Tag Archives: Phoenix Concert Theatre

CMW reviews: Television @ Phoenix Concert Theatre – May 10, 2014

Television's Tom Verlaine at Phoenix Concert Theatre on May 10 for Canadian Music Week. Photo: Tom Beedham

Television’s Tom Verlaine at Phoenix Concert Theatre on May 10 for Canadian Music Week. Photo: Tom Beedham

By Tom Beedham

Granting a performance attracting a crowd perhaps a little too ready to strike it from its bucket list, Television rolled into town on Saturday to give a concert I hope I’ll never forget. Minus the hecklers, that is.

It only took one song (an 11-minute-long “1880 Or So,” sure) before one of those particularly entitled folks yelled for “Marquee Moon.” With $30 t-shirts bearing the title track’s album art on sale at the back of the venue, these guys set the bar kind of low, didn’t they?

What we got was so much more.

While mostly unembellished cuts from that album did account for the bulk of their set (they played all of them but “Friction” and “Torn Curtain”), Television’s CMW appearance was far from a night devoted to producing an uncanny valley. Beginning with the swirling two minutes of cosmic arpeggios and china dings they tacked onto the beginning of set opener “1880 Or So,” Television established from the get-go that this would be a night spent balancing preservation of their fan-favoured debut against less complimentary experimentation. There was their 1975 anti-single “Little Johnny Jewel,” an 18-minute rendition of that burning middle-eastern folk epic “Persia” they’ve been shopping around at recent gigs, and – although Verlaine insisted that he and the rest of the band “don’t really know it” – Television even played a six-minute version of “I’m Gonna Find You,” a commercially unavailable song from the band’s days with Richard Hell.

Fans also got some insight into the group’s influences. Verlaine dedicated Marquee Moon to “our favourite singer in the world,” Wong Fei (or “Faye Wong,” as he accurately allowed she’s “probably” recognized by here), and when the band returned to the stage after closing their set proper with “Marquee Moon,” they dug into a cover of ’60s garage act the Count Five’s “Psychotic Reaction.”

This concert was as nostalgic as it was incendiary. But it was also sobering.

As much as the band’s tight, characteristically interlocking jams (as well as the buzz about a new album) impart hope for a long future, I can’t get one particular moment out of my head: in the middle of a short but particularly twinkling ambient track the band transitioned into a close with right when “Psychotic Reaction” usually gets to be its noisiest, Tom Verlaine started shaking and massaging his left hand.

Television is back. But how long?

“1880 or So”
“Prove It”
“Little Johnny Jewel”
“See No Evil”
“I’m Gonna Find You”
“Guiding Light”
“Marquee Moon”

“Psychotic Reaction” (Count Five)
Unknown (new?) track


TURF reviews: Camera Obscura at Fort York – July 4, 2013

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Morgan and Kenny McKeeve at Fort York for TURF on July 4, 2013. Photo: Tom Beedham

Camera Obscura’s Tracyanne Morgan and Kenny McKeeve at Fort York for TURF on July 4, 2013. Photo: Tom Beedham

“We don’t usually wear sunglasses onstage,” Camera Obscura guitarist Kenny McKeeve told the crowd at TURF amid a break in their July 4 set. “We’re not pretentious, but we’re not used to this; we’re British.”

Scottish identity crises aside, it is indeed so that the Glasgow twee-poppers have been away from Ontario for some time, as their last set here was at Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre on Nov. 27, 2009.

That – with perhaps some help from their critically acclaimed June 2013 release Desire Lines – all just meant for a warm welcome from the TURF crowd in the ranks at Fort York on July 4.

Although the group played in front of a backdrop sporting a blown up image of the new album’s artwork, 2006’s Let’s Get Out of This Country saw just as much representation on the group’s setlist. They also played “French Navy” and “Swans” from 2009’s My Maudlin Career, and reached 10 years back to 2003’s sophomore effort Underachievers Please Try Harder for “Teenager.” Full setlist below.

“Do It Again”
“Break It To You Gently”
“Tears For Affairs”
“Fifth in Line To The Throne”
“Lloyd, I’m Ready To Be Heartbroken”
“If Looks Could Kill”
“New Year’s Resolution”
“French Navy”
“Desire Lines”
“Come Back Margaret”
“Razzle Dazzle Rose”

Originally published by The Ontarion.