Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Concert Reviews: Stripmall Architecture, The Ting Tings, Midi Matilda

In the past week, I've been to three shows. Now that I've had time to digest them and recover, it's time for some quick summaries.

Stripmall Architecture

Where: Rickshaw Stop
When: 22 March 2012
Nutshell: A talented local band with big ambitions delivers.

Celebrating the release of their new single "We Are Not Cool" on 7" clear vinyl, Stripmall Architecture performed their unique flavor of art-pop as the opening act for 2:54. This was my second time seeing them live, and if anything, they were even better the second time around.

Their music and style strike me as what might result from a collaboration between Björk, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and David Bowie, with a little bit of Zöe Keating thrown in for good measure. (What pop band wouldn't benefit from the presence of a cello? None that I know of.)

Their performances feature playful light structures (witness the light tree on Rebecca's microphone stand), screen projections, and of course beautiful music. Rebecca's voice is strong, and together with Ryan's production and Erica's haunting cello—and very cool costumes and makeup—their performances are not to be missed. This one was no exception.

Stripmall Architecture's website

The Ting Tings

Where: The Fillmore
When: 25 March 2012
Nutshell: A rousing, albeit brief, performance cements their status as stars.

The Ting Tings weren't really on my radar until their performance on Saturday Night Live in 2009. Since then, their White Stripes-and-then-some flavor of pop-rock has lodged itself firmly in my brain. Their sophomore album, Sounds From Nowheresville, demonstrates a variety of musical styles and moods, without straying too far from their We Started Nothing roots.

Their performance at the Fillmore proved their mettle and their talent, as both Katie and Jules bounded around the stage, jumping from instrument to instrument, and clearing having a blast. You had no way of knowing—until she mentioned it before performing their final song—that Katie was still recovering from an appendectomy just a few days prior.

Unfortunately, the fact that she was still recovering meant the show had to be short, so they wrapped things up with verve after just 65 minutes. That means some great songs had to be left out, notably "Soul Killing" from the new album. Happily, they did play "Hands" which is one of my favorite songs from the new album, though for some reason it's only on the deluxe edition.

Despite its brevity, the show was a lot of fun. They should probably credit the sound engineer as a third band member, because the show sounded flawless: both members' vocals were clear, and the bass was full and deep. Here's hoping they come back through with a longer set!

The Ting Tings' website

Midi Matilda

Where: Café du Nord
When: 27 March 2012
Nutshell: Local band hits the ground running with a great debut show.

After remarkable opening sets by BEAM and Peck the Town Crier, Midi Matilda overcame some initial audio problems and put on a fun, energetic performance of their debut EP.

They opened with the summery "Ottowa", and the outstanding "Day Dreams" represented the highlight of the night. Skyler Kilborn's vocals were flawless and clear, and both he and Logan Grimé (on drums and production) had infectious energy, even busting out some synchronized choreography to mark the occasion.

Judging by their confidence and ease of performance, you'd never know this was their first-ever live show. They're definitely going places, these guys. Check 'em out next time they're on the marquee!

Midi Matilda on Bandcamp