T.O. Music Notes

Rating: NNNNNtuesday at lee'stuesday at lee's Chilled-out New York crew Champale knew that faced with a room full of Cracker fans.


Rating: NNNNN

tuesday at lee’stuesday at lee’s

Chilled-out New York crew Champale knew that faced with a room full of Cracker fans and the prospect of being drowned out by idle chatter, playing the delicate pop of their Simple Days debut wasn’t going to cut it. Tuesday’s short opening set did away with the disc’s more sublime moments, and frontman Mark Rozzo played up the band’s roots and pop elements.

Aside from Rozzo’s painfully off-key vocal harmonies and the nice touch of running a pedal steel through a rack of effects, the result was shockingly Crackeresque, pleasant but bland, considering how dynamic Champale’s record sounds. Stick with the CD.

wednesday at the silver dollarwednesday at the silver dollar

A Hallmark Card moment happened around midnight at Crazy Strings, the Silver Dollar’s weekly bluegrass hoedown.

While Crazy regular Dan Whiteley was wowing the crowd, the dance floor filled with a bunch of tipsy fans. Dead centre was a 20-something punkette waltzing with a tiny, scruffy dude who couldn’t have been a day under 75.

The diversity of the turnout at Crazy Strings is mind-boggling — you got your anarchists, your frat boys, your boomers, your hippies, your lesbians, all cutting a rug together. Trippy scene.

friday at rancho relaxofriday at rancho relaxo

Brut 33 made like the True North strong ‘n’ free’s answer to Weezer, with frontman The Reverend Anthony Parente channelling Rivers Cuomo, nerdy glasses, sweater vest and all. These guys emo-punked the roof off the tiny space.

Local rockers Hotel followed up with their take on U2’s PopMart tour. Dudes even had an impressive flashing light show. Singer Jack Forrest played Bono, showing off his bug-eye shades, big bad rock star posturing and a voice that effortlessly morphs from sexy growl to eerie falsetto.

saturday at lee’ssaturday at lee’s

They started off slow, but Austin roughnecks …And You Will Know Us by the Trail of Dead did live up to their house-wrecking reputation while leaving no doubt that they’d left the proggish pretence of their new Source Tags & Codes (Universal) disc in the studio.

Once Jason Reece stepped out from behind the drums and took his rightful place centre-stage, the wiry testosterockers caught fire and burned like they’d never left Touch and Go nor their Sonic Youth records.

The sight of road-battered Epiphone guitars being passed around during the set promised a trashing to come. And it eventually did: Conrad Keely slammed his Les Paul copy into a tumbling drum kit before heaving it a good 15 metres in the direction of the stage-door exit.

sunday at the horseshoesunday at the horseshoe

Host Mary Margaret O’Hara opened the 24th annual Martian Awareness Ball with a prayer of thanks for parties past and a plea that brother Marcus O’Hara, “who never hurt no one,” be given a new club to run. Melleny Melody, in the meantime, flitted around her in a furry white butterfly costume.

Then singers seemed to appear onstage at random. A sharply dressed John Alcorn crooned How Are Things In Glocca Morra, followed by Maria Del Mar scatting nonsense and the Barenaked Ladies’ Kevin Hearn sneering through Sabbath’s Warpigs. Someone was heard describing it as a high school talent show with alcohol.

By midnight, it was spiralling into a blues jam album before Neko Case stepped up with the Backstabbers’ Col. Tom Parker, Victor Bateman and Don Kerr and silenced the room with captivating renditions of her own Favourite and Hank Williams’s Alone And Forsaken.

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