In The Know...11 Questions With Royal Canoe

>> Sunday, 27 June 2010

With deafening buzz following behind them like a horde of angry Vuvuzelas, Winnipeg’s Royal Canoe are finally launching their highly anticipated debut record CO-OP Mode on July 3rd at the West End Cultural Centre.

And the hype is certainly justified. CO-OP Mode is a canorous and diverse set of sophisticated pop gems laden with clean hooks, playful arrangements, and sparkling instrumentation. Music intended make voices sing along, eyes tear up, and hips sway. Sometimes all at once.

The brainchild of Matt Peters (Waking Eyes), the songs populating CO-OP Mode have been kicking around for years, some even dating all the way back to 2006. But it took three years before Peters finally had the time to form a live band, recruiting some seriously talented local players to the Royal Canoe cause: Bucky Driedger and Matt Schellenberg (The Liptonians), Jeff Bruce (Jicah) and Joey Penner (also from Waking Eyes).

This Saturday drive, walk, Segway, or cycle (bike valet service is available) down to the West End to hear this skillful fivesome play the many fantastic songs off CO-OP Mode. Regina’s treasured pop outfit Library Voices kick start the evening’s festivities.

I recently caught up with Royal Canoe frontman Matt Peters and tossed 11 questions his way. Here’s what he threw back (Note: interview took place two weeks ago).

1. Where are you right now?
In my bedroom watching South Africa lose to Uruguay in the World Cup.. Bafana Bafana??

Let’s talk Winnipeg…

2. Who is the most underrated Winnipeg-based band?
hmm.. I'm gonna say Courier News.  Matt (Schellenberg) plays in Royal Canoe and I just really think he and Alexa (his bandmate in Courier News) have made something special. They don't have a live band so it's hard for them to get the word out - here's me doing my part. Check them out.

3. What is your favourite local venue?
The Royal Albert.

4. Where do you shop for music?

Music Trader in Osborne Village.

5. Where is the best place in town to catch a bite?
I love the Veggie Burger at Mondragon.. there must be some funky anarchist voodoo in those bad boys.

6. What’s the worst bus route in the city?
I don't really bus a lot. Yikes.

And some hodgepodge…

7. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

Animal Collective Strawberry Jam.. sorta repulsive, isn't it?

8. What are some albums that completely changed your life?
Beatles White Album, Guided by Voices Alien Lanes, Radiohead OK Computer, Neil Young Everybody Knows this is Nowhere, Weezer Blue Album.

9. What TV shows are you currently following?

Lost just ended its run and I guess that was the only show I really followed, though I've been known to dabble in Battlestar Galactica and Carnivale. I watched the first season of Mad Men and thought it was spectacular.  I guess I need to finish that.  Also, everyone talks about The Wire like it cured cancer. I should probably give that a chance.... as it cured cancer and all.

10. What is your current ringtone?
stock iphone ring tone. Wow, I should change that already... Speaking of iphones, I want an iphone 4 - please, can I have one?

11. And finally, would you rather have the ability to fly or to turn invisible?


In The Future...Tokyo Police Club, Wintersleep w/ Ra Ra Riot, Fran Healy, And More!

>> Friday, 25 June 2010

Note: Back in Peg City now, so regular posting will resume. The first two listings are bordering on ancient news, but worth recapping just in case.

High-octane pop-rockers Tokyo Police Club are at the Garrick on September 26th.

Nova Scotia’s finest export (next to Alexander Keith’s, that is) Wintersleep rock the Garrick on November 20th.

Syracuse baroque-pop troupe Ra Ra Riot make their first appearance in Winnipeg (contradictory evidence anyone?) as the second band on that November 20th bill at the Garrick, making that night a tasty 2-for-1 special.

Ohbijou return to the Lo Pub on July 21st w/ Imaginary Cities and Lisa Bozikovic.

The Wilderness of Manitoba have been added to the Sunday, August 1st lineup at the Icelandic Festival.

Tyvek play the Albert on July 6th w/ So Cow.

The Holly Springs Disaster drop by the West End Cultural Centre on August 11th w/ Architects, Structures, and Fame.

Also at the West End, Fran Healy (of UK pop sensations Travis fame) performs there on August 12th.

Whilst on the subject of the West End, Danny Michel is there on September 11th.

Stars have scored a stellar opening act for their October 26th gig at the Burton Cummings Theatre: atmo-rockers Young Galaxy!

Rising pastoral orch-pop Toronto quintet Forest City Lovers visit the Lo Pub on July 21st.

The Birthday Cakes are touring all over Canada, making pit stops in Winnipeg on August 7th @ CFR United Church and again on August 27th @ The Cavern.

And last but not least, on July 17th the Lo Pub plays host to a three-pack of local talent: Les Jupes, The Playing Cards, and Salinas.


In The Flesh...NXNE - Saturday Night Edition + Toronto Island Festival

>> Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A shirtless punk god. THE lo-fi rock legends. A-list indie bands. A bearded, balding, and big-bellied frontman, also sans a shirt.

This past Saturday was a glorious, indulgent and unforgettable day of live music.

First up, a ferry trip over to Toronto Island for the annual namesake festival headlined by the immortal and seminal Pavement. Also appearing Broken Social Scene, arguably Toronto's biggest (literally and figuratively) indie exports ever; the increasingly popular dream-pop pair Beach House (plus an additional touring member); and jangly, folksy roots-rockers Band of Horses.

Beach House surprised. I've previously declared, rather emphatically to anyone who'll listen, that Beach House's Teen Dream is my favourite record of 2010 so far, but I was admittedly uncertain whether their breezy, hypnotic sounds would translate to a festival-sized crowd. Much to my delight, they were entertaining and had undeniable stage presence, leaving more than a few wanting a couple more tunes.

But, as with the NXNE festival, the Toronto Island festival ran like clockwork, so the stage was stripped and reloaded for Band of Horses. I've sorta lost track of Band of Horses after their stunning breakthrough, Everything All The Time. From what I heard throughout their set, they haven't missed a beat, evolving their earthy sound to a more confident, produced, pop-inflected one.

The last time Broken Social Scene played Winnipeg was at the now-extinct Le Rendevous. That show really turned me off the band for quite some time. Their performance was listless and Kevin Drew seemed indifferent to the crowd and was, at times, mopey (he was still upset about the band's last gig in the city where an irreplaceable pedal was stolen by a thoughtless ass). Anyway, I jumped at the opportunity to see this talented collection play on home soil in front of fans who've been supporting the band from their inception. People who don't pilfer pedals, I suspect. Materializing at 6:45 sharp Broken Social Scene exceeded expectations and brought EVERYONE along for the wild, wild ride - Feist, Emily Haines, Sebastien Grangier, Lisa Lobsinger, a pair of violinists, two drummers (one from Sea & the Cake), a sprightly horn section and a few backup singers. Total body count on stage in the bottom photo: 19. Might be 20. Best hour-and-a-half of music I've witnessed since, well, maybe Sigur Ros in Minneapolis.

Kevin Drew noted this about Pavement, "Without them, Broken Social Scene wouldn't be there". Still, I wondered how Pavement would fare following-up to Broken Social Scene's sure-to-be-talked-and-twittered-about-for-awhile set. Should've known better to doubt. There's a veritable reason Pavement are the godfathers of that fractured lo-fi indie-rock aesthetic and the half-hour or so I saw was incredible.

Pavement fans are probably wondering "TF did you only stay for a half hour, mate?" The music nut in me just had to see Iggy & The Stooges who were playing a free show at Young-Dundas square at the same time. Didn't matter who was playing Toronto Island, this pull was irrepressible. Y-D square was utter madness. 20, 000 people, maybe? In the top photo you can actually, sorta, maybe see Iggy Pop (still shirtless @ 62!). The pic required the full utilization of my 12X zoom, the crowd being the largest mass of people I've ever been a part of, concert or otherwise. The grandfather of punk rock's endless energy was enviable, shaking to the core any preconceptions about sexagenarians slowing down.

After a quick refuel (veggie burger, pitcher of local beer, much needed sit), it was off to Wrongbar for a different sorta shirtless icon: Tim Harrington (aka Beardo), fearless leader of Les Savy Fav. The lineup outside the joint was monstrous and the room neared capacity. Fortunately, priority pass holders (which we had) were whisked inside, which, upon reflection, may have been an act of divine intervention. Words and pictures cannot describe the Les Savy Fav live experience. Tim Harrington is just about the craziest effing singer in the indie biz today. Whether wrapping himself with toilet paper King Tut-style, chugging beers then clinking them together in rhythm, licking a seriously enthralled fan's nipple, or pulling mirrors off the wall, the mobile leader of Les Savy Fan offers an unpredictable live show set to equally rambunctious bursts of music.

Still raving about it three nights later. 


In The Future...Stars @ The Burton Cummings Theatre

>> Monday, 21 June 2010

Busy, important day for Canada's cherished love-spreading pop quintet.

Stars's fifth studio LP, The Five Ghosts (one apparition per album?) hit the music shelves earlier today with the band also announcing a slew of touring dates in support of this highly anticipated quinary outing. The tour itinerary includes a stop at the Burton Cummings Theatre on October 29th and presale starts tomorrow.


In The Know...11 Questions w/ The City Streets

>> Sunday, 20 June 2010

Photo Credit: Genevieve Lui, The Take Media

Montreal-via-Edmonton’s The City Streets are tireless road warriors. The rising trio have visited almost every province and every state in Canada and the US, even dropping down to Juarez, Mexico for a gig. They’ve rocked big time festivals like NXNE, SXSW, Pop Montreal, and Halifax Pop Explosion without showing any signs of slowing down.

With a brand new record under the belts, The Jazz Age, The City Streets are on the road again, a shorterish tour (by their standards, I suspect) which brings them to the Cavern on June 25th. And The Jazz Age is earning some rave reviews. VUE weekly called their sonic stylings, “a tight mix of the hard social message of the Clash and the twang of Wilco.” while NOW Magazine mirrored the Clash comparison, explaining how they are "Some Clash, some early Costello, a bottle of whiskey and you've got some idea where these hearts-on-their-sleeves, punk prairie boys are coming from."

If you’re interested in winning a copy of The Jazz Age, shoot me an email (on the right) by Friday, June 25th @ 4 p.m. CST with “The City Streets CD Giveaway” in the subject line and your name in the email’s body.  I’ll draw the winner shortly thereafter and mail out the disc post-haste!

I recently cornered The City Streets frontman/guitarist Rick Reid and asked him 11 questions. Here’s what he had to say.

1.  Where are you right now?
In between Regina and Saskatoon

Let’s talk music…

2. What are some albums that completely changed your life?
‘Tim’ by The Replacements, ‘The Aeroplane Over the Sea’ by Neutral Milk Hotel, and ‘Behind the Dumpster’ by Half Cut

3. What was the most memorable show you’ve played so far? 
New Years Eve going into 2009 at Teddy's in Edmonton featuring a two hour set, guest musicians, a cover of Fairy Tale in New York, a case of champagne, and a box of tambourines for a sold out crowd.

4. Of the albums you own, which has the best cover art?

‘Ship Arriving too Late to Save a Drowning Witch’ by Frank Zappa

5. What is your favourite music video?
'Glosili' by Sigur Ros

6. Who is one producer, alive or dead, you’d just love to work with?
Brian Eno and Nigel Godrich

And some hodgepodge…

7. What TV shows are you currently following?
Tremé and Mad Men

8. What was the last great book you’ve read?

The Recognitions by William Gaddis

9. Stephen Colbert or Jon Stewart?
Jon Stewart

10. What is your current ringtone?
Pacific Sunset

11. And finally, would you rather have the ability to fly or to turn invisible?


In The Flesh...NXNE - Friday Night Edition

>> Saturday, 19 June 2010

Off to Toronto Island Festival in a bit, so this is written in haste.

9 p.m. Avi Buffalo (mostly solo)  @ The Great Hall

Fresh out of high school and recently signed to Sub Pop Records, Avi Buffalo played a stripped-down, drums-and-bass-guitar free set last night to a threadbare crowd at the stately Great hall. The shifty, quirky dynamics of their sound were lost without the additional band members/instruments making this an overall disappointing experience. Hoping to catch them tonight at Lee's Palace w/ entire band.

10 p.m. Timber Timbre @ Gladstone Hotel Ballroom

Insanely hot and crowded at Gladstone Hotel Ballroom. The only real uncomfortable show I experienced. Too many people. Not enough room. Regardless, Timber Timbre was pitch-perfect and his spooky narratives hypnotized the many, many souls at GHB. 

11 p.m. Wavves @ Lee's Palace

San Diego lo-fi punk-rockers, perhaps best known for mercurial frontman Nathan Williams' onstage meltdown last year at the Barcelona Primavera Sound festival, were all energy and loud, fast guitars. This set the tone for the rest of my evening. 

12 p.m. Japandroids @ Lee's Palace

Japandroids served up the best 40 minutes of music I saw on Friday night. Brian and Dave filled the room with their propulsive energy, guitar-driven melodies, and shouted, call-and-response vocals, vocal lines which were amplified by the many manic Japandroids fans in the joint. "The Boys are Leaving Town" nearly brought the roof down (I seriously looked up, just to make sure the ceiling wasn't quaking ominously). 

1 a.m. Turbogeist @ Comfort Zone

Feeling a desperate need for some non-North American music flavours led me (us, really) to the Comfort Zone for raw, hyperactive UK thrashers Turbogeist. The kinetically charged quartet blitzed through a showcase of power-pop-meets-trash-borrows-things-from-punk tunes propelled along by furious drumming and angular guitars. Great way to seal the night. 


In The Flesh...NXNE - Thursday Night Edition

>> Friday, 18 June 2010

After being paralyzed by indecision throughout my first full night of NXNE in Toronto (SO many great bands to see), I seriously hoped this morning would be like Groundhog Day and I could relive the night over and over and choose different concert paths. And maybe learn something about life, love, and relationships in the process! The Russian Futurists, Health, Junior Boys, DD/MM/YYYY, Grand Analog, and Lily Frost each played midnight sets at various venues across the city, and I wanted to attend them all. But, alas, reliving the day was not in the cards (or even possible, really). 

Tomorrow, though, is a fresh morning. 

Below are some photos from shows I attended. All in all, it was a fantastic, lively, and highly varied night of music. My evening started out with thoughtful, well-crafted atmo-rock  from Young Galaxy then shifted to the moody, Gothy soundscapes courtesy of Zola Jesus and her strikingly operatic voice. What a magically elastic set of pipes the young songstress (21) possesses! At 10 O'Clock, Lee's Palace hosted the collaborative efforts of three singer-songwriters: Royal Wood, Amelia Curran, and Andy Maize. This set was easy on the ears and ripe with fun and spontaneity and impassioned performances, but, by hour's end, I desperately craved some upbeat, gut-rattling music. Which brought me to acclaimed dance-pop-rockers The Russian Futurists at El Macambo, followed by up-and-coming electro-dance trio DVAS. Watched and enjoyed them for a bit before ducking downstairs for the tail-end of ramshackle folk-rockers Great Bloomers' energetic showcase. Two shows in the same venue. Very spoiled. 

 8 p.m. Young Galaxy @ Mod Club Theatre

9 p.m. Zola Jesus @ Sneaky Dee's

10 p.m. Amelia Curran, Royal Wood, and Andy Maize @ Lee's Palace

12 a.m. The Russian Futurists @ El Mocambo (Upstairs)

1 a.m. DVAS @ El Mocambo (Upstairs)

1 a.m. Great Bloomers @ El Mocambo (Main Floor)


In The Future...Both Simon & Garfunkel Cancel; The Wilderness of Manitoba @ The WECC; And More

First up, you know that Simon & Garfunkel MTS Centre show that was rescheduled to the same Thursday as Folk Fest (July 8th), thereby creating a big ol' conflict, especially since the Venn Diagram of Folk Fest attendees and Simon & Garfunkel fans would display some serious demographic overlap? Well, Simon & Garfunkel's tour has officially been nixed because Art Garfunkel is still ailing from what Live Nation dubbed, "a vocal paresis." Sounds like once he's all healed up - no time frame for recovery was given - the cancelled dates will be rescheduled (again).

So those FF/S&G loving fans originally planning to drive out to Bird's Hill on Wednesday, returning to Winnipeg on Thursday, then trekking back to Folk Fest can now emit a collective sigh of relief.

The Wilderness of Manitoba (who, despite the kinda misleading name, call Toronto home) and Newfoundland band The Mountains & The Trees play the West End Cultural Centre on July 31st. Hopefully WoM won't face a lawsuit like poor Caribou did.

Music Trader recently announced its Street Stage lineup for Canada Day. Bands featured this year include:


Canada Day falls on a Thursday this year. Hmm. Talk about a conflict. Might be calling in "sick" Friday.

And last but certainly not least, huge congrats to local singer-songwriter / Friend of PoS blog Greg MacPherson on being long-listed for this year's Polaris Prize, an accolade much, much deserved. The short list comes out July 6th.

Best of luck to him!


In Reflection...The First 500 Posts

>> Wednesday, 16 June 2010

My first blog posting appeared roughly three and a half years ago, on January 10, 2007. It was about scoring tickets to see the late-great Sparklehorse as well as Glaswegian twee-pop darlings Camera Obscura in Vancouver. Excited, I even included a picture of the tickets. This inaugural post, then, had absolutely nothing to do with Winnipeg shows nor anything to do with Winnipeg bands. When I look back on this entry now it triggers that uneasy, reflective “What was I thinking?” feeling. Beats me. It was certainly a strange way to start a Winnipeg Music Blog.

For the record, at least I had the right-hand column of upcoming Winnipeg shows.

Painting over Silence, then, has evolved considerably over the last 3.5 years to the blog you see now. And here I am, 500 posts deep and extraordinarily pleased with the site both in looks and, most importantly, content. Painting over Silence is, I hope, a good resource for local concert announcements and listings (with an unabashed indie-bias); a site that runs features on Winnipeg bands or musicians about to come through town; a blog that reviews some of these shows and/or displays photos; and, whenever I have ample time, a place for cd reviews.

Along this blogging journey I’ve met and even befriended readers, fellow bloggers, label contacts, publicists, and musicians; and I’ve been fortunate to sign up a few contributors to boot. It is remarkable how quickly this site became less of a solitary venture and more dependent on the direct and indirect efforts and influence of those just-mentioned folks. So I’d like to extend a sincere thank you to all my visitors for reading, commenting, emailing, and generally keeping me vigilant. Big thanks to my contributors Ben, Daniel, and Nigel for your time and your deft pens and cameras. Beers on me next time we’re at a show. And, of course, thank you to all the folks in the music industry who hook me (us) up with interviews and cool giveaways, and who email me all the exciting, late-breaking show news.

To celebrate this epochal post, I’ve lined up three stellar prizes. The giveaways are courtesy of individuals who have been highly supportive of Painting over Silence and endlessly generous: Carly and Eriksson from Maple Music Recordings and; and Jacquelyn and Mike from our city’s beloved West End Cultural Centre. All four are consummate professionals who are very passionate about getting great music out to as many ears as possible.

Giveaway #1 Three CDs
1. Minus The Bear - Omni
2. Drive By Truckers - The Big To-Do
3. John Butler Trio - April Uprising

Giveaway #2 A $25 Gift Certificate
A $25 Gift Certificate to, an awesome e-commerce site with a wealth of fantastic Canadian music for sale.

Giveaway #3 Tickets + Water Bottle
1. A pair of tickets to Royal Canoe’s CD Release show at the West End Cultural Centre on July 3, 2010 w/ special guests Library Voices
2. A West End Cultural Centre water bottle

Entering is same old, same old. To be eligible for any prize, simply shoot me an email (on the right) by Friday, June 25th @ 2 p.m. with the subject line “Painting over Silence 500th Post Giveaway” and your name in the body of the email. Also, please be sure to note which giveaways you’re entering (all, 1 and 2 only, etc.). Note that prize #3 must be picked up by contest winner.

And finally, from time to time Painting over Silence is also a place where I chronicle my non-Winnipeg concert adventures although - despite the inadvertent impression my initial post back in January ’07 must have given - these road trips just don’t happen enough. (But really, I shouldn’t complain. Since this blog’s onset I’ve been lucky to catch Camera Obscura and Sparklehorse in Vancouver; Sigur Rós in Minneapolis; the Flight of the Conchords plus Peter Bjorn and John in Toronto; and, most recently, Vampire Weekend in Edmonton). It is oddly fitting that this 500th post is my last entry before I jet off tomorrow to attend another non-Winnipeg-related music event, North by North East in Toronto. Stay tuned for some coverage of the sure-to-be dynamite festival.

It has been a pleasure authoring this blog.

Here’s to the next 500!


In The Future...The Acorn, Neil Young (Second Show Added), And Primus!

>> Monday, 14 June 2010

Hot on the heels of their just-released sophomore outing No Ghosts, pastoral folk-rockers The Acorn (above) have booked a coast-to-coast fall Canadian tour, which includes a stop at the Park Theatre on October 27th.  No Ghosts has been getting some enthusiastic press so far (and based on the few snatches I've heard, I'd say it's warranted), so this could be a white-hot ticket.

Those rumours about a second night of Neil Young solo goodness at the Centennial Concert Hall are, in fact, god’s truth. The rock icon now plays there on July 26th and 27th. I just checked ticketmaster and for only $275 you can sit in the 12th row on the floor. Yeesh! If I attend, look for me up in the nose bleeds.

And lastly, the itinerary for the second annual “Oddity Faire Tour” featuring rock vets Primus includes a date at the Burton Cummings Theatre. The bass-wielding, South-Park-theme-penning Les Claypool and his rambunctious troupe rock the joint on September 30th with other acts TBA.


In Photos...The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats @ The Garrick

>> Friday, 11 June 2010

The New Pornographers w/ The Mountain Goats
The Garrick
Winnipeg, MB
June 10, 2010

The Mountain Goats! 
(Note about the last photo of this series: If you look closely, you'll see Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle in a thicket of fans. Wish he had wore a striped red-and-white shirt and matching hat.)

The New Pornographers!


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