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by Kirstie Shanley

6 May 2010


Hailing from England, Kate Nash is making waves in this world of music. She may have only two albums to draw from, but she certainly has a youthful energy to bring to a sold out audience and her songs as delve into various genres of rock, pop, and even punk. At times, her voice recalls the pop punk sweetness of Ida Maria from Norway. Still, her set proved emotional in a much different way than Maria’s tends to, with a sense of personal intimacy as the lights turned off and her fans focused all attention on her.

There was a definite progression of the 75-minute-long-set. Beginning mainly with her more catchy singles, Nash encouraged the audience to dance and they easily sang along to the choruses and verses that they had memorized listening to both of Nash’s albums. Nash was quite playful, especially at the start of the evening, showing an enchanting side to her quirky personality whilst relating stories of crazed fans and railing against homophobia. The fact that she was on crutches didn’t stop her from standing while playing guitar, though she also sat at her keyboard to provide some of the melody lines to her songs. At one point, an audience member even crowd surfed up to the front in order to dance behind her on stage as she played.

by Dave MacIntyre

4 May 2010


Prior to Wednesday night’s show at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, I was unfamiliar with most of Sia’s music.  The songs I had heard were mainly collaborations, with bands like Zero 7, or remixes, such as Sander Van Doorn’s reworking of “The Girl You Lost to Cocaine”, so I didn’t really know what to expect.

Walking into the packed venue, my eyes immediately focused on the stage set-up. Everything (microphone stands, amplifiers, stationary instruments, etc.) was covered in multi-colored macramé, complete with pom-poms, making it look like the performer was in fact a kind of crazy, psychedelic craft show. When Sia stepped out on the stage wearing jean shorts, a knee-length plaid shirt and a glowing unicorn horn shaped headband, it was clear that the cutesy stage design fit the singer’s quirky and bright persona.

by Thomas Hauner

3 May 2010


A torrent of personality and vocals, Sharon Jones will make your feet ache.  Singing for two hours, and accompanied throughout by her controlled collective, the Dap Kings, even Ms. Jones removed her silver sandals for a bit, the better to pantomime her ancestry.  The story of her West African and Native American ancestors dancing was an inevitable climax to the group’s physical and musical storytelling, always best personified by their eponymous leader.

by Rory O'Connor

29 Apr 2010


It was only a matter of time before someone put DeVotchKa and Gogol Bordello out on the road together. One would be hard pressed to think of a better pairing. The two bands share many common threads of influence yet bring distinctly unique approaches to their music. Both bands put their own spin on more traditional Eastern European music, while adding their own brand of gypsy flair, and both share an apparent love for brilliant literature (or so I infer from their band’s names). They go together a bit like an ushanka hat and a cold glass of vodka. However, musically, these commonalities appear drastically different. DeVotchKa’s music takes flight, like a bird, soaring in open air with a grace and beauty that feels cinematic and untouchable, while Gogol Bordello’s music is a bit more like a battering ram, forcing its will upon you.

by Mehan Jayasuriya

28 Apr 2010


The first time I saw Owen Ashworth a.k.a. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone perform was in 2004. He was opening up for the Mae Shi at Chicago’s Empty Bottle and in a manner befitting of his nom de plume, carted a box full of battery-powered keyboards up on stage, which he proceeded to daisy-chain and feed into a sequencer. What in lesser hands might have amounted to little more than a lo-fi parlor trick was transformed into a series of rich, if minimalistic, sonic landscapes, rife with harsh, hip-hop-influenced beats and twinkling 8-bit tones (before said 8-bit tones were in style, I might add). But it wasn’t just the music that captured my attention that night, it was Ashworth’s lyrics, which tenderly sketched out portraits of disillusioned, lovelorn, post-collegiate drifters. A breed, one sensed, with which the author was intimately familiar.

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Stone Dead: Murder and Myth in 'Medousa'

// Short Ends and Leader

"A wry tale which takes in Greek mythology, punk rock and influences of American suspense-drama, this is an effective and curious thriller about myth and obsession.

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