Friday, July 27, 2007
pony down! $9.50
I feel the need to preface this post by clarifying that no, I do not live at the Horseshoe nor am I generally there more than once every week or two. But alas, another review (third in a row) from the 'shoe.
Montreal's femme-foursome Pony Up! galloped into town last night, bringing along Toronto indie-pop tarts the Bicycles for a stop at the orseshoe. And, though I had never seen either act in the flesh, having sampled both of Pony Up!'s releases, as well as cuts from the Bicycles' 2006 album the Good, the Bad and the Cuddly, I felt justified in expecting nothing less than sugary pop so sweet a trip to the dentist may ensue.
I was actually quite surprised by the one-third capacity of the small-ish room, especially with a very agreeable $9.50 price tag. But, even after watching the Bicycles fumble through an entire set in what sounded like their first show in a decade, few new faces had shown up.
Admittedly, I think I remember mention of a last-minute lineup change which could have contributed to their lack of cohesion. But ultimately, the Bicycles' sound was sloppy and incomplete, and not even close to as fun as the album. Their struggle was no more apparent than during Australia, the band's most-requested song, where merely the completion of the song was put in jeopardy on more than one occasion through miscues and a missing musician or two. The bubblegum fun was ultimately lost in the mix, and the set fell flat on its face.
By the time the Pony Up! express took the stage, the energy level in the room compared more to nap time at High Park Villa's retirement residence than to a pop-rock concert. The girls attempted nothing to rejuvenate the handful of onlookers, but rather cruised through the majority of the tracks on 2006's Make Love to the Judges with Your Eyes with limited enthusiasm.
Despite singer/keyboardist Laura Willis' claim that Toronto is the band's favourite city to play, their seeming lack of interest wore off on the majority of the crowd who, with the exception of a handful of girls adorned in matching zebra and leopard-print dresses, seemed ready to call it a night only a handful of songs from the outset.
But, while the highlights were few, they weren't entirely absent: Willis finally let herself loose with two songs left, letting her small voice rip during the yet-to-be-released 'Wet', which builds from a simplistic and mundane ballad into borderline epic. That seemed to wake up the crowd and the rest of her band, who wrapped up their otherwise lackluster performance with a strong rendition of 'The Truth About Cats and Dogs (is that They Die)', arguably their most popular song, in which co-lead Sarah Moundroukas followed Willis' lead by actually having some fun.
Regrettably, the batteries in my camera tapped out before Pony Up! even hit the stage, but below are some amateur attempts at band photography, starring the Bicycles (coming soon).
- bobby k.
Pony Up! w/ the Bicycles, Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto
Thursday, July 26th, 2007
Pony Up! - The Truth About Cats and Dogs (is that they die) (YSI)
Pony Up! - Wet (YSI)
The Bicycles - Australia (YSI)
The Bicycles - B-B-Bicycles (YSI)