4AD & Dr. Martens presents: gusGus/Lamb in Toronto 07/26/97
Lack of sleep and great music was the focus of my weekend. No time to complile the Homemade VAD but I'll get around to it later this week hopefully...
Held at The Opera House, where Toronto's "Shaving The Pavement" tour took place, the venue was packed with a healthy mixture of fans from all three bands. With tix only $14.50, it was a very value-for-your-money musical evening. Despite the sweltering humidity and close quarters, a fun time was had by myself and fellow 4ad-l lister Creig J., fresh from the gusGus show in Washington, DC just earlier that week.
gusGus and Lamb were joined by a third band, Vancouver's Kinnie Star, an eclectic duo fronted by one damn bold front woman whose stage presence and lack of inhibitions enabled her to jump off the stage into the crowd to finish a song among us concert goers. She has a remarkable voice and the group has a style that could easily find a home on 4AD.
Lamb took stage next, starting with an instrumental intro which merged into "Merge" followed by "Gold". Louise looked absolutely radiant tonight. Other songs played included "Ear Parcel", "God Bless", "Gorecki" and a very cool new song called "Ha Ha Ha".
Once all of Lamb's equipment was moved off the stage, leaving a huge empty space, gusGus took to the stage. Three mics at the front of the stage with all the tech gear at the back next to the cloth "movie" screen. Magnus, Daniel and Hafdis dominated the front of the stage, with images and phrases projected on the screen behind them.
Daniel's stage presence and kick-ass vocals really took the spotlight as the show began. First up was "Polyesterday" followed by "Chocolate", "Gun" and "Barry". The set list is pretty much constant from show to show. A new song, "Blue Mug", with Hafdis singing was showcased. Great versions of "Remembrance" and "Believe" were included as well.
I was disappointed two of my favorite tracks from the album were not played. Both "Why?" and the Slowblow cover "Is Jesus Your Pal?" were sadly absent as singer Emaliana Torrini wasn't part of the tour. Herr Legovitz was also absent, opting to stay home this trip.
I can safely say every gusGus member sweated away several thousand calories during their show. They're all very physically active on stage. Daniel is as agile as a cat, even doing handstands at one point and Hafdis was "in character" totally with her funny faces and dancing.
At the venue's foyer, various products were available including both parts of the "Believe" CD, the "Polyesterday" CD and the double vinyl version of the album. There are a couple different gusGus T-shirts on hand as well. Lamb shirts are available too. Sadly, the Soil Samples 12" promo with the video version of "Polyesterday" from previous shows is all gone now.
Prior to the show, Creig and I had a chance to greet the various gusGus members as they arrived at the venue from their overnight journey from Montreal. I was super happy to receive signatures from all eight gusGus-ers in attendance on the back cover of my "Polyesterday" 12" which is conveniently blank and prime for autographs.
While we were standing in front of the venue a while before the show we chanced on meeting up with Louise from Lamb, who was nice enough to sign my "Gorecki" CD. We bumped into Andy from Lamb while waiting in line and got his sig as well.
I'm endlessly impressed with Lamb's ability to stand up to idiot record company people. Here is an excerpt from a Lamb interview in the local entertainment rag called Now:
"In America, it's been a different story", says Lamb's Andy Barlow. "They were convinced handbag house music was going to be massive in America and wanted stupid club remixes of our music. Louise and I said we are not going to promote this sick, twisted form of music. The label told us they'd pull the release of our record if we didn't agree, so I said, 'Right, WE'RE going to pull the release! Fuck you', and slammed down the phone. Three days later, they called back and said we didn't have to do the remixes after all."
The article also mentions and later confirmed by Louise that by September we'll be seeing a double CD from Lamb featuring remixes by Fila Brazilia, Global Communications and others as well as a live collection of reworked tracks from Lamb's debut album on Fontana.
A special v23/gusGus US tour postcard is also available at the concert so make sure you look out for it in Detroit tomorrow or wherever you happen to be catching the tour. It has a nice still from the "Polyesterday" vid of Hafdis caught by the police officer. I managed to "liberate" the gusGus "Polydistotion" poster from down by the venue's bathrooms and feel somewhat better after not finding that US card sleeve advance CD for "Polydistortion" at Penguin before Creig did.
A final word from Baldur of gusGus before we exited the venue following the show perked us up... It turns out gusGus could be back for more touring as early as "after Christmas". One can only hope. :)
Jeff Keibel Scarborough, Ontario CANADA