Sunday, September 02, 2007

Shoulders back and arms in the sky, we sincerely hope you live a better life

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.


Deb said...

Wow, you've been busy!!!

Maybe the long encore break finds some stuck on the john or something???....I've always wondered why some take so long to come back. Unless it's just that they're so full of themselves that they think it builds intensity if they "hold out".

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I think it's a matter of attention-seeking, Deb. Sure, you need time to slug back a beer, but how many times do you need to hear people screaming out for you? (personally speaking, I would need a good 15 minutes)

phlegmfatale said...

Speaking of J&MChain, I was looking at Mazzy Star vids tonight and came across this collaborative effort & I thought of you.

Gawd, I admire your energy. I need a dose of that.

Joe said...

Sounds like a great time!

Serah said...

I hate that wait and clapping and screaming, like there hasn't been enough cheering all evening.
Go Tokyo Police Club!
If you think about it's probably the time it take to down a beer so that's a more likely reason for most I'd guess?

Allison said...

You have such a more active social life than I. Hope you were able to do some lounging this weekend.

I loved the story about the indie kid :)

justacoolcat said...

Great review. Don't you just love it when bands feed off of each other's energy and keep turning it up a few notches? I think I'm becoming a TPC fan.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

WTF! I just penned some exceedingly witty responses to you all, and must have typed some self-destruct password into wv because the whole damn thing disappeared!

The new response will never be as witty and clever.

I love the Mazzy Star video you posted, PF. It does put me in mind of the Sometimes Always video.
And I'm not certain if you could call it energy or simple a matter of being unable to say no.

It was fun, Bubs! Long night, but what's another one?

Perhaps some of those bands are really slow beer drinkers, Serah, or just attempting to drink really large bottles.

During fall we pretty much have to rename this place Calgary Rock City, Al. That indie kid won my heart, that's for sure. Wish I had my camera.

THere are many good reasons for becoming a TPC fan, Just A, among them the fine music and the fact that they are polite Canadian kids.
I love when bands play with other bands on the same bill, swap bass players and such. It feels so organic.

668 aka neighbour of the beast said...

i can't even read this right now as i am so jealous. i am uploading my xposure cd right now. i will come back and read this once i come down from my nyquil high.

Anonymous said...

whew, you exhaust me, Barb! I made apple chutney yesterday and, oh my gosh, I've been eating it by the spoonfuls. Do you want Tim to bring you some along with Sputty's dishes?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Sorry to hear you're ill, 668. I hope it wasn't those nasty Calgary germs that did you in. Good for you getting a hold of an Xposure cd though.

Yes please, Berni! If Tim does all that I think the Melita times may just nominated him for a Nobel Peace prize or something.

Anonymous said...

c'mon, the neckers aren't that old. 3/4 of us are still in our twenties!
but thanks for the kind was a really fun show.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hello and welcome, Neckers member! Sorry, about that - I certainly didn't mean to imply that you were oldsters, but I guess I did sort of give that impression.

But you are a well-established band with a dedicated following amongst a group of relative new-comers. And you put on a great set!

phlegmfatale said...

Crap - forgot to include the link

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've always loved that video, PF! Thanks. It's such a departure for the JAMC. How do they get those cowboy hats on over that hair?