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Archive for April, 2005

29 Apr 05

the arcade is on fire. again.

the arcade fire know how to put on a show: they held their large toronto shows at the danforth music hall (picture the bloor cinema, but with a big stage), they invited two of their very talented friends to open for them, and they had the show wrapped up by 11:30. oh, and they put on a killer show, as usual.

final fantasy went on first, and he wowed us again. he once again made good use of the overhead projector visual aids (a highlight: dinosaurs kissing while owen sang a heartfelt song), and violined and looped and kicked our asses. he played a couple of new songs (including one standout about magic the gathering), and his set was over far too soon…but not before busting out a cover of fantasy by mariah carey, featuring regine and gentleman reg. awesome.

up second were wolf parade, who borrowed tim from arcade fire for their set while their normal bassist was off treeplanting. i’m a fan of their two eps, and their performance was solid, but it’s surprising to me that they have two singers – they sound SO similar! they powered through a short and fun set, and then made way for the headliners.

arcade fire themselves burst out of the gate in typical fashion, featuring two percussionists beating the hell out of anything they could hit with their drum sticks…oh, and they featured 9 musicians! their set was typically high energy and fantastic, and they played much of funeral as well as two from their self-titled ep, and even threw in a new one. their encore, wake up, was a clear highlight: they invited dozens of people on stage and handed out tambourines and drum sticks, as though it was the by divine right show to end all by divine right shows. chromewaves is better with photography than i am, so if you wanna see for yourself, check out their visual evidence.

camouflage nights and arcade fire in one week? i think i’ve peaked…and i haven’t even moved to toronto yet.

27 Apr 05

one last kingston show

it’s the end of an era. last night marked the final kingston show i’m likely to ever see, now that i’m heading off to toronto. i hear they have one or two good bands playing there occasionally though, so all is not lost.

the show in question was the long-awaited caribou + junior boys + russian futurists show at the elixir. all in all, an enjoyable time, but with none of the crazy excitement of the camouflage nights set – now THAT would have been an appropriate send off.

russian futurists took the form of a 4 piece, with a whole lot of keyboards and samplers on the stage. matthew adam hart, mr. futurist himself, seemed to have the easiest role, essentially starting up the sampler and providing vocals, while the rest of the band played a variety of keyboards and threw in the occasional guitar. sadly, i felt the beats’ volume was up a bit too high, so it was difficult to make out the keyboard parts. the set was pretty good (although a little too new song-heavy for my liking, thus my attention lapsed repeatedly), and they included precious metals, so i was happy.

junior boys came on next. how on earth are these guys from hamilton? for some reason i had it in my head that i’d never see them live, so i was surprised to see they were coming to kingston. they’re two guys, one on keys (with samples) and one on guitar, and they play pop/danceish music that’s often kinda difficult to dance to. their set too was dominated by new tracks (i only recognized 3 from the bunch, but thankfully bellona was among them) and they were fairly hit or miss, although i should point out that last exit was a definite grower for me and i didn’t love it right away.

caribou were something to watch. their live configuration consisted of dan snaith (mr. caribou) as well as two others, one on drums and one on guitar. watching dan was something special – in one song he played no less than 5 instruments, and switched effortlessly between guitar, keyboards, drums, melodica, recorder, and others. i hadn’t seen a band in quite a while with two drummers, so that was a highlight, but the fact that the vocals were, for the most part, pre-recorded detracted somewhat from the experience. carrying on with the trend, he played mostly songs from his new album, but at least i was familiar with it ahead of time (and love it). sadly, we had to leave before the end of their set because of the lateness.

it also seemed fitting that, at my last show, rock crew chris introduced himself. i still don’t like 3 band bills, chris, for the record, but at least they were touring together this time. oh, and a lesson should be learned from most toronto shows about set times: weeknight shows really should start a bit earlier, ’cause leaving before the end of the headliner’s set sucks.

25 Apr 05

they rocked the populace (and it definitely could be love)

dammit, i’ve been scooped by the unlikeliest of sources… ah well, the blog must go on…

it’s about time camouflage nights played a show that i was able to attend. it could be love is one of the best songs i’ve heard in a long time, and despite ian mcgettigan’s promises last november, they did not play any shows in february or march. it was worth the wait though.

picture this: mcgettigan hitting the stage wearing typically value village-rejected attire (including a fur hat, of course) carrying a flaming hatchet and a bottle of some indeterminate flammable substance, proceeding to blow fireballs across the dance floor. definitely reminiscent of his old thrush hermit days. benvie was there too, in fine form, uttering cryptic remarks like “sum…sum…sum 41” while splitting his time between keys and his legendary (to me anyway) green guitar.

and the songs… they blew me away. the performance was intense and tight and far too short. the only set i can readily compare it to was that of stars a few years ago when they opened for broken social scene – a completely powerful show that would have upstaged any headliner. oddly, it was also comparable to broken social scene’s performance that night – between each song, the entire camouflage nights crew would switch instruments rick of the skins-style, just as bss tried to do and failed miserably, but CN did so effortlessly without losing any momentum while allowing songs to flow together. their opening song was fantastic (i wish i knew its name), as were five five minutes (which almost knocked me off of my feet ’cause of the bass-off – two basses playing together resulting in some serious, well, bass) and, of course, it could be love. i was surprised at how many songs ian took the lead on (very un-thrush hermit-like), but everyone chipped in with vocals of their own.

does anyone know who else is in the band? i could pick out nobu adilman (from rick of the skins, smart ask, some films of his own and apparently a recent performance on trailer park boys), and the girl looked quite familiar, but i have no clue.

anyway, i’m anxiously awaiting their next pertourmance, and will have to settle for their brand new 12″ record i picked up at the show. now i’ll just have to figure out how to actually listen to it…

the moral: go see them if you have a chance. i mean it.

22 Apr 05

apartment hunting tip #1

when looking at someone else’s apartment, be sure that you ask more questions than just “may i flush your toilet?” in fact, it might be preferable to just skip that question all together.

21 Apr 05

from the makes me happy department…

dear the guy who keyed my car on johnson street yesterday,

fuck you.

sincerely,
me

19 Apr 05

the results are in! congratulations, banana or chachi page-vardy!

well, it’s been almost a month since the name the alien baby polls began, and it’s now time to present my sister with the names for her baby as chosen by faithful (and unfaithful) chumptastic readers. without further ado, here are the results:

if it’s a baby boy:
38% of readers chose chachi. satchel was a close second at 32%.

if it’s a baby girl:
57% of readers chose banana.

the readers have spoken, kristi. this is legally binding.

edit: you know, it’s sad i didn’t add goldenpalace.com to the name list. it would’ve been a shoo in. or, even better, as kristi suggests, chumptastic.org!

19 Apr 05

3 shows in 1 post: it can be done

in my whirlwind week, i somehow also managed to squeeze in several shows. i don’t think it’s possible for me to capture everything i would’ve liked to at this late date, so i’m gonna have to cop out and do a quick summary of each. last saturday was the constantines + weakerthans + andre ethier show at lee’s in toronto, thursday was the hidden cameras + dandi wind at the elixir in kingston, and sunday was m. ward + devotchka + norfolk and western. woo.

andre ethier:

  • it was nice to see him play a full set this time (as opposed to the quick 4 song set i saw a couple months ago…), and he even included my favourite, the night. yay.
  • he had sandes, pickles and price with him, and they did a solid job of reproducing the album (not to mention several new songs). not bad for a crowd who were anxious (read: rabid) for the cons and especially the weakerthans.

constantines:

  • they can flat out rock. their opener (a new song whose name i don’t know) kicked my ass…
  • they totally have their rock poses DOWN. rock.
  • their set was a mix of old and new stuff. as anne pointed out, their new songs aren’t quite as anthemic, but they were solid after one listen.
  • a stupid pole obstructed my view of bry for most of the set. that was suboptimal.

weakerthans:

  • don’t get me wrong, i love the weakerthans, but their set wasn’t one of my all-time favourites. it probably didn’t help that john k. sampson was also behind that stupid pole…
  • the first thing i noticed was that the band suddenly had 6 members. apparently they borrowed a couple members of the fembots to fill out their lineup a bit.
  • they played all of my favs, as well as a few new songs, so that was a definite plus.
  • john k. sampson’s encore of one great city was a clear highlight.
  • their rock poses need some serious work, especially after following the cons. the marty-mcfly-lie-down-on-your-back-guitar maneuver is a risky move, and frankly, they didn’t pull it off. a couple of the guys in the band, on that night anyway, looked a bit too fratboyish for me. perhaps i’m just too elitist for my own damn good.
  • the night was capped off with a cover of the travelling wilburys’ end of the line, featuring all members of both the weakerthans and constantines. a pretty awesome ending.

dandi wind:

  • so beyond description. picture a guy playing synths in a glow in the dark skeleton shirt who barely moves, along side a woman in a leotard, with face paint, leaping around while singing, jazzercizing, twirling a baton, and tossing around large balloons.
  • and as strange as THAT might sound, the crowd trumped them for overall weirdness: a crazy number of people dressed up in 1920s attire, a guy in a skirt and woman’s hat, a girl in a motorcycle hat and suspenders dragging behind her, a girl with fake red eyebrows and mustache…and on and on and on. truly bizarre. quite possibly weirder than that infamous by divine right show.
  • oh, and they covered the safety dance. whoa.

hidden cameras:

  • also weird: i was expecting an extravagent, or at least bizarre performance from these guys. i’ve heard stories of elaborate stage setups, dancers, half naked performers, etc. etc., but sadly, that was not to be. instead, we ended up with stage of 7 or so relatively non-descript performers who were genuinely enjoying themselves. i guess i can’t really complain about that.
  • their set was a good mix of songs from the smell of our own and mississauga goddam, alongside a number of new tracks. if you like the old, chances are you’re gonna like the new.
  • i quite liked this description from the ottawa xpress: With most bands, the formula is to have a few guys who play lots of notes. The formula for the Hidden Cameras is to have lots of guys ( 8 of them this time ) who play a few notes. true.

norfolk and western:

  • can anyone tell me why rachel blumberg left the decemberists for these guys? i don’t mean that in a bad way – i enjoyed their set, but they’re certainly no decemberists. true, she probably contributes more to the songwriting and vocals… but the decemberists!
  • ok, now that that’s out of the way… their songs ranged from loud and guitar-based to quite mellow with just percussion and a violin. i’ll be checking out more of their stuff after catching their set.

devotchka:

  • what kind of band are they? mariachi? folk? jazz? i have no clue. all i know for sure is that they make good use of an accoustic guitar, violin, accordion, theramin, trumpet and drums.
  • they really weren’t my style of music, but i couldn’t stop my foot from tapping on a number of occasions
  • when they all left the stage to perform without amps on the dance floor, that was brilliant.

m ward:

  • when the band i’m really wanting to see comes on 3rd at 11:45 on a sunday night, the chances are pretty good i’m not gonna be able to last for the whole thing. and when the band i’m really wanting to see doesn’t play much i’m familiar with, and instead plays a laid back set and doesn’t inspire me much at all, the chances of me staying drop even further. sadly, this pretty much describes m ward’s set at lee’s.
  • rachel blumberg (and the rest of norfolk and western) made up his band. pretty cool.
  • how did the old woman standing directly behind us end up at that show? “who are these people?” “norfolk and western.” “well, they never said their name!” “yes, they just did.” “well, that girl sure does have good musicianship.” and on and on and on.
  • his/their performance was certainly passable, and most definitely technically sound (wow that guy can play guitar), but when none of my favs (sweethearts on parade, hi-fi, etc.) were played in the first hour, i had to get out of there and head to bed. it was certainly not as engaging as josh rouse’s show.

now, imagine how many bands i COULD’VE seen if i wasn’t busy being sick, having weird saliva gland-related issues, and getting a new job.

14 Apr 05

yes, it’s been a full week

some might say that this has been a rather full week for me…here’s a brief rundown:

  • i got a nasty cold on the weekend, turning my nose into a faucet as is the norm. it didn’t go away until wednesday.

  • i ended up with a lovely occurrence of sialolithiasis, a condition in which my saliva duct has a stone form in it, and then get infected. the stone’d been there for months and months, but once it got infected my salivary gland started swelling up anytime i ate, and never really receded. this started on monday morning.
  • on monday afternoon i had a job interview with york university’s IT department. note that i arrived at the interview with a runny nose, fuzzy head and enormous gland under my jaw. i still managed to kick some ass though, on both the oral and practical parts.
  • i went to an after hours clinic on monday night to see about getting some antibiotics for my sialolithiasis. the doctor had never seen such a thing before, and said that he wished he had a digital camera. i was less than confident about his diagnosis.
  • i spent tuesday doing the last of the job interviews at work. i think we interviewed 50 students this month. it was mind numbing.
  • i was offered the york job on tuesday night, pending a reference check. eating was still not good to my gland.
  • york called my references on wednesday. my coworkers apparently like me. that made me happy.
  • i went to the er late in the afternoon to see if they could do anything for me. they scheduled an appointment for me to have it removed by an ear/nose/throat doctor.
  • the job offer was made official on thursday. start date: may 2nd. wow, soon.
  • also thursday: my specialist said “wow, look at that. hey diane, you gotta see this!” in reference to the stone under my tongue. that gave me a good feeling. he cut it out. it was enormous. happily, i can now eat somewhat.
  • tonight: hidden cameras at elixir with mitch.

so, yeah. full week.

12 Apr 05

plumbers know funny

another in my series of clever plumber slogans, this time courtesy of a truck apparently owned by adams heating and plumbing:

a flush beats a full house

comedy gold.

06 Apr 05

i’m under josh rouse’s charms

josh rouse is good. very good.

his world tour swung by lee’s palace last night, and they impressed me. a lot. before arriving, i wasn’t really sure if lee’s was the best venue for him – i was expecting to find a half empty room, ’cause really, who knows josh rouse? in reality though, the promoters knew best and lee’s was pretty packed with an odd mix of oldies (whose last concert experience might have been winona or cher, or perhaps fred eaglesmith), and 20- or 30-something indie types. words can’t do the dancing justice, but just imagine shoulder swaying, head tossing and bouncing…all at the same time. yeah, yikes.

amy correia was on stage when we arrived, and she wasn’t for me. i’m not generally a fan of females on stage by themselves with a guitar, and i really couldn’t get into her. anne described her voice accurately as bonnie raitt-esque, and that, to me, isn’t particularly complimentary. regardless, her set wasn’t overly long, so i made it through.

josh and band took the stage around 10:45 and they wowed me right away. they opened with it’s the nighttime from his newest album, nashville, and went on to put on a fantastic 1.5 hour set. i was expecting mostly new songs, but they surprised me with a 1979-heavy set (with a few new ones as well as some blasts from the past), including: my love has gone, sad eyes, winter in the hamptons, love vibration, sunshine, james, slaveship, comeback, under your charms, miracle, dressed up like nebraska, and lots others that i forget. many of the performances were true to the album versions, but they changed the arrangements on comeback (my favourite of the evening), james and under your charms, all of which impressed me. i guess that’s really what set them apart in my mind from the bloc party’s show – they didn’t sound identical to the albums at all times, and showed that they could mix things up a bit while never declining in quality. his band is very tight, and although the stage banter was kept to a minimum, my attention was held for the entire set.

anne has a good description on her site that sums up the evening nicely:
if you’ve never heard josh rouse, imagine the feeling of a summer road trip with a good friend, windows down, hot air blowing your hair around and feeling utterly content.

i couldn’t have put it any better. fantastic.

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

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