Thursday, November 15, 2007


Critically Bitter disdains all the kids with their hipping and their hopping. Critically Bitter loves the Archers of Loaf and wishes it was still 1997. Critically Bitter dreams of rockin' in small clubs throughout North America. (Maybe he should have learned to play an instrument?) Instead, he has a blog.

The other night CB went to see Menomena and Illinois at the Mod Club. First off, let me say that I really liked the Mod Club. Great sight lines, easy access to beers, good lighting and the doorperson actually let the Wife in with zero hassle. In a twist of irony that would have delighted Sybil Taylor, the only non-Molsen/Miller item available was Steam Whistle. I will wait for Zach's trip to Steam Whistle before I comment further on the actual beer, but I'm not afraid to admit that I had two.

I liked what I had heard from the opening band Illinois, so we arrived early to catch their set. Illinois certainly had their moments, "Alone Again" and "Screen Door" stood out, but the music was generally all over the place. One minute they're My Bloody Valentine, one minute they're Beck, one minute they're a rockier Ben Folds and then suddenly a sixties psychedelic pop band. I like bands that don't conform to one sound, but it's nice to have some sort of base. I still think these guys have a lot of potential, but they should stick to one sound and evolve from there. I tend to agree with the Wife, the psychedelics sixties pop band suits them best, plus I recommend more banjo.

Menomena was great! These are three unassuming lads who seem to authentically enjoy what they do. The band obviously has great sonic ambition, but absolutely no pretencion about it. They recreate the layering of their albums so well it seems impossible only three people are playing. They switch between glockenspiel, guitar, saxophone, keyboard, guitar and bass with ease. The band's live vocal harmonizing brought an unexpected intimacy to many of the songs, especially "Rotten Hell". Finally, I really love drummers who pound away, and Menomena's drummer, Danny Seim, is one of the best I've seen in a while. During concert highlight "Twenty Cell Revolt" it felt like the whole song would have totally fallen apart if Seim didn't keep pummelling the kit as hard as possible. Having now seen them at a festival and a club, I've got to say that, like most bands, a small venue is the only way to go.

Bitter Comments - What happened to going to a concert and just enjoying the show? Why do half the people in the audience have to hold their digital cameras/cell phones over their head filming the whole damn thing? I really don't mind people snapping the occasional photo, but take the picture and put those things away. There is nothing that kills a rocking song faster than looking up to see some rock and seeing the band in tiny form on an Olympus display screen instead. Stupid kids and their blogs!

I give the Mod Club 4 Hortons, Illinois 2.49 for their potential and Menomena 4.5 for a great set.

If anyone wants to see a fantastic/sad Menomena video, go here.


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