Wedged tightly between a week spent pulling two grant applications out of me arse and a weekend spent entertaining a house guest (ie staying up way too late, eating way too much, and having to turn my wine glass upside down to stop the incessant refilling), this increasingly sleep-deprived zombie did manage to take in a show.
Six bands were on the bill, which was a wrap up party for a new local radio station, whose mission is to provide a outlet for local indie music. All of the bands, with one exception, seemed intent on out-thrashing the others.
The openers, the Cranston Foundation, were kinda gansta-ish, which made us lol a fair bit, but they were decent and put a lot of effort into laying down a solid set.
They were followed by Hot Little Rocket, who have been kicking around the Calgary scene for quite some time. HLR always put on a solid show and they were early enough on the bill that we weren't yet tired of the incessant testosterone. They plowed through their set at a pretty frantic pace, with much screaming, straining of neck muscles, and being macho with the guitar, although not in a bad way.
A lot of the crowd seemed to be there for the Neckers, which raised the median age of the audience a few notches. These venerable rockers put on a heavily punk-oriented set that belied the dates on their birth certificates. Jumps, scissor kicks, and mic swings, along with some raucous songs made for a good natured set with much jumping and dancing. These guys exhausted me.
Bringing with them a much welcomed break from 3 - 4 boys on guitar, bass and drum, Jane Vain and the Dark Matter took the stage with 6 members, a female lead vocal plus a spare girl and lots of keyboard action. I have been curious to hear this band for quite a long time, as I missed their sets at Sled Island, and I was really taken with their rather spacey electro pop, seriously indie sound. I regret not braving the surprisingly long line at the merch table to buy some of their music, but you can listen to several songs here at New Music Canada.
Lions Tigers and Bears marked the return to 3 boys on guitar, bass and drum, and every one of their songs sounded exactly the same. The screamed a lot, but were essentially uninteresting.
The headliners of course, were Tokyo Police Club. I've been blown away by these lads from Newmarket, Ontario since they burst onto the scene a couple of years. And since then, they have been taking the world by storm with their exuberant, raw but tight songs, full of handclaps and shouts. Their set was a frenetically paced category 5 storm of music, with a great sampling of new songs in addition to the much-loved tracks from A Lesson in Crime. We were particularly amazed by the uber-insane energy of keyboardist, Graham Wright. I thought he was going to give himself an aneurysm whenever he attacked the tambourines and by the end of the set, his t-shirt was completely drenched. I'm thinking I may take up being a rock star as my newest exercise regime.
One thing I particularly loved about Tokyo Police Club's set was the fact that they were back on stage for the encore in less than a minute. I find it so pretentious how so many bands make you wait forever before coming back. They know they are coming back for an encore, the audience knows they are coming back for an encore, so why draw it out so long? Is it just to wallow in the adoration, to hear the claps and stomps and hollers? Not so Tokyo Police Club, bless their little suburban hearts.
Actually, I really appreciated the brief interlude between all the sets that night. The people who organized this concert did it up right.
No concert review would be complete without a scenester report. I always like to park myself at the left wall facing the stage at this venue, because it is directly in the path of the egress to the smoking patio, where I am best able to spot the hipsters as they saunter coolly back and forth. I am happy to report that there was no shortage of indie hipsters on Friday night. My favourite was the lad with the Jesus and Mary Chain hair, wearing the denim jacket with 1985 stencilled on the back. Perhaps an homage to the release of Pyschocandy? Whatever the motivation, he rocked the look and I loved him for it. More scenesters like this dude, please.