LOVE IS ALL with the TWO KOREAS at the Horseshoe, October 29. Tickets: $12. Attendance: 200. Rating: NNNN Rating: NNNN
It's likely swedish art-punks love Is All were nervous about playing Toronto again. Their last show, in March at Lee's Palace, drew somewhere in the neighbourhood of 30 people, so there couldn't have been much incentive to play this city a second time.
Well, the band did come back, this time to the Horseshoe, and the fans again stayed away. The one-third-full venue held more bodies than Lee's did for their last gig, but a lot of people missed out on one of Sweden's most energetic groups.
Love Is All's rise to indie fame is well documented. An 8.7 on Pitchfork for their debut disc, raves by the late John Peel and an endorsement by Kim Fowley that called the band the future of 21st-century rock 'n' roll helped the five-piece gain some transatlantic success. But it's their raucous live show, which is made up mostly of tracks from debut disc Nine Times That Same Song, that has undoubtedly kept the group on the minds of North Americans.
Their set at the Horseshoe didn't suffer at all from the low turnout. Right from the first blistering sounds of Talk Talk Talk Talk, the audience pushed to the front of the venue, happily hanging off Josephine Olausson's every yelp and holler. The band tore through 11 songs in about 30 minutes, screaming and dancing the entire time.
Without this manic energy, Love Is All might not have been given a second chance by their Toronto fans. The songs, while all catchy new-wave/indie-punk numbers, feel a little same-y at times, so engaging the crowd with frantic jumping, gut-busting yells and pitch-perfect choruses is the only way they'll sustain their growing fan base.
And Olausson does the crazed frontwoman shtick well. She's like a shorter Emily Haines, but without the frightening stares or pretension. For the Swedish songstress it's all about the party.
Unfortunately, the party was too short. I know you're supposed to leave wanting more, but this was a bit ridiculous. True, their songs are short and they only have one album, but they could have thrown in a few more covers (they did one Pastels song), some B-sides, anything that would have kept the show going for another 10 minutes or so.
However, the band's goal Sunday night wasn't just to please the crowd. If this show does anything, it should get people talking and checking their calendars for Love Is All's next visit.