The following post will be published on Monday Magazine’s website tomorrow afternoon in its entirety (complete with pictures and video!). Here is a teaser
The Fall has been good to Victorian music lovers. Since Rifflandia descended upon our town with her blessed cacophony of heat and light, we have been inundated with great live music (much thanks to Atomique for making most of this possible); last weekend was no exception.
The following is a heavy-lidded account of a reviewer who braved utter exhaustion, coupled with “winter’s very worst” (he uses parentheses because he hails from Calgary) in pursuit of sweet sounds; he discovered beauty and ugliness, both, in a distillation, most pure.
The music began on Friday night at Sugar Nightclub, who opened their big, black, double doors for hometown boys, Jon and Roy. Security was tight on Friday night, betraying Jon and Roy’s faithful following of gun toting thugs who had the brains to show up in disguise as peace loving hippies.
Security knew better; so did I. I’d imagine that several guns were confiscated at Sugar on Friday night, which is to say nothing of the vast array of butterfly knives, machetes, and Heroin which (thank God) failed to make it past the magic metal detecting wands of Sugar’s friendly bouncers. They saved many a life on Friday night, be it murder or overdose.
But back to the show. It is clear that Jon and Roy have evolved at a startling rate over the past couple years. While their sound is distinctively “West Coast” (Roy’s drum kit includes a conga) it also contains elements of older traditions of music including luminaries like Bob Dylan (in his John Wesley Harding manifestation) and, more recently, Mason Jennings.
The highlight of Jon and Roy’s set came when they invited their openers to share the stage with them. For a few moments, the band recalled Desire-era Dylan, complete with their own make-shift Scarlett Rivera in Laura who added her beautiful flair of strings to a music, most urgent.
All was well on a cold and blustery Friday night.
The following evening, The TunE YaRds (I’m not sure if they are consistent with the various lower and upper cases of the spelling, but I aM CeRtaiNly NoT) picked up from where Jon and Roy left off, filling Sugar Nightclub to capacity.
TunE YArdS endowed upon their eager listener’s ear a set, most supreme– the band’s veritable kaleidoscope of colour and shade, texture and smell collided with the patient ear of their eager listener; we all left the club with the numinous knowledge that, for an moment, most fleeting, we’d been confronted by the divine— an awkward instant, which came and went all too soon. And so walked home alone; a premonition of things to come.
On Sunday night a fortunate few who had the sufficient funds and monies, stood in an invisible line, most lonesome in front of Lucky Bar.
It is a feeling most magical to walk through our City’s streets on a cold and rainy Sunday night. On such nights, our fair city is inhabited only by reclusive; ghosts, and the occasional stray cat.
We walk for blocks without encountering the comforting familiarity of fellow flesh. We listen to the fall of our tragically lonesome feet; we hear our own staggering breath too– our solitary, chosen confines force a collective, lonely heart stutter on an otherwise quiet Sunday night in Victor I A.
On Sunday night our silent journey to Lucky Bar was greeted by a comparatively gentile and less “in-your-face” security personal; apparently, Ohbijou, the night’s headliners draw a crowd, less aggressive, than local thugs Jon and Roy. No pat downs or frowns at Lucky; fans were made to feel welcome; miraculously, there was no violence (strange).
Opening for Obhijou, were the wonderful and sweet Snowblink, who last played our town at the Alix Gooldin Hall, opening for Owen Pallett.
Not only did the two-piece from Toronto/California play an amazing set, but they also took on a residence, most humble, at the merch table when their set came to an end, eager to talk to enamored fans such as I, who grilled them about the latest goings-on in Toronto’s vibrant music scene.
Fortunately, Snowblink’s set gave way to an equally brilliant performance courtesy of the evening’s headliners, Obhijou who, by three seconds into their opening song, made their fans forget all about Monday morning; we all felt at home inside warm brick wall, lucky and teary-eyed, on Sunday night.
And we thank you, for the gift of music; long may you bring amazing bands to our lonesome town!