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02 Dec 05

islands: less cranky but more boring than unicorns

i broke my cardinal rule last night by going to a show on a school night. ok, fair enough, this “cardinal rule” has only really been in existence since i got to toronto, but the plethora of live shows on weekends plus the fact that i’m now quite old has made it prudent to try to get 8 hours of zzz a night.

regardless, i couldn’t resist checking out the islands show at the drake last night, especially given the close proximity of the venue to my bed. i downloaded the two teaser tracks a few months ago that were linked all across the blogosphere and loved them, so i was looking forward to seeing how they’d translate live – and i hoped it’d be better than the unicorns’ attempts at shows. which brings me to my next point…the islands are: 2/3 of the now-defunct unicorns (nick on guitar+keys, j’aime on drums) + jim guthrie on guitar + 2 brothers on violin + a bassist + a guy who mostly played saxophone. an interesting mix. i have to say though that i wasn’t particularly wowed. the songs were pretty good, but tended to be lacking in the hooks that sucked me into the unicorns. and wouldn’t you know it? they refused to play both flesh and abominable snow, the only tunes people knew (and were requesting loudly). it struck me, however, as music i might enjoy listening to at home more than in a live setting…i could see the album being a grower. i think this post on stillepost summed it up well for me as well:

Islands were good, but that’s about it. Their songs are too straight for my taste, I think. I really enjoyed their set, but I wasn’t having fun, which after the Unicorns, I was sort of expecting. I doubt I’ll bother seeing them next time they play here. I’m still interested in hearing the record when it comes out though.

i’d probably amend that to “i kind of enjoyed their set” though. on the bright side, at least they weren’t clearly pissed at each other as the unicorns always seemed to be when i saw them live. oh, and what’s the deal with them wearing all white? are they trying to steal some of the ladies and gentlemen’s thunder?

oh, and i’d be remiss if i didn’t mention that i managed to catch wayne petti’s opening set (although i missed that of fox the boombox, except for their last song). apparently wayne had to rush over from a cuff the duke show and played a similar set to the last time i saw him perform solo: he included a couple of CTD tunes, some new originals, and some covers, including springsteen’s i’m on fire as a closer. i quite enjoyed it.

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

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