Friday, December 3rd, 2004

One Evening

I wasn’t sure what to expect from Feist’s Toronto show last night. The last time I saw her in June, it was a truly unique show that I honestly hoped she wouldn’t try to reproduce. This time around, she kept pretty much the same band configuration, though trading in the projectionist for a second keyboardist.

I’m looking over my review from June, and really, there’s not much to add – it was very similar in sound and structure, but somewhat different in feel. Where the Mod Club show seemed rather scripted and performance art-y, last night felt more like a proper ‘rock’ show. Feist was more engaging and chatty with the crowd than six months ago, which I personally found more appealing. The music (and unusually excellent house sound) must have gotten some people in the mood as there was no shortage of volunteers when she invited audience members onstage to take part in a kissing contest while they sorted out a technical problem. Though it wasn’t so much a contest as an opportunity for two strangers to get on stage and make out for 10 seconds in front of 1000-odd people, which they did and with gusto. The bulk of the material came from Let It Die, naturally, but there were some tunes I didn’t recognize which may or may not have been new. These ones seemed to have more rock spirit in them, so whether it heralds a new direction for her future work remains to be seen.

Local boy Howie Beck got an unusually long opening set (upwards of 45 minutes) which he filled with pleasant, if largely unremarkable, singer-songwriter pop. I, however, am on the record as being especially difficult to impress by a guy on an acoustic guitar (even if accompanied by tasteful electric lead work). Can’t really say why, just am. Within five minutes of him leaving the stage, I’d forgotten everything he’d done.

It was a battle getting photos last night – besides people constantly standing right in front of me (as in close enough that I could tell what shampoo they used… or that they didn’t use shampoo), the lighting was damned peculiar. Very heavy on the reds, and damn near impossible to get a consistent white balance, focus or exposure reading. I managed to get a decent album together, but you should see the number of shots I had to toss… And if you’re looking for natural skintones, well just keep walking.

Pitchfork frankly surprises the hell out of me by awarding Slowdive’s new 2-disc retrospective compilation Catch The Breeze a 9.5. Their rationale is that the band was much more than just another shoegaze act, but a trailblazer in the post-rock and electronica genres, this based largely on the merits of their final album Pygmalion (which gets better every time I listen to it). This isn’t going to be a big Slowdive love-in post, however – I just did one of those back in July. I think there’s some stuff on Catch The Breeze that I don’t have, but I can’t justify shelling out the import prices for it. Thankfully, I have… other avenues for getting the material…

Pitchfork also gives Stars’ latest Set Yourself On Fire a reasonable 7.8. I like the record but it hasn’t entirely grabbed me yet. Mind you, Heart took a while as well. Stars are at the Mod Club December 18.

Brooklyn Vegan has a track from the new Decemberists record to whet your appetite. Picaresque is out March 22.

Toronto entertainment weekly eye now has a blog. Everyone and their mother, I swear…

np – The Delgados / Universal Audio

By : Frank Yang at 9:46 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. satellite says:

    Sorry to hear that you didn’t like Howie Beck more. I can’t say anything about his live shows, since I’ve never seen him myself, but I love his albums. His 2nd, "Hollow" is a great overlooked pop disc. "Baby Plays Around on Me" is one of my favorite songs.

  2. Frank says:

    yeah, I might like his recorded stuff more. As I said, I’m a very hard sell on solo acoustic singer-songwriter types, especially if seeing them live is my first exposure to them.

  3. satellite says:

    yeah, i understand. the acoustic singer-songwriter type can be sleep-inducing sometimes, especially live. i’m just recommending that you & your readers not write Howie off in that camp. check out his website for clips.

  4. merckeda says:

    i gave Hollow a listen the night of the show, and truly liked what i heard. but then watching him last night, i was bored. his recorded stuff is really enjoyable, and if he’d been playing with a full band, i’m sure i would have loved his set.

  5. brian says:

    i feel the same way about solo howie beck… couldn’t really care too much. ear-friendly songs, but nothing that really grabbed my attention.