Monday, February 5th, 2007

Force Of Nature

For some time now, people have been telling me I need to see The Golden Dogs. And not just the same people, different people. The pitch is generally kind of vague, along the lines of “they play pop-rock music and are a lot of fun” – not exactly an irresistible PR spiel. But this past Friday certain stars converged and I did manage to make it out to see them play their first hometown show in a good while.

The first act on the bill were locals Paso Mino, who are largely known as the defacto backing band for any number of local performers (Jason Collett, Amy Millan). Left to their own devices, they played a set of proficient if generally uninteresting bar-rock with rather questionable funk and soul undertones. A little archive digging shows that I’ve actually seen them play before, yet neglected to write anything about them at all in the reviews – guess that’s why.

I called These Are The New Old Times (iTunes link only, sorry), the debut from Vancouver’s The Yoko Casionos, “loud, brash and hooky with the right balance of sweet and snotty” and now having seen the live version, would like to add “polished” to the adjective list. It was clear to me that the band had learned a thing or three from their Fall cross-Canada tour opening for Sloan because though still young, they carried themselves like seasoned pros. Maybe a little too much considering the show was a homecoming of sorts for the band (they were based out of Toronto a few years ago) – their stage banter and personality seemed a bit more rehearsed than I’d have expected in the company of friends (rather than, say, and industry showcase). But there were no complaints about the same amount of polish in regards to their music – the guitars were a little low in the mix but that did allow you to hear their three-part harmonies wonderfully. Their power pop was tight, punchy and impressive with a handful of really catchy, standout songs.

I’d been told that The Golden Dogs have a very rabid hometown fanbase and it seemed they were out in full force for this show – Lee’s was well and truly packed and the stage decked out in artificial fauna flora for the occasion. It’s a little hard to describe them without conveying the impression that they sound a bit generic, which really isn’t fair or accurate. They blend classic pop and rock with a dose of new wave and… well it mostly just sounds like pop-rock, with great energy, fun lyrics, infectious melodicism and the occasional barnburning guitar solo (see the 70s arena rock of “Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five”) – simple in concept but tremendous in execution. I had sort of thought that the frantic energy onstage would get exhausting before long but I was right into it for the whole show. I don’t really know how else to put it but to say, if The Golden Dogs come through your town anytime soon, you should check them out – they play pop-rock music and are a lot of fun.

The UWO Gazette talks to The Golden Dogs and two-thirds of the bill from Friday night will be playing the Horseshoe on March 10 as part of Canadian Music Week – the full lineup being The Golden Dogs, In-Flight Safety, The Yoko Casionos, Jenn Grant, Two Hours Traffic and The Ryde. I can personally recommend half the lineup (Dogs, Yokos, Grant) so I think that’ll be a fine rocking and rolling option.

Photos: The Golden Dogs, The Yoko Casionos, Paso Mino @ Lee’s Palace – February 2, 2007
MP3: The Yoko Casionos – “Loose Cannon”
MP3: The Yoko Casionos – “Cameras On”
Video: The Golden Dogs – “Never Meant Any Harm” (YouTube)
MySpace: The Golden Dogs
MySpace: The Yoko Casionos
MySpace: Paso Mino

And speaking of Sloan (as I was earlier), Never Hear The End Of It has been released in the US and to celebrate, their American label Yep Roc is running 30 Days Of Sloan – a daily video podcast via YouTube that will lead up to the band’s appearance at this year’s SxSW (details of their performance in Austin here). Further for you Sloan freaks out there (hi Beth), Bradley’s Almanac has the whole of their show in Boston last month available to download and AmpCamp has got an exclusive MP3 of a song that somehow didn’t make the cut for Never Hear The End Of It – apparently they liked the other 30 songs that DID make the album better…

MP3: Sloan – “Even Though”
Stream: Sloan / Never Hear The End Of It

Rob Dickinson ponders the legacy of Catherine Wheel for Chart. Dickinson is in town at Lee’s Palace tonight.

Check out a stream of the title track from Son Volt’s new album The Search, out March 6, and there’s some more samples from the record streaming on their website They’re at the Mod Club on April 12.

Stream: Son Volt – “The Search” (QuickTime)

And the reason that Elvis Perkins canceled his April 9 show at the Mod Club is that he’ll now be opening for Clap Your Hands Say Yeah on their Spring tour, including the April 14 show in Toronto… AT THE KOOL HAUS. That’s just… yeah. I hope CYHSY have learned how to keep their guitars in tune by now.

np – Midlake / The Trials Of Van Occupanther

By : Frank Yang at 8:19 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. alan says:

    that sloan mp3 at ampcamp isn’t very easy to find… as in i can’t find it… any hints?

    love the golden dogs, glad you got to see them and write about it.

  2. Frank says:

    I’ve linked it directly – "Even Though". Right there.

  3. graig says:

    I think you want to say the stage was decked out in flora, not fauna, unless I missed some woodland animals running around (although the Golden Dogs did seem a little rabid). They were great and I hope their local presence extends out far and beyond. There’s something wonderful about seeing them in the confines of a club, but at the same time, they play big stadium rock that should have thousands screaming along with them.

  4. Frank says:

    what, you didn’t see the llamas? I did.

    I knew I shouldn’t have accepted that drink from the homeless guy.

  5. alan says:

    thanks, i’m slow today.

  6. Thierry says:

    The "70s arena rock" of "Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five" may be due to the fact that, well, it kind of already WAS 1970s arena rock when Paul McCartney and Wings first recorded it in 1973, as the b-side to "Band on the Run"…

  7. Frank says:

    oh, is it a cover? I’d no idea.

  8. Thierry says:

    Yup. Oh, and CYHSY at the Kool Haus? Whaaaaaa…? I guess I’ll have to miss Elvis Perkins In Dearland, then…

  9. Jeff says:

    Hey Frank, Lovely photos (as usual) and sorry I missed the Embassy exhibit. Blame it on Superbowl and the weather (oh and a good dose of laziness). Anyways what is the name of the earplugs you use?

  10. Frank says:

    Super bowl? What is this Super Bowl you speak of?

    I use earlove earplugs

    they’re super duper. They love my ears.

  11. Doug B. says:

    Thanks for the linkage to the Sloan show on Bradley’s Almanac, great recording! And I am also digging the Golden Dogs myspace tracks.

  12. Saturna says:

    That’s incredible! Rob Dickinson basically says in the interview that Catherine Wheel will get back together at some point. Who hoooooooooooo!

  13. Calum says:

    Yeah, Clap Your Hands at Kool Haus is crazy…I tried to get them here but they wanted TEN THOUSAND DOLLARS (compared to the, say, 1,500 that Camera Obscura wanted). C-R-A-Z-Y.

  14. Beth says:

    Haha I got a shout-out, yay! (About Sloan, oh noes *look of embarrassment*)