Ted's Wrecking Yard, Thurs, August 10
Guelph singer/songwriter Nick Craine apparently made quite a splash a few weeks back when he rolled onto the Hillside Festival stage with a 10-piece band that included members of the Cowboy Junkies, Rheostatics and King Cobb Steelie.
Craine left the full orchestra at home for his Ted's gig Thursday but still managed to cram upwards of eight musicians onto the club's tiny stage.
Working through tunes from his new November Moon disc, the video director and former Black Cabbage crooner went from folk and blues to country and back. Tasteful touches of pedal steel, trumpet and sax filled out the sound, while the set was marred only by some painfully overzealous background singing and the occasional boogie diversion. A shuffling stab at 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover was a nice touch.
"Soul music from Guelph," chuckled an impressed Andrew Whiteman. "Who knew?"
Reverb, Sat, August 12
Da Lata idea man Patrick Forge was looking a bit like a parent at a class recital Saturday when the London-based Brazilian crew made their local debut as part of a Movement Live Session.
Planted dead centre on the Reverb's floor, the DJ watched pensively as his bandmates brought the group's Songs From The Tin disc to life, nodding occasionally and subtly conducting with his right hand.
Forge had nothing to be concerned about. The six-piece band, driven by Chris Franck's guitar and Oli Savill's percussion arsenal, sounded confident and tight, giving sultry vocalist Liliana Chachain plenty of room while emphasizing the house undercurrents that run throughout the record and generally bringing the feel of a Movement party to a live club. Expect their return to town this fall to be rammed.
Speaking of Movement, the globe-trotting Forge couldn't speak highly enough of the monthly jazz/funk throwdowns.
"People all over the world are hyped about this party," Forge enthused. "I mean, DJs from Tokyo to Cologne to London all talk about how this party is the one to check out. I was really excited to play, and it turned out to be even better than I could have hoped."
The next Movement is September 8, with special guest UK jazz-dance don Russ Dewbury. That promises to be a wall-shaker.
Rivoli, Wed, August 9
While Colleen was being banished from Survivor Island, Matt Hart was likely thinking about voting himself off the Rivoli stage, where his Russian Futurists were making a rare live appearance at the behest of dreamy headliners Sully.
Since multi-instrumentalist Hart plays virtually everything on the impressively devised Russian Futurists album, The Method Of Modern Love (Upper Class), the wiry boy wonder had to deputize his pals guitarist Shawn Ostapchuk of the Johns, James Leroux and Ryan Smith to accompany his analog synth squawking when Sully demanded that the Futurists join them at the Rivoli.
Hart did his best to yelp through his Guided by Voices-style baroque pop constructions while his befuddled-looking accomplices tried improvising guitar parts and adding electro-blips that didn't always fit the flow. Still, there's no denying that Hart's quirky tunes have definite potential, and with a few rehearsals he might realize it.
ARTSY AL GREEN
Is the soul man also a sculptor?
A listing in a Toronto subway newspaper for a sculpture exhibition by "singer Al Green" at the Moore Gallery (80 Spadina, room 404) raised some eyebrows recently.
Could it be that multi-million-selling recording artist the Reverend Al Green has been secretly moulding maquettes in a home atelier when not spreading the gospel and entertaining sinners?
This would clearly demand further investigation. Our call to the gallery went unanswered, but its somewhat coy notice for Al Green's New Directions exhibit (which runs to August 26) indicates that Green "discovered a second career in sculpting," although there are no photographs of the man or mention of his primary career as a world-famous soul satisfier.
Evidence that the sculptor can't be the Al Green of Tired Of Being Alone fame can be gleaned from the press release, which refers to his "first job as a bricklayer more than 60 years ago." The good reverend is only 54 years old (he was born in Forrest City, Arkansas, on April 13, 1946) -- and furthermore, manual labour? Not bloody likely.