April 29, 2007
photos of the evening courtesy of Jeremy – thanks!
Really, that is the only way to describe seeing Final Fantasy perform live. The last time I saw Final Fantasy was a few days prior to the release of “He Poos Clouds” which went on to explode all over the place, eventually being hailed as the best record of 2006 by everyone who matters. Now that Mr. Pallett is getting the attention he deserves the venues are getting bigger. Rather than the tiny GradClub, Final Fantasy wowed us from the front of the gorgeous Sydenham St. United Church. The performative aspect of the show has grown, too, with the addition of Stephanie Comilang to the ‘band’, working the overhead projector in ways that I could have never imagined.
The projections were extraordinary (you can check out the video from a show at the Tranzac from Feb. 23rd to see what I mean). The screen sparkled, cities grew, flocks of birds flew, and alchemical rites were enacted on the large screen behind Pallett. The music became the soundtrack to the unfolding drama on the screen while the projections illustrated the music unfolding as the ‘text’ progressed. I’ve heard the projections been called distracting, and they were, in that they did displace Pallett as the centre of our attention. Given that he always comes across as a very shy individual you could argue that the sole purpose of the projections was to shift the spotlight away from him. I feel, however, that the visual component complemented the music fabulously and added an extraordinary and memorable element to the show.
That is not to say that the music couldn’t stand up on its own. It was stunning, gorgeous, emotional, powerful – even transendent. Pallett’s virutosity is mindbending. To see him create the multi-layered suites onstage is something you really need to witness in person to really understand. Parts are set down, added to the mix while Owen moves onto another part of the composition, which is layered into it, other pieces come in and out, are looped and reversed. Nothing is lost as each element builds upon the next as a sonic tapestry is weaved, single-handedly, in front of your eyes. It is awesome (in both senses of the word).
The setlist was great, taking equally from the two-full lengths and playing a couple of new songs along with a couple of older, non-album tracks and an incredible cover of “Paris 1919”. In an performance filled with highlights, I must say my absolute favourite moment came in the performance of “What Do You Think Will Happen Next” when he repeats the line “Yes I can” over and over. It was spectacular.
In case I haven’t made myself abundantly clear, it was an amazing show through-and-through. I think I’ve completely exhausted my stockpile of synonyms for “great” so I guess all I can do is recommend you go see Final Fantasy for yourself if you ever have the chance.
Final Fantasy, Sydeham Street United Church, Kingston, 10 April 2007
2. This Lamb Sells Condos
3. The Arctic Circle
4. Many Live -> 49 MP
5. I’m just a little nervous (talk)
6. The Butcher
7. Flare Gun
8. an old song that i’ve tried to remake in a more friendly image (talk)
9. What Do You Think Will Happen Next?
10. Paris 1919 (John Cale cover)
11. I’m a little shy so I’m not going to volunteer any information (talk)
12. Took You Two Years To Win My Heart
13. The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead
14. you have some lovely people in your city (talk)
15. Song Song Song
16. slow songs sound really good in here (talk)
17. The Miner Becomes Forgetful
18. This Is the Dream of Win and Regine
19. now the dream has come true (talk)
20. Better Than Worse
I can’t imagine you don’t already own the Final Fantasy albums, but if you happen to be in such a sorry state, you can – nay, must! – rectify the situation immediately. Visit The Blue House (Canada, they sell for Blocksblocksblocks) or Tomlab (rest of the World) or get two of the best albums you will ever own digitally from Zunior.
April 22, 2007
photo taken by Some Call Me…Tim? at SxSW, 16 March 2007
Yesterday I went to a wedding reception where they played JT’s “SexyBack.” I think it may have been the first time I had actually heard the song in its entirety in its original form. After objectively weighing its merits, I decided that it is ok for what it is, but I much preferred the cover by Rock Plaza Central. They turn this slick, arrogant, highly produced song and turn it into a slouching, lumbering, and rather sinister, beast.
While I am perhaps the least qualified person on earth to be dispensing advice to bands, I have a pearl of wisdom for you. No matter how seriously you take yourself and your music, figure out at least one song by someone else, make it your own – really put your own stamp on it – and play it in your set. Audiences (really, I am speaking for myself, but I think others feel the same way) love that. RPC really killed “SexyBack” and it seems to have brought them quite a bit of attention – all well deserved.
Their latest record, “Are We Not Horses?”, which was just released last week in the US by Yep Roc, is an amazing concept album based on a fully formed- but not entirely divulged – narrative featuring a post-apocalyptic future following an epic battle between robotic horses and angels. While this sounds a shade bizarre, you don’t have to be a sci-fi nerd to enjoy it. Live, the songs become even more urgent and powerful. They are filled with strings, horns, plaintive vocals, and thunderous drumming. When I saw RPC in Ottawa this past January, Chris Eaton and company played passionately and seriously, but in between songs the seriousness dropped and they were personable and funny. It seemed they really enjoyed performing with each other and that they were having a good time being onstage, particularly in front of an appreciative audience. The combination of fantastic music and really warm performance made for a great show (my thanks to Calum at Mocking Music for hooking me up with tickets).
Rock Plaza Central are back at Zaphods this Friday, part of a little tour where they are hitting five cities in as many days. Be sure to check them out if you find yourself even remotely near the following places this week:
-Apr 25, 2007 – Hamilton at the Casbah
-Apr 26, 2007 – Toronto at Sneaky Dee’s
-Apr 27, 2007 – Ottawa at Zaphod’s
-Apr 28, 2007 – Montreal at The Main Hall
-Apr 29, 2007 – Boston at The Great Scott
-Apr 30, 2007 – NYC at The Mercury Lounge
Rock Plaza Central, Zaphod Beeblebrox, Ottawa, 13 January 2007
1. Fifteen Hands/Sexy Back
2. How Shall I to Heaven Aspire?
3. speaking of hot (talk)
4. A Town at the Bottom of the Ocean
5. that really wasn’t sucking up (talk)
6. Are We Not Horses?
7. it’s like The Chrysalids (talk)
8. We’ve Got a Lot To Be Glad For
9. he’s the man (talk)
10. I Am an Excellent Steel Horse
11. My Children, Be Joyful
12. gotta bring in dance music (talk)
14. I think we know one more (talk)
15. When We Go, How We Go (Part II)
16. this is about having sex in a tent (talk)
17. Mount Up and Ride
If you don’t have it already, buy “Are We Not Horses” from Outside (Canada) or Yep Rock (USA, only $10! Plus you get three bonus tracks!) or get it along with two other RPC albums digitally from Zunior.
April 15, 2007
Howdy folks. Did you have a good week? I certainly did as I took in all three shows that I mentioned in my last post. All three were really good – Final Fantasy was particularly amazing – but I’m feeling a little rawked out at the moment. Totally worth it, though.
Before I get going, have you seen the lineup for the Wolfe Island Musicfest this year? Two words: Wolf Parade. Un-freakin’-believable. From top to bottom an astounding lineup of acts. Virginia is a superhero, a booking ninja – bow down before her awesomeness! So, August 10th-11th. Be there. You have no choice. Starting June-ish I plan on doing a “Countdown to Wolfe Island” featuring 8 or so of the acts on the bill so if you don’t mark it in your calendars right now don’t fear, because I will be bringing it up every chance I get from now until then and then I probably will be talking about it until the following year.
photo by Weekend Vagabond from The Groove Lounge, Oshawa ON, Saturday October 21st, 2006.
You know those shows where, even before you get there, you know that it is going to be epic? This is one of those shows. I had the feeling that the latest visit of Cuff the Duke to Kingston was going to be awesome from the get go. I hadn’t had the pleasure of seeing them live before, and even though Ohbijou were playing earlier in the night (they were awesome), I couldn’t pass them up. And, man-o-man I am glad I made it. It was an exceptionally rock-n’-roll show, complete with fistpumping, singing/shouting along from the crowd, and other general rawking out. They were celebrating the re-release of their debut album and they played a bunch of classic tracks of that disc as well as a slew of new songs which they are in the process of recording, probably right now as I am typing. Even though Wayne Petti said he was very ill, you wouldn’t have known it. They left it all on the stage. It was great.
This Thursday, Cuff frontman Wayne Petti will hit the Elixir in support of his solo effort “City Lights Align”. Its a little quieter than Cuff the Duke’s records – more in the folky singer-songwriter vein – but what it lacks in volume it makes up for in intimacy. Stream some tracks at Petti’s myspace and pick up the album from Outside Music or digitally at Zunior.
Cuff the Duke, The Grad Club, Kingston, 23 February 2007
2. Belgium or Peru
3. so nice to be at the grad club (talk)
4. The Ballad of Poor John Henry
5. old times, the good old days (talk)
6. “I Remember Those Good Times” (title? new song)
7. thanks to our good friends from Oshawa (talk)
8. The Difference Between Us
9. sold out (talk)
10. “I Guess It’s Up To You (title? new song)
11. “You’re Not Gonna” (title? new song)
12. you can borrow it, just don’t spill shit on it (talk)
13. The Future Hangs
14. I don’t think its quite hot enough (talk)
15. Lonely Path of Mine
16. make sure you tip them well (talk)
17. “If I Live, If I Die” (title? new song)
18. we can do it there (talk)
19. “I’ll Come Running Back To You” (title? new song)
20. a little Kingston, right there in Mel Lastman Square (talk)
21. Take My Money and Run
22. feeling faint (talk)
23. Ballad Of A Lonely Construction Worker
24. a little debate in the dark (talk)
25. “Such a Long, Long Road” (title?)
26. if i start to lean forward just push me back up (talk)
27. The Trouble and the Truth
If you missed it before, you can now get the amazing and newly re-issued Life Stories for Minimum Wage it will make a nice companion to their equally great self-titled follow up and because Zunior rules, you can get both albums there digitally.
April 8, 2007
photo of Jill Barber with Matthew Barber and Stu Crooks at the Hillside Festival, Guelph, 31 July 2006 by Easternblot.
There were no shows this weekend (well, none that I was interested in – did anyone see Ben Folds? How was it?) and I place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the Easter Bunny. That damn rabbit is a killjoy. But he did bring me minieggs so I guess he’s not all bad. Anyhoot, with the weekend off, I hope you were able to get rested up because this week there are three shows of note and I expect you all the be at them all:
2) On Tuesday you better have nothing important going on because you are going to need to cancel whatever you are doing. Final Fantasy is playing the beautiful Sydenham St. United Church with Hank. Holy freakin’ crap this is going to be great. As of a couple of hours ago, the show is not sold out and there will be some tickets available at the door.
As you know, I recently posted about Jill Barber (did you go to the show? it was fantastic) and I have posted about the elder Barber in the not so distant past. If I want to feature all Barbers, all the time, you are just going to have to deal with it, this is my website. But knowing that you are like me and are big fans of the Barbers so you will no doubt be happy to see them performing together.
For today’s post we are lucky to have both Barbers, joined by Jay, Jesse, and Bryden Baird (of Drummer, Shotgun & Jaybird, and many other bands) for a great episode of Fuse thanks to The Corporation. While the Barbers are great on their own, the wealth of talent the Bairds bring to the party makes it all the better. The trumpet on Matthew Barber’s “Easy to Fall,” for example, is fantastic, the vocal harmonies throughout are wonderful, and who can argue with the accordion on “Hard Line”?
Bairds and Barbers, Fuse, CBC Radio, 3 March 2007 rebroadcast
I could only find mentions of the Bairds’ band Drummer online and had no luck finding their album “In Basements and in Bars” but you may be able to get it at a fine music retailer near you. You can find Matthew Barber’s albums here.
April 3, 2007
photo from the CBC3 flickr page.
A week and a half ago, or so, the fact that I’m rather incompetent was reinforced when I missed recording 2/3rds of the John K. Samson and Christine Fellows set on the last CBC Radio 3 show. Take heart, b(oot)loggers, because Craig, who previously supplied us with the full Weakerthans/Sarah Harmer set came through again. I think you’ll agree this is totally worth the wait.
So, here it is, all six songs performed on the show. Thanks again Craig, you’re my hero.
* John K. Samson, The Reasons.mp3
* Christine Fellows, Vertebrae.mp3
*Christine Fellows, Double Takes.mp3
* John K Samson, One Great City!.mp3
* Christine Fellows, Taps Reversed.mp3
* John K Samson, Left and Leaving.mp3