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04 Oct 04

salteens: same old fun pop

to cap off my week of bands (let’s recap: danny michel, luke doucet, arcade fire, ride theory, constantines and jim guthrie) i headed to toronto on friday night to catch another salteens show (and a couple other boompa bands) at the el mocambo. i was pretty exhausted after several late nights in a row so i was hoping for an earlier night, but it was not to be.

the first band on the bill were called the ladies and gentlemen, a shitty name for a pretty solid band. what i didn’t know ahead of time was that they’re the new project for thom d’arcy of the carnations, which was a pleasant surprise. they’re a 5 piece band (who could have easily been whittled down to a 3 or 4 piece) that drew a surprisingly big crowd. their set was quite solid and i enjoyed most of the songs, but the ones that were less focussed on guitars (and featured more keyboards and percussion) were the ones that really grabbed my attention. and how can you complain about thom’s voice? what was kind of funny about their set was their fifth member. i’m not sure what to call him – he spent most of his time clapping his hands, occasionally fiddling with knobs on the amps behind him, or pressing a key or two on the tiny keyboard in front of him. i had to wonder if he was getting paid as much as the other four members.

run chico run was the second band on the bill, and i had a good feeling about them when i saw them getting ready – a two piece alternating between keys, a guitar and drums. my first impression, about 30 seconds in, was “hey, that’s pretty cool – the drummer is playing a keyboard at the same time”…but that’s the last good thing i can say about them. their songs were more angular than catchy, and i don’t think i was able to detect a single chorus or verse throughout their entire 45 minute set. (check out their website’s main page for a pretty good representation of how they sound – and the site’s description of “tasteless art rock” gives art rock a bad name). the once-large crowd emptied significantly, leaving only a handful of people by the end of their set – and it nearly put me to sleep.

finally, the salteens came on sometime after midnight. the crowd never really recovered from run chico run, so there were only a few dozen people there. as usual, they motored through another high energy set, and had i not seen them before, i would’ve left pretty happy (although i would’ve preferred more than a 45 minute set at any time). unfortunately, it was pretty much exactly the same set that i saw back in march. oh, and june 2003. oh, and june 2002. you get the idea. their shows are always fun and poppy and exciting, but i get the feeling that they’ve put most of their energy into running their label, boompa, rather than writing new songs. i probably would’ve enjoyed the whole experience more had i not endured the previous band, and had it been over about an hour sooner.

4 Responses to “salteens: same old fun pop”

  1. 1
    robin Says:

    I saw that guy from Ladies and Gentlemen 5 times the next day around Toronto!

  2. 2
    anne Says:

    oooh! THAT guy?! was his moustache as impressive in the daylight as it was the night before?

  3. 3
    pager Says:

    you mean he wasn’t spending all day practising his…uh…hand claps?

  4. 4
    robin Says:

    I thought he looked just like Dr. Matt Destruction, from The Hives (the one on the left here.)

    He looked a bit silly without the white get-up.

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Pronunciation: 'ch&mp
Function: noun
Etymology: perhaps blend of chunk and lump
Date: 1883

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