Saturday, August 28, 2010

Supergroups, Reunions and Solo Projects

Imported from My Life Is Like A Song (you can view post comments here)

I started this post months ago. When I first heard that Guy Berryman of Coldplay and Tim Rice-Oxley of Keane were joining separate supergroups.

Apparatjik is a group that consists of bassist Guy Berryman from Coldplay, guitarist/keyboardist Magne Furuholmen from a-ha and singer/guitarist Jonas Bjerre of Mew.

Mt. Desolation is a alt country group formed by Tim Rice-Oxley and Jesse Quin from Keane that consists of
Andrew Lowe - Bass
Fimbo - Drums
John Roderick - BVs, Guitar (from Long Winters)
Pete Roe - Keys, BVs
Tom Fiddle Hobden - Fiddle (from Noah and the Whale)
Jessica Staveley-Taylor - BVs
John-William Scott - Bass, Guitar
Phil Renna - Fiddle, Keys

and also feat:
Ronnie Vannucci - Perc, good vibes (from The Killers)
Country Winston Marshall - Banjo (from Mumford & Sons)
Charity Quin - BVs
Jayne Rice-Oxley - BVs
Francois Deville - Pedal Steel

I was quite excited that some musicians that I love would be coming out with more music (without breaking up their original bands), but my enthusiasm waned when I heard the first few songs they released. Just because I love Keane and Coldplay, it turns out that I don't necessarily love the music of Mt. Desolation and Apparatjik.

At that point, I let this post go...but I kept hearing of new collaborations or new solo projects. It frustrates me sometimes that I hear about an album release months before it's actually released. Sometimes, I forget about it when it actually does gets released.

So to help me remember about these new releases, I decided to finish this post.

Tired Pony is a group that features Gary Lightbody (of Snow Patrol), Richard Colburn (of Belle & Sebastian), Iain Archer, Jacknife Lee, Peter Buck (of REM), Scott McCaughey and Troy Stewart. It turns out that this is also a country inspired group. I remember reading that country music was becoming popular in Great Britain. I am NOT a country music fan, so this does not excite me...but I will give it a chance.

Before hearing Mt. Desolation, I did say that if anyone could get me to like country music, it would be Keane. I haven't loved the first few songs I have heard, but will keep giving it a try.

The best "supergroup" of the year has to be Broken Bells composed of artist-producer Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer from The Shins. High Road is one of the best songs of 2010 in my opinion.

Freebass consists of Peter Hook (New Order and Joy Division), Gary (Mani) Mounfield (The Stone Roses and currently in Primal Scream) and singer Gary Briggs (Haven). Andy Rourke (The Smiths) was originally involved, but may not involved with them at the moment. Years after first announcing the project, they have released an album and toured a few dates. In Canada, an EP Two Worlds Collide was just released a couple of weeks ago.

Beady Eye isn't really a supergroup...but I didn't know where else to include them. They consist of Oasis members minus Noel and are set to release a single in the fall followed by an album in early 2011.

Noel Gallagher is said to have been in the studio recording drums for an unnamed musician last week. Is this the beginning of another supergroup? Or will he go solo to continue the gigs he has been playing this year? Time will tell.

If some groups are mixing it up, other groups are having reunions.

Gavin Rossdale is rejoining Bush and releasing a new album in October.
Robbie Williams and Take That are getting back together.
Soundgarden have reunited and performed together.
Roxy Music will be touring next year.

And finally some singers are going on their own.

Brandon Flowers of The Killers will be releasing a solo album in September and playing concerts....but uggg, I should have completed this blog earlier. I just found out that he's performing at the Mod Club in Toronto on Wednesday. There was a contest to win tickets, but it's closed now. Oh well, if he comes back, I'll hopefully buy tickets. I can't complain. I saw The Killers from quite close last year and I won tickets to see Coldplay's buzz gig in 2005. I can't win them all. I quite like his first single so am looking forward to the album.

Fran Healy of Travis also has been touring on his own. After touring with Travis last year (which I saw at Sound Academy), he and Andy Dunlop toured for a while as a twosome (which I missed when they played The Mod Club) and now, Fran didn't want to stop. I saw him last month at Molson Amphitheatre in a mini festival. He's so great live and he followed the festival tour with a headlining tour including dates in Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver. He has a solo album coming out this fall and from the sounds of it at the concert, it will be great!

Not necessarily a band member going solo, but I read that Hugh Laurie recorded a blues album. If you're interested, you can do the research on this one ;-)

I read that Peter Hook will be taking Joy Division's classic album 'Unknown Pleasures' on a tour of the US. I'm not an expert on Joy Division but from my understanding he may have already been doing that in the UK. Again, if you're interested, check it out.

I am so relieved to finally finish this post. I'm sure that there are many other supergroups, reunions or solo projects so don't be surprised to see a part 2...but for now, I am happy to finally get all this written down and out of my head!

Toronto Concert Venues

While I've been adding some interesting concert dates, I thought I'd also take this (early Saturday morning) opportunity to rank the most popular venues in Toronto as the venue often dictates whether I'm willing to pay good money for a concert or not.
  1. The Mod Club - perfect size, high stage, great sound, always a great atmosphere.  Lots of pre and post options in the Lil' Italy neighbourhood.
  2. The Horseshoe Tavern.  Old, dirty, low ceilings, hot and often too loud.  But you can't beat the energy of the old place and they let me in with my DSLR camera.
  3. Koolhaus - large, unseated, warehouse-like venue.   Large enough for some big name acts and decent light shows.
  4. Lee's Palace - fun old joint, good size, good viewing angles and decent sound.  Seems to attract a lot of once great bands coming back for an encore.
  5. Phoenix Concert Theatre - gets pretty jammed, pretty quickly, but hosts some great artists.  Sound is usually good, but security is very strict and lineups are often a problem.
  6. Molson Amphitheatre - large outdoor venue.  Sound is pretty poor from the lawn, but can be very good in the closer seats and in the general admission area.
  7. Air Canada Centre - large arena, ok sound if you're in the lower bowl or up front.
  8. Sound Academy - this place gets a lot of good artists, but the layout is all just wrong and the sound is suspect.  Above all, difficult to get to if you're not driving and if you are driving, a nightmare parking lot.

It's about time...

We were talking last night and said we should use this blog to simply keep our friends informed on concert listings they may have missed or tips on bands that may be new to many people, but who we think you'll like.  We agreed for this blog, content is king and prose can wait for another day.  So we'll try and keep the content coming, especially as we head into cooler weather and perhaps a rush of end of year releases.


  • Gorillaz at Air Canada Centre, Oct 14th.  Really looking forward to this one - I'm going with my son and have lower bowl seats.  I have a DVD of their Demon Days concert and the performance is wonderful.  With all the guest musicians and singers and orchestral elements I have no idea what this Toronto show is going to be like, but it's a must-see for me.
  • The Boxer Rebellion at Horseshoe, Sept 27th.  Getting some well deserved attention because of their inclusion on the Going the Distance soundtrack.  Pop melodies that could be compared to Coldplay.  We have tickets to this one.
  • Katie Mulua at The Mod Club, Sept 8th.  I've always liked her soft tunes and songwriting.  Not for everyone, a little Kate Bush mixed with Carole King perhaps.  She hasn't played hear ever/for a long time and has a new album coming out.  Perfect venue choice.
  • K'Naan and Shad at Koolhaus, Oct 1st.  By now, I hope you know you K'Naan is or at least have heard his massive hit Wavin' Flag.  We saw both K'Naan and Shad this year and they are now performing on the same bill in a few cities across Canada over the next few months. Highly recommended if you're into some local hip hop, strong songwriting and storytelling by some fantastic entertainers.  Unfortunately I'm out of town for this one.
  • The Charlatans at Lee's Palace, Sept 17th.  Old time Manchest'or survivors have a new album coming out.  Should be a lot of fun at one the hottest (literally) small venues in town.
A quick mention to some others with upcoming concerts in Toronto that caught my eye - lots of great tracks from everyone: Hot Hot Heat, MIA, OK GO, City and Colour with Tegan and Sara, Kele (of Bloc Party), Vampire Weekend, Tom Tom Club, Simian Mobile Disco, The XX, The Scissor Sisters and The Foals.

I'm still a little disappointed I missed Buckwheat Zydeco last week.  It made one NOW Magazine's shows of the week, but it coincided with my Wed night ultimate game.  Priorities got a little tangled.  If Buckwheat is coming to your town, make sure you see him !