June 17th, 2010

Rose-coloured reviews The Pornographers June 15 concert at The Sound Academy

The nicest thing, in my opinion, to do before the concert is to have a good cheap meal downtown and avoid the baffling expense of trying to eat in the Distillery District (The Old Spaghetti Factory throws in salad, bread, tea/coffee and ice cream with all entrees! And the ice-cream is spumoni!). Failing that, one could likely have gotten something delicious en route at T&T grocery story on Cherry Street, or else the hotdog vendors outside the venue. And then walk–the buses from Union station and Pape station baffled us, but it was a perfectly pleasant 45-ish minute strolled the The Sound Academy, which is down by the Docks (where I had never been).

The Sound Academy turns out to be a nice big venue with enough bars and restrooms and a nice sort of patio area where you can go with your wristband and buy (expensive) snacks and pops. There was a lot of space (the whole second floor, it seemed) devoted to VIPs, but I guess VIPs have to go somewhere.

News of the opening acts didn’t interest me at all, as they went on really early and I hadn’t heard of them. We missed the Dukes and Duchesses entirely but we caught the The Dodos mainly by accident and they were wicked good. This seemed to be a three piece band (I couldn’t really see very well; there could have been more stuff up there), one and a half piecesof which was drum kit. So one guitarist, one traditional drummer, and one guy who played some drums, some xylophone, and a few other instruments I didn’t really understand. Let’s talk about how much I like xylophone music. Let’s talk about the song when Mr. Ambidextrous played one stick on the drums, one stick on the xylophone. Swoon!

The NPs had a very simple stage set up–just illuminated letters spelling their name hanging above a smoke and light filled stage. It was so great to see them in person (I never had before!) There are so many of them! I think I knew that but forgot–I’m a fan, but not a rabid one. But let’s talk about how in awe of Neko Case I am–and there she was with all that red hair in some sort of Grecian shiny headband-crown. Swoon! I love her voice so much–friends I ran into at the show said they thought she got a little squawky at times, but I thought she was perfect, especially on “Go Places,” which has never sounded sweeter to me.

It was so nice and fun to run into people I hadn’t seen in years in a big crowded concert hall. One great thing about Toronto is how often I think I am surrounded by strangers and then a face looms out all friendly and familiar. Of course, I wasn’t completely surrounded by strangers anyway, as I went to the show with B., who had given me the tix as a birthday gift (along with a tin of custard powder and a card that read, “To a Great Grandson”).

What else did I like about the show? Man, I bad at reviewing concerts–I don’t even think I attend them right, as I sucked hard candies at intervals and danced in my spot. Almost no one danced at this show–has that gone out of fashion now? Or maybe it was the age of the crowd. Someone commented, when I said I was going, that the band had been around more than 10 years so they are really The Old Pornographers, which I think is laughable–being born in the 1990s is not old! But the crowd was, in places, old*er*–some grey hair, some paunchiness, some real eagerness to get home and sleep when the show ended. But then fully half the crowd was probably a lot younger than me. I don’t know what my point is, but I am happy to announce that I now think I’ve finally figured out what a hipster is, so I can join the rest of you in laughing at them!

I dunno, this is a terrible review, but the show made me really happy. Maybe I have to go to concerts more than once every other year. Maybe I need to adjust to staying out later. Maybe they really should have played “Letter from an Occupant” just for old times sake. Maybe tonight is another late night and I should really get to bed…

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So Much Love by Rebecca Rosenblum

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