The Ponys, April 23
Before Chicago's Ponys struck the first Televisionesque chord of their rousing local debut at the Horseshoe Wednesday (April 23), a Jägermeister rep in a fluorescent wig got up onstage to announce it was time for the contest draw for a jacket emblazoned with the company logo. As puzzled looks flashed across the faces of Dan Burke, the Deadly Snakes and 35 of their friends, the Jäger gal called the winning number. No takers. After repeating the number four more times, a second was drawn with zero response. Then, as she read the third number, Horseshoe bartender Teddy Fury, feining hysterics, bounded from behind the draught taps and grabbed his oversized prize, shouting, "It was fixed!" Funnily enough, almost everyone in the place was thinking just that.
Those who missed the Ponys' dazzling display get a second chance at the Silver Dollar May 16.
EastMountainSouth, April 26
It was a contemplative sit-down crowd that filled the Rivoli Saturday (April 26) for the Toronto premiere of Robbie Robertson's latest DreamWorks signing, EastMountainSouth. The core duo of Peter Adams and Kat Maslich were joined by bearded percussionist Quinn, whose light tapping was nearly drowned out by the indignant shushing when the whispering at the bar became an issue. As lovely as Adams and Maslich's harmonies sounded, something was missing. Soul. They didn't seem to have any connection to what they were singing about.
Mind you, selling tunes about toiling in the fields ain't easy for a couple of fresh-faced cuties who know naught of manual labour. They oughtta swap the cover of Stephen Foster's Hard Times for something a little more suitable, say the Upper Crust's Friend Of A Friend Of The Working Class.Upcoming, One-man band documentaryAmong the most entertaining music films at the Hot Docs festival is Let Me Be Your Band, a captivating look into the strange world of one-man bands, directed by Toronto's Derek and Heather Emerson and screening at the Bloor Cinema tonight.
With a cast of outsider characters that includes hillbilly hellcat Hasil Adkins, Washboard Hank, Bob Log III, the Lonesome Organist and ingenious Boston one-man bluegrass band Eric Royer (who performs at tonight's screening), there's huge potential for humour.
Yet the Emersons were careful to avoid making fun of their eccentric subjects - perhaps too cautious. Unfortunately, hilarious scenes with Dancing Outlaw Jesco White on a Kahlua buzz didn't make the final cut.
"That whole time with Jesco was great," chuckles Derek Emerson. "He took his first sip of Kahlua and said, 'It's just like drinkin' a chocolate pie!' But we left that out because we didn't want it to look like we were laughing at these people we really admire as uniquely talented artists.
"Ever since we first encountered Hasil Adkins a few years ago," explains Heather Emerson, "we wanted to know if there was anyone else doing something similar. As we found out about others, we decided to do a film about it."
Those who can't get enough of Eric Royer's fancy footwork can see him opening for Blue Velvet Kentucky at Healey's Saturday (May 3).