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Allan and I went to see The Calm Blue Sea Monday night at NEU+RAL. While the tickets were basically a steal ($5 to see three bands including TCBS–Sleep for the Nightlife and Reverse Mount Rushmore), there weren’t many people there…I think maybe not more than 20. Nonetheless the music played that night was great! Unfortunately we did have to skip out on Reverse Mount Rushmore due to some circumstances.
I have to say off the bat that I have been to a few post-rock shows and I have never been to a show that ever sucked. I get easily disappointed with the pop bands that I see live, and that could be because of the acoustics of the venue or maybe they just truly suck ass. It is always guaranteed that a post-rock show will never be disappointing, and that probably lies in the fact that it’s all instrumental so they really need to know how to play, and do.
Neither of us had ever been to NEU+RAL before. It’s a pretty small club in the basement of a building on College Street, but the acoustics of the place isn’t so bad. Sleep for the Nightlife, hailing from our very own Toronto, Ontario, played first, but we only got to see half of their set (we were a little late, on my account. Sorry Allan :P). I had never heard of them before besides some MySpace songs the night before the show, but they were quite entertaining and personable performers onstage. They played a few songs I recognized from their MySpace, including “i heart pandas.” They have more of a jazz- and metal-influenced, fast-paced appeal (I was reminded of The Samuel Jackson 5 often), which kept me on my feet throughout the entire set. I think towards the end of the set, the tempo started getting a little off, but I can’t place any blame because I would never be able to keep up that kind of pace if I was playing the drums like that for an hour.
The Calm Blue Sea came on next playing songs from both their albums. I was actually surprised (and a wee disappointed, not to dis the other band) they were the second band because they are most popular of the three (loosely according to MySpace hits, anyway). Unfortunately, it being two days after the actual show, I’ve forgotten what they started off with, but I do remember they played a few of my favourites from both their debut and Siegfried (we reviewed it here). I really was ecstatic to hear “Literal,” only the microphone was on way too low to hear the vocals. Damn you, sound guy! But all is good. Their performance was awesome, and everyone was so into the music. We ended up hearing some pretty awesome tunes such as “We Happy Few,” “The Meeting”/”The River that Runs Beneath this City,” “The Treasure,” and “The Contest.” And as soon as they came, the soon they left. I believe their set was about an hour, which doesn’t ever seem long enough when it is music you enjoy. I wished they could play longer though, but seeing as they were sandwiched between two other bands, it’s understandable that they couldn’t. I’m a bit disappointed that they were sandwiched between the two bands, leaving little (or no possibility, really) for an encore, despite there being just a few of us. I’m sure I’m definitely not alone when saying this, since someone from the crowd yelled out, “One more!” I couldn’t have agreed more.
We recorded some tracks but I suppose we were standing too close to the speakers as my crappy camera compressed a lot of the sound, making it sound really distorted. I always feel bad about taking pictures of bands playing live, just because I think the flashes from the camera are distracting and blinding…but enjoy the few pictures we took that night in the “more” link below.
Here is the rest of the band’s tour schedule:
The Calm Blue Sea’s Remaining Fall ’09 Tour Schedule
Sept 9 @ Brillobox – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – 9pm
Sept 10 @ Bernie’s – Columbus, Ohio – 9pm-
Sept 11 @ Convenant Church – Cincinnati, Ohio – 8pm
Like any rising star, Datarock came on two hours late to kick off their 2009 North American tour at Les Foufounes Électriques (translates to The Electric Pussies) in Montreal last Friday. But the wait and having to endure Orange Orange was well worth it (thank god for the ridiculously cheap drinks at Foufs – are there bars where you can get beers for $2.50 all night in Toronto?). Say what you will about Datarock and their superficial lack of originality – they put on a damn good show.
I was a little surprised to see Datarock playing at a bar after reading the interview where they expressed their desire to fill “proper” venues. Foufs, catering mainly to a punk crowd, is also a bit of an odd choice for Datarock. There was no scoffing or bitterness from the crowd though. There were three or four enthusiastic teenagers trying very hard to start and sustain a moshpit. Security and the rest of the audience were not amused but I was sort of glad to see that they were having a good time – albeit at the expense of many others.
Datarock joked around the with the crowd about gay kisses and technical difficulties in between a set mostly filled with songs from their debut album. I was pleased because Datarock Datarock is undoubtedly their better album but I would have liked to hear “True Stories” live. I was all set to scream “I LOVE DAVID BYRNE” and everything. Should have done it anyway.
Audience participation was easily achieved because of Datarock’s simple, catchy lyrics. This is important! There’s nothing more embarrassing than a mic angled off the stage being accompanied by confused murmurs and feet shuffling.
Datarock is a genuinely likable band. This is true of the band members and of the band itself. Datarock would have been the most popular kid in high school. He would have been elected student council president without even having to run.
The night ended with a semi-ironic rendition of “Time of Your Life”.
Sorry I didn’t get any photos. My parents even sent me my good camera. The light show was just too intense for me to get any good shots.
This being my second time seeing Lykke Li I went to the concert expecting it to be amazing, and thankfully I was right. After seeing Lykke Li in Feburary I became an even bigger fan, her vocals are even better than recorded and her energy and stage presence really adds to her music. Not to mention her hip hop covers which really get the crowd going.
While the entire concert wasn’t amazing, a Toronto based band opened for the opening act? The lead singer looked possessed and sounded like a goat had three members that were useless as they just stood there and OHH and AWWWED every once and a while. If you are reading this girl with the guitar, go solo, seriously, go solo.
Miike Snow has become one of my favourite bands, not only because they are amazing live but there music is catchy and fresh. Im going to admit, I went in thinking Miike Snow was just a guy with a mac book, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a full band and a DJ. Tonnes of energy and sound just as good live as they do on their album, I would defiantly go see them again.
Lykke Li finally came on after I went onto the patio to watch the fucking crazy lightning storm, considering she doesn’t have much material to perform her set wasn’t exactly the same as her previous performances I’ve seen, my only complaint is that I didn’t really like her new material, it was a bit country western for me. I also like the fact that she gets a bit hood when she sings, she gets low and crumps, My friend Alexander who was pretty drunk, continually kept saying “its sexy when a white girl got the flava of a black girl” (yes he is black). While that was the highlight for him, the real highlight of the performance for me was when Miike Snow came out on stage and remixed some of her songs and danced, the lead singer of Miike Snow also helped with Li’s cover of Knocked Up by Kings of Leon, which is one of my favourite songs. As well, her set was just a bit short, I would have liked for it to be longer, but none the less shes amazing and I will definantly go see her again the next time shes in Toronto.
The amount of music was overwhelming, but you always could walk through Christmas light illuminated pathways to another stage if you wanted to listen to something different. My favorite stages quickly became the Village (drum and bass) and the Fractal Forest (mostly electronic). All the Djs did an amazing job, giving the crowds a great variety of music to dance too, as well as remixing all those hits that you like to hear while you’re out.
Being my first time attending Shambhala, I can say that it was a awesome experience. All made so by the loud music and the friendly community. It’s hard to believe that a festival this size has only survived by word of mouth with no corprate sponsors. All these aspects and more only add too the charm of Shambhala.
1 pm, making my way to the front gates of Rock the Bells, I already felt an energy run through me as the sounds of Biggie echoed through the air. After picking up my ticket and passing through the minimal security, I entered the grounds and as Red 1 took the stage I looked around, getting a feel for what I was in store for for the next ten hours. The relentless blast of sun mixed with the marijuana haze that continually covered the crowd. The $7 beers being injested just as quickly as the free flowing water provided. After a couple minutes of wandering, I made my way closer to the stage to catch teasers of classic Rascalz tracks “Northern Touch” and “Top of the World”… Not a bad start.
After grabbing some much needed water, I met up with friends and proceeded to get as close to the stage as Chali 2na stepped up. This set blew me away…. Live band backing. A bass player that looked like he just fell out of the 80’s provided some of the most rugged basslines I’ve heard come out of hip hop. Chali 2na has a vocal flow that matched any of the sounds, whether they were funky or dark. Up next was Slum Village and although I haven’t listened to much of their stuff, I was really impressed with their set – still going strong despite two fallen members (R.I.P).
By this point the sun was starting to cook me, I’m really not a summer person. Begging for shade I made my way over to the small spot of covered area and crammed myself in with everyone else feeling the drain of the weather. This is where I would stay as Slaughterhouse played their set – I can’t lie, I’m not the biggest fan.
Up next was Tech N9ne and Krizz Kaliko, I was waiting for this. I made my way as close as I could get and as they tore through tracks like “Welcome To The Midwest”, “Riotmaker” and “Caribou Lou” (can you tell Everready is my favorite album) the energy in the crowd continually grew. Even prompting a couple girls flashing their tits…. With a little coaxing from Tech N9ne, of course.
By this point I was starting to get a little drained, I’m not a kid anymore and I could feel the sunburn forming on my neck and arms…. So back to the shade it was. At this point Supernatural busted out some of crazy freestyles, including a point where he was asking for objects from he crowd and proceeded to incorporate those items into the rhymes. Afterwards the other host B-Real came out and busted out a couple classic Cypress Hill tracks, that set the crowd a blazin’ (with energy and clouds of marijuana smoke).
Next was Common, another set I wasn’t too eager for…. So I proceeded to rest my already tired legs, getting ready for the next couple hours of standing I’d undergo. Common was better than I thought, even dropped a couple of freestyles incorporating Vancouver landmarks, which was nice.
After checking the set list, it looked as if Reflection Eternal wasn’t going to play – “Oh shit, that’s who I wanted to see the most” said one of my friends. As RZA took the stage, we became convinced that was the case.
RZA was fantastic, dropping both Wu Tang and solo tracks. The best part of his set was “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” performed by Ol’ Dirty Bastards son….. Not saying it was a particularly great rendition, but he was funny as shit. Even after the set he almost refused to get off the stage as they set up for Nas & Damian Marley. Even when told he had to go, he just went up to the DJ booth and started dancing around there. Classic.
Just when I thought it was going to be the last set of the night – stage set for the last performance, Reflection Eternal make their appearance…. Well, sort of. A 20 min set was a little disappointing, being that this was one of the acts I too most wanted to see. Fuck.
Oh well, I knew what was coming next and had been anticipating this all day. By this time I was pretty exhausted from the day long beating from the sun and heat, but the excitement gave me that burst of energy. As Nas stepped out and the music dropped, that rush filled my body and I felt as though I could go all night. The hour and a half long set from Nas & Damian Marley was simply amazing. Both artists dropping some solo sets, as well as combined. As I looked around, the entire crowd was on their feet, a sea of people jumping, dancing and singing along. Without a doubt this set made the day, as long and draining as it became. 11 pm, I leave with a sunburn, beaten legs and a new collection of memories.
Although artists dropped out a couple days before, including KRS-One (that one pissed me off a little), the show was pretty damn good… I’m already looking forward to Rock the Bells next year.