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On Thursday May 16th, New York indie rockers Vampire Weekend made their way to Toronto’s Sony Centre in support of their brand new record Modern Vampires of the City (In stores now! via. XL Recordings).
BTW’s Steve St. Jean was there to shoot the show thanks to Edge 102.1/Corus Entertainment… Check out his photos below:
Photography by: Steve St. Jean
Oxford’s Foals were in Toronto to perform at the Kool Haus on Saturday May 11th, supporting their brand new studio album Holy Fire (via. Warner Music on February 4th, 2013). BTW’s Steve St. Jean caught up with Jack Bevan (drums) and Edwin Congreave (keyboard) during the day for an interview to discuss their brand new LP, musical influences and of course… What they think life is.
Watch our interview with Jack and Edwin of Foals below:
If you missed them… Check out our photos from Foals Toronto gig at the Kool Haus here: Photos: Foals @ Kool Haus
Videography/Interview by: Steve St. Jean
The Killers were always a band that I kept in the back of my mind. I have a few of their records and I liked them just fine, but yesterday’s show at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, really turned that on it’s head. I’ve never come away from a show after having been exposed to a band for so long and felt such a difference of opinion.
There was something alive and well in the room last night. The feeling was incredibly apparent, and it started from the moment The Killers walked on stage with the house lights still up and without introduction, and launched into a version of “Mr. Brightside.”
Brandon Flowers has always been a curious front man. Well dressed, well spoken, and he’s as eloquent on stage as he is in his lyrics: “We’re sorry we canceled on you Toronto, but you knew we were coming back didn’t you? We just needed more time to be better at Battle Born.” His delivery is totally innate.
Flowers is arguably one of the best front men I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing live, and it’s because there is such a genuine appeal to his performance. It’s the Mojave Dessert and heartache, and it’s the way he’s out there looking like he just scored the game winning goal. The guy really does have soul, and it’s so much bigger than the modest frame that houses him.
This band is about two things, capturing that sometimes sadness we feel when our hearts break and long for more, and the build up, oh the build up. When Flowers leans out into the crowd to throw a fist in the air, you feel the pressure change in the room, and you instinctively push back.
The Killers are a comfortable band, and a band that emanates their enjoyment. They did the crowd justice and played everything from “Somebody Told me” to “Runaways,” and even through in a rendition of “I Think We’re Alone Now” preempting it with: “Tiffany stole this one from Tommy James and the Shondells, and tonight we’re stealing it back.”
Those guys reignited a fire in my gut last night, and I’m happy to let it burn. At the end of the show they hugged and took a bow at center stage. It was as if they were being filmed for a farewell special, but I think there’s something to be said about a band that approaches everything with the kind of enthusiasm we tend to reserve for last.
Words by: Juliette Jagger
Juliette Jagger is a freelance writer and Rock ‘n’ Roll Journalist based out of Toronto (@juliettejagger)
Released: May 7, 2013 | Record Label: Warner Music Canada
When Fitz and the Tantrums released their debut album Pickin’ Up the Pieces in 2010, they immediately garnered a strong cult following and critical praise, being labelled “a band to watch” by Rolling Stone, thanks to the success of “MoneyGraber” and “Don’t Gotta Work It Out,” which both became top 40 hits. Their mastery of Motown-esque melodies mixed with a pop style made Pickin’ Up the Pieces an album that refused to allow the listener to sit still. This became a sign of things to come because a Fitz and the Tantrums show can regularly turn into a wild dance party (you can youtube videos of the band calling out fans for NOT dancing during shows). With so much praise from fans and critics, there was a growing anticipation for a follow up to Pickin’ Up the Pieces and, on May 7th, Fitz and the Tantrums finally released their sophomore album. More Than Just a Dream will be Fitz’s first album for Elektra Records (Warner Music in Canada) and sees the LA outfit abandon their neo-soul tendencies, whilst putting much more emphasis on the pop aspects of the music while adding new influences to the fold.
More than Just a Dream contains many similarities with their 2010 debut. However, it also marks a direct shift for Fitz and the Tantrums, taking them from soul revivalists to a much more contemporary sound. Pickin’ Up the Pieces was a love letter to the 60s that transported the listener to a time long since passed. More than Just a Dream sees Fitz and the Tantrums sample the 80s; incorporating hip-hop and electro to their pop sound. This gives the album a much broader sonic scope, but with more options More than Just a Dream can lack direction and focus at times.
Opening track, “Out of My League,” is the closest Fitz and the Tantrums get to their previous sound, with the “ohs” and “woos,” heavy bass groove, and catchy chorus being staples from the Motown playbook. From there, the new influences take over. It’s the shift in musical approach, from the warm, straight forward sound of soul to the extravagant and, at times, wild sound of synth pop, that gives Fitz and the Tantrums their new sound. Working with producer Tony Hoffer (Phoenix, M83) for this album, his influence is heard immediately on songs like “Break the Walls,” “Fools Gold,” and “Last Raindrop,” which all lean heavily on the synth sound adapted for this album. Much of the rest of the album falls somewhere in between these songs; indicating that Fitz and the Tantrums may try to keep the 60s vibe in their music, but that they are looking to the future for influences (if always still drawing inspiration from the past).
One thing that does remain constant for Fitz and the Tantrums, despite the juggling of musical influences, is the chemistry between lead singers Michael Fitzpatrick and Noelle Scaggs. Continuing to utilize a call-and-response technique for much of their lyrics, their voices give More than Just a Dream a certain power. They clearly have a vision for the Tantrums and you can bet that, whatever genre or era of music they explore on their next album, it will be just as meticulously planned and arranged as the 60s soul on their debut and the 80s grandiosity from More than Just a Dream.
Currently on tour across America, Fitz and the Tantrums will be supporting Bruno Mars during many of his June dates. They also have two of their own upcoming Canadian dates, July 4th at Club Soda in Montreal and July 5th at Fort York in Toronto.
Words by: Ciaran Vallely