Song Written Upon Getting Cut By The Argos (CFL Sessions cover)
Slow Boat To China
Raise Your Dead
A week before this show, when the poster to the right was still in pristine condition (I love taping one to the counter and watching it deteriorate over time…), one of Broadview Espresso‘s regular customers said to me “aren’t you worried about playing with Robin (front-woman for Bernice)? What if she blows you out of the water…you’re not going after her, are you?”
Funnily enough, we did play after her and I was a little worried that her phenomenal voice might be a tough act to follow. Thankfully, we’re nothing if not foolishly brazen.
These Broadview Espresso shows are often really intimate and not as crowded as others, so I thought it was a good idea to bring out my trusty little homemade tube amp, but when there are suddenly close to 50 people crammed in there 5 watts just doesn’t cut it. Laura’s Microkorg got rave reviews after the set though.
Oddly enough, of all the songs we played that night “Slow Boat to China,” a tune we usually avoid or butcher entirely, was the crowd pleaser (this happened when we played in Montreal as well, actually). We also debuted our version of Big Star’s “Thirteen,” a tune we may or may not be recording very soon (re: it’s 90% done).
All told it was another one of those wonderful shows that reaffirms why we do this in the first place…
Oh, and it was Taste of the Danforth in our neighbourhood this weekend, so any excuse to get out of the East End was a good one…we did, however, stop by the street festivities first to get a couple of awesome bubble guns from one of the vendors, complete with noises and flashing lights. Mine instantly started leaking all over my pedals and I managed to zap a friend right in the eyeball with the laser (you can sort of see Laura using hers in the photo above).
All told, we were rough and out of practice, but had a lot of fun and even had a singer or two in the front row during “Southern Ontario.” It was also our first set using a Microkorg we picked up used last week, which I promptly used to completely derail “Laura’s Song” by choosing inappropriately heavy bass patches.
…if you can’t have fun and screw around then why the hell are you in a band?
Here’s another live video from our CD release at the Tranzac last month. This time around it’s for a tune from our first album called “Raise Your Dead.”* We busted out the light-rings for this one too, so I had fun messing with the colours in post-production to give it some psychedelic flair (or even flare, in this case…take your pick).
What a way to end a tour…The main hall of the Tranzac has been on our list of “venues to play before we die” since the beginning and last Thursday not only put a checkmark in that box, but filled it full of dynamite and blew it up in a cloud of coloured lights and confetti.
Surrounded by friends, family and other supporters we celebrated the release of Tortoise while Anna Atkinson (who joined us on stage for “Southern Ontario”) was eagerly doing the same for her debut album, Mooniture.
Of course, I could go on and on about how awesome we were, or how much fun the whole night was, but we had a few very supportive bloggers on hand that night whose take on the evening will likely be a little less biased. Here are a few quick quotes, but click through to check out the full reviews:
“Watson and Heaney have a fantastic chemistry on stage.” –Grayowl Point
“Overall the evening had a loose, comfortable feel. It truly was more like a party with friends than a concert.” –Snob’s Music
Expect more videos from the show too, as we had Laura’s sister on hand filming along with our little sports camera mounted at the front of the stage.
We’re back in town after our East Coast tour and it’s about time we gave Tortoise an Official sendoff! It’s an early show, so you can come out, catch out set around 8:30, then still be in bed curled up with a good book and a glass of scotch by 11:30!
There are shows that are tough; there are shows that are fraught with problems and technical difficulties; there are shows where no one is there to play to. There are also shows where not only does it all work out, but you have a damn good time too. Saturday night at The Central was a prime example of the latter.
Our good friends in Tiny Mountains were celebrating front-man Robb Mirsky’s birthday and were kind enough to ask us to play. The Central is the perfect little spot for such a shindig—big enough to fit a small crowd, but small enough to be cozy, with great beer on tap and good eats too.
The first club show with my new Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin, this was also one of the first shows we’ve actually played with our trusty Roland Jazz Chorus JC-77 amp—felt good to have a reliable and loud tank up on stage with me. Of course, my homemade pedals were acting up as always—no fault of their own, mind you. I simply forgot to plug good ol’ Santa Wahs in at all. Technical difficulties keep us mega-rockstars humble.
As always, Laura was rock solid and even got a few verbal jabs at me between songs (she owes me more than a few by now). This was also the first show with her kick drum mic (a great Craigslist score), something we’ll be using a lot.
Photographer Karol Orzechowski (http://decipherimages.com) almost caught a tambourine to the chin in my exuberance, but still managed to take these great shots:
Song Written Upon Getting Cut By the Argos (CFL Sessions)
Hot Air Balloons (and Submarines)
Raise Your Dead
This Will Our Year (The Zombies)
* w/Anna Atkinson
I have to admit, we had no idea Saturday’s show was to coincide with Earth Hour until that morning. Anna emailed asking if we should light some candles and play acoustic. Selfishly, my initial thought was “crap! I’ve been itching to try this great new electric guitar I just bought…” In the end, the earthly sentiment prevailed and the first half of the show was played in acoustic intimacy of a candlelit Broadview Espresso.
As usual, Anna Atkinson commanded the crowd with her unique brand of quirky charm and undeniable talent. We’ve tried backing her up before, but she doesn’t need it at all. Laura and I, on the other hand, benefit greatly from her viola and backing vocals, so she joined us for a good chunk of our set.
In the end, the unplugged immediacy of Earth Hour left it’s mark, as we switched back and fourth between full-on electric and microphone free. I was just giddy to be trying my brand new Godin 5th Avenue Kingpin II guitar (sounds great through an amp or acoustic and looks real perrrtty).
This show also gave us the opportunity to test a few of our more recent tunes to an audience of friends before the new album comes out. “Laura’s Song,” for instance, was played live for the first time and went over well even without my waltzing with a small Casio in the background. Of course, no show of ours would be complete without forgetting to play a song we were excited about. In this case it was “She Said,” but we’ll rectify that at The Central this weekend!
Speaking of songs we forgot to play, here’s a live clip from this show of the one we forgot to play last time, “Young Enough.”
Oh, and this was our first show with band t-shirts! More on those to come very soon…
This was the night of the “big snow storm” that had all of Toronto (not to mention southern Ontario and a good chunk of the U.S.) stocking up on canned goods, sitting in their panic rooms locked & loaded for the apocalypse. Of course, we only got about half of the expected white stuff here, so the show at Rancho Relaxo went on as scheduled.
Getting ready to record our new album this month, we used this set as an opportunity to work on some of the new material. Case in point, Anna Atkinson joined us on viola for a few tunes (complete with a great new haircut…) and “She Said” was played live for the very first time.
Of course, I’m an easily distracted mess, so new accompaniment and the debut of a recently built guitar pedal along with strange stage hum made for interesting results. Thankfully, I make it a habit to surround myself with beautiful, talented and dependable women who pick up my slack and slap me with it.
Given all the hoopla over the snow, it ended up being a good time. We were very grateful for an audience who actually braved the overblown weather, and both Smugshot (complete with Keytar) and Richard Gracious (who ended the night with a drunken dance party) were a lot of fun (and each covered bands I’d completely forgotten about—Wheatus and Afroman respectively).