Evening Hymns at the Tranzac

February 16th, 2010

This past November, Evening Hymns released Spirit Guides, which was one of my favourite albums of the year. I’ve been a fan of Jonas Bonetta (the man behind Evening Hymns) for a long time now, so I’ve been really happy to see so many people discover him with his latest release. For the longest time, Jonas was a one-band-band, using only his guitar and keyboard (and a few looping pedals) to create his lush sonic landscapes. For Spirit Guides, he enlisted the help of his many talented friends (including Sylvie Smith of The Magic, Tim Bruton from The D’Urbervilles, Shaun Brodie of the Hidden Cameras, and most of The Wooden Sky), resulting in his most diverse and transcendent album to date.

Jonas brought out these friends for his album release show back in December, and I was fortunate enough to be in the audience. Here they are performing his song “Broken Rifle” – see if you can count how many people are on stage for this.

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Steamboat at the Garrison

February 9th, 2010

Maybe I’m just not seeing the right bands play, but going to a Steamboat concert is practically the only time I see people really cut loose at shows. Sure, I’ll see people dancing at other shows, but usually that’s just a few people up front, and only after the lead singer has repeatedly told them to (or worse, actually jumped into the audience and forced people to shake their booties). For whatever reason, a dancing audience comes easy to Steamboat. Peep this video I shot of them playing their song “Talkin’ Shame” at the Garrison a few months back where you can see that I was surrounded on all sides but folks cutting a rug. I must say though, Steamboat’s music lends itself to dancing far better than say, past subjects of this series like Julie Doiron or the Harbourcoats.

For the uninitiated, pick up either one of Steamboat’s EPs (both released last year, the first one is self-titled while the newer one is called Live in Nassau). Learn the words, put on your favourite outfit, grab some friends, and make your way down to the next Steamboat show. I guarantee you a good time.

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LSdoubleDcup at Whippersnapper Gallery

February 2nd, 2010

Well, here’s something different. I’d never heard of this band before I shot this video, so don’t be surprised if they’re new to you too. I don’t think they have much recorded material, and speaking to them before their show they mentioned it was their first time playing in over a year. Nevertheless, I walked away thoroughly impressed by their unique sound and captivating stage presence. You may recognize a few of the members from other Toronto bands such as One Hundred Dollars, Tropics, and The Torrent, so it’s not really surprising that they’ve got the chops.

I think this song is called ‘Chairlift’ and it’s a song about lazy skiers. I’m glad I was able to capture this show because who knows when’s the next time LSdoubleDcup will hit the stage. Also, Whippersnapper is closing down soon. What a drag.

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Julie Doiron with Gentleman Reg at the Cobourg

January 26th, 2010

Gather ’round children, it’s storytime! Back when I was 19 years old, at the height of my salad days, I was going to a few shows a week. This was long before I made the big move to Toronto; I was still living with my parents in Oshawa. We had this great venue in town called the Velvet Elvis, which was really the only place around where you could see interesting bands from Oshawa and abroad. It’s where I met a lot of my friends and saw some great bands for the first time (Evening HymnsThe Rural Alberta Advantage, and Ohbijou to name a few). When I found out that Julie Doiron was coming to town I definitely knew that it was a big deal, though I wasn’t too familiar with her music at the time.

Arriving at the Velvet Elvis that night I can still clearly remember the scene. I showed up for the show way too early, so that it was pretty much just me, the staff, and the bands. The Elvis was a small room; I don’t think the place was supposed to hold more than 40 people (though it often held much much more). So there I was, awkwardly clutching my camera, probably leaning against the bar trying my hardest not to look like a complete nerd. Soon the room filled with friends and strangers, far past capacity. Julie played a very casual set, playing songs off her new album, taking requests, and even throwing in some choice covers. There was even a memorable moment where an inebriated man asked if he could sing a duet with Julie, which she handled like a pro, humouring the guy until he wandered upstairs to pass out on the couch. I really enjoyed Julie’s set, and even got to speak with her briefly after the show.

The scene at the Cobourg a few weeks back was like a mirror image of that night at the Velvet Elvis. Once again I found myself in a very small room overflowing with people, while Julie played a nice selection of new songs, requests, and covers. Once again, I was way to early for the show, however instead of mumbling a few words to Julie after her set like I did the first time I saw her, when I arrived she invited me over to chat. Understand, after seeing her in Oshawa, I quickly became a huge fan, buying all her albums and seeing her every chance I could; I even got the opportunity to interview her on several occasions, so it’s gotten to the point where we’ll always have a friendly chat. Concerning the show, thankfully there wasn’t a drunk man demanding a duet, but Julie did surprise a member of the audience by requesting help on one song. The audience member happened to be Gentleman Reg, and the song happened to be one of Julie’s most well known tunes “Will You Still Love Me in December.” I’m really glad I was filming when this happened because it was definitely one of the highlights of the night, and it probably won’t ever happen again, so enjoy!

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PS I Love You at the Garrison

January 19th, 2010

There are several reasons for me to pick this specific video to post today. It’s of Kingston two-piece PS I Love You playing Wavelength 494 last month. After releasing a well-received (at least in my house) EP on Apple Crisp Records in 2008, late last summer they put out a split 7″ with Diamond Rings, which quickly sold out. Next, they made a Joy Division inspired music video (*cough* which I directed *cough*), and just yesterday they were bestowed with the title Best New Music from tastemakers Pitchfork Media. If you can’t tell, yes, I’m really into this band. In this video they’re playing a new song called “Man Whore Anthem” which will hopefully be on their forthcoming album.

Wavelength, on the other hand, will no longer be doing their weekly series come mid-February. After 500 shows over the course of ten years, they WL crew is shifting focus to doing more one-off special events, which is very exciting. Sure it will be sad to lose an institution like Wavelength but it’s a great opportunity for a new group of kids to start something new. So make sure to check out the last few weeks of Wavelength Sunday night shows at the Garrison and don’t miss the WL 500 Festival from February 10-14.

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Harbourcoats at the Tranzac

January 14th, 2010

Here’s a video I shot last month when the Harbourcoats opened up for Evening Hymns at the latter’s album release show. I’ve seen the Harbourcoats (Bry Webb, also of the Constantines) play many times now going back several years, and each time has been special. The first time was almost five years ago, also at the Tranzac. I believe that was one of Bry’s first solo shows, and he only played a handful of songs (it was an afternoon gig in celebration of Three Gut Record’s fifth anniversary). The next time I saw him play was two and a half years later, once again at the Tranzac. For that show he had an entire band backing him up, with members of several prominent bands filling out the ranks. Now jump ahead to this winter, a few more years have passed and I find myself back at the Tranzac watching Bry Webb (this time wrapped in blue Christmas lights).

It’s actually unprecedented for me to have seen a performer so many times (I failed to mention above that I’ve seen Bry play at least two other times) and know the songs so well but not own their record. I can’t be blamed in this case since he’s yet to release an album!  I’ve heard for several years that he’s been chipping away at one, so hopefully we’ll have something by the end of this year. If you’re really jonesing for some solo recordings, check out 2007’s Friends in Bellwoods compilation for a cover of The Velvet Undergrounds’ “Oh! Sweet Nuthin’” he did with Ohbijou’s Casey Mecija, or try tracking down the soundtrack to This Beautiful City, which features two originals by Bry Webb called “Big Smoke” (which nominated for a Genie last year for Best Original Song) and “Positive People.” Whew.

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Attack in Black at SappyFest 2009

November 24th, 2009

Here’s a video of Attack in Black playing a new song at this year’s SappyFest. Highlight of my summer.

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Bruce Peninsula at the Bellwoods House

November 23rd, 2009

Bruce Peninsula are playing two shows this week at the Music Gallery. Here they are at the Bellwoods House last spring before everyone moved out. I sure am glad I was there to film it! What a beaut!

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Sebastien Grainger at the Tranzac

November 12th, 2009

Continuing with the anniversary celebrations, here’s another recently uncovered gem from earlier this year. I’m not sure why I never posted this the first time ’round, but it’s totally the only video like it on the internet! Sebby G himself has gone blog crazy in recent weeks, so ch-ch-check it out!

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Snowblink at SappyFest 2009

November 8th, 2009

One year ago this month, I posted a video on my blog that I shot of Attack in Black playing at SappyFest 2008. I didn’t know it at the time, but that video was really the start of Morning Noon Night. It took me a few months to realize that it might be interesting to have an entire blog dedicated exclusively to live videos, but once I did there was really no turning back. I’ve uploaded almost 100 videos now, and with this month being the unofficial one-year anniversary of this blog it seems like a good time to go through my video vault and post some never-before-seen gems. The first one I’ve got for you is a song I shot this past August at SappyFest! On the last day of the festival in the middle of the afternoon we all packed into the Vogue Theater to watch Snowblink. It was about 300 degrees in there – people were literally sticking to the seats. Anyway, the band invited a bunch of their friends to come sit on stage and clap and ring bells, and once they all started playing it really didn’t matter how hot it was in there. Grab their newest album Long Live… because it’s gorgeous!!

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