RSS

Concert Review: Baths @ Fairmount Theatre, April 14, 2018

The dim lit glow of neon signs and colourful lights at Theatre Fairmount encapsulated the night of Baths’ concert—beginning with the delicate soloist Sasami, following with a smooth but rugged commotion from No Joy, and concluding the stroke of midnight through the voltaic, emotive harmonies of Baths. Each act brought to the stage a unique sound that the theatre would be foolish to forget.

To begin the night, Sasami Ashworth, a former member of the band Cherry Glazerr, swooned the buzzing crowd with her warming aura of the reds of her guitar and flowing robe. Travelling all the way from Los Angeles, California to melt the snow off the crowd’s shoulders, her soft guitar strumming fluctuated between light picking and head banging intensities that paired profoundly with the lyricism, encapsulating a variety of themes from her hometown to making love. Using her hefty brown boots to operate a floor keyboard for an array of drum pads, she joked to the crowd, “pretend there is a band behind me.”

The show then blossomed into a further engagement of exhilarating guitars with Montreal-based band No Joy. The band characterized the epitome of keeping the shoegaze genre alive in this scene, while supporting Baths for half of his tour. Though the band had no words between songs for the crowd, the vocalist, Jasmine White-Gluz, spoke volumes with her low booming voice amongst the feedback of vibration. Though the presence of the two frontwomen dominating the stage was nothing less than empowering, the light still shone on drummer Casey Weissbuch, who rumbled the stage and tied off the breathtaking ruckus.

With a now swarming crowd, Baths’ Will Wiesenfeld boarded the stage with Calgary-born companion, Morgan, on the synths. His new album, Romaplasm, was released in November of 2017, which draws upon the elegant queerness and digitalized buoyancy of his musical persona. Beginning with a new track, “Yeoman”, punctuates the lively dynamic of the new album, along with the lyricism of a celestial voyage. His movements were effortlessly sinuous as he jerked around the stage to the zealous beats that you may hear at the start screen of a video game. A climactic grace fell upon the stage as the lights faded to blue and Will merged into another new track, “Human Bog”. Heavy-hearted lyrics, “I’m queer in a way that works for you,” formulated the raw, heartache of LGBTQ+ relationships that often this demographic of youth face.

Computerized modulations bouncing back and forth between Morgan and Will, as their voices danced intermediately through songs such as “Extrasolar”, “Out”, and an older tune, “Plea”, from Baths’ first album, Cerulean. To charm the crowd with a finale of a two-song encore, Baths performed “Flux”, an ode to the glowing glory of coming out of the closet, along with the concluding song from his new album, “Broadback”. This last performance exquisitely mimicked the entire show with the fluctuation of how each track, each chorus and unique sound, builds into something whole. A wholly unique experience that pumped the blood to the beat of each fan’s heart.

Concert Review: Mouth Breather @ Casa del Popolo, April 7, 2018

The musical style of Owen Hopper, a.k.a Mouth Breather, is one that cannot be easily defined but it does make people want to dance. Hooper produces the majority of his songs, mixing the beats, creating the melodies, and layering the vocals. He describes his sound as a mesh of all the art that he consumes and simply makes it his own.

The set began with a low hum being played from Hooper M-Audio KeyRig 25 MIDI Controller. This slowly leads into the first song, “Extra”. While the crowd was still warming up, Hooper went into full swing dancing along with the easy beat of the song. Despite saying he’s a “horrible dancer,” it sure looked like he was enjoying himself on stage, creating a relaxed and comfortable vibe in the audience.

In short moments between songs, Hooper took the time to address the audience, thanking them for coming to the show, telling them funny anecdotes or simply playing a guessing game of what song would be played next. This is what I found interesting about the show. On Spotify, Mouth Breather is distinguished as a songwriter/performer, and I can definitely see why.

“Westworld”, one of Hooper’s singles that released at the beginning of the year and a hit among his fans, was performed after his song “Boyfriend”. The EDM hit got the crowd moving with its repetitive deep beat and undercurrents of synths. Hooper says that the song is a hommage to EDM artists.

The show continued as he performed “Cinema” and “Oh What a World” before ending the set with his hit song “Shrug”. “Shrug” garnered radio play across Canada and the US. Its old school R&B feel combined with an indie twist was a delight to hear performed live. It’s a song that you can’t help but dance to. Hooper creates a comfortable atmosphere and connects with his audience wanting them to feel included in his shows. I think there are some artists that could learn from him. I can't wait to see what he does next.

CJLO @ SXSW: Zak Slax Coverage Part 2

Nardwuar told me he was going to see Shopping – a good pick indeed. I, however, was looking for a less hyped gig; a brief respite from the increasingly thick throngs of Hotel Vegas, as my energy had sunk with the sun.

Why not relax to some blaring garage punk at Maggie Mae’s Gibson Room? The Jackson Pollock were on stage, an Italian duo with the wild abandon of backwoods Alabaman blues rockers. Their drummer was a sight to behold, giving it her absolute all, flailing like mad and screaming like a banshee. It was complete devastation of the skins, with the only reprieve in form of a tambo slammin’ hoedown of sorts. I felt a little inconsiderate sipping on a gin & tonic in an elaborate antique chair while watching the exhaustive carnage. Rarely have I seen a drummer thrash so thoroughly and with such unbridled intensity, holding nothing back despite the sparse crowd. In a band of of just guitar and drums she provided on her own the comparable energy of three players.

Later that night I headed to the Hideout, a coffee shop with a small basement theatre that seemed as suitable for a Samuel Becket play as a Sturle Dagsland performance. Now this is what would satisfy my self-imposed weirdness quotient—a completely left-field experience, courtesy of the Norwegian brothers. The best point of reference musically would be Björk at her most manic, but even that territory serves only as a launchpad into a completely singular realm of inconceivable vocal gymnastics and foreboding atmospherics. While Sjur created mysterious drones, largely obscured by a towering speaker, Sturle careened about the stage like a crazed pixie, or some sort of demonic acrobat. More delicate moments were spontaneously subject to total freak-outs, with Sturle playing host to many spirits, unleashing both mournful moans and devilish screams. He frequently drew on bizarre instruments strewn across the floor, from lira to Viking horn, sometimes seeming to pull them from thin air. The drones were intermittently disrupted by instinctive blows to the crash cymbal standing to his right, which was frequently displaced by the forcefulness of it all. Emerging from the Hideout, a light mist began to fall; did Sturle summon rain to the desert?

Then down to Lambert’s to catch the tail of the Get Hip! showcase. The crowd had mostly dwindled but that didn’t stop Austin’s own The Ugly Beats from delivering a full-tilt set of blissful nuggets-style garage rock. This is the tasty true-blue 1966 variety, though informed by the necessary amount of ‘77 punk pacing and a touch of Texan twang. They set the bar for their set high with an immediate blast of energy, members flying off the stage rapidly and remounting with swift ease before settling into a series of timeless stompers, all sung with honest conviction. The edges of the guitar attack were smoothed by Farfisa organ, mashed with delight by a tambourine-wielding mod gal. Their drummer is a classy motherf*cker, evoking the composure of Charlie Watts, flashing jazz chops in a slack, stylish solo, but clearly well-versed in the rock ‘n roll vernacular. Reviving the sounds of the past with brazen passion and a tenacious sense of purpose, this is a band that the legions of young retro-rockers could do well to take a few notes from. Upstart Brooklyn garage/psych combo Acid Dad from earlier that night seemed rather apathetic by comparison, almost bored by their own songs. Despite their strong debut record which features more originality and better-than-average songwriting for their crowded genre, the Dads lacked a certain vitality when stacked up against the Beats.

The next day at Beerland, Moaning seemed similarly lackluster compared to the fierier acts I’d been taking in. The fresh-faced Sub Pop signees more than competently cranked out the tight moody tracks featured on their new LP, which is certainly a promising platter of post-punk, and high quality by today’s standards. Live, however, there was a sense of something lacking, and their frontman’s grunged out foray into the audience at the climax of their set seemed particularly forced. Perhaps I misread the situations and both groups were having off-days, or were merely fried from multiple appearances at this merciless festival.

And it is a cruel fest indeed that makes one choose between Jad Fair and Yonatan Gat. Inside Cheer Up Charlie’s, I was delighted to encounter the detuned maverick with a full band wailing away on a robust rendition of “Fire to Burn. The patio was calling me however; as Fair’s set was winding down and the momentum of Yonatan Gat & The Eastern Medicine Singers was just picking up. The outside stage was empty besides a few intrepid spectators, with Gat & Co. opting to play on the sandy terra firma, encircled by the beaming congregation and illuminated by a single creamy spotlight. With this physical barrier surpassed, the egos of the audience were powerless against the pounding traditional drums and Algonquin chants of the Eastern Medicine Singers which acted as a transcendent chariot to carry the nimble psychedelic fretwork of Mr. Gat. The singers and drummers sat in the eye of this mystic storm as Gat and a shadowy bassist channeled their effulgent currents, with the vibraphones of a gleeful Thor Harris adding subtly tingling frequencies. After an immeasurable amount of time, Gat held up his guitar, balanced in one hand, allowing the sky to provoke a tender feedback. As he placed it gently down, the throbbing ritual gave way to a sweetly sung ode, some sort of loving Mediterranean melody that suddenly transformed the space into a candlelit seaside tavern, as Yonatan danced, posed and gestured in all directions before taking up the guitar once more to bring the happening to electric culmination. This delicate cacophony added up to something that can only be described as beautiful—a seamless melding of disparate cultural traditions into an interstitial whole; a spiritual unity!

Nearby at Swan Dive, the party was in full swing and with pleasure I plunged in to a completely Canadian lineup presented by Pop and M for Montreal. Common Holly, Frigs, Tika, Lisa LeBlanc, Partner, Yamantaka // Sonic Titan; It was a real treat watch all these acts absolutely killing it so far from home, enthusiastically received by the abundant attendees swarming around stages both indoors and out.

The night could have ended there and my auditory desires would have been more than fulfilled, but thanks to a tip from Kodi of Marauder Group, at 2 AM it was time to take things to the next level. The next level, in this case, was a pedestrian bridge raised above the dark Colorado River on the limits of downtown where Iron Age, No Warning, and Integrity were slated to perform, powered by a generator, with permit secured for a grand total of one hour. All was eerily quiet as we ascended the spiraling path to the overpass, not quite sure if we were in the right place or not, when suddenly a murmuring mob of punx and metalheads came into view, overflowing from the concrete plateau and perched like black crows on the bridge railing. As it neared 2:30, Iron Age at last let loose their sludgy thrash; pounding drums and heavy riffage bellowing into the night sky. We inched our way into the frenzy but didn’t get far, the tightly packed crowd writhing and rigid like hardcore sardines. The set was brief, allowing time for Toronto’s No Warning to bestow us with a seasoned crossover barrage, while Austin P.D. made their presence known on the perimeter. Though I could catch only glimpses of tireless frontman Ben Cook and his forceful four, it was clear they were at the top of their game, with the raging and righteous crunch propelling heshers into the air, crowdsurfing potentially to their doom as they drifted to the brink of the bridge. Before Integrity could take the scene, the cops infiltrated the dormant pit, undeterred by the boos and hisses of the punk-rock flock, and pulled the plug. This misfortune aside, I left the bridge with glass in my boot and a grin on my face; an optimal end to the south by south quest for wild and weirdness.

NEWS FOR MONDAY, APRIL 16TH 2018

Hosted by Patricia Petit Liang

Stories by Karl Knox, Ana Bilokin and Loren O’Brien-Egesborg

Produced by Patricia Petit Liang

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

LOCAL
By Ana Bilokin

Atif Siddiqi, a transgender Montrealer, was ridiculed by police after being drugged, sexually assaulted and robbed.

According to CBC News, Siddiqi was laughed at by police officers while attempting to report the crime, and was allegedly told they could drink from the sink instead of being offered a cup of water.

Trans advocate Dalia Tourki says this is part of the greater issue of transphobia in the police force and other institutions.

 

NATIONAL
By Karl Knox

Serial killer Bruce McArthur has been charged with another count of first-degree murder as the remains of three of his alleged victims, discovered in planters in midtown Toronto, were identified.

According to CTV News, this is the seventh first-degree murder charge the self-employed landscaper is now facing in connection with the deaths of men with ties to the city’s LGBTQ neighbourhood.

Lead investigator Detective Sgt. Hank Idsinga, said the investigation has expanded to include 15 homicide cold cases from 1975 to 1997 and that the majority of the cases involve gay men or victims with links to the gay village.

Toronto police have also increased the number of properties on their search list from 30 to 75 - to start searching additional properties associated with McArthur in early May.

 

INTERNATIONAL
By Loren O'Brien-Egesborg

Over 30,000 Slovaks protested in the streets of Bratislava on Sunday calling for governmental reform seven weeks after the murder of investigative reporter Jan Kuciak and his fiancé Martina Kusnirova.

According to Reuters, the Prime Minister of Slovakia has stepped down and protesters are demanding the eradication of corruption as well as the removal of the police chief and the special prosecutor.

Kuciak’s murder is suspected to be related to his work as a journalist because he was known to investigate tax fraud by business people with political connections.

NEWS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 13TH 2018

Hosted by Luca Caruso-Moro

Stories by Jeremiah Ho and Luca Caruso-Moro

Produced by Luca Caruso-Moro

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

LOCAL
By Jeremiah Ho

The future for Lucy Granados in Canada will be decided on Thursday.

According to CTV News, Granados fled from Guatemala to Canada in 2009.

Her claim to refugee status was denied.

Nine years later, she faces deportation.

Various protests have been held in Montreal, pressuring authorities to “Let Lucy Stay."

 

NATIONAL
By Luca Caruso-Moro

In a recent interview with the Vancouver star, Health Minister Adrian Dix said BC residents have been overcharged 3 quarters of a million dollars since 2002.

The overcharges come from from clinics and physicians charging patients for services that are covered by provincial health care.

Dix said fines from overcharging are costing the province up to hundreds of thousands of dollars annually

 

INTERNATIONAL
By Luca Caruso-Moro

An Algerian military plane crashed near Algiers this week.

According to the BBC, 257 people died in the crash, mostly army personnel and their families.

An inquiry into the cause of the crash is underway.

Interview with Soul from Superorganism

Fiona, co-host of Moonstruck on CJLO 1690 AM, recently met with Superorganism member Soul, discussing songwriting, growing success, and more, only a few weeks after the release of their self-titled full-length album.

Since you’re one of the band members that doesn’t really live with the rest of the members in London, how do you find the creative process to work? When writing your songs and what not?

Sure. Sure. I mean, the creative process has always remained the same, because the band started when I was in Australia, like miles away. Different countries. […] So, I’d get the files in the email and then just bring them up; do my parts and send them back, and yeah. So, that’s remained pretty much the same even when I moved back to, well not back to, [but] when I moved to London. And, actually the album was done by then but, we were still doing stuff afterwards. I’d go to the house and it would be more involved in a hands-on way. […] It makes it a bit easier when you are in the same country, but it wasn’t too much of a burden living in a different country as well.

Are there any challenges that occur when working with six bandmates?

With this album, I feel like we’re a lot more on the same wave length. So, there [weren’t] too many disagreements, miraculously. I mean, I agree; sometimes you’d think it would be difficult with all the egos and whatnot involved. But everyone was really on the same wave length, you didn’t really need to. There wasn’t too much clashing of ideas, ‘cause ever since Something for your M.I.N.D came out, that was the first creation. With all the popularity that song got, we were kind of riding some kind of high or something. It was an energy to the project, so we just kind of rode all the way to the end and it gave us a good body to work up to, not too much stress and quarrels.

On your website, I noticed you had a video game that doubles as a music video. How did you guys come up with that idea?

I believe, it was just a video game developer [who] came across our music video. Something for you M.I.N.D has a game vibe to it. So the video game developer emailed us and said “Hey, we’d like to make a game for you guys,” and we [were] just really excited about that whole idea of that; so we just green lit it and that’s kind of how easy it was. Some dude just wanted to do it, we didn’t really need to try. But, it turned out great.

What was it like working on the album?

It definitely something, that whole process of creation, especially with good friends, it’s such a special process for everyone involved. For me personally, it's what you do it for, isn’t it.  So we got into music, we wanted to make music first by [ourselves], but when you come together with other people, it makes it all worthwhile. All the sacrifices that we’ve made, trying to do music all the way through. I personally find it a special moment in our lives, it’s just friends inspiring each other to make great music and art. There’s nothing more to it really.

How would you define your style? To me, it’s sort of like psychedelic pop.

Yeah, I mean, I think you hit on the nail. I would probably describe it in a similar way, like psychedelic pop. Harry said that it’s kind of like eccentric pop, but it’s taking all the eccentricities of pop music that we found interesting throughout the ages and we have access [to]. Then, [it’s] kind of a mix-and-match, collage the different sounds. I mean, what’s important to us is that the songwriting is on point, and it’s able to capture your attention with the catchiness and the understanding of harmony and rhythm, and utilizing samples and its ear-catching sounds to kind of capture attention. Having to [play] a bit with the songwriting and the idea of putting it aside, to give it that sort of eccentricities that I’m talking. I feel that it gives the essence and attention to detail and everything that is in the songwriting that is usual and standard and seeing how far we take it.

How do you guys feel about being number 4 on Billboard’s Heatseekers chart?

That all is really awesome because it just means that we continue to do what we’re doing and that’s the goal. I mean, it’s very important and it’s not like a goal we set out for. Deep down inside, all we want to do is be able to stay in this and be able to do it more often, and reach more people. Make better music. So, the charts is the recognition that we can do that. We’re all stoked about all that. Any sort of charts, we’re all like very happy. So it’s all good for us. It’s difficult to do anything that can chart us, that moves a lot of people. We find it amazing that these small successes are coming our way. It’s very surprising and humbling.

I noticed on your Facebook that you guys are welcoming new members, is this true?

The band’s already quite big, but it’s expanding in different ways. Like there’s crew and whatnot, and I did sort of mention to a fan yesterday that we’ll be holding auditions at some point in the future. So have a look out for that. I mean, you never know. With every new project we take, it’s definitely our chance to expand the project. For example, we did a Spotify project where Spotify put on a gig where they invited the top listeners of Spotify to a venue, so like 150 people, and all these people who were involved were creating this venue to look like the inside of a whale. With all this hard work going on for the show, in that moment, we had like 10, 15,  20 extra staff all helping to create this unique environment all for the Superorganism. I feel like even in those little ways everything we do is expanded […]. It’s quite a little bit of work to do this whole project.

Your role in the band is backing vocals and background dancer, what sort of vibe do you want to set for audience and fans?

I think it’s my job to interpret the music in a funny way, of increasing the vibes, I suppose. I have a joke, where my job title is Vibe Master 3000. It was unknown at the start of the journey, we didn't really know how it would go down having three backing singers and dancers. [During] the initial rehearsals, we got a lot of good feedback saying we had the songs, the sounds and the visuals and then the three backing singings brought this unique dynamic of increasing the vibes and it just sort of adds to it all. We’ve just kind of been going and experimenting every time we play and to get better. With more shows under our belt, we’ve come to understand that we do provide a unique dynamic to the show and to me its exciting as a performer to use your body and voice and movement to create a space that makes people feel elated and positive. I feel like an important role to come around and make people feel good for an hour or so. And hopefully make them feel like, I don't know, coming out and feeling like they want to do something good.

CJLO @ SXSW: Amrew's Three-Day Recap

This year, I had the privilege of attending South by Southwest 2018 in Austin, Texas, with my fellow music directors. I was really excited because Austin has the perfect weather, great people and southwestern charm. During SXSW, the city is filled with loud music and a ton of great shows to see and artists to discover.

On our first day, after picking up our badges at the Austin Convention Center, we tracked down nourishment for the night ahead. I met up with a rep and headed to The Belmont for the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus, hosting RZA of Wu-Tang featuring Stone Mecca and Pussy Riot.

I was excited to see Pussy Riot, because these women were sent to jail for two years for performing a song in a church criticizing Vladmir Putin. The show began and a masked girl and DJ started to perform with a background screen showing politically charged visuals contrasted with lyrics with happy colours and kitties. We also had the pleasure of hearing girls scream pussy is the new dick with them jumping and dancing in the air. The crowd enjoyed dancing and partying with them.

After a short intermission with no announcement needed, RZA braced the stage with a few friends including Raekwon, Inspecktah Deck singing “C.R.E.A.M”, then Ghostface Killah came on stage to bless us with a few bars. The crowd went wild: RZA said, “you weren’t expecting that” to which I said, “HELL NO!” It was great.

After they left, the real show began. RZA was with a band with an awesome guitarist who would make you think of Jimi Hendrix. They played songs inspired by the Beatles. It was my first time seeing RZA perform with a band and not performing only hip-hop songs. He does not do shows as often, but he did that night because it was a worthy cause. It was a great and memorable show.

Day 2 of the CJLO SXSW invasion, I went to Mohawk for the Sound + Vision' SXSW Official Day Party mainly to hear Talib Kweli DJ, which was completely new for me. There was an outside and inside stage and people would go in and out depending on whether there was a performance. While I was inside, I saw a performance by Chicago native Kweku Collins. It was the first time I heard of him. He was really energetic, his songs were fun and had a trap electro sound to it. He seems like someone you would want to party with and the way he spoke to the crowd made you feel like it was someone who you knew already and was having a hang out with. During his performance, he covered Drake’s “Best I Ever Had”, which was a crowd pleaser.

After his performance, I went outside to see Talib DJ. It was a treat: I didn’t know he DJ’d! I enjoyed his set because he played rock songs from the 60s to The Black Keys; he also played El Michel Affair who plays an instrumental version of Wu-Tang’s “C.R.E.A.M”.

Another notable performance for me was IDER, two girls who played electronic music and sampled Outkast’s “Roses”.

Later that day, I headed back to the Belmont for an all-female showcase which included Kitty Cash and Rapsody, an artist I really wanted to see. Watching the other artists perform before her was also great. Some of the artists on the bill were Taylor Made, who had a powerful soulful voice. I especially enjoyed her song “Mama Ain’t Raise No Fool”.

Rico Nasty from New York came in with her alternative rocker wear but put it down with a trap sound and lyrics letting you know that she is in charge.

Kitty Cash and DJ Osh Kosh played in between sets. I wanted to hear Kitty Cash after hearing about her when she did a mixtape with Toronto nation Rochelle Jordan. She had the crowd rocking with songs from Drake, Kanye, Kendrick Lamar and more.

Kamaiyah performed after. She is from the Bay area and everyone in the crowd who was from there (it was a lot) went crazy for her. She put on a good performance and got the crowd moving. Her song “How Does It Feel to Be Rich” was a crowd pleaser.

Rapsody was next after Kamaiyah. She walked on stage with a strong presence, like a queen. She performed songs that empowered women and what stood out for me was the crowd’s reaction. Many of them didn’t know who she was, but loved everything she was saying and was in awe of her. Even though her style was different from the trap sounds, dirty lyrics, and sexy dancing from the other performers, people loved it and learned from her. My night was made.

Friday was Day 3 for us and the final day for the CJLO gang. The day was mostly spent shopping and getting some great food with nice hangs.

At night I made my way to Empire Garage for the Stone’s Throw showcase. The main acts I wanted to catch were Homeboy Sandman and Edan, Karriem Riggins, and Peanut Butter Wolf.

The last time I saw Homeboy Sandman perform was at CMJ at the Fader Fort party in 2010, so I was really excited to see him perform, especially with Edan who is a cool DJ/producer. He brought the high energy with his quick flow and clever rhymes. He got the crowd moving. He and Edan had a back and forth moment, Homeboy encouraged Edan to rap and he did it like he didn’t know what he was doing. They got back to performing, while Edan rapped behind the turntables like a seasoned professional!

After Homeboy Sandman, Karriem Riggins got on stage for a DJ Set and got the crowd vibing with hip-hop, soul and funky beats. The next artist on the bill was Sudan Archives, a violinist and vocalist. She is the Miri Ben Ari of Stones Throw with her experimental, electronic sounds. When you watched her on stage, you were entranced in her presence and her sound.

Finally, we had Peanut Butter Wolf who got the crowd vibing and singing along to classic old school hip hop songs which had me feeling nostalgic. I was really happy to see him behind the turntables again.

After his set, there was a food stand in the venue and I got myself a Frito pie, which is a South Western dish consisting of Frito corn chips, chilli and cheese. I got a vegan version with chickpeas, veggies and tomatillo. I met Sugarface Belfo outside and we made our way back to the hotel.

I enjoyed my second time at SXSW. Although there’s a lot of people and a lot going on, it seemed like it was a little less hectic. I also got to catch more Hip Hop shows and discover new artists. It was great to hang out with my fellow music directors and enjoy Austin with them.

Concert Review: Albert Hammond Jr. @ L’Astral

Like many of my fellow millennials, the guitar stylings of Albert Hammond Jr. served as the soundtrack to my adolescence. Yet that was within the context of The Strokes, a fully different beast from Hammond Jr.’s solo project. His newest work is scrappy, spirited, and more conceptually cohesive than anything his bandmates have put out in a while. Regardless of any stylistic differences, both old school and new school alternative rock fans alike would have enjoyed Monday’s energetic yet intimate show.

 

The opening act, a five-piece called The Marías, played a groovy and sexy forty-five minute set. I have high standards for openers, having stood through my fair share of forgettable low-fi indie bands in anticipation for the main set, but this was not the case for The Marías. With only one EP out, titled The Supercuts Vol.1, as of this past November, the Los Angeles native band displayed their potential; putting together a set that was equal parts chilled out and danceable psych-soul. Frontwoman María’s bedroomy echoed vocals were matched perfectly by the two surprise trumpet cameos which were an audible crowd pleaser, making even the late-twenty-something filled audience dance.

 

After The María’s left the stage, there was a quick tech turnaround before the lights went down and a frankly frightening and initially confusing recording played through the speakers, warning about the futility of prayer and religion: off to an abrasive start. Then, Albert Hammond Jr. and his band stormed the stage at exactly nine. As a concert goer, I have a soft spot for punctual acts because it shows a respect from the band to the audience, as well as a dedication to the art and its delivery. From the start Hammond Jr.’s stage presence could not be argued. He’s no longer just the guitarist, part of a unit: he’s the star of the show. Jumping straight into “Caught By My Shadow” off his 2015 LP Momentary Masters, the show started in full force.

 

Hammond Jr. had an interesting habit of tangling himself in the microphone chord, never seeming to be holding the mic rightside up for more than a minute. This is just one example of his eccentric stage presence. A few songs later, he introduced his new album. Only released about three weeks ago (March 9th), the mention of the record was met with lots of applause and yelling from the crowd. The performance of “Set to Attack” off the aforementioned album kept the energy high. Hammond Jr. spent half of the song singing from atop the amp in the corner of the stage, jumping down periodically. At one point he reached into his pocket, not for a guitar pick, but for (what I’m about ninety percent sure was) a fisherman’s friend cough drop packet and popped one in without missing a word. 

Yet, despite Hammond Jr.’s ability to sing and multitask, sometimes this didn’t extend to the band’s synchronization. Twice there were errors in ending a song all together, yet the band always had witty banter after the glitch so I doubt anyone in the audience minded too much. Many times during the show, the guitarists, bassists, and even Albert Hammond Jr. played facing away from the crowd and in a huddle facing the drummer. This gave a real sense of partnership within the band: you could see them feeding off each-other’s energy.

The set ended with “In Transit” a classic favourite from his 2006 record Yours to Keep. This powerful, danceable track was the perfect song to end a show of mostly new material, bringing together old fans and new to either belt the lyrics or just jump along. 

People say to never meet your heroes and that sometimes things from your childhood should be left in memory. Yet, this artist who I grew up with, lived up to expectations. Hammond Jr. and band delivered an amazing show that both lifelong Strokes fans and new solo fans would enjoy. The mark of a great musician is being able to evolve and change with the times without giving up their unique vision. This concert showed Albert Hammond Jr.’s ability to do just that, and we should all be ready for where he takes his music next.

NEWS FOR FRIDAY, APRIL 6TH 2018

Hosted by Luca Caruso-Moro

Stories by Jeremiah Ho, Allison O'Reilly, and Luca Caruso-Moro

Produced by Luca Caruso-Moro

 

 

 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

LOCAL
By Allison O'Reilly

The Student Society of McGill University has sent an open letter to their school’s faculty calling for an investigation into the handling of sexual misconduct allegations against professors.

The society alleges several professors in the Faculty of Arts have been sexual violent towards students.

Over 1,000 McGill students have signed the digital letter, as well as 41 clubs and societies.

 

NATIONAL
By Jeremiah Ho

One child died  and 14 were hospitalized on Wednesday with flu-like symptoms from a house on Stoney Nakoda First Nation, west of Calgary.

According to CTV News, the child who died was only four or five months old, while the other's ages range from four months to the late teens.

Medical officials are unsure of what made them sick.

 

INTERNATIONAL
By Luca Caruso-Moro

Tens of thousands of Slovaks took to the streets of Bratislava on Thursday.

According to Reuters, people gathered to protest the murder of journalist Jan Kuciak and his Fiancée Martina Kusnirova.

Kuciak is believed by protestors to have been killed for his journalism on political corruption.

Protestors are calling for the Chief of Police Tibor Gaspar to resign for his inaction on the case.

 

 

CJLO @ SXSW: Kelly's Experience

Back from an exhilarating experience at South by Southwest 2018 in Austin, Texas, it is time to digest our street meat and musical discoveries from this seemingly never-ending music-at-every-corner festival and conference.

As World Music Director, my mission was to discover as much "world" music-inspired artists as possible. Some buzz words that peaked my attention included afro-futurism and global future, wrapped around more favourite words like funk, electronic, and psychedelic.

Rooted in Colombia, Combo Chimbita are a quartet of first-generation New Yorkers who played with great punk rock angst and energy. Their heavy rock sound is fused with cumbia and traditional elements that included synths, bass, drums, electric guitars, and guacharaca (a percussion instrument native to the Tairona people of Northwest Colombia, played with a fork and used to imitate the guacharaca bird’s song), all accompanied by powerhouse vocalist Carolina Oliveros’ opera-like wailing that orchestrated it beautifully.

We went off to the North Door for the Peligrosa House Showcase. There, we saw Montreal-based artist and 2016 Juno Award winner Boogát drop Spanish rhymes over heavy hip-hop and classic reggae beats. Comfortable on stage and on the mic, Boogát even slammed lyrics with style and strength over cumbia, salsa, and reggaeton rhythms as the audience shook their hips down to the ground.

Rio de Janeiro’s carioca DJ and producer João Brasil followed, jumping into the crowd, drum pad in hand, shouting “nunca mais eu vou dormir” to a very entertained crowd responding “Michael Douglas” with hands high in the air.

Next up, we head to witness the magic of Sea Moya at their official SXSW showcase. Playing 9 shows and 3 DJ sets during their stay at SXSW, these boys were fueled on beer and pure love! Having just moved to Montreal from Germany, Sea Moya have dedicated their every creative bone to their craft. From the moment they get on stage, you are drawn to their journey. Through their deep grooves and airy vocals, you are taken on a trip to space and the sound waves, your vessel. It is impossible to leave a Sea Moya sober, musically that is.

We end this trip at the hands of 2017 Polaris Music Prize winner, singer-songwriter, and “Soundsister”, Lido Pimienta. Originally from Barranquilla, Colombia, and now residing in Toronto, Canada, Lido Pimienta uses electronic beats and acoustic percussions inspired by her Afro-Colombian heritage fused with “out-of-this-world chants”. If you were lucky enough to have caught one of her intimate shows, like the one at The Townsend for the Epi Centro Official Showcase, then you already know. There are no words to describe the energy of Lido Pimienta’s onstage openness, charisma, and honesty. When Lido Pimienta talks, people listen. From personal tales of her abusive ex-husband to hilarious re-enactments of her mother’s phone conversations, like in “Aqua” and “La Capacidad”, she carries us into the core of each song. She carries us the way she carries her second child, sharing of her pregnancy and rubbing her belly.

Kelly Belfo is CJLO's World Music Director and co-hosts Flat Cola Presents on Mondays, 6-7 PM EST.

Pages