Friday, May 5th, 2006

Song For The Songs

It was a festive sort of night last night at the Horseshoe – Swedish pop orchestra The Concretes was kicking off their North American tour in support of In Colour and in addition it was head Concrete Victoria Bergsman’s 29th birthday. As they got started, she pleaded jet lag as an explanation for any discombobulation that might occur during the show but such excuses weren’t necessary at all – for the hour and change that they played, the eight-piece band, dressed (almost) all in white, were as lovely and entertaining as could be.

Bergsman and guitarist Maria Eriksson are something to see up there at the front of the stage, providing you were close enough – so very tiny they are. Actually, all the band were rather small save for one of the horn players. He was huge. While Eriksson swaggered around the stage in baby-doll dress and guitar, Bergsman spent much of the show anchored to her mic, eyes closed and barely moving. But as lead singer, she was naturally centre of attention and while she didn’t seem uncomfortable, it seemed for most of the show she might explode from shyness or cuteness, whichever reached critical mass first.

But the combination of her druggy, low-key vocals and the energetic Motown-driven pop of the band sounded damn near perfect. I’ve heard some bemoan In Colour‘s sprightlier tone, preferring the more melancholic tone of the debut, and that’s fine. Personally, I was only a moderate fan of the first record and definitely like the second one more, whichever side of the fence you’re on I defy you to tell me that the rotating lead vocals between Bergsman, Eriksson and drummer Lisa Milberg on “Song For The Songs” are anything but pure pop perfection. There were moments where I missed some of the extra-lush production touches that appear on the record (oh the strings) but that’s a miniscule complaint. If it’s true that they were off their game, I didn’t notice and it bodes well for anyone with an opportunity to catch them at a later date. If you get the chance to see them, you should. So says me.

Opening things up was Sally Seltmann, aka New Buffalo, who would be along for the ride for the whole tour. Notable as being Arts & Crafts’ first international signee, the ‘Shoe was crawling with Broken Social Scenesters out to support the extended family from down under. I’d never heard a note of New Buffalo before, and am happy to say I was pleasantly surprised. A girl (or guy) with just a guitar can be a hard sell, but a girl with a guitar, keyboard, iPod and maraca has my attention. While fundamentally singer-songwriter material, New Buffalo had a curious amalgam of styles going on that sounded rather fresh. She was like a folksinger subbing in for a lounge singer playing torch songs while backed by half a big band. Or something like that. I particularly liked how she managed to come off as confident yet shy and her music strong yet wounded.

Photos will be up in a day or two – this delay will now be more the norm than the exception. ‘m doing more processing, etc these days so while it takes longer, I’d like to think the results will be worth the extra time and effort. Update: Photos are up.

Just a couple days too late to piggyback onto Tuesday’s post, The Ottawa Sun offers a brief conversation with local sons (and daughter) My Dad Vs Yours. I Heart Music has also got a nice profile of the band up right now. I like his description of their sound – “post-pop”.

And tangential to a point I made in that post, The AV Club lists off 10 acts who’ve found success despite awful band names.

Wondering what David Bowie’s been up to? The answer – Nothing. Via Brooklynvegan.

Editors return to… edit. August 2 at the Opera House. Bring your red sharpies. Full North American tour dates at The Tripwire. Tripwire was a great G.I.Joe figure. He came with a metal detector. So when not fighting Cobra, he could go looking for pirate treasure on the beach.

np – Camera Obscura / Let’s Get Out Of This Country

By : Frank Yang at 8:41 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. sean says:

    No gig photos? egads!

    After that review I am compelled to see about checking them out tonight. Liked the brighter stuff on the first album and if that is indicative of the second album then I’m up for that.

  2. Frank says:

    dude, I have to sleep. tell you what – pay me what my job is paying me and I’ll not only have the photos up within an hour of the gig being done, but I’ll photoshop you into EVERY SINGLE ONE.

    but yeah, I’d recommend going to see them tonight. lots of fun.

  3. ovenking says:

    hey frank, i noticed you had scribbled down the set list last night. could you pretty please post it or send it my way? (from that guy you were talking to before they hit the stage)…much appreciated.

  4. Frank says:

    sorry, I was just taking quick notes for the review – I didn’t copy the set list nor did I grab a copy afterwards though it was right in front of me.

  5. jesus clause says:

    franky is cranky.

  6. Alpha says:

    :-O camera obscura?

  7. Frank says:

    ":-O camera obscura?"

    Sometimes my mailbox turns into a magic window to the future.

    In short – it’s good. it’s peppy. It’s out in a month. I will have more on it when I’ve listened more.

    Jesus – I prefer "lovingly curmudgeon-like"

  8. Alpha says:

    Cool. The couple of tracks on YANP sound pretty good..

    Hey, uh… can you remove my email address from the previous comment or just delete it altogether? I didn’t realize that it would show up for spambots to see. Thanks.