Thurs, Oct 18
ARCHITECTURE IN HELSINKI at the Opera House Rating: NNN
It's never good when the band you're watching calls out the crowd for being too chatty. That's what happened at Architecture in Helsinki 's show at the Opera House .
From the start, people wouldn't shut up, even after the band launched into a few energetic tracks off their new disc, Places Like This. Granted, the band was pretty lacklustre during the first half of their set, even when they played their biggest track, It's 5!
After they covered Mental As Anything's Live It Up, however, things changed. AIH started moving more, and the audience started singing along.
In the end, the Australian six-piece pulled off a decent show. It helped that their new songs sound a lot better live than they do on disc, but it would've been nice if they'd had fun from the start.
Fri, Oct 19
UNKLE at Lee's Palace Rating: NNNN
It was a crowded house at Lee's , full of people with an itch that could only be scratched by UNKLE , the genre-shifting British electro-rock outfit touring to support their new album, War Stories. Because there's no vocalist, elaborate visualizations strobed and floated over core members Richard File and James Lavelle as they blared out some pretty heavy-duty acid funk.
Lavelle was the de facto star of the show, thumping out thick bass lines over a cappellas streaming from a laptop. It's a group once affiliated with DJ Shadow and known for more electronic and hiphop grooves, but the crowd nevertheless took to UNKLE's new alt-rock sound pretty well.
SHE WANTS REVENGE at the Opera House Rating: NN
Star Trak signee Kenna 's imposing silhouette flickered rapidly in an elaborate light show as his energetic N.E.R.D.-inspired electro-funk pulsed from the speakers. A three-piece backup band brought his interesting music to life, but his pretentious posturing did nothing to endear him to the crowd.
She Wants Revenge opened with an enthralling instrumental number that sparked an ultimately uneven experience. Only half of their dozen songs translated live. Tear You Apart captured the crowd completely; others inspired only polite applause. High- or lowlight of the night: lead vocalist Justin Warfield abruptly stopping a perfectly mediocre song to condescendingly chastise the one crowd surfer in the house. "Ever been a complete ass in front of 600 to 800 people, dude? Well, tonight's your night!" In the end, only the most diehard fans were engaged by the Cure-on-crystal-meth effect of this eclectic collective.
Sun, Oct 21
NEW YOUNG PONY CLUB at Mod Club Rating: NNNN
In a week when Justice, !!!, Digitalism and M.I.A. all came through town, you wonder how much indie dance rock partying Toronto had left in it by the time London's New Young Pony Club made their Canadian debut.
The answer, apparently, was more than enough, thanks to Tahita Bulmer , the lively lead singer at the reins of Pony Club's new wave revivalism. She kept the show fuelled with a dance style that conjures Cyndi Lauper raving in 92.
The set list was NYPC's new record, Fantastic Playroom, on shuffle, except for a hi-NRG cover of Technotronic's durable Pump Up The Jam, which got a huge response. That was followed by a synth-heavy body mover called The Bomb, with Bulmer snarling the song's carnal chorus to close the show.
Leaving the stage without playing one of Fantastic's best tracks, The Get Go, made the single-song encore slightly predictable. But that's like complaining that the cherry on your sundae is too red.
Mon, Oct 22
SHOUT OUT LOUDS at the Mod Club Rating: NN
No matter how you cut it, boring songs make for a boring show. That left Sweden's Shout Out Louds at a considerable disadvantage Monday night, since their new record is about as bland as you can get.
Still, the Mod Club crowd seemed pleased with the new songs that made up most of the set, though tracks like The Comeback and Please Please Please, off their much better first record, got a more enthusiastic reception. The band members were far too cutesy for a rock show, bopping their heads as they played their inoffensive pop.
And what's with Bebban Stenborg , the quiet keyboardist? The one song she sang was a disaster; she looked like she'd rather be anywhere but Toronto.