Sure, the weather is getting cooler, but the concert season's heating up. Here are a few of the must-see highlights so far.
Where's the Beefheart?
In spite of how dull you think Polly Harvey 's resurrection of the nasty side of her PJ Harvey persona may be on the Uh Huh Her (Island) album, her performances are always intriguing and quite often dazzling, especially when she has Captain Beefheart alumni like Moris Tepper on hand. News is that Harvey has been rocking out on her earliest work for the current tour - which brings her to the Phoenix October 15 - and staying away from the horrible Stories From The City stuff. For those keeping score at home, that counts as a double bonus. 410 Sherbourne. $28.50. 416-870-8000.
With Morrissey 's bold new You Are The Quarry (Attack/Sanctuary) album being damned with faint praise (ardent fans are hailing it as his greatest work since Vauxhall And I), the mopemaster general's thrown caution to the winds and ambitiously booked a show at the Hummingbird Centre October 12. Considering the high ticket prices and the lure of a Solex gig at Lee's Palace the same night, it could be a hard sell for the Mozzer, but no doubt his typically melodramatic display will be worth every penny. 1 Front East. $41.75-$69.75. 416-872-2262.
To mark the occasion of the Stranglers' 30th anniversary, J. J. Burnell , Jet Black and Dave Greenfield reconvened in the studio with singer Paul Roberts for the Norfolk Coast (EMI) album, a welcome return to the harder sound of their classic early recordings. An even bigger surprise is that the Stranglers, once known as the "dirty old men of punk rock," are now touring the globe - they're at the Mod Club October 21 - and scoring positive reviews to boot. 722 College. $32.50. 416-870-8000.
Brian Jonestown scare
Now here's an inspired bit of concert booking, bringing the always frightening Brian Jonestown Massacre to Lee's Palace for a Halloween-night hoedown October 31. You'd better believe main man Anton Newcombe lives by the band's "Keep music evil" motto. Anyone who believes otherwise should check out Ondi Timoner 's hilarious documentary Dig - an up-close-and-personal view of the dope-addled rivalry between the Massacre and the Dandy Warhols - which opens at the Bloor Cinema October 8. 529 Bloor West. $9. 416-532-1598.
Hold that Tigre
OK, so maybe you've had it up to here with the insanely catchy Deceptacon track off Le Tigre's self-titled debut being played about a trillion times a day in that Telus commercial, but give the band a break. After splitting from former label Mr. Lady and re-releasing all their old material on the newly minted Le Tigre Records label, the ladies need all the support (and exposure) they can get. The good news is that Kathleen Hanna , J. D. Samson and Johanna Fateman are back with a slew of exhilarating feminist electro-punk dance anthems on their This Island (Strummer/Universal) disc, which drops October 19. Join the revolution when they hit the Guvernment October 25 with queer-hop attack force Gravy Train!!! and grrrlectronic pop upstart Cannonball Jane . 1 Jarvis. $18. 416-870-8000.
Those with a penchant for melancholy fellows in snazzy suits will be thrilled to hear NYC's Interpol are still working the same guitar-drenched nu-Joy Division angle on their oddly titled new Antics (Matador) album. The shaggy-haired brooders make like it's late-80s Manchester at the Docks October 13, where they'll be balanced out by the psychedelic stylings of cosmic rock trio Secret Machines . 11 Polson. $20. 416-870-8000.
Don't be fooled by Pinback founder Armistead Burwell Smith IV 's bougie handle (he goes by Zach anyway). The San Diego outfit with a rotating membership boasts an impeccable indie rock pedigree and a knack for frill-free hooky catharsis. Risen from the ashes of cult faves 3 Mile Pilot and Thingy, Pinback bring their brand of cerebral indie rockistry to Lee's Palace October 19 in support of their new Summer In Abaddon (Touch and Go) album. 529 Bloor West. $13. 416-532-1598.
Omaha shape-shifters the Faint freaked out their left-of-centre fan base by playing to legions of belly-button-baring teens as the openers for No Doubt a few years back. This time, hipsters should be breathing a sigh of relief to see the savvy dark synth rockers make up for that odd pairing by playing alongside Billyburg post-punks (and critical darlings) TV on the Radio when they hit Lee's Palace October 10 to show off tunes from their hot new Wet From Birth (Saddle Creek) disc. 529 Bloor West. $15. 416-532-1598.