piano music, reminding me of Erik Satie. If anyone knows what it was please let me know because it was lovely. When Stars finally took the stage I knew that I was in for a much different experience than when I saw Stars the first time in Montreal. When I saw them in Montreal it was this secret show at an art gallery in Old Montreal, in which there were only 150 tickets for sale. I managed to get one of them and was treated to one of the best shows I have ever seen. There was no stage, no crazy lighting, no banner, nothing fancy. Just the band and their instruments. Last night at Terminal 5 in NYC was a much different sort of party. Besides the thousands of people in attendance, this show was not just a concert, it was like a show on steroids. This show had huge projections and an insane light show, that went along to the music. It was pretty insane, I have to say. Especially for me who is used to shows with minimal lighting effects. The lighting was almost too bright at times, making it impossible to even see the band. But overall it was pretty amazing.

Lead singer Torquil Campbell got the crowd on his side right away when he said that the first Stars song ever written was in New York City on 58th and 10th. And before launching into “Window Bird” he said, “here’s to Hell’s Kitchen”. The love affair with the fans didn’t end there. The crowd went crazy when Torq had a few thoughts about how Barack Obama should be the new President of the United-States. And if that wasn’t enough, the band continuously threw bundles of red roses into the crowd throughout the set.

As for the set list, I couldn’t have asked for a better one. It was expected that they would play a lot of new songs, but they surprised me by playing more old songs than new ones. We were lucky enough to hear them play “Look Up”, “Elevator Love Letter”, “Your Ex-Lover is Dead”, “Ageless Beauty”, “Soft Revolution” and “Reunion”. For the encore they played “Take Me To The Riot” and then went back to the old stuff, finishing off the night with “One More Night”, “Calendar Girl” and “Heart”. I was more than happy with this set list, a tribute to the Stars fans who have been there since the beginning. They also played two songs off of their new EP, entitled Sad Robots. Before playing these songs, Torq said that you could either buy the album here, buy it online or steal it off of your friends. He said he didn’t care how you got it as long as you listened to it. It’s nice to hear bands that care more about people hearing their music than hearing about how much money they made.

In the end it was an excellent set, by an amazing band, at a pretty mediocre venue. Terminal 5 is far from my favourite venue, but it didn’t ruin my night. Any night with Stars is a night to remember.

Stars – 14 Forever (from Sad Robots EP)

Stars – Undertow (from Sad Robots EP)

Until next week…

-The Middle Distance Runner

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This weekend just keeps getting better. I saw Noah and the Whale Thursday night, and last night I saw one of my favourite Canadian singer/songwriters, Basia Bulat. The venue itself was kind of crappy. Table seating, 10 dollar minimum per person for food or beverages. If you didn’t want to eat or drink you had to stand at the bar at the back of the venue. Not to mention the waitress asking you mid-song if you would like anything else. But I guess they don’t care about the show, they just want to make money. Besides the venue’s unpleasantness, the show itself was excellent. The sound was great and Basia was incredible! There was no opener planned for the show, so Basia’s sound guy came out and played 4 or 5 songs to get the night started, and was actually really good. Then after waiting for about 20 minutes to a half an hour (probably the venue’s idea to get people to buy more food and drinks) Basia took the stage with her band, comprised of a keyboardist, a violinist, a flutist and a drummer, who was in fact Basia’s brother. They played pretty much every song off of her excellent debut album, Oh, My Darling, Basia switching effortlessly between her acoustic guitar, autoharp and even ukelele when playing the song “Before I Knew”. She even played a couple of her songs that I have never heard before along with an excellent cover of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere”. What I loved most about Basia’s performance was how appreciative she was of the fans in attendance. She didn’t stop thanking the crowd who cheered rapturously after every song. She just seemed genuinely happy to be there and happy to be playing in front of all of those in attendance. I chatted with Basia for a few minutes after the show, and she told me that she was headed to Montreal to do some recording. Hopefully this means a new album is in the works! I’m sure I’m not the only one who can’t wait to hear it, whatever it is.

And finally I would like to wish Basia luck in winning the 2008 Polaris Music Prize. She has made it to the top 10 finalists, and I really hope she gets it…I’m rooting for ya Basia!

Here are some pics from the show:

And some videos:

“You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere” (Bob Dylan Cover):

“Little Waltz” (sorry about the guy who keeps coughing):

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I just saw Noah & The Whale play at Sidewalk Cafe in New York City. Wow what a show! This was my first time at Sidewalk Cafe, and I must say it was quite the interesting place. The show area was really tiny and the stage could barely contain the 6 members of NATW. But the myriad of instruments covering the walls set the tone for what was to be a great night of music. The opener was Canadian singer/songwriter Lindi Ortega. I had never heard of her up until tonight but I was really impressed by her performance. She has a little bit of a country feel to her, and her voice is amazing. I definitely suggest you check her out. And if you are planning to see Noah & The Whale at any of their next 9 gigs Lindi will be opening. And she is Canadian, enough said.

Only a few minutes after Lindi finished her set and the tip jar was passed around to collect donations, Noah & The Whale took the stage. It’s a good thing they weren’t joined on stage by Laura Marling, who sings beautifully all over their debut album, Peaceful, The World Lays Me Down, because that stage was SMALL! Anyways, what first surprised me about the band was how young they appeared. They just sound so mature on the album that I figured they would be older. But this was not the case. They are a band of fresh faced young britts, who make some of the catchiest music I have heard in a long time. I wasn’t sure how big of a following they have on this side of the world but it seems that word travels fast, because the place was packed. And there were even people singing along and loving every minute of it, as I was. They played most of my favourite songs including “2 Atoms in a Molecule”, “5 Years Time” and “Give A Little Love”. They also played a couple of new songs, including one from their side project punk band the A-Sides. In the encore they gave the fans the choice of either hearing their song “Mary” or a Smiths cover. Since the audience was split between the two they decided to play both, starting with a revamped version of “Mary” and finished with an awesome cover of the Smiths’ “Girlfriend in a Coma”. It was all in all a great show and I can’t wait to see them again.

The show was free (with a suggested donation of $5.00 per person), and it was the first of NATW’s 3 shows in NYC this weekend. Tomorrow (Saturday), they are playing at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square during the day and then at night they are playing at Mercury Lounge. And Monday night they are playing at Les Saints in Montreal so I’m hoping to check that show out as well. After that they have a slew of upcoming dates if you would like to check them out (which I strongly suggest you do). here they are:

Sep 19 2008 12:30P
Virgin Union Square (Instore) New York
Sep 19 2008 8:00P
Mercury Lounge New York, NY
Sep 20 2008 2:00P
Newbury Comics Boston/Norwood, Massachusetts
Sep 20 2008 8:00P
Toad (FREE SHOW) Boston, MA
Sep 22 2008 8:00P
The Saint (FREE SHOW) Montreal, Que
Sep 23 2008 8:00P
Horseshoe Tavern (FREE SHOW) Toronto, ONT
Sep 25 2008 9:00P
Av-Aerie (ALL AGES) Chicago, IL
Sep 26 2008 6:00P
Reckless Records (Instore) Chicago, Illinois
Sep 26 2008 8:00P
Empty Bottle Chicago, IL
Sep 29 2008 8:00P
Chop Suey (FREE SHOW) Seattle, WA
Sep 30 2008 8:00P
Doug Fir (FREE SHOW) Portland, OR
Oct 2 2008 6:00P
Amoeba Music (Instore) San Francisco, California
Oct 2 2008 8:00P
Pop Scene at 330 Ritch San Francisco, CA
Oct 4 2008 8:00P
Detour Festival Los Angeles, CA
Oct 6 2008 8:00P
Spaceland (FREE SHOW) Los Angeles, CA
Oct 11 2008 8:00P
Barfly – GONZO ON TOUR Birmingham
Oct 19 2008 8:00P
Students Union Loughborough
Oct 20 2008 12:00A
Oct 20 2008 8:00P
Zodiac Oxford
Oct 21 2008 8:00P
The Duchess York
Oct 22 2008 8:00P
The Cockpit Leeds
Oct 24 2008 8:00P
Fat Sams Dundee
Oct 25 2008 8:00P
The Arches Glasgow
Oct 26 2008 8:00P
Liquid Rooms Edinburgh
Oct 27 2008 8:00P
Academy 3 *SOLD OUT* Manchester
Oct 28 2008 8:00P
Whelans Dublin
Oct 29 2008 8:00P
The Limelight Belfast
Oct 31 2008 8:00P
MTV Liverpool Music Week @ Bumper Liverpool
Nov 1 2008 8:00P
Recue Rooms Nottingham
Nov 2 2008 8:00P
Phoenix Exeter
Nov 3 2008 8:00P
Wedgewood Rooms Portsmouth
Nov 4 2008 8:00P
Waterfront Norwich
Nov 6 2008 8:00P
Koko *SOLD OUT* London
Nov 7 2008 8:00P
Concorde 2 Brighton
Nov 8 2008 8:00P
Kasbah Coventry
Nov 9 2008 8:00P
Thekla *SOLD OUT* Bristol
Nov 10 2008 8:00P
Junction Cambridge
Nov 11 2008 8:00P
Glee Club Birmingham
Nov 12 2008 8:00P
Leadmill Sheffield
Nov 13 2008 8:00P
The Old Fire Station Bournemouth

Here are some pics from the show:

And finally, here is a video of them performing a new song that I don’t know the name of:

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The show started promptly at 8:30 with the opening band, Bowerbirds, who played an amazing set. They really got the crowd on their side when they said that we were a much better audience than Toronto. Why is Montreal superior to Toronto in so many ways? Anyways, after a very entertaining set, it was Bon Iver’s turn to wow the Montreal crowd. I had high expectations going in, and they were definately met if not surpassed. Lead singer Justin Vernon isn’t alone in a secluded cabin in the woods of Wisconsin anymore. He was joined on stage by a band of three (one of whom is a member of Bowerbirds). It was kind of interesting to hear some of the songs off of his outstanding debut LP, For Emma, Forever Ago, with a full band, sometimes all drumming at the same time while Vernon played guitar. Some of the highlights in this set were when he got the whole audience to sing “what might have been lost” at the end of the song “The Wolves (Act I and II)”. Also when Vernon thanked the audience for paying attention to Bowerbirds, unlike the people in Toronto who were apparently too involved in their conversations to listen. And then the encore was just amazing. After singing happy birthday to Mike, the newly 21 Bon Iver band member, Vernon led his band and the three Bowerbirds to the front of the stage where they did a cover of an excellent song by Nashville singer/songwriter, Sarah Siskind. It was the last song of the night, and may have been my favourite moment of the night. My only complaint about this show was that it wasn’t longer. Not that it was a particularily short set, there’s just never too much Bon Iver. Thank you Bon Iver and Bowerbirds for an amazing night.

Here are some terrible quality videos with decent to good sound quality:


Blood Bank (New Song):

Lovin’s For Fools (Sarah Siskind Cover):

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