Monday, November 12th, 2007

Swift Feet For Troubling Times

I don’t know why, but I’m always a little bit surprised when I see local bands fill larger venues whose bread and butter is usually touring bands with a national/international profile. Maybe it’s because I often see said locals in either much cozier environs or, if it is at a larger club, it’s in a support capacity for one of the aforementioned touring bands. Anyway, the point of it is, it was kind of exciting to see Lee’s Palace so chock full of people wanting to spend their Friday night with Ohbijou.

Touted as their last show for a while, presumably to work on the follow up to last year’s Swift Feet For Troubling Times, it was as much a gathering of friends celebrating a terrific year for the band as it was a concert. Of course, when you combine friends, Friday nights and alcohol you get chattiness and the constant din of the crowd was a point of frustration throughout the night but hey – that’s Toronto for you.

First up was Bruce Peninsula and after seeing them at Dog Day Afternoon in the Summer, it was strange to see them indoors rather than under the late afternoon, country sky. Once underway, though, the eleven-piece outfit – more congregation than band – somehow managed to recreate that sense of elemental urgency, not unlike an impending thunderstorm. There’s a rawness to their foreboding country gospel aesthetic that connects on a very primal level and as they continue to work on their debut album, I wonder how it’ll be possible to capture that energy to tape. Maybe it’d be better to simply pile into a covered wagon and travel the country spreading the good word in person. Check them out on November 24 at the Horseshoe with The Acorn and be saved. Or damned. Or both.

Ah, Basia Bulat. A quick Flickr search shows that this was the seventh time in the past year and a bit that I’ve seen her play and every day I wake up without a restraining order in my mailbox is a good one. So as to avoid giving the prosecution any more evidence, I’ll just say that even with a smaller band than usual – they were a five piece this time out – she was terrific as ever. And since it’s likely this was the last time I caught her in 2007, here’s to another half-dozen great shows in ’08.

Ironically, the crowd noise wasn’t especially overbearing for the openers but when Ohbijou took the stage, they turned the chatter up to 11. Respect! Ohbijou brought some extra volume of their own, however, in the form of a four-piece brass section that not only overwhelmed the talkers, but most of the band as well. Ah well. The horns returned a few points through the night but mostly, the night was Ohbijou doing what Ohbijou does so well – sweet, orchestral pop that wasn’t entirely at home in a big room like Lee’s – there were some persistent feedback issues and some of the more delicate touches in the arrangements were lost – but was comfortable visiting for a spell. And that’s how it is with parties, isn’t it? Things don’t always go exactly as you’d planned and sometimes things get messy but as long as everyone has a good time, isn’t that what really matters?

Photos: Ohbijou, Basia Bulat, Bruce Peninsula @ Lee’s Palace – November 9, 2007
MP3: Ohbijou – “St Francis”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Misty Eyes”
MP3: Ohbijou – “Steep”
MP3: Basia Bulat – “Snakes & Ladders”
Video: Ohbijou
MySpace: Basia Bulat
MySpace: Bruce Peninsula

Stars have a new video. Watch it.

Video: Stars – “The Night Starts Here” (MOV)

AOL Music Canada discusses the elusive Canadian national identity with John K Samson of The Weakerthans.

Here it is, the Soft Focus interview with My Bloody Valentine’s Kevin Shields where he spills the beans about the band’s resurrection. Shields, for a man who was once considered batshit crazy, comes off quite well. The host… well, not so much. This is part one – check back throughout the week for the rest. And as a bonus, The Daily Swarm has dug up some older MBV interviews and videos to brighten your day.

And as almost every band that got tagged as shoegazer in the 90s seems to be digging out the pedalboards and finding a pair of sensible shoes worth contemplating, there are some exceptions. Under The Radar tracked down former Lush frontwoman Miki Berenyi and talks to her about the tragic final days of her band, what she’s been doing for the past ten years and what the odds of her ever getting back into music are. While it’s a bit sad to realize that some beloved acts are perfectly happy to let the reunion bandwagon roll on by (even if it’s probably for the best), Berenyi’s dose of reality is both amusing and touching.

Video: Lush – “For Love” (YouTube)

The Guardian profiles once and once again Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft. The band is a week into their highly anticipated reunion gigs and reviews are mostly positive (with a few naysayers). No one’s beaten anyone up yet, at least.

Spinner invites PJ Harvey to their studio to play selections from White Chalk.

The Futureheads have finished work on their third album and are offering a preview.

MP3: The Futureheads – “Broke Up The Time”

Billboard confirms that Radiohead’s In Rainbows will be released in North America, CD-style, on January 2 of next year thus ensuring that it’ll show up on scads of peoples’ year-end lists both this year and next. Clever. And if you’re looking for clips/MP3s/general gushing about the band’s pirate video webcast from this weekend, swing a stick. A short stick.

The AV Club talks to Bryan Lee-O’Malley about the fourth volume of Scott PilgrimScott Pilgrim Gets It Together – in stores on Wednesday.

By : Frank Yang at 8:18 am
Category: Uncategorized
RSS Feed for this post3 Responses.
  1. mike says:

    I was scanning the current print version of Under The Radar over the weekend and read that Miki interview. The dose of reality that Miki has children and works full-time is somewhat jarring and while it doesn’t seem like she’ll be persuing any solo work(even less likely a Lush reunion) soon at least I got the impression that if it were at all viable she’d consider it. I dug out "Gala" after getting home from reading that article.

  2. denise says:

    thank you for posting the miki berenyi interview! i saw lush numerous times, the last time being chris’s 30th birthday in san francisco and they had a bunch of elvis impersonators come out and sing "happy birthday" to him. he was dead 6 or so months later. right around the time mathew fletcher committed suicide as well. it shook me as a fan of lush (and heavenly as well) and as much as i hated that the band ended i think they did the right thing.

  3. Headerring says:

    That Futureheads song is "pretty, pretty, prety good"