Thursday, May 5th, 2005

Big Tobacco

It probably sounds a little ungracious to wish that Joe Pernice had done more solo acoustic shows in Toronto, as he did last night, since he moved here last Fall. But I guess he was here to concentrate on writing the new Pernice Brothers album Discover A Lovelier You (out June 14) and growing out a mighty mountain man beard, so we had to settle for comprising one-third of his one-man world tour (Boston and New York were the other dates). Hey Joe, the Sox won the World Series. You can shave the playoff beard now.

Looking a bit like a cross between Dennis Miller and Jerry Garcia, Joe shuffled onstage at 11pm and took a seat, and proceeded to play a wonderfully intimate set of really old and really new material. The really old was a surprising number of Scud Mountain Boys numbers which unsurprisngly worked really well in solo presentation. There were also a couple of covers, a number of selections from his the Big Tobacco album released under his own name and a couple of Pernice Brothers tunes. No Chappaquiddick material, however, otherwise he ran the gamut of all his musical personas. The bulk of the set was comprised of material from the forthcoming album. New songs like “My So-Called Celibate Life” and “Amazing Glow” sounded great, and it’ll be quite interesting to hear how they sound all gussied up with the band on the album.

Joe was chatty, gracious and unassuming throughout, cracking jokes and thanking the modest-sized crowd profusely. I thought it was a really nice and different sort of experience seeing an artist perform without being on tour or even necessarily having anything to promote. He was just up there playing songs and shooting the shit, the vibe felt more like a private party than a concert. If it had been a proper Pernice Brothers show, there’s little chance that Scuds material would have seen the light of day. I figure he’ll be back here in full band mode before too long, which will surely also be great, but this show was an extra-special treat.

Not too much in the way of photos from last night. A guy on a chair with an acoustic guitar doesn’t offer much variety in the way of shots. But dim lighting = arty black and white! Oooh.

Continuing the “guy with a guitar” theme, the criminally underrated Richard Thompson will be releasing an acoustic album, Front Parlour Ballads, on August 9. Thompson is one of the most amazing guitarist/singer/songwriters on the face of the Earth and new music from him is always cause for celebration. Billboard has details about the new record and info on a box set due out in the Fall, an Austin City Limits live CD/DVD coming out this month and his 1000 Years of Popular Music live set coming out in the Fall. JAM! talks to RT about briefly about that one and his cover of Britney’s “Oops I Did It Again”.

The next artist featured in Largehearted Boy’s “Note Books” feature is producer extraordinaire (and fine solo artist in his own right), John Vanderslice, sharing some thoughts on books and literature.

John Vanderslice also features prominently in A Good Band Is Easy To Kill, the long-promised DVD chronicling Beulah’s final tour in 2003 for which Vanderslice was the opener. The DVD is out August 2 and the trailer should be up on the Further Down website by the end of this week.

Filter has a link to the new Rilo Kiley video for “Portions For Foxes”. Nice vid but boo to song edits.

Also boo-ums – Spoon’s June 5 show has moved from Lee’s Palace to the Opera House.

Laura Cantrell gives a track-by-track walkthrough of her new album, Humming By The Flowered Vine, out June 21.

Chart previews this weekend’s Over The Top Festival taking place at various venues around town. eye is featuring one of the OTTFest performers, Chad Van Gaalen, who I’d probably be going to see at the Poor Alex tonight if I wasn’t already going to see Matt Pond PA at Sneaky Dee’s. I’ll also be hitting Amy Millan’s show at the Poor Alex tomorrow night.

np – The Mountain Goats / The Sunset Tree

By : Frank Yang at 9:09 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Anne says:

    John Vanderslice was the Mountain Goats show I saw last night – perhaps he’ll show up in Toronto too! I love JV! He sat in on a couple of Mountain Goats songs.

  2. Thierry says:

    Re: Joe Pernice

    The new songs sounded spectacular (I’ve had "Pisshole in the Snow" running through my head since last night), the older songs were as brilliant as ever, and the Zombies and Olivia Newton-John covers (the latter was a song he’d already done with the SMBs) fit into the set so well, I can hardly imagine anyone else singing them anymore. And I got Joe and Laura to sign my "Help Yourself". What more could one ask of a $9 show?

    Well, an acoustic version of "Moonshot Manny" perhaps? Maybe next time.

  3. Michael says:

    Is everyone else as fed up with venue changes after the tickets have been purchased as I am?

    This has happened three or four times in the last few months.

    While the Opera House isn’t terrible, I would take Lee’s any day. The venue plays a big part in my decision to go or not.

  4. Frank says:

    absolutely. My disdain for the Opera House is well documented. While I won’t say that I wouldn’t have gone to either Spoon, Low or Rilo Kiley if they had initially announced at the Opera House, and Decemberists at the Phoenix is actually now a 5-minute walk from my place, the moves have certainly put a damper on my enthusiasm.

    My attitude? If it sells out and people can’t get tickets – tough noogies. You snooze you lose.

  5. Shoma says:

    Re: Joe Pernice … If I ever find myself on a picnic I pray that Joe Pernice is occupying the adjacent blanket singing “Our Time Has Passed” for the entire duration. Last night was absolutely beautiful.

    Re: Venue Changes … I second the “tough noogies” sentiment.

  6. Bradley says:

    Joe Pernice was amazing. Man can that guy sing! I really was hopeing for "the two of you sleep" but I can’t complain.

    Frank, got an advance copy of the Teenage Fanclub today. Played it three times. It’s great!

  7. Rachel says:

    Feist tomorrow night! Whoo-hoo!

  8. mike says:

    The only thing wrong with The Opera House is that it’s way out in the east end(well east for me at least, who comes from Mississauga). Otherwise, I actually think it’s a decent venue. Some of my favourite shows(The New Deal, Guided By Voices, Zero 7) have been there.

    Y’wanna talk about crappy venues…well I’m not particulary fond of the El Mocambo(downstairs)…I hate the asymmetry of the place….and all the fucking tables and chairs that’s usually in front of the stage.

    Oh, Mr. Pernice was terrific at the Horseshoe yesterday. I was hoping for "Water Ban", "Working Girls" or "Weakest Shade of Blue" but no such luck.

  9. Thierry says:

    Venue changes may not be a great thing (though they sure are better than all ages shows), but after living in Ottawa for 6 years, I’m just glad that the artists I want to see are actually stopping in the city I’m in.

    Until the new Pernice Bros. record comes out, I’ll just sooth myself with the "Soft Sounds" of the Velvet Crush, another perfect pop record.