Sunday, June 14, 2009

Oh Mercy EP Launch

Last night Tash and I met up at The Toff in Town for the "In The Nude For Love" EP launch by Oh Mercy. The first act of the evening was Hoshi In The Clouds, who have a great dreamy, indie-pop sound. I really liked them, which is good because we'll be seeing them open up for a couple other bands in the upcoming weeks. The next act was Jessica Says. Classically trained singer Jessica Venables had a bit of a quirky voice and questionable fashion sense with her midriff top and skin tight leather pants.

Oh Mercy took to the stage to the sound of Australian birds, which played throughout the night in between songs. All the band members dressed up for the occasion in suit jackets and button down shirts, with Eliza in a white lace dress. Their months of touring have definitely paid off and all the songs sounded fantastic. We got a couple old songs as well as those on the "Seemed Like A Good Idea" single and new EP. Highlights were "Salvation Jane," "In My Stride," and "Needs A Woman." I am looking forward to the release of their debut album "Privileged Woes" in August (and more live shows).

After the gig I headed down to Curve Bar at The Arts Centre for the end of Danny and Ruth's engagement party. They had a big day with a formal family ceremony and lunch at a winery. It was nice to catch up with them as well as Michelle to hear about her recent trip to Africa.

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien

This week was the debut of The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. It is nice to have Conan back on tv after his few months away. I am glad that so many of the Late Night staff have made the move to Los Angeles, and it's great to have Andy Richter back on the show. The new Tonight Show set is gorgeous with its Art Deco style and provides a nice connection to Late Night, which was shot in the beautiful Art Deco building that is 30 Rockefeller Center in New York City.

There was a lot of debate about how Conan might have to change the show for an 11:30 p.m. audience, but it feels like the same old Conan to me. There have been lots of remote pieces this week, as well as the return of a revamped "In the Year 3000", the string dance, and even an appearance by graphic designer Pierre Bernard. The new Max Weinberg and the Tonight Show Band have grown to 8 members with the inclusion of James Wormworth on percussion (The Worm used to fill in for Max when he was on tour with Bruce Springsteen) and they have kept the old Late Night theme with some minor tweaking. It may take them some time to settle in and work out how to incorporate Andy into the show more fully, but overall I think they've made the transition well and I'm happy to be able to watch Conan again five nights a week.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

The Basics: Nice Harmonies. Nice Looks. Nice Lunch.

Last night Mel came over to my place and then we headed out for our evening on Lygon Street. We started with a delicious Italian dinner at Tiamo, and then dessert at Koko Black. Next it was off to the John Curtin Hotel and their recently opened bandroom to see The Basics.

The first band of the night was Sydney's Dead Letter Chorus. We were impressed with their indie/folk sound and they had a male and female trading off on lead singing duties. Next up was the alt-country stylings of The Wildes. They were good but played a lot of slow songs in their set before two more uplifting, faster tempo ones at the end.

The Basics hit the stage and began their hour long set with two brand new songs. Tim was sporting a stylish mustache he said was inspired by Ray Thistlewaite of Thirsty Merc. They played a fair amount of newer songs including "Home Again," "With This Ship," "Trouble in His Head," "She's the Executioner" and the latest single "Like a Brother." There were also some classics with "Money (Gimme, Gimme), " and the rarely heard "Three Cool Cats" and "Second Best." The encore included an acoustic start to "Rattle My Chain" and a cover of "Besame Mucho." Overall it was a good show although the vocals were too low in the mix up at the front of the stage.
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