Went down to the Distilllery district (an old whiskey factory turned into an awesome live/work/art/resto area, and things have changed quite a bit. Not a lot of interesting art--I don't think any of the original artists can afford to have studios there anymore, no doubt a product of its own success--but the old brick buildings are still great and our friend Marty works there at Soma chocolate, making amazing gelato (what do you call a professional gelato maker? There should be a name). Then over to Harbourfront to see more art. Next time I'm going to Pawsway, a new pet discovery and hall of fame centre. Maybe they can explain why my feline hero has apparently been puking on the couch since we left for Toronto.
Awesome dinner with old friends ran late and we got caught in a College St. street fair and sadly couldn't get through to Bloor for Rich Aucoin's show, so we just stayed at Sneaky Dee's (Aucoin is releasing his new album in Halifax, the first week of July. Don't miss that). Just as well--the skies opened up and it started to pour. Upstairs, Saskatoon's Ultimate Power Duo were trying really hard for some Toronto love and not getting it. Totally uncomfortable. They had a lot of energy but I think they need to stop trying so hard with an obviously disinterested crowd, who I think was made up of people that didn't want to go outside and get wet or always hang out there. Not a lot of lanyards or wristbands, but there were a lot of popped collars drinking Rock Star vodka-energy drinks (caught some of the ladies crying later). UPD received a bit of love during "Cone of Silence" where, yes, they enter the cone several times during the song, and silently mouth the words and air guitar. oh dear.
Band award: most eager to please; worst band to digest your burritos to.
Papa, can you hear me? Toronto ignores Ultimate Power Duo silence with silence.
Then our friend Justin, who we had dinner with earlier, came back to Sneaky's after going to see Laura Barrett at the Transac Club. Will someone please bring her to Halifax??? Sadly we missed her but Justin, who's doing some work for Mint Records and other artists, brought us back one of her bags. so that was nice. If you're a New Pornographers fan, you'll love their Mint label mate, Young and Sexy, who predate the Pornographers by a few years. They've been at it for 10 years, which is a long time, but you'd never know it. I heard mixed reviews of their live shows, but I thought they were great. Sweet male-female harmonies.
Band award: best fruit-shaped shakers; most pleasant surprise
Take that Neko
I listened to a bit of The Pack A.D. before I left and didn't think much about it. Well, blow me the frig down. White Stripes comparisons are inevitable, but not since Heart (in my world, that's a compliment) have two women--guitar and drums--playing dirty, rocky, bluesy goodness had such stage presence. The singer growls and the drummer bangs. It might not translate as much on an album, but live, it's really magical and it snapped people into the show. it's also why I love festivals--finding that gem you might miss otherwise.
Band award: best festival discovery; X chromosome kickassery
A couple of years ago we caught Giselle Numba One at the Pop Explosion. She did her weird hip-hop-rap-song-dance to about five people at the Bus Stop, and still played a cool, energetic show. Classy. I also love her band Hot Springs. Along with Wet Secrets, this was an anticipated show and G. delivered her usual witchy ways. Considering all the puddles of boy drool and the shouts, the crowd thought so too.
Band award: hot
That's Ms. Numba One to you
And then I ate pizza.
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