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Monday, Nov 2, 2009
Words and Pictures by Dave MacIntyre

New York City’s Bishop Allen took stage just after midnight at the El Mocambo in Toronto.  Supported by Darwin Deez, also from NYC, and Throw Me The Statue, from Seattle, the band had their work cut out for them since both openers played lively sets that had onlookers impressed and actually paying attention.  Frontman Justin Rice announced his pleasure at being back in Toronto, noting how much warmer the weather was than his last visit in January—which the crowd reacted to with enthusiastic clapping, cueing the band to get the set rolling.  Performing a nearly gapless stream of light-hearted indie-rock ballads, Rice played his guitar peering shyly into the crowd over the top of his glasses while other core member and guitarist Christian Rudder strummed beside bassist Keith Poulson.  Darbie Nowatka on keyboards also provided backing vocals while former We Are Scientists drummer Michael Tapper completed the five-piece.  Musically, the band played very well together; however the first group of songs started to sound indistinguishable from one another and lacked any real uniqueness to make them memorable.  I wasn’t alone in this thinking as the audience’s enthusiasm began to dwindle and their chatter to increase.  A set break a few moments later had the audience paying attention again.  Rice took the opportunity to share his knowledge of the El Mocambo’s rich musical history, citing such momentous events as The Rolling Stones performance there and the scandal involving Margaret Trudeau (wife of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau ) and getting the fans laughing by stating, “Margaret Trudeau hooked up with Keith Richards here.”  With the crowd once again enthralled the band resumed play with older material such as “Like Castanets” and “The Chinatown Bus” from The Broken String.  These much catchier, toe-tapping numbers, including fan-favorite “Click, Click, Click, Click,” pulled the audience back in and kept them there for the remainder of the set.  A great cover of Devo’s “Gates Of Steel” and an the encore performance of “Flight 180” ended the evening on a high note.


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Monday, Nov 2, 2009
Words and Pictures by Kirstie Shanley

David-Ivar Herman Düne has a problem.  You see, he’s really a superhero and he has to find a way to tell his girlfriend.  It’s a good thing he’s an apt lyricist or there’d be no hope for the situation at all.  It’s topics like these that separate French duo Herman Düne from other bands concentrating heavily on the singer/songwriter format.  The idiosyncratic makes for great conversational elements and interesting rhyme schemes.  It also helps keep the audience listening and, at times, even laughing.


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Monday, Nov 2, 2009
Words by Chris Catania. Pictures by Colleen Catania

The Afro-Punk tour arrived in Chicago with poet/actor/emcee Saul Williams leading the hip hop, punk and funk tribe to the Double Door.  Openers American Fangs showed tons of passion and promise, but sadly the surly upstarts failed to strike any chords of freshness or uniqueness.  But I feel for them, because having Saul Williams—-the personification of pure originality—-as your tour mate can make most bands seem average.


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Friday, Oct 30, 2009
Words and Pictures by Rory O'Connor

In an age where so many genres and musical ideas get mashed together, the Raveonettes are unique in how singular their vision and how unabashedly they practically wear their loved ones on their sleeves.  But, as it turns out, they are none the worse for it.  In fact, it is the paradox created by this pulling from the past and channeling it into something that radiates an effortless cool, metallic, almost futuristic feel, both in presence and sound—which may ultimately be their most magnetic quality.


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Thursday, Oct 29, 2009
Words and Pictures by Allison Taich

Last week was Wilco’s homecoming, the capstone to their North American tour if you will.  The two Chicago shows were the first shows the band had played here since the release of their latest,Wilco (the album).  They were also the climax of their US tour and nothing short of epic.


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