Friday, October 20th, 2006
It’s been over two years since Toronto last had its ass kicked by The Drive-By Truckers and by god, that’s way too long. If you ever need to have your faith in the power and the glory of rock and roll restored, just hit a Truckers show and be healed.
Since their last visit in September ’04, they’ve upgraded digs from the cozy Horseshoe to the spacious Phoenix – an excellent choice if for no other reason than the club has those big-ass floor PA speakers on either side of the stage that can double quite excellently as guitar soloing platforms, if the performer is so inclined. And Mssrs Cooley, Hood and Isbell took full advantage, stepping up and into the crowd for their leads as they tore off numbers from their latest record A Blessing And A Curse. The set began front-loaded with more recent material but as the night went on and the band got looser (and more lubricated), they went reaching further into their catalog, going as far back as Pizza Deliverance, if not farther – there were a few songs in the set list that I couldn’t place. The Southern Rock Opera numbers, in particular, were simply scorching.
Whereas last time there was a fair bit of monologuing from Patterson Hood, both because of the Southern mythology inherent to The Dirty South and the then-impending US election (this photo is all you need to know about the Truckers’ politics), this time they were intent on cramming as much music into their two-and-a-half-hour set as possible. The show was a non-stop Rocktoberfest celebration with pauses only long enough to pass around the Jack Daniels. It truly boggles my mind that they give so much for so long every night – if you walk out of a Truckers show without a grin on your face and an air guitar in your hand, then by gum there’s something wrong with you. And yeah, at one point I was singing backups (with about a dozen others up front) on “Let There Be Rock” – when Patterson Hood sticks a mic in your face, you bloody well sing.
Tourmates and labelmates The Drams, risen from the ashes of Denton, Texas’ Slobberbone, set the tone for the evening with their opening set of raw, alcohol-soaked but intensely hooky roots rock. Showcasing material from their debut Jubilee Dive (as well as a cowpunk version of Chris Bell’s “I Am The Cosmos”), they rocked and sweat hard and might well have stolen the show if they were playing with anyone else… but no one steals a show from the Truckers. No one.
Just as they split songwriting duties evenly, so also do the Truckers divvy up press duties – Jason Isbell talks to The St Louis Riverfront Times, Mike Cooley to the Cleveland Free Times and Patterson Hood has a quick word with The Lousiville Eccentric Observer.
Photos: Drive-By Truckers, The Drams @ The Phoenx, October 18, 2006
MP3: Drive-By Truckers – “Feb 14″
Stream: Drive-By Truckers / A Blessing And A Curse (Flash)
eCard: The Drams
MySpace: Drive-By Truckers
MySpace: The Drams
The Toronto Star and Ottawa Sun talk to Chad VanGaalen, who performs an in-store at Rotate This tomorrow afternoon at 5PM before his proper show at the WhipperSnapper Gallery that evening.
The November 13 bill at Lee’s Palace just got a little bit louder – in addition to Annuals and Evangelicals, The Big Sleep are now also playing. If curious, you can stream the Annuals album for free right now at AOL, hear the Evangelicals’ new ode to Hallowe’en and check out the Big Sleep’s new video.
Stream: Annuals / Be He Me
MP3: Evangelicals – “Hallowe’en Song”
Video: The Big Sleep – “Murder” (YouTube)
The National’s Matt Berninger gives Chart an update on how the recording of their new album is coming along. Just the idea that the follow-up to Alligator is out there, three-quarters done, makes me squirm just a bit. You can also watch the Saturn commercials featuring The National’s music – “Saturn Question Mark” and “VUE Green Line” – just in case you don’t feel like you’re getting enough advertising in your diet.
Penn State’s Daily Collegian has Q’s, Feist has A’s. Meanwhile, Creative Loafing and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ask BSS’s Brendan Canning about the band’s impending deconstruction. Via LHB.
Portland’s Parenthetical Girls are in town November 9 for a show at The Boat.
Pitchfork asks Jonas Bjerre of Mew, a) what’s with that album cover and b) if Kasabian are dicks. Pitchfok – setting the gold standard for internet music journalism.
The Prestige, aka Batman vs Wolverine, opens today, much to my delight. I could have sworn this wasn’t coming out till next year, but nope – it’s here now and while reviews aren’t overwhelming, I hope it will still be worth my time and money. PopMatters talks to leads Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman while Newsarama chats up director Christopher Nolan.
np – Tanya Donelly / This Hungry Life
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2006
I’ve been listening to Happy New Year, the new album from Brooklyn’s Oneida a lot lately – not because it’s addictive or I’m in love with it, but because it’s so dense and perplexing, but somehow intriguingly and not annoyingly so. Thick with synths, droning rhythms, psychedelic textures and vocals that are equal part medeival chanting and hippie folk revival, I can hear shades of early Pink Floyd, Stereolab, Primal Scream, The Olivia Tremor Control – it’s all over the place and yet somehow consistent. It’s also a strangely solemn-sounding record, certainly moreso than you’d expect from a band that goes my pseudonyms like Kid Millions, Bobby Matador and Baby Hanoi Jane. I’m not ashamed to admit that Oneida dwell somewhere on the outskirts of my musical comfort zone, but it looks like it could be interesting territory.
Exclaim! reviewed the new album and talked a bit to Bobby Matador while Seattle Weekly talks to Kid Millions and gushes about the live Oneida experience. An experience that Torontonians can take in August 4 at the Tranzac as part of the Bummer In The Summer festival which kicks off tonight and tomorrow night with a pre-parties here and there and then carries on through the weekend (day and night) at Tranzac with a lineup (over)loaded with local talent.
MP3: Oneida – “Up With People”
MySpace: Bummer In The Summer
Okkervil River are bringing gifts for their Australian tour this Fall – Overboard And Down is a new EP that will be made exclusive to folks down under (Australia and New Zealand). It will feature tracks recorded in the now-legendary (to Okkervil freaks) recording sessions from January of this year as well as a live reading of “Westfall”. Surely there will be a way for people on the upright side of the world to acquire this disc – when I find out, I’ll let ya know.
Rolling Stone caught up with Neil Young while on tour and talked a bit about Living With War arranged for CSNY. Neil also predicts that the first volume of Archives will be out within a year. Then after the reporter turned off his tape recorder he began laughing his ass off.
Asobi Seksu have put out a new video from Citrus. Now that the Cardigans tour is kaput, Asobi’s show at the Horseshoe is now your #1 thing to do on September 20.
Video: Asobi Seksu – “Thursday” (MOV)
Which segues nicely into more concert news. Drive-By Truckers come to bless and curse us at the Phoenix on October 18 with The Drams. Rogue Wave have a date at Lee’s Palace on September 9, Two Gallants are at the Horseshoe on October 2, tickets $10.50, and Damien Jurado is at the El Mocambo October 3.
There’ve been a couple additions to the lineup for the Virgin Festival at Toronto Islands September 9 and 10 – Razorlight are now playing day one while MSTRKRFT, The Mooney Suzuki and Born Ruffians augment day two.
Also note that Midlake is now off the French Kicks bill at Lee’s Palace on September 11, a makeup date for their cancelled show originally scheduled for this Friday. Instead Sound Team, who cancelled their show originally scheduled for the Horseshoe this past Monday night (the same night Midlake were supposed to play with The Hold Steady), will now support. Did you get all that? Me neither. Instead, those who want to see Midlake will have to pony up to see them open for Keane at the Hummingbird Centre on September 20. Oh, and as a bit of trivia, The French Kicks opened for Keane here in Toronto last year. Head… exploding… All I have to further to say is that while they may get nicer dressing rooms in the Hummingbird Centre, Midlake sure as hell would have had more fun touring with the Hold Steady. Full review of that show tomorrow.
And finally, the role of The Joker has been cast for the new Batman film, to be titled The Dark Knight. The role previously inhabited by Cesar Romero and Jack Nicholson (and Mark Hamill, sort of) now belongs to… Heath Ledger. Yeah. I suggest a letter-writing campaign to the studio petitioning to have Jake Gyllenhall cast as Harvey Dent/Two-Face. The on-screen chemistry would be electric.
np – Sufjan Stevens / The Avalanche