The Weakerthans, Constantines @ Phoenix, Toronto (Photos and Review)
|10-Apr-2009 11:00 am||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
The Weakerthans, Constantines
The Waking Eyes
Phoenix in Toronto, Ontario on April 2, 2009
Full Photo Set (20 photos)
The Weakerthans and the Constantines on the same night? In the same venue? It was a pairing I wasn't expecting, mostly because I suspect that either one of these bands could sell out the Phoenix on their own, so being given the opportunity to see both on the same night for the price of a single ticket seemed genius. And it pretty much was, which explains why they had to add two additional shows after the first show sold out, making three nights in a row.
The WeakerthansI guess the thing about The Weakerthans for me is that even though I own all four of their full-length albums, I don't connect strongly with every song. But the songs I like create obsession in me and I just don't tire of listening to them; those songs are just so good. The fact that the lyrics are often based around Canadian experiences, sports, and cities, just solidifies the band as one of the great Canadian bands of this decade. John K. Samson (vocals, guitar) is a humble performer, but manages to hold the audience with his repertoire of expressions, including genuine smiles between verses. With the antics of bassist Greg Smith, the guitar licks of Stephen Carroll, and the precision percussion by Jason Tait (who, under certain light, resembles Dan Akroyd), it all comes together in a night of good music laced with national pride.
Info: The Weakerthans | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Night Windows (mp3), Plea From A Cat Named Virtue (mp3)
ConstantinesIt was back in March 2007 when I first experienced the Constantines in concert. It was one of those shows that was just so charged you could feel the transfer of emotional electricity between the band and the audience. That experience is the reason I keep wanting to go back for more. For this show, their performance was slightly muted in comparison, likely on purpose to cater to the crowd that were obviously fans of the much more gentle music of The Weakerthans. But that "beer and spit" attitude that drew me in the first time was still present through a number of their songs, including Justice from their debut self-titled album and even the relatively gentle Goodbye Baby & Amen from their 2003 album Shine A Light. I think the way they've developed their songs for their latest album, Kensington Heights, is impacting the way they perform their older material, for the better.
For one song, the Constantines brought out John K. from The Weakerthans to sing the vocals. Before the song, John made a joke about stage diving, and then did an admirable job performing the song. After which, he actually did stage dive into the crowd, but in the most unbelievably hilarious way. He moved up to the edge of the stage and gestured to the fans, sort of leaning forward and making sure the people in front of him knew he was going to go. And then lurched forward onto the crowd. Possibly the best exit I've seen... there was just something so funny about watching him do that!
Info: Constantines | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Hard Feelings (video), Million Star Hotel (mp3 sample)
The Waking EyesI quite literally arrived for the last minute of All Empires Fall, which was the last song of the set by The Waking Eyes. It isn't that I didn't want to be there, it's just I wasn't able to make it in time. The band members looked as though they performed with even more force than when I saw them perform with the Arkells in February. I asked a guy that was near the stage how the performance went, and his response was that it convinced him to buy the CD. Yup, they're a good live band, definitely CD worthy. I'll have to catch up with them again sometime.
Info: The Waking Eyes | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: All Empires Fall (mp3, video)
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