Guvernment, Tues, May 25
An expert dub mix and throbbing bass by former Stone Rose Mani might have made Primal Scream's Guvernment attack the best-sounding show of the year, but the real star was the supporting guitarist.
After adding a blistering couple of mixes to Primal Scream's XTRMNTR disc, My Bloody Valentine's Kevin Shields has emerged out of his cave and joined the London wannabe revolutionaries as a tour guitarist. Still signed to Island but without a band or anything resembling a new album, the rather reclusive Shields passed the time by strumming power chords over the Primals' big beats.
Valentines fans hoping for flashes of the old noise glory were sadly disappointed -- Shields barely made a murmur. The real topic of conversation, though, was Shields's waist.
Jibes by the British press calling the guitarist My Bloody Waistline are not without substance. Judging by his astonishing girth, Shields has spent the decade since the release of his brilliant Loveless disc sitting in his north London basement eating meat pies. Nice to see he's still alive, though.
DO MAKE SAY THINK
Bloor Cinema, Fri, June 2
Take a risk and you'll either fall on your face or look like a genius. Nice to say Toronto space rockers Do Make Say Think came out on top Friday.
The group's much-anticipated set at the Bloor Cinema was a triumph, sounding spectacular and looking even better. Full credit should go to the LED visual crew, who mixed images of the subway, streetcars and smog live on the big screen while drones filled the theatre. The only problem will be topping this the next time the Do Makes play live.
Needs A Band Name
Looking for an extra reason to go check out Michelle McAdorey's series of Wednesday gigs at the Rivoli? You could win a prize.
The Toronto singer/guitarist, currently supporting her atmospheric Whirl disc with Riv shows June 14 and 28, is looking for a name for her band. Folks with a good idea should write it out and give it to her after the set. A prize will be given for the best one, but McAdorey's not saying what the goods are just yet.
Horseshoe, Sun, June 4
Just 10 minutes of immersion in Calexico's desert dementia and the Trailblazers' crushing defeat at the hands of the Lakers was all but forgotten.
With Son Volt/Freakwater pedal steel guitarist Eric Heywood twangin' up a storm and their German tourist trumpeters (no, honestly) tooting Tijuana Brass blasts alongside bashing drummer John Convertino and guitarist Joey Burns, the full-on mariachi madness of Calexico's live performances is now far exceeding the spooky promise of their studio sessions.
Reluctant frontman Burns still looks uncomfortable without an upright bass to hide behind, but he's becoming a fine interpretive singer, as his deadpan Lee Hazelwood drawl through Tom T. Hall's Tulsa Telephone Book amply displayed. The charging encore romp through the Nightcrawlers' Little Black Egg -- dedicated to the Sadies in the house -- was a wall-shaking stunner. These boys will be pop stars yet.