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Pete's Pick: The Figgs

04-Jul-2007 05:01 am Contributed by: pete Pete's Picks
I found The Figgs on (are you surprised?) and their song I Won't Go To Miami has clean vocals that remind me of Bono, with musical hooks up the wazoo. Another great introduction to their music is Regional Hits that has more of a mild Lenny Kravitz vocal thing going on, but again with some groovy hooks. Love it. And the title track, Follow Jean Through the Sea, is happy guitar romp well worth the price of the album on its own. Add on City Loft Home, and you've got enough hot tracks to make you listen again and again. They've flown under my radar for 20 years now (formed in 1987), so now I'm wondering how far I should go in their back catalog. Info: The Figgs | Connect: MySpace

Revival Dear

30-Jun-2007 01:00 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Revival Dear Revival Dear
The Dakota Tavern in Toronto, Ontario Revival Dear
June 22, 2007
Photos by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (10 photos)

Revival Dear is one of the bands I discovered hanging out at C'est What on Sunday nights last year (when they still had the Sunday night thing going on). Now one of my best friends is their manager, and they play every Wednesday night at Castro's, which is the closest bar to my place. So I see them perform every now and then. However, their performance at The Dakota Tavern was the most exciting I've seen yet. That place, with old wood lining on the wall behind the stage and the simple and very unique lighting just seemed to bring out their best. It didn't hurt that the place was filled to capacity. Their music is country-inspired rock, so the location worked perfectly for them. Oh, and it was loads of fun. read more (84 words)

Pilot Speed

26-Jun-2007 02:20 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Pilot Speed
The Mod Club in Toronto, Ontario Pilot Speed
Kill The Lights
June 20, 2007
Photos and Review by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (18 photos)

Pilot Speed is a local Toronto act that started out named Pilate but had to change their name to avoid litigation. Even though the name changed occured over a year ago now, I discovered that many people at their show couldn't help but still call them Pilate, and indication of the number of dedicated fans they've picked up since their first full-length CD release in 2003. Their latest Canadian release is called Sell Control For Life's Speed and was released under the name Pilate in May 2006, but it was then re-released in the United States as Into The West under the name Pilot Speed in September 2006, with the addition of the song Into Your Hideout, a hit from their debut Canadian release Caught By The Window. It seems a little messy for fans that have been following them for years, but from a business perspective it all makes sense and should actually simplify their foray into other countries. Either way, I've switched over to calling them Pilot Speed in an attempt to support the band in their quest to acquire fans in new markets. read more (296 words)

Kings Of Leon

22-Jun-2007 01:10 am Contributed by: pete Concert Photos
Kings Of Leon
Koolhaus in Toronto, Ontario Kings Of Leon
June 12, 2007
Photos by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (10 photos)

Ah, the Kings Of Leon. Here in Toronto to promote their latest album Because Of The Times. Or were they? With a set list that included a number of tunes from their first album, including Trani, perhaps they were just here to play to their fans. I had expected the crowd to be about half on-lookers - people who have heard one or two songs, but never really got into them. That wasn't the case. The Koolhaus was filled with fans who knew all the words, even at the back of the venue. The songs that they did play off the new album were excellent choices. It took them a few songs to warm up, but once they got going, it was the kind of show I was hoping for. read more (9 words)

Fountains Of Wayne

20-Jun-2007 03:20 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Fountains Of Wayne
Lee's Palace in Toronto, Ontario Fountains Of Wayne
June 10, 2007
Photos and Words by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (9 photos)

I found out about Fountains Of Wayne in 2003, about the same time that many other people did, but for a different reason. A friend at work had been listening to them for years, and recommended them along with a few other bands such as the Wondermints and Shack. I listened to the recommended songs, and loved their suburban guitar-pop. And right around the same time Stacy's Mom became a bit of a runaway novelty hit. The single could've been considered a sell-out by some fans, but I think that's a stretch since as far as I can tell, it fits in perfectly with all their other music. And if it brought them the attention they needed to continue to make music, then I would argue that everyone wins. read more (269 words)

NXNE: Saturday

19-Jun-2007 12:56 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Marianas Trench
NXNE Locations in Toronto, Ontario NXNE: Saturday
Ill Scarlett, Neverending White Lights
Marianas Trench, Two Hours Traffic
The Pinker Tones
June 9, 2007
Photos and Words by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (27 photos)

I was looking forward to Saturday of NXNE because I was invited to photograph Ill Scarlett at The Opera House, who were playing along with The Pinker Tones and Marianas Trench. The show was sold out, but there were 400 spots left open for NXNE badge/wristband holders. My plan was to photograph the whole Ill Scarlett show, but then head over to the Queen & Spadina area to catch the Neverending White Lights at the Rivoli, and then Two Hours Traffic at The Horseshoe. Unbelievably, it all went according to plan. I even completely lucked out for a parking space on Queen St. right in front of the Rivoli. read more (917 words)

NXNE: Friday

14-Jun-2007 06:13 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
White Cowbell Oklahoma
NXNE Locations in Toronto, Ontario NXNE: Friday
White Cowbell Oklahoma, Die Mannequin
Geronimo, 84, Noah's Arkweld
June 8, 2007
Photos and Words by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (27 photos)

Since I attempted to do too much on the first night of NXNE, my plans for the second night were much more basic. The idea was to start the night out with a band called Noah's Arkweld, then go just around the corner to Rancho Relaxo to check out a band from Australia called 84, and then straight down to The Horseshoe and spend the rest of the night there for Geronimo, Die Mannequin, and White Cowbell Oklahoma. There were a number of other shows going on that I was interested in seeing, including Soundtrack Of Our Lives, The Sadies, Handsome Furs, John Doe, Tin Bangs, Republic Of Safety, and Birds Of Wales, but I was keen to see White Cowbell Oklahoma, so The Horseshoe was the place. And I stuck mostly to plan, with just one diversion that I won't even go into. read more (1,094 words)

NXNE: Thursday

11-Jun-2007 01:00 am Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Brant Bjork and the Bros
NXNE Venues in Toronto, Ontario NXNE: Thursday
Blue Rodeo, Luke Doucet, Simon Wilcox
C'mon, Brant Bjork, Camouflage Nights
Sleeping In The Aviary, Disraelis, Lights
May 7, 2007
Photos and Words by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (35 photos)

Perhaps I should've selected a photo of Jim Cuddy from Blue Rodeo as the lead photo for this article, but even though Blue Rodeo put on an amazing show, NXNE is really all about discovering new bands. So you're looking at Brant Bjork's tattoos as the lead photo instead. I kicked off NXNE by trying to see way too much in far too little time, but it was worth a try. There's just too much for one person to see during NXNE. Although it wasn't all planned out, I managed to see: Simon Wilcox, Lights, Disraelis, Camouflage Nights, Sleeping In The Aviary, Brant Bjork and the Bros, C'mon, Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland, and wrapped up the night with Blue Rodeo. read more (1,097 words)

Pete's Pick: Belle and Sebastian

04-Jun-2007 11:48 pm Contributed by: pete Pete's Picks
Sometimes I feel like the last person to arrive at the party. Everyone told me I should listen to Belle and Sebastian, including many of my electronic recommendation machines:,, and So why wasn't I listening? I think it's because I heard a track of theirs a couple of years ago and I thought enh, and that was the end. But no. Just listen to Sukie In The Graveyard off of The Life Pursuit. Listen to it twice before you decide, and specifically listen for the changes, the guitar bits, the cool bass track, and the impossible-to-ignore organ/keyboards. What's going on here? Maybe some sort of David Bowie + 60's thing? Don't analyze it much, just let it sink in.

Emm Gryner

04-Jun-2007 02:11 am Contributed by: pete Concert Photos
Emm Gryner
First Canadian Place in Toronto, Ontario Emm Gryner April 25, 2007
Photos by: Pete Nema Full Photo Set (4 photos)

Back in April, Emm Gryner played a short lunchtime concert at the waterfall stage in the First Canadian Place office tower to help promote her latest album, The Summer of High Hopes. I took a short break from my day job to get out and take a few photos. As I've mentioned, there is an ancient proverb that says, roughly translated: You can never have too many photographs of Emm Gryner. Too right. read more (1 words)