EELS and SMOOSH at the Mod Club, June 17. Tickets: $22.50. Attendance: 550. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
With mid-30-degree heat radiating from the pavement on College, rowdy World Cup revellers and the languorous early evening crowds enjoying the Taste Of Little Italy street festival, the dark, cool interior of the Mod Club Theatre was a welcome escape. Smoosh went onstage to a nearly empty room that thankfully filled up in the course of their set. In fairness, who can get moving to a 7 pm show on a sunny Saturday? And it must be hard for the girls to get too crazy hyped about playing at that hour.
Regardless, tween sisters Chloe and Asya definitely impressed with their able playing and unusually mature songwriting skills. These girls must've been raised listening to some fantastic music. You wonder what they could possibly sing about, but at 12 and 14 they're in the thick of those awkward, awesome years that can be plumbed for some fascinating explorations of the teenage mind. Their deal with Barsuk Records and newly raised profile are well-deserved.
As those who've seen Eels live before should know, you can never predict what songwriter and singer E (né Mark Everett ) will bring to the stage; the band's last stop in Toronto was accompanied by a string quartet. For this go, E decided on the full rock treatment of his country- and blues-tinged songs by a handsome three-piece band.
Though the tour is their second to promote last year's double album, Blinking Lights And Other Revelations, the band paid attention to tunes new and old, including top-40 hits from 1996's Beautiful Freak.
The mood of E's often brooding subject matter was lightened by the burly "security guard" cum go-go dancer at stage right who, when not menacingly watching over the band, blessed each song with manic karate moves, the occasional two-step or some ever-so-heartfelt maraca shaking, not to mention deadpan between-song non sequiturs that sent ripples of laughter through the stiff audience.
The expensive ticket price for just two bands, and the Mod Club's early set times notwithstanding, this was a solid show.