Acoustic, Alternative, Ambient music, Concert Reviews, Electronic, Folk, Music

Asgeir, Low Roar @ Lee’s Palace 10/08/2014

No Comments 09 October 2014

photo 4-2

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Last night, Lee’s Palace was infused with Icelandic musical flavours courtesy of Asgeir. Seemed like an ideal companion for many on a chilly night in early October.

Low Roar captivated the usually restless crowd during openers. There was absolute silence for the entire set, with no banter until the last song. Project of singer-songwriter Ryan Karazija (ex- Audrey Sessions), there was a certain cinematic and grandiose element to the songs ideal for listens during dark foggy nights. Karazija’s wailing falsettos never hit a false note, as the haunting melodies helped by eccentric synth patterns and electronic percussion all pieced together to establish a serene ambience. The set didn’t have the expected pauses. This was a bit puzzling for the crowd, unaware when to howl in appreciation. But, with such enthralling music, pausing for talk is more of an unnecessary interruption. Karazija and crew exited to encore chants. Not too shabby for a Toronto debut.

photo 5

 

The evening of subdued melodies continued as Asgeir cozied the nippy venue with lush falsettos supported by a stellar crew of musicians collectively part of Asgeir Trausti band. Gaining initial fame for his Icelandic debut, the 22-year-old bearded songster announced his bilingual intentions at the start, much to the roaring delight of those wanting to hear from both Dýrð í dauðaþögn and the English translated In The Silence. After all, Asgeir’s gentle serenade is the real star. Voice that has the maturity of Justin Vernon or JVM, the fairly reserved Nordic star excelled both during acoustic gems ‘Summer Guest’ and the viral cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart Shaped Box’ or louder jams ‘Torrent’ and the hit single ‘King and Cross’.

Impressive live performances can only further Asgeir’s widespread acclaim. If last night’s rowdy reception is any indication, the Icelandic star is all set to be the next successful musical export

Acoustic, Alternative, Canadian, Concert Reviews, Country, Folk, Music, Reggae

Current Swell, Theatre Crisp @ The Horseshoe Tavern 10/05/2014

No Comments 09 October 2014

photo 4

by Nilabjo Banerjee

Toronto is a resilient city. Instead of sulking in the disappointment that was Nuit Blanche on Saturday, hordes came out to the ‘Shoe for an evening of crunchy west-coast rock courtesy of Current Swell.

Theatre Crisp had an admirable consistent peppy energy as the venue was gradually filling up. Bringing their brand of ‘funk-hop’, the Niagara-based band played their unique cross genre of ska, funk and hip-hop. Fedora-adorning frontman humbleHAB was equally stellar as emcee and singer, impressing during A Tribe Called Quest and Jack Johnson covers. David Cox, tap dancer extraordinaire, was put to good use for percussion elements during brief ballad moments. Other times, Cox’ tapping sounds were understandably masked by instruments, appearing more to be a distraction. The band’s honest energy was particularly charming, as they ended the set with groovilicious ‘Suzie’.

photo 3Packed house on a Sunday night was apparently not the expectation from lads of Current Swell. Thankful for the roaring crowded reception, Scott Stanton and his buds from Victoria jumped right into their catalogue full of radio-friendly alt-rock tunes. What sets them apart is the varied mix of genres catering to your every music need. You have the funky & acoustic ‘Young and Able’ or nostalgic & folky ‘Long Time Ago’ or slide-guitar party jam ‘Rollin’, off the new release Ulysses. Newer material resonated even more with gems like ‘One Day I’ll Be Rich’ (move over, BNL!) or reflective ‘Man of Maps’. The hits never stopped comin, and there was barely a soul in the audience that wasn’t sweating along. Even Ghosty Boy shared his sentimental bliss. “Looked into the crowd during the song, and just the amount of beaming smiles back at me”, said the bassist, “made me realize it’s all worth it’. A true ‘awe shucks’ moment!

Humble and organic talent. That is word association for Current Swell. Doubt anybody would disagree with that. When you get to see them live, you would mostly like add ‘effing awesome’ to that list as well.

Concert Reviews, Electronic, Music

Moon Boots, Isaac Tichauer, Ben Pearce @ The Hoxton 9/26/2014

No Comments 01 October 2014

by Ani Hajderaj
french-express

Toronto fully embraces house and techno, but sometimes a little funk is lacking. The Hoxton was filled with funky variations of techno and house music with the French Express label showcase. The club was busy and not overly packed, making it a very enjoyable overall experience to be there. The Canadian PK Sound speakers are always a great feature inside The Hoxton as they really take a beating, but on that night things were a little more chilled out.

The night began with Moon Boots spinning his sounds then was followed by Isaac Tichauer who played one of the most fun house sets I’ve heard in a while! The night was ended by special guest Ben Pearce who played his signature tech house sound. Moon Boots had a chilled out set that really set the mood of what the label is about, which is how a house music event should be. Isaac Tichauer was a little more intense as he fused tech house with funk elements really well, I was thoroughly impressed! The night ended with Ben Pearce where the music was more about the tech house, it was a good way to close the night.


One thing I noticed was people were very into all the sets even though each DJ brought a different style to the table. I enjoyed watching people get into the funky beats especially. I was disappointed the party ended early but it was worth seeing all the sounds blend together so well throughout the night. I left The Hoxton feeling satisfied.

The Hoxton is a multipurpose venue but I felt that night the vibe of the party was perfect for the type of sound provided. Be sure to stay tuned with Embrace events for more great house music nights!

Concert Reviews, Music

The Wooden Sky, Coeur de Pirate, The War on Drugs, Hey Rosetta! @ Ottawa Folk Festival 9/14/2014

No Comments 21 September 2014

by Micayla Bussieres

Photo by Mark Horton

Photo by Mark Horton

For me, the last day of Ottawa Folk Festival began with The Wooden Sky. The amount of hair that this band contains is astronomical and that must be their secret weapon when it comes to making awesome music (and talent too, I assume). The Toronto based band played a variety of songs, flowing from mellow tunes like “Child of the Valley” to more upbeat songs like “Saturday Night” which comes from their brand new album Let’s Be Ready. Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Blue Rodeo, Devin Cuddy Band, The Lone Bellow, Neutral Milk Hotel & Lora Bidner @ Ottawa Folk Fest 9/13/2014

No Comments 21 September 2014

by Micayla Bussieres

Devin Cuddy Band

Devin Cuddy Band

It was a pretty terrible day, weather-wise, when I got to the venue on day 4. With a small crowd of maybe 30 people, Ottawa native, Lora Bidner offered us some hauntingly beautiful ballads that matched the moody weather (in the best way possible, of course). The multi-instrumentalist, accompanied by Raphael Weinroth-Browne on cello, played us a few new songs as well as a unique cover of Scott McKenzie’s “San Francisco.” Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Discussions, Music

RIFFLANDIA: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

1 Comment 20 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

I’ve always been a big fan of spaghetti westerns, so I couldn’t resist invoking Sergio Leone’s classic when I asked the performers at Rifflandia what their opinion was of the Victoria music festival:

(By the way:  lineup = roster of performers (good);   line-up = queuing (bad or ugly) Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Concert Reviews, Experimental, Music

Pony Girl @ Ottawa Folk Festival 9/12/2014

No Comments 18 September 2014

by Micayla Bussieres

IMG_3608

Every year Ottawa Folk Festival offers a free section that features food trucks, artisan booths, and best of all, a few stages that allow those thrifty festival-goers a fairly wide array of fantastic music and informative sessions. On day 3 I decided to check out a local band that I had been hearing about for some time, called Pony Girl. Although they are considered art-rock by the local music scene, you can tell from listening to just a few songs that folk is at the root of their sound. The mixture of strings, keys, horns and woodwinds gave their set a very dreamy and almost cinematic feel, while the harmony between the lead vocalists, Pascal Huot and Yolande Laroche, brought us back into reality. Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Lorde, Serena Ryder, Dear Rouge @ Ottawa Folk Festival 9/11/2014

No Comments 15 September 2014

by Micayla Bussieres

Photo by Mark Horton

Photo by Mark Horton

I hadn’t planned on seeing any specific band when I got to Hog’s Back Park on day 2 of Ottawa Folk Festival but I heard these killer vocals that had a Paramore meets Chvrches kind of vibe and I stopped in my tracks. Dear Rouge hails from Vancouver and is led by married couple, Danielle and Drew McTaggart. Although the band has only been together since 2012, each member holds years of touring and record experience and it showed through in their incredible stage presence. The synth-fueled pop created an unexpected dance-y feel early on in the night, especially when they played a David Bowie cover and it led perfectly into the musical styling of the next act, Lorde. Continue Reading

Canadian, Concert Reviews, Music

Zeus, Lowell, Dear Rouge, Lightning Dust 9/14/2014

No Comments 15 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

zeus

Last day at the Riff and the only place to be (quite literally) was Royal Athletic Park. First up, those talented group of guys from Toronto, Zeus. Just to show off how talented they really are, most of the members switched places and instruments throughout the course of their set. Their highly polished and infectious music grabbed the Victoria crowd’s attention from the very first note, even though it was apparent that most of them were not familiar with the band. Not that it mattered because the band won them over with their Beatles/ELO retro grooves. Slowly getting stronger with every song, Zeus saved the best for dead last: “27 is the New 17″ from their latest album ‘Classic Zeus’.  Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Dum Dum Girls, The New Pornographers, Airborne Toxic Event, Mozart’s Sister, Kandle and more! @ Rifflandia 9/13/2014

2 Comments 14 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Dum Dum Girls

Again I started off my day at Royal Athletic Park, first witnessing the Airborne Toxic Event’s contamination of the air with their catchy brand of indie folk-rock before heading over to watch Dum Dum Girls under the tent. Technically, things got off to a shaky start as the vocals were too low in the mix and there were some feedback issues. The sound problems were eventually sorted out but the band still took a while to get their mojo going, but once they did they were on top of their game showing off the slicker sound they’ve adopted with their latest album ‘Too True’. Front woman Dee Dee Penny made no attempt to engage in any banter with the crowd, only muttering the occasional “thank you”. However, this demure and aloof persona is as much a part of the band’s act as their all-black clothing and red lipstick. Penny did break character at the very end when she flashed the briefest of smiles.  Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Airbourne, Serena Ryder, Cool, Cowards, JPNSGRLS, Single Mothers and more! @ Rifflandia 9/12/2014

No Comments 13 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Airbourne

First off on Day Two of Rifflandia was virtually the whole day’s slate at Royal Athletic Park. Unfortunately I missed Reuben and the Dark, but did catch Glorious Sons, Born Ruffians and Dragonette under the Rifftop Tent. Over on the Main Stage New York’s We Are Scientists brought out their sophisticated indie rock to an appreciative crowd. Then I went through a time warp and witnessed AC/DC playing music off their new album ‘Highway to Hell’. No, wait, that was Australia’s Airbourne, but the resemblance to their more famous fellow countrymen is uncanny. Admittedly nothing new here, but these guys do know how to rock, even though they were almost upstaged by Willy the Crowd Surfing Orca. Finally, Serena Ryder took the stage and delighted the crowd with her energetic set that ran the gamut from power pop, to soul, to blues and to folk. Highlight for me was when the sun set behind the stage as she related the story of visiting Duncan at a very early point in her career and encountering an old hotel that Ryder swears was haunted. A magical moment. 

Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Zeds Dead, Battery Poacher, Smash Boom Pow, Electric Oak, Little Wild @ Rifflandia 9/11/2014

No Comments 12 September 2014

by Mark Anthony Brennan

Rifflandia started off with a bang for me. It’s only been one evening but I’ve already seen six acts (OK, two were very brief). Also, two of those were on my list of “must sees” and they both hit it out of the park. That means I’m two for two so far. Continue Reading

Concert Reviews, Music

Foster the People, Blues Traveler, M. Ward @ Ottawa Folk Festival 9/10/2014

No Comments 12 September 2014

by Micayla Bussieres

M. Ward / Photo by Mark Horton

M. Ward / Photo by Mark Horton

Here in Ottawa you know autumn is just around the corner when Folk Fest is all you hear about. I certainly welcome it as festivals feel like home to me, so I’m extremely grateful that Ride The Tempo and Ottawa Folk Festival are giving me the opportunity to review another set of shows! Continue Reading

Canadian, Concert Reviews, Electronic, Electropop, Music, Pop

Rich Aucoin w/ Brave Shores @ The Drake Hotel 9/9/2014

No Comments 12 September 2014

by Tiana Feng

On Tuesday, Rich Aucoin celebrated the release of his latest album Ephemeral at The Drake Hotel. Continue Reading

Alternative, Canadian, Concert Reviews, Music

Arkells @ The Mod Club 9/8/2014

No Comments 12 September 2014

by Tiana Feng

on Monday night, Virgin Mobile unveiled their latest project in their RE*Generation campaign to help homeless youth. Sir Richard Branson himself was there (I got to shake his hand) for the announcement. Their program aims to give at-risk youth the skills and opportunities to find jobs. Proceeds from Virgin Mobile’s Samsung Galaxy line of phones goes towards this initiative. Anyways, after his announcement, the audience were treated with a performance by Hamilton’s Arkells.


The majority of the audience was there to see Branson talk and after talking to a few, I learnt that many of them had no idea who the Arkells were. That didn’t really matter though, they’re the perfect band for these types of corporate events as it’s hard to not like their live show. The band performed a few cuts from this year’s High Noon including “11:11″, “Never Thought That This Could Happen” and “Cynical Bastards”. They also included classic favourites like “Oh, the Boss is Coming” and “On Paper”. Jian Ghomeshi jumped on stage (pretending it was impromptu) for a cover of the Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”.

Richard Branson @ Mod Club 9/8/2014 Arkells @ Mod Club 9/8/2014 Arkells @ Mod Club 9/8/2014 Arkells @ Mod Club 9/8/2014 Arkells @ Mod Club 9/8/2014

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