Archive for January 2010

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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