a day in the life of ...

Monday, September 15, 2008

09.15.2008 Bad Religion / The Bronx / The Rebel Spell

Say what you will about Bad Religion, but you can't really deny the fact that it is almost guaranteed they will put on an amazing show at small venue like the Commodore. Having sold out 2 nights in 2005, it was a wonder why only 1 show was set up this time around. The night started off with locals The Rebel Spell. Ok band. Sort of reminded me of Against Me!. At least, I think so; the vocals were a little low in the mix. After a short set change Los Angeles' the Bronx hit the stage immediately stirring up the crowd. Although much suited for even smaller DIY venues, the Bronx were a wealth of energy, especially frontman Matt Caughthran, who was more than eager to have the audience on the stage. Both openers played a standard 30 minute set.

At around 10:30, Bad Religion hit the stage with little fanfare or even intro music. Instead, they played straight into fan favourite "21st Century Digital Boy". The setlist was fairly balanced towards a couple of songs off of their latest release New Maps of Hell and the rest from their previous efforts. Notably absent were songs from How Could Hell..., however their golden era albums (Suffer, Against the Grain, No Control) were well represented. Almost all the fan-favourites were played and for the most part casual and long time fans were happy with the setlist. As usual, singer Greg Graffin and company treated the audience to their witty banter. Most amusing were quips toward Canadian/American politics. Perhaps deviating slightly from a regular Bad Religion show, the writing section of Bad Religion came out for an encore featuring couple of acoustic numbers. The song "Won't Somebody" was also played, for apparently the first time, and not on the setlist. Of note, there was this one lady (and I say this sarcastically), who decided she it would be enduring to accompany Graffin on one of the acoustic numbers. Not only was she completely tone-deaf, (and more than likely inebriated) but she also decided to do add some additional vocals (wailing like a dog would be more correct). Seriously, what is with Vancouver audiences and yapping over acoustic songs? It's probably the most self centered and inconsiderate thing you can do at a show. End rant. Overall the setlist was better than in 2005, just going to show some bands do get better with age.

21st Century Digital Boy
New Dark Ages
I Want To Conquer the World
Let Them Eat War
No Control
Stranger Than Fiction
Punk Rock Song
Come Join Us
God’s Love
News from The Front
Requiem for Dissent
Honest Goodbye
A Walk
Big Bang
Before You Die
Flat Earth Society
Recipe for Hate
American Jesus
Won't Somebody
Dearly Beloved
Bored and Extremely Dangerous


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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

09.06.2008 Mogwai / Fuck Buttons

I can't really remember why I didn't go see Mogwai the last time they were here, during the Mr. Beast tour, but as I write this review, I sort of feel silly knowing I missed an opportunity to see Mogwai.

Fuck Buttons opened up. They're two guys on stage making continuous noise onstage, sometimes boring, real repetitive other times, and other times brilliant. I had a listen to their album before coming and couldn't figure out why Mogwai would want to take them out on tour. In fact I found them to be very similar to Stars of the Lid, ie most of the time really boring. Had I actually listened to their album all the way through probably would have noticed that like Mogwai, they have songs with really loud noisy crescendos and 'noise walls'. I guess they're sort of like Mogwai, without drums or guitars. Overall they were a pretty interesting band to watch.

Mogwai was loud. Real loud. Definitely the loudest band I've seen at the Commodore. Funny thing is I don't even remember it being that loud when I saw them in 2003. I think the loudest moment was the beginning of the second half of "Mogwai Fear Satan." I remember being really worried about my long term hearing at that point. Someone in the crowd called Barry a cunt. To which he replied "I shagged your mother, fucker." There was a guy calling out for X-Mas Steps, the entire night. I wish he got his wish. I wonder if it was the guy who called out for it the last time I saw them.

There was a bit of confusion when Mogwai finished up their set with Batcat. Stuart has said that the band wasn't into doing encores anymore (they'd still play their normal set time just straight through, instead of taking an encore break). However he also mentioned that if the crowd called for it they would. I waited around, and started to leave when I saw the stagehand turn off the amps. But then he turned around and flipped them on again. A minute later, he made the throat slash sign. Normally this means it's over. I start to leave, and I get to about the end of the dance floor when I hear the crowd getting louder. Stuart comes back on stage and attempts to apologize, saying that there's a problem something - but is interrupted by someone notifying the problem was fixed. Encore time! Ithica 27ø9 follows, another airplane takes off nearby (ha.. ha..), everyone is sent home happy... well maybe not the X-mas Steps guy.

10.12.2008: Links don't work, archive.org got a letter telling them to take it down. Probably due to this... I could blame the over-zealous, Web Sheriff for this, but I don't know if it's them for sure, for all I know it could be Mogwai using the show for an upcoming release. I can't fight it and neither will archive.org. I don't really know what to say.

01) Intro
02) The Precipice
03) Friend of the Night
04) I'm Jim Morrison, I'm Dead
05) Ex-Cowboy
06) Thank You Space Expert
07) Tracy
08) Scotland's Shame
09) Hunted By a Freak
10) Mogwai Fear Satan
11) I Love You, I'm Going to Blow Up Your School
12) Helicon 1
13) Like Herod
14) Batcat
15) Ithica 27ø9

or just go here.


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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

09.01.2008 The New Pornographers / Black Mountain / Stevie Jackson


The Stanley Park Exhibition is a (they're hoping) annual concert curated by the New Pornographers in their home town, an Stanley Park's Malkin Bowl. Proceeds from the ticket sales and merchandise will benefit two charities:

ALS Society of Canada


Urban Native Youth Association

go support.

There was a total of 10 bands playing over two days. On the first day Deerhoof, The Evaporators, Andrew Bird, Destroyer and Neko Case played. I didn't go, so there'll be no review.

There also won't be a review of the first two bands (Visqueen, 1900s) from the second day. (I had a paper to finish)


I arrived just as Stevie Jackson was making his introductions to the crowd. For those who don't recognize who this gentleman is, he plays guitar and does some singing for a well known band by the name of Belle and Sebastian. Apparently he also doesn't do a lot of solo shows. For the first couple of songs, he played solo, just him, in a nice looking dark suit and a guitar. He seems to have captured most of the crowds attention, due to his charming Scottish accent and humorous self deprecating banter. After a couple of songs he brings out his buddy Mick, also from B+S to accompany him on bass. As you would have guessed, they did a Belle and Sebastian cover. The last couple of songs, they are joined by Katheryn Calder, Kurt Dahl and Blaine Thurier (i think), for a few other songs I didn't recognize.


The sun was starting to set as Black Mountain ripped into their opening number "Stormy High." I chuckled to myself as a few kids and their parents retreated from the front of the stage. Black Mountain played about an hour of their usual heavy 70s psych inspired songs. They played mostly the same songs from their last tour. 'Tyrants' was a highlight as it was heavy, jammy and pretty mind blowing. However, as good as they played it didn't seem right that there was still a little bit of light left, spoiling the dark mood.


Whenever I think of how lucky Torontonians are with having Broken Social Scene as their 'home town' super-band, I then remind myself that they're probably pretty jealous we have the New Pornographers. Since, Destroyer and Neko Case played the night before, both Neko and Dan Bejar were in attendance today. It's been a while since they've played with their full line up as Kurt didn't tour on their last Challenger's tour. The ever enigmatic Dan Bejar was his usual self, arriving on stage (sometimes late) for his songs, and leaving after the song was done. There was a special guest who sang backup vocals for a couple songs, a Nora O'Connor, who sang backup vocals on the last two albums. Carl Newman remarked that it was the first time they've ever had 9 members. Adventures in Solitude was dedicated to Kathryn's mother, who has ALS. It was very touching and probably one of the highlights of their set. Noting the 10pm curfew, the Pornographers didn't break for an encore and ended with Bleeding Heart Show and "Don't Bring Me Down", an ELO cover.


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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

08.31.2008 The Trews

The Trews played a free show as part of Nike's world wide 10k run thing. I believe the deal was you paid $50 and you could run an get timed in a 10 km run.... yeah.... Anyways I decided to check it out because the music portion that took place after the run was apparently free.

I actually arrived late and missed a few songs because a) they started earlier than they were supposed to, and b) I couldn't figure out where the entrance was. When I got to the entrance there were people giving out tickets to get in. I've never seen the Trews before, but had heard their music on the radio. They're not really the type of band I would pay to see, but I'm always down for a free rock show. I don't own any of their albums, or even have any mp3s of them, but I noticed that I recognized a lot of their set from radio and tv. Thank you CANCON? Their set was pretty entertaining. I was pretty amused by the amount of rock show cliches the Trews employed during their set. I saw the bassist and guitarist sharing a mic stand, the guitarist doing the AC/DC duck walk, solo in the barricade, keyboard solo, running across the stage and more. Granted, I normally find many of these moves 'douche-y', however coming from these scruffy looking East coast boys, it seemed more genuine and less contrived. They ended their hour long set with what had to be a extended "Tired of Waiting" jam that had multiple solos, a slow breakdown, parts that I didn't recognize and a whole lot of fun. Theory of a Dead man played afterwards, though I can't confirm that... ha.... ha... ha...


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