Friday, December 11, 2009

Die Mannequin Concert Review

Die Mannequin
Friday, Dec. 1, 2009
Live Lounge

Care Failure, the leading lady of the Toronto punk band, Die Mannequin, rocked the stage with her incredible style and performance Dec. 4 at Ottawa’s Live Lounge.

She began the show crawling across the stage, as Anthony Bleed, the bassist, mimed shooting her with his guitar. She stumbled around the stage, making the fans scream as the band began its raw punk set.

Although the band recently finished a tour with Marilyn Manson, playing arena shows across the nation, Failure said the band much prefers smaller venues.

"If I had my way, there'd be no stage — just the crowd," she said. I can see why.

Failure jumped off the stage into the audience, singing part of “Where Poppies Grow” while she was immersed in the crowd. She pulled audience members up on stage to join her for “Autumn Cannibalist.”

I have never seen so much audience interaction at a concert, and I don’t think it could possibly work as well in an arena venue.

She finished the show by crowd surfing to the back of the venue, where she spent time at the merchandise booth meeting fans and signing autographs (or in some cases, messages written on their breasts).

Many of the songs on the set list were not on either of the band’s major releases. They did not play “Saved by Strangers”— one of their biggest singles. Instead, they did a cover of a Turbonegro song.

Die Mannequin’s performance of “Bad Medicine” had many audience members singing along. It was complete with Failure singing into a megaphone to imitate the vocal effects from the recording.

The merchandise seller mentioned that the show was a late one because Failure wasn’t feeling well. It didn’t show in her performance.

It was a high-energy, microphone-throwing, bruise-inducing, punk rock show.


Originally published in the Charlatan, Carleton University's independent student newspaper

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tegan and Sara - Sainthood (Review)

Tegan and Sara
Warner Music


The new album Sainthood from Canadian twin duo Tegan and Sara is an excellent collection of synthesizer-driven songs predominantly about troubled love.

The album is a natural progression from their previous album, The Con, in that the apparent mood is different but the style and music is essentially very similar.

Many of the songs seem to have a more positive and upbeat sound than the sad melodies found in many songs on The Con.

The first single, “Hell,” has a more radio-friendly pop sound compared to their previous singles.

However, the songs don’t stray from what fans have come to expect from Tegan and Sara – expressions of melancholy love affairs, supported by guitars and synthesizers, and fronted by their unique vocals.

The vocal style is what sets this band apart from the abundance of popular indie-sounding bands. Tegan and Sara sound similar, as one would expect from identical twins, but there is enough difference to distinguish between them.

One voice complements the other, and their vocal harmonies are just as striking as in their previous albums, though not as prevalent.

On first listen, the most memorable song is the opener, “Arrow.” The synthesizer-based song has a distinctive edgy sound, and demonstrates how effectively the band uses their vocal harmonies.

On their blog, Tegan explained the first single was inspired by a headline in the Vancouver Sun, which described her then-new neighbourhood in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside as “four blocks of hell.”

The lyrics, like most of their other songs, are about a troubled romance, in this case, unrequited love.

While the album is a solid offering to hardcore fans and newcomers alike, it doesn’t leave as strong an impression as The Con did.


Originally published in the Charlatan, Carleton University's independent student newspaper