REVIEWS FOR FRIDAY,
Land of Talk @ 8:30 p.m., Yonge Dundas Square
Land of Talk played a big show in town not too long ago when they headlined a night at the Opera House during Canadian Music Week, and it was evident at Yonge Dundas Square that increasingly the band sound suited for the bigger spaces. Singer Liz Powell was so breezily confident and she led her band through a set of songs spanning their discography. Powell’s voice soars and her guitar grinds; on closer “The Hate I Won’t Commit” the band sounded huge and hard and could easily have been on the stage at the punk bill the night previous, not sandwiched between Diamond Rings and Stars. (Nicole Villeneuve)
Stars @ Yonge Dundas Square, 9:30 p.m.
Dripping with magic reserved only for shows under moonlight (or in this case, the bright fluorescents of Yonge Dundas Square), Stars’ headlining appearance was a reminder not only of their overall relevance, but why at one time we clung to their albums in moments of utter heartbreak. Oozing the combination of charisma, magic and charm unique to the Montreal five-piece, dream-pop came alive once more, evoking the beliefs we all shared upon hearing Heart in 2003. Despite being surrounded by the corporate agenda of Toronto’s most congested meeting place, we watched as our youths were articulated through timeless hooks and gut-wrenching harmonies, pining for days when overt enthusiasm wasn’t something to repress. (Anne Donahue)
Rusty @ 12 a.m., El Mocambo
The second of two Rusty reunion gigs at NXNE was at the Elmo on Saturday night and it can best be described in three words—bros, brews, and bangers. And broken bottles. And did we mention the bros? If you’re mid-to-late twenties and spent your teenage years immersed in the Canadian indie rock explosion of the time, you were at the Toronto grunge-groovers’ show and you had the best time. It’s that simple. The room exploded (including repeated crowdsurfing from the same guys) for every note; the singles, especially, but even the album cuts, and the band was incredibly appreciative, excited, and maybe even a little baffled (with just the perfect dose of aloofness) about the enthusiasm. Songs like “Empty Cell” had a whole new life to them, and it wasn’t just the nostalgia talking. (NV)
Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s Palace, 11:00 p.m.
It’s been well over a year since Dum Dum Girls released their debut LP I Will Be, and for a band that’s done a hell of a lot of touring since its release, it’s understandable (maybe) to be a little jaded by playing older material. That’s essentially what it looked like last night at Lee’s Palace as the all-female quartet strolled through 45 minutes of lo-fi pop with ease, managing to throw a couple newer songs into the fray, including the title track from their latest EP, He Gets Me High. It was that and two other tracks from the band’s forthcoming LP (out in September?), that really got all four ladies and the crowd moving. It doesn’t sound like much has changed in the Dum Dum Girls camp sound-wise, so we should be expecting another solid effort of ’60s-infused, garage tunes. (Ciaran Thompson)
Crocodiles @ The Silver Dollar, 12 a.m.
Dub it garage, noise-rock, or the Jesus and Mary Chain-meets-the-it-band-du-jour, all gigs I witnessed last night paled in comparison to Crocodiles’ forceful, tireless, and authoritative set. The second of three nights promised to the Silver Dollar, the San Diego five-piece grabbed listeners by their proverbial throats and swung them around with manic tenacity of a band that wants you to feel. Joined briefly by three Dum Dum Girls (specifically singer Brandon Welchez’s wife, Dee Dee), rock and roll’s spirit endured a staggering resurrection, saturating listeners with the uncensored and crude tendencies of a genre once outlawed by mothers, fathers, and everyone in-between. Outlandish provocativeness never seemed so right. (AD)
Cults @ Lee’s Palace, 12:00 a.m.
I could have passed for their PR person due to the amount of people I advised to check out New York City duo Cults, and after their set at Lee’s Palace last night, I will again take on the advocate role and stress that a listen to their upcoming LP is a must… despite how they sounded at this show. Lead singer Madeline Follin’s vocals were turned way up to the point where it even startled her to hear how loud it was when reaching for those high notes, while the rest of the band, including guitarist Brian Oblivion, found it a little difficult to find their groove. The band’s forte is sweet and catchy, but most of the set sounded abrasive. What did sound great—and was probably one of the few times the crowd really appreciated the strength and poise of Follin—is when she elevated her voice during the chorus for “You Know What I Mean,” an absolute stunner of a song and a good sign of things to come. (CT)