August 28, 2014

Platinum Blonde at The Ex

Platinum Blonde were absolutely huge in the 80s. I saw them perform a free concert at Toronto City Hall - Nathan Phillips Square - for about a bajillion people. It was one of the first shows I was allowed to go to without parental accompaniment and apparently the news reported a "riot". That raised blood pressure at home, and I certainly don't remember riot.
What I do remember is great music. The Standing In The Dark album had recently come out and hits like "Doesn't Really Matter", "Not In Love", "Sad Sad Rain" and the title track were massively popular. The power trio held the frenzied crowed in rapt attention with their polished 80s guitar pop.
I don't think I saw the band live again until this past Friday, August 22 when they played the Bandstand at The Ex. The band looked great and they sounded tight, stripped back down to their original trio formation. The songs sounded fresh and alive with a tough edge. Besides the requisite hits, they went back in their catalogue to a tune called "Don't Tell Me No" that was never on record but someone bootlegged it at Maple Leaf Gardens and put it on the web. They went back as far as their days as a Police cover band and did a great rendition of "Message in a Bottle". They toughed-up songs like "Contact", which had a very synthed up arrangement on record, to great effect.
In 2012, they released an album called Now & Never and two strong singles - "Beautiful" and "Valentine" - made it into the setlist. As they closed out with their all-time big single "Doesn't Really Matter" (yup, that intro voice is Mark's mum) they announced, "Toronto, we are back!" Nice to see you back! I hope to hear lots of cool music and experience great live shows in the future.
Here are some of my favourites from their set:

"Not In Love" This one was filmed at Platinum Blonde's massive Toronto show that I was lucky enough to attend back in around 1984.

"Sad Sad Rain", which I've had in my head since the show.

"Standing In The Dark"


"Hungry Eyes"


"Doesn't Really Matter"

"Crying Over You"

"Take it from Me"
"Leaders in Danger"
"Video Disease"
"Not in Love"
"Sad Sad Rain"
"All Fall Down"
"Message in a Bottle"
"Don't Tell Me No"
"Standing in the Dark"
"Lost in Space"
"Situation Critical"
"Somebody Somewhere"
"Hungry Eyes"
"Doesn't Really Matter"

Encore of "Crying Over You"

August 27, 2014

Check out Jeen

Jeen O'Brien sings with Brendan Canning in Cookie Duster. On her own, she's just Jeen and she released an album called Tourist. She's released a video for the powerful indie pop track "Buena Vista" which features a steam-train beat, relentless bass-line and shout-along vocals. The rest of the album sounds very promising as well.

"No Fade"

"NY Island"

"Everywhere I Go"

"Hole In My Heart"

"Way Up"

August 26, 2014

The Spoons at The Ex

The Spoons played The Ex (a.k.a. The CNE or The Canadian National Exhibition) on August 21. I haven't seen the band play live since the very first time I saw them at The Ontario Place Forum (a revolving stage that featured amazing free concerts from great acts during the 80s, that has since been replaced by the Molson Amphitheatre). That show also marked the very first time that I ever took pictures of a live band. I borrowed a camera of my father's and shot the show. As I recall, the pictures were pretty terrible, but it's a great memory for me, and it was great to come full circle to photograph the band again, some thirty years later.
Gordon Deppe was very nostalgic for the 80s. He mentioned his love of the 80s and missing the 80s a couple of times and at one point remarked, "We never left [the 80s]!". He even mentioned the Ontario Place Forum and that very show that I shot. He said he'd be in heaven if they brought that venue back. It certainly was a unique venue and a source of great memories for me, too.
The band featured founding members Deppe and Sandy Horne plus a great keyboard player and solid drummer. They sounded great and were well worth seeing. They played songs from all the way back to their first album and included solid tunes from their latest, 2011's Static In Transmission.
They kept things interesting by putting a few new spins on the classic tunes, doing a "Forever Young" like ballad intro to "Tell No Lies" and playing a modernized version of "Nova Heart" that sounded like they let Skrillex at the tune. I'm looking forward to their next show in Toronto at The Mod Club on November 6 with original keyboard player Rob Preuss. I'm putting in a special request now that they play the tune that this blog is named after. Fingers crossed!
Here are some highlights from the set:

"Arias & Symphonies"

"Smiling In Winter"

"Old Emotions"

"The Rhythm"

"You Light Up"

"Nova Heart"

"Romantic Traffic"

"Bridges over Borders"

"Tell No Lies"

They played two sets:

Set One:
"Arias and Symphonies"
"Smiling In Winter"
"Old Emotions"
"The Rhythm"
"The Waterline"
"Escape With You"
"You Light Up"
"Nova Heart"

Set Two:
"Time Turns Around"
"Romantic Traffic" 
"Star Maps"
"Bridges Over Borders"
"Tell No Lies"
"End of Story"
"Nova Heart 2014"

And here's another flashback. I've mentioned before about seeing The Spoons on a CHUM-CITY simulcast. Well, some kind soul has put it up on YouTube. I remember seeing this show as a kid. Does anyone out there have the video side of this?

August 25, 2014

New music from The Twilight Sad

The Twilight Sad are putting out a new album on October 28. It's called Nobody Wants to Be Here and Nobody Wants to Leave and here's the first tune, "There's A Girl In The Corner". It's every bit as moody and melodic as we have grown to expect from the Scottish lads.

They're heading out on the road and are in Toronto on October 19 at The Phoenix Concert Theatre opening for We Were Promised Jetpacks. I saw both of these bands at The El Mocambo a few years back and they are both incredibly powerful live acts. I hope to be in attendance at the show!

Pic from Facebook.

August 24, 2014

TURF Day 3: Band 4: Man Man

Man Man from Philly were the last band I shot at TURF and this post brings to an end my TURF coverage for 2014. Hope you liked the photos. I can't wait to do it all again next year.
Man Man's set was an eclectic, fun time. They featured off the wall tunes and instrumentation and more costume (or at least jacket) changes than a Katy Perry show. They played their cool single "Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)" just before everyone cleared out for Neutral Milk Hotel.

"Head On (Hold On To Your Heart)"

"Piranhas Club"

"Rabbit Habits"

"Loot My Booty"