A Valentine Concert

Over the past few years, my music listening habits have been really mixed tape focused. Primarily it’s been PDP mixes but more recently I’ve been listening to a lot of streaming music. Last year, I was using 8tracks quite heavily, which continued the whole mix tape vibe. But this year I’ve recently started using Rdio and that’s resulted in a renaissance of listening to whole albums. And one those new albums happened to be Veronica Falls self-titled album. So when I happened to pop into Soundscapes after brunch on Sunday and saw they were coming to town, I decided it had been long enough since I’d seen a show.

After class, I headed downtown to The Garrison. I was a bit hungry and wasn’t sure if they served food — they don’t but I did had a pleasant text conversation with Elisa. I probably could have killed more time before the show by eating before hitting the venue but I just nursed a beer instead in the bar/front area before heading into the back concert area. The place was pretty small compared to my first two concerts, probably a bit smaller space wise then the Media Club though a touch bigger then the Railway Club.

Hands & Teeth, a local Toronto band was first onstage. There seemed to be some solid talent in the group but their sounds was a little all over the map, taking turns on different instruments and with lead vocals. The first time I ever saw a band interchange like that it was kinda neat but I now generally take that to mean the group is still experimenting. Though one of the group must have been at least 6’5 with a moustache and there was an attractive blond, so they complemented their sound with visuals.

Next up was Brilliant Colors from San Francisco. They had a lo-fi, indie pop sound that I enjoyed. For a fairly stripped down sound, they seemed to be having some real challenges with the monitors — my favourite part being when they said if the sound guy couldn’t reduce the bass, then just cut it from all the monitors. Listening to them, I immediately thought Ryan would like them. (And looking at their Rdio profile, he’s listed as a recent listener!)

After they finished up, Veronica Falls took the stage. They also had some sound issues and the vocals seemed a little lost throughout the short show. It got better but not great. It’s also noticeable how small their catalog is. They played a couple of new tracks to go along with most of their album but the set was quite short and the “encore” was a single song and then off the stage. Overall, they either didn’t bring their A game or their stage presence leaves something to be desired.

But enough about the complaints because overall I still quite enjoyed listening to their London-Scots twee. A post-punk, Velvet Underground-ish sound with a dash of art-pop thrown in — including outfits. Guitarist/vocalists Roxanne Clifford and James Hoare, and drummer Patrick Doyle were all sporting matching red-and-white striped shirts in a nod to Valentine’s Day. Marion Herbain, the bassist, looked the odd member out in dark dress and cardigan and was the only one not to contribute vocals. They led off with Beachy Head and I certainly enjoyed Found Love in a Graveyard and Bad Feeling.

Not a perfect show by far. But to quote Ryan, “You saw Veronica Falls on Valentines day? Swoon”


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