w/ Big Stero
Thursday, November 6, 2008
C'est What, Toronto
I think that the moment I realized that I actually like Jane's Party more than I originally thought I did came about midway through their hour-long set when I was trying to plan out in my head how I was going to write this review. This moment occurred when I discovered, much to my surprise, that my inner-monologue had been talking itself in pointless circles, trying describe just what these dudes sound like and as it turns out, it is not so easy to do at all: this is a fact that pleases me very much!
Jane's Party, a Toronto-based four-piece consisting of guys who looked like they just stepped off the set of a photo-shoot for Bro Magazine- tight jeans and neckties everywhere- basically play what can only be described as Oasis (circa 1997) alternating between Bob Dylan and Specials covers. These dudes are a (blatantly) Canadian band thoroughly rooted in Brit-Pop; their piano-driven indie-pop, flush with harmonies just screams Gallagher from the very rooftops, but fortunately, far from galloping through a set of "She's Electric"s, Jane's Party embed flashes of rustic Americana (/Canadiana?) and groove-inducing white-boy reggae into their jangly pop, which makes for a surprisingly unique experience. Their good-vibes Bro-out pop aesthetic is tailored for simply that: good tunes, good brews and good buddies; this is music to hang out to- with beer. Beer is an essential component to the Jane's Party experience; not because they're so terrible you'll need to get drunk to enjoy it, but because these are the kinds of songs that make you say "I could go for a beer... and some serious chilling." Cycling through a set of old and new songs and a couple of very well-chosen covers, Jane's Party's sound proved very affecting for such a young band; Britain has rarely sounded so Canadian.
Big Stereo, a Pickering-based outfit playing in support of their self-released debut album, Something Real, are a little bit easier to define: for the most part, they sound like Ben Harper. The vast majority of the songs they played sounded like deadringers for Burn to Shine outtakes, which isn't an especially bad thing as I have nothing against well-crafted pop in general. Unfortunately Big Stereo are a most difficult case of an extremely tight and dynamic group whose music I don't find particularly interesting. The frontman has a killer voice and was a phenomenal performer, but what they were doing was just not as engaging as it probably should have been. I guess it's just not for me. And their myspace bio is just so puppy-dog-eyed sweet too. Damn.
I first saw Jane's Party two summers ago when they were most unfortunately calling themselves "The After Party" and were doing exactly what a band with that name would be doing: they were playing broad arena-rock and tasteless covers, acting like petulant rockstars to an audience of maybe twenty people. I thought they were a pretty big joke. Well, at C'est What, JP threw out a thick layer of Bromance over the room, performing as a cohesive unit and appearing very comfortable with each other and their new, superior sound; they were loving every second of it, a feeling that radiated into the one hundred-strong crowd as the odes to weed acted like the drug itself- good vibes all around. Fuck, their drummer pounded with such ferocity, by the look on his face you'd swear he was getting the world's most intense beej.
Pretty fucking cool for a local band with no official releases, I'd say. Apparently though, an EP entitled, Garage Sessions, should be appearing early next year, which should be very interesting indeed. Jane's Party's folk-pop with reggae infusion is as cosmopolitan as Toronto itself and I wouldn't be surprised at all to see them as staples of the local scene very soon.