Saturday, March 14, 2009

Canadian Music Week- Friday at the Horseshoe Tavern

Last night was another great night at the Horseshoe Tavern. We got there before the opening band went on so that we could get a table because the only band that I listen to that played last night was Bicycles, so we didn't care too much to stand at the front which is crowded and hot. Dinosaur Bones was the first band, they were pretty good. A typical opening band, not anything too special, but definitely enjoyable. There were a few highlights, and being a young band I think you can expect to hear more of them, greater things from them in the future.

The second band should have been the first band. Daniel Wesley was confusing. They were confusing because they didn't fit the bill for the night or the venue. They were confusing because they're style was all over the map. The first song was undeniably country, and then there were a few that were trying to be reggae, a few trying to be a Jack Johnson acoustic style band. Overall you could compare them to a bad Sublime tribute band trying to make their own way.

Next were The Bicycles, they played a good set, and it is rumoured to possibly be their last show ever. Bicycles are kind of a twee-indie band with some sweet melodies and youthful lyrics, their style is like Islands mixed with Bell and Sebastien. The audience responded well, and I think most people who hadn't heard them before enjoyed it.

Next on the bill was Human Highway, who I was pleasantly surprised by. I had heard of them before but never really listened to them, but that's changed now. If you haven't heard...
Human Highway is the new collaboration from two of Canada’s most-loved troubadours: Jim Guthrie and Nick Thorburn. Both Guthrie and Thorburn have been long-time fixtures of Canadian pop music. Jim is best-known for his releases on Three Gut Records, both with Royal City and as a solo artist, when he received a Juno nomination for 2004’s Now, More Than Ever. Thorburn first gained international exposure with the Unicorns in 2003, and now fronts the super-pop group Islands. (
So it's easy to see why they're pretty good. They played a great set, and had great energy. Their songs ranged from poppy to mellow, each was equally as good as the last.

Finally was the Handsome Furs who are a husband and wife duo consisting of Dan Boeckner of Wolf Parade and Alexei Perry. One thing is clear when you do listen to this popular duo: they are not what they seem. Don't let them fool you by the cover of a wife/husband duo. These songs are dark as much as they can get you dancing. Boeckner's voice doesn't change a bit in the midst of over driving synth beats and buzzing keys; he plays his guitar in direct transgression of the electronic backbone. There is no conflict though: he is serious, and Perry stands beside him in the same position. There is nothing to really say that was surprising about them. They have been part of other projects for so long that they are solid, just as anyone would expect. I can't say that any one song jumped out at me as being fantastic, but they were noticably composed for enjoyment, and meticulously engineered so that the crowd could not object to any of it. I couldn't cut it down anymore than this: even if you don't care for the textures you can at least appreciate one of the most interesting voices in canadian music today.

Another good night, leaving only one left.
Jon-Rae Fletcher 9:00 PM
Herman Dune 9:45 PM
Basia Bulat 10:45 PM
Elliott Brood 11:45 PM
Cuff The Duke 12:45 AM


  1. I didn't know Dinosaur Bones played! I know the guitarist from high school.

  2. ugh im so jealous you saw handsome furs!!! ditto with bicycles

  3. LB- That's pretty cool, I think they'll be really good when they've been around a little while longer.
    RS- Yeah... it was a pretty awesome festival. I'm soooo going back next year.