Subject: Re: Toronto Popfest/ new to this list
Hi there I found this list thanks to Alex and Sharon. Thanks to them.
Their aPOPalypse now show was fantastic. the highlight of it all was that I don't think toronto's ever had a good indiepop fest. with the exception of a few bands, no one ventures up this way. I got to hear alot of fantastic bands I'd never heard of and got to see a few bands i've wanted to see, which was great! The Aden CD, has been getting alot of play so far (i'm pretty lazy about switching 7"s) and I missed out on the Magic Lamp cassettes. I'm lovin' the Caught in Flux 'zine and waiting for some poconos music to please my ears.
*a special note to Sharon and Alex. You kids have great taste in music! even the mixed tapes before the show were good! I long to see your collection...
anyways, i hope this is only the first of many indiepop shows.
i think i've finally gotten myself together enough to be able to write a bit about this past weekend...
i rushed home from school on friday afternoon to finish up the between-sets tape before heading over to the club. when we got there janis and dave from violet were waiting. clutter arrived shortly after. i started looking out the window, worrying that ashtray boy hadn't been able to cross the border, had gotten into a car accident on the highway, etc. i was quite the nervous wreck. i was relieved when they finally came off the elevator. we had a few tense moments when magic lamp arrived and we took an inventory of equipment and discovered that no one had brought a bass guitar and amp (clutter's was on the fritz so they left theirs at home)...a few frantic phone calls later and the equipment was on it's way, thanks to a couple of very nice donors. tout le temps had let us know a few days before that one of the members was sick and they wouldn't be able to play, so the bill was shortened to 4 bands.
i was busy tending the door, so unfortunately i wasn't able to pay as much attention to the bands as i would have liked. i do remember violet playing a particularly charming set, magic lamp being crowd pleasers (they sold all the tapes they had brought with them), and ashtray boy making playing other people's equipment seem natural. all in all it was a great night.
i was relieved to have gotten through the first night. i went with ashtray boy to bring them back to our house...i went to get in the car..."um, is this back window supposed to be smashed like that?" it seemed that the only thing missing was a sleeping bag, but when we got back to the house, randall realized that his bag of clothing was missing as well. we went back to the club to look for it, in case the thieves had rummaged through it, realized there was nothing of value and ditched it at the side of the road...no luck. we stopped for pizza on the way home, got them settled in the living room and went to bed.
the next day, we went out for lunch with them to that new restaurant, "barcode", on college st. (note to torontonians: it was pretty good). we went back to the house and as ashtray boy were getting ready to leave, the doorbell rang...who could that be? oh, the poconos! after reading caught in flux, it was great to meet mike in person. and tami was a dear, too. we chatted for awhile and then went over to the club. jumprope was already there. aden and poundsign arrived shortly after. i was happy to hear that none of the bands had any problems crossing the border. it was great to meet everyone after e-mailing them for the past couple of months preparing for the show.
saturday night went off without a hitch, i was working the door again, but i managed to sneak away a few times to watch the bands. the poconos were sweet -- minimal is sooo good, winnie played well, jumprope were cheery, aden were amazing (and i know i wasn't the only one swooning over jeff gramm), and poundsign displayed their talents as the queens of instrument-switching.
i was so pleased that we managed to get through both nights without too many problems, but i was exhausted and glad to crawl into my bed that night.
on sunday, after seeing mike and tami off, i met geoff stahl for hot chocolate and a little record shopping, then i came back home to try to put my life back together and clean up my bedroom which has been in great disarray for the past three weeks.
i don't think i've fully absorbed the whole weekend yet...my brain is still a little bit overwhelmed (i couldn't even concentrate in any of my classes yesterday).
i want to thank all the bands, i don't think we could've asked for a nicer, more cooperative group of people to work with. it was a pleasure seeing them all play. and everyone who helped us out with this thing (and there were many), we literally couldn't have done it without them -- this was the first show alex and i ever organized. and everyone who came...
BUT - I also enjoyed the Popfest. Poconos, Magic Lamp, Violet, Poundsign et al were great. Sharon and Alex made everything run smoothly and the club was superb. I'll add a third nod to Aden, who were indeed a standout. Ashtray Boy, who I caught in Montreal earlier that week, were spot on too - more lively in Toronto than in Montreal (My only complaint - J. said Toronto was their first show in Canada, when in fact they had already played two shows in Quebec - not sure what to make of that - is Quebec really that different that it seems like another country, or have they bought the separatist rhetoric? I'll hazard a guess at the former). Find Ashtray Boy's new single with the cover of New Order's "Dreams Never End". Great.
Lotsa goodies bought and it was great to put faces to both listees and bands.
Congrats to Sharon and Alex and the bands who all made it happen.
Part A-- T.O Popfest
With unsure expectations (as any jaded resident popkid of Toronto would have) I have to say I came away having had a great time. Alex and Sharon did a wonderful job keeping things organized, not a single thing seemed to go wrong! All the bands made it safely across the border, and none of the equipment went on the fritz. It was meant to be.
We (Magic Lamp) played on Friday and though the fact that we only had time for 2 practices since my return from California made us a little wobbly, I came away feeling all giddy. Violet are dears, hello Janice and Dave! Ashtray Boy's songs were very impressive (I only knew Cannanes and Nice stuff previously). Thank you to everyone who said nice things and picked up our tape--it meant a lot to me, since thus far I've always been painfully shy about playing music to anyone except my cat.
Saturday evening we trundled back to the Shanghai only to run into Poundsign outside in search of dinner. Noodles it was to be, with Alicia making the unfortunate choice of a tapioca drink with some weird jelly things floating in the bottom.
I was delighted to see Mike A. again after all these years, and even more delighted to see him on stage. The Poconos reminded me of a lovely mishmash of Marine Girls, Kicking Giant (sans the noise) and other such minimal pop acts. Extra points for the Trixie's Big Red Motorbike cover. I also got Mike's new issue of Caught in Flux. I've only had time to read the first article so far (which was so hilarious, a must read), but it looks fantastic. (thank you for keeping those letters Mike! I once placed a penpal ad too.)
I'm afraid the rest of the evening got a bit blurry as I'd just been paid and, well, the bar beckoned... Aden were incredible. We sat there just listening to his lovely voice--the cd is just as good, I'm glad I picked it up. Sort of a moodier Holiday is what some say, but I'll have to come up with a better description when the brain isn't so tired.
Poundsign always try to give value for your money, and last night was no exception. My photo (if it turns out) of Alicia steadfastly playing her guitar by hanging onto the neck after the guitar strap came undone goes to the highest bidder (there's a new line of indiepop paparazzi, don't you know...)
Too few hours of sleep later, it was already noon and I gave the P-sters breakfast, directions and sent them on their way. Do see them if they roll into your town, and lend them your couch if you can!
I'm sad to report that my entire hard drive was wiped out yesterday, a mishap after complications with upgrading the darn thing. Stupid me didn't back up a thing, so if you've emailed me recently and you still have it in your outbox, please send it again if you can. Or just write me so I can re-do my address book.
As we crossed over into Canadian customs, the sign contained this slogan:
"Welcome to Ontario.
We'll make you feel incredible."
A tall boast, and not one given lightly (I can just see your typical smartass American: "I don't feel so goddamned incredible!")...but all it really took to fulfill it was a trip to Club Shanghai. Yes, the Toronto Popfest was superb fun, and I was happy not only to attend, but to participate.
Unfortunately, Tami and I missed the first night due to our jobs, so we regrettably missed Magic Lamp and Violet, two of the bands I wanted to see most. We left Hoboken at around 5:15 on Saturday morning. It was fairly humid and warm, but by the time we hit the Catskills a few hours later, it was breezy and wonderfully autumnal. I've never really had a chance to explore upstate New York, so I enjoyed the ride. We got into Toronto around 3:30 pm, and headed over to the house where Sharon and Alex live. Our route took us down Spadina Ave. and Club Shanghai, where we were amused to see our name in lights (amongst other bands such as "As r y Boy"). We got to their house just as Ashtray Boy were leaving. They'd not had a good experience -- their car got broken into behind the club and Randall Lee's sleeping bad was stolen. We immediately decided to spring for a parking lot. After chatting with Alex, Sharon and their friend Paul for awhile, we all drove back downtown to the club.
Club Shanghai is a two-story club accessible by elevator (this excited me for some reason). The popfest was on the fourth floor, in a swanky room with tables, chairs, pool tables and a Guns 'n Roses pinball machine. The third floor was hosting an all-ages "battle of the bands." We could hear the noise rumbling underneath our feet most of the night. The soundman was nice. The guy from Winnie doing the lights was nice. Even the bartenders were friendly and smily. We were clearly not in New York City.
We had fun playing. I was unusually chatty onstage (usually I'm too self-conscious to do much besides introduce the songs). I got progressively more exhausted as the evening went on, reaching a stupor sometime before Poundsign played. But I enjoyed all the other bands, especially Aden (who were especially on) and Poundsign (who seem to have moved into a synth-pop direction, at least compared to the other two shows I've seen). One of Jumprope's new songs features the exact same riff as one of my songs, which was amusing (and a little mortifying).
We fell asleep on Sharon and Alex's comfy couches, and spent the afternoon wandering around Queen Street and visiting Niagara Falls. I don't feel like I spent enough time in Toronto, and I want to go back soon.
Mostly I want to thank Sharon and Alex for putting on this weekend, and say hi to my Canadian friends Elisa (let's not wait another 2 1/2 years to chat, OK? :)), Janis and Dave (the Violet tape is superb, kind of Barbara Manning-ish), and Patti Kim (whom I think I inadvertently ignored due to being exhausted -- sorry!).
I'm going to take a nap now.