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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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.
Back in early March, I saw The Airborne Toxic Event perform at the Mod Club in Toronto. Despite being flu-stricken, lead singer Mikel Jollett sang his heart out. I remember later reading that the band had cancelled multiple dates prior to the show and that Jollett had vehemently refused recommendations from his doctor to cancel the Toronto gig on the grounds that Toronto simply wasn’t a city you cancelled over the flu. I also remember thinking to myself that he didn’t seem that sick to me because the show was so good.
Time is definitely on Ian McCulloch’s side. Even at 50 years of age, the front man of 80’s post-punk sensation Echo & The Bunnymen didn’t look a bit out of place on stage with a microphone in hand. In front of a respectable turnout at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, McCulloch addressed the crowd wearing his trademark shades, announcing it was good to be back in Canada. “I like it colder” he stated. “Can you make it colder?”