FRITZ HELDER & THE PHANTOMS at the Great Hall (1087 Queen West) at 8 pm and at the Social (1100 Queen West) at 10 pm, tonight (Thursday, November 22). Both shows $10, second show $5. www.fritzhelder.com. Rating: NNNNN
When NOW last attempted to interview Fritz Helder, he and bandmate Pastel Supernova were overseas performing for the British royal family as Nelly Furtado's dancers, so Fierce Helder and Diego ended up telling the story of the Phantoms.
Now that their debut album, Greatest Hits, is finished, it's apparent that it wasn't really unusual for someone other than the band's namesake to speak for them. The disc (and recent performances) allows all of them to take turns in the spotlight.
"In the writing process, everyone was always involved. We didn't want all of them just supporting me, because they're all involved behind the scenes and we wanted the live show and album to reflect this," Fritz explains from his Parkdale apartment.
Over the past three years, what started off as a 12-member dance performance troupe has grown, shrunk and mutated into its current incarnation as an actual band. Some tracks on the album have been kicking around since the beginning, while others are brand new. By finally committing the music to disc, the ever-shifting project has condensed into something tangible that's now able to start the next chapter.
"I call it a funeral, but everyone is taking that the wrong way," Helder laughs.
"Because we're going through such a transition right now with the band - settling down and committing to a long-term thing - we're not really sure which one of those sounds is where we're going next."
Aptly reflecting their career so far, the CD release party will be broken into two parts. The first will be a larger multimedia performance, while the after-party at the Social will capture the raw chaos of their small club shows.
"We wanted to incorporate a lot of themes and do a best-of-our-live-shows, but one show with that many changes would be a bit much. We have those two sides - what we'd do playing on top of the bar at the Social is very different from what we'd do at the Big Primpin' Pride party at the Courthouse, which is much more a theatrical event. We didn't want to sacrifice either, because they're both such big parts of who we are."
VIDEO CLIPS FROM FRITZ HELDER & THE PHANTOMS
Makin a Scene
Live Vazaleen Summer 2006
You Ain't Vogue
Live at the Social July, 2007