NEW ORDER LIVE @ THE SONY CENTRE – FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW

NEW ORDER

LIVE @ THE SONY CENTRE

FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW

By: Fridae Mattas

On October 23rd New Order hit Toronto to play the first of two sold out shows ending off their 2012 North American Tour at The Sony Centre for Performing Arts. I completely forgot about this show, the month of October has been extremely busy for me. I was filtering press releases when I received media confirmation a few hours prior to doors.

New Order are a bit before my time, the only song I could think of that I knew was “Blue Monday”. It’s always fun to cover old school bands I would have never thought I would get a chance to see live, nevermind actually shoot. British band New Order was formed in 1980 after Joy Division singer Ian Curtis committed suicide. They regrouped and renamed the band New Order with majority of the original members still in the band. New Order today is: Bernard Sumner – Vocals and Guitar, Stephen Morris – Drums, Gillian Gilbert – Keys, Vocals and Guitar, Phil Cunningham – Guitar and Keys and the newest member of the band replacing original member Peter Hook is Bassist Tom Chapman.

I arrived just on time, literally! I reached the stage area and was immediately given the break down by our media contact, I didn’t even have a chance to configure my camera’s setting as the lights went out and the first tune “Elegia” began. We were allowed to shoot the first four songs after the intro, this is very rare. Usually the media shoots the first three sometimes only two. This was my first time actually shooting a show at the Sony Centre, I’ve covered other events at the venue but they were Ballets and Musicals that do not permit any photography during the performance.

Once the intro wrapped I started shooting from the right wing and migrated to the left, we were told to shoot from the wings and not block the middle. I wanted to take a few shots from the back of the venue of the crowd but I didn’t know if I was permitted to. It was a sold out show, the people came to listen, dance and watch their favorite band. The crowd varied in ages, the youngest being in their late teens which surprised me because I was expecting a much older crowd. I tried to observe the performance as much as I could while photographing the band but I didn’t really get the full effect until I sat in my seat to watch the performance.

I was turning to go back to the media area when the media contact reminded me I still had one more song to shoot. So used to three tunes that I completely miscounted how many tracks were left. After the fourth track ended we headed back to the media room and I was the only one who went back in to review the set. I finally found my seat as New Order played “Isolation” a Joy Division cover followed by “Here To Stay”. I was amazed by the lighting and the disco ball was a nice touch. It felt like I was watching a 3D concert movie because they also had a screen with various different images one being the bands name, it was too cool.

All of the members played their instruments well, but not as enthusiastic as you would expect. Gillian could smile a little more and show some vibrance on stage, she was not very lively. Frontman Sumner, did well vocally for his age although it was rather pitchy in a few tracks. I could barely hear him when I was in my seat during the performance because the guitars were drowning him out. He also needs a little more crowd interaction, the connection with his audience wasn’t there, he kept looking at his guitar. The whole band needs to step it up a notch for the entertainment factor, I was expecting a little more personality and showmanship from these veterans. Compared to other reunion shows I have recently covered, they were a little disappointing obviously relying on the lights and disco ball to keep the crowd on their toes.

Regardless of my critical journalistic perspective as a music fan I enjoyed myself, it was like discovering a new band and the lighting was definitely my favorite part. I went in thinking I didn’t know many of the songs but I did! Once I heard the songs live, performed by the actual band that created them, I surprisingly knew more tunes than I thought. It was so fun to sing along to “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”.

A fan of the band or not, New Order will bring their 80’s infusion into your life! The fans were ecstatic, throughly enjoying themselves as New Order played most of their hits. This crowd was the most dancey I have seen in a while, more people need to dance to their favorite music. The two encores that closed this seventeen track set were Joy Division covers “Transmission” and “Love Will Tear Us A Part”. If New Order hits the road again and you are an 80’s music fan, this show you must experience. Major thanks goes to the fabulous folks at Goldenvoice Canada/AEGLive.

www.NEWORDERNOW.net

  COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

REFUSED LIVE @ THE SOUND ACADEMY 2012 – FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW

REFUSED

LIVE @ THE SOUND ACADEMY 2012

FEATURE EDITORIAL REVIEW

By: Fridae Mattas

It has been fourteen years since Swedish Punk band Refused hit the road together. They dropped one last record “The Shape Of Punk To Come” in 1998 and called it quits. Recently, the band reunited to do a tour hitting up various venues across the globe, one of those stops was Toronto for two nights at The Sound Academy.

Photography By: Fridae Mattas

The current band is: Dennis Lyxzén – Lead Vocals, David Sandström – Drums/Melodic, Kristofer Steen – lead Guitar/Bass, Jon Brännström – Backup Vocals, Rhythm Guitar, Magnus Flagge (aka Magnus Björklund) – Bass/Cello.

Photography By: Fridae Mattas
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV

We hit up the July 23rdshow, it was packed but not sold out like the previous evening for the first show. The venue filled up nicely and the crowd was fantastic. As a bonus we saw some cool lightning action by the water as we waited for the bands to start. There were a few people I recognized at the show; it was good to see familiar faces. I was texting by the pit entrance waiting for OFF! to hit the stage as the security guard excitedly pointed out a member from Billy Talent as he passed us by, it’s always awesome to see male security guards teenie out! OFF’s set began at about 9:30 and they played until approximately 10:15. I have never heard of OFF! before so this was intriguing to me, I always like to see fresh bands because it leaves me curious to see how they sound without anyone’s opinions trying to cloud my ears.

OFF is a Hardcore punk band from Los Angeles, the band formed in 2009 known to be a supergroup of sorts and consists of; Keith Morris – Vocals (Black Flag, Circle Jerks), Dimitri Coats – Guitar (Burning Brides), Steven McDonald – Bass (Redd Kross) and Mario Rubalcaba – Drums (Hot Snakes/Earthless/Rocket From The Crypt).

Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV

The tracks were so short and the vocal mic didn’t have the greatest levels to start, eventually the sound evened out but it really didn’t matter, my three tracks were over. The guitar sounded amazing but was drowning out frontman Keith Morris’ vocals. The band had great energy and I was enjoying their performance but was getting restless because Morris talked longer than he sang, it was boring me. I wandered off to the patio for a smoke, I could still hear the band which was fabulous and could watch the set at the bar on a flat screen TV. The Sound Academy is a fantastic venue, it’s only hindrance is the lack of TTC access.

Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV

Set time for Refused was eleven but they rocked the stage earlier than expected. They had this big reveal before the first tune so we had to wait until it was dropped and put away. This was nothing new for me, many bands I have covered do this and of course I don’t mind, everything is for the fans. They were so excited and loving every second of Refused being on that stage. I always try my best not to get in the fans way because they just want to enjoy their favorite band live without big heads in the pit for the whole set. I understand why the three track rule exists but it would be smart to have media do songs 4, 5 and 6, because with most sets the kinks are usually worked out by then. The only artist I have ever covered that has had media shoot songs 4, 5 and 6 instead of the first three was Rapper Nas, very bright on his team’s part. 

Refused started in with Worms Of The Senses / Faculties Of The Skull, I wish I could have filmed the reveal but we had to wait. If it weren’t for the fans I wouldn’t have been able to film Liberation Frequency because security thought the three tracks were already over until the fans confirmed they only played two, thank you! They thought the long intro and first two songs were it, many security guards make that mistake and that lack of communication gets very annoying. Thank you so much to AEG/Goldenvoice Canada and new Fridae TV photographer Dipan for taking some cool shots. You can watch the mentioned songs by clicking the title links and can find more photos here.

Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV
Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV

These extremely enthused and energetic Swedes put on a spectacularly entertaining show, frontman Lyxzén was flying all over the place doing his thing. By the end of the set he was topless, it was a scorcher that day and he first came out in a suit. The band was so impeccably crisp, I loved how the guitars sounded, very clean with a few crazy riffs. The only thing I have to say is the  rest of the band needsto match the singers vitality. They seemed a little delayed at first but once they warmed up they got into it a little more . It is hard to be the lead, many artistic performers are shy and others love to soak up all the attention. What I have come to notice is the shyer modest artists are usually the extremely talented, unlike the majority of the “Artists” that crave all the attention and boast profusely about how gloriously amazing they are. When on stage everyone gets nervous, unless you are bored with your job or intoxicated to the point where the whole audience looks like DeadMau5 you get nervous.

Photography By: Dipan Cheema For Fridae TV

The trick is to act, create a character or stage persona to help you be who you want to be on that stage, it makes it so much easier to calm and control the nerves. But having a different persona on stage can come with a price for many artists. For some, after a few tours they cannot find their true self becoming lost in the world they have created. And the lines between fantasy and reality are so blurred they can’t tell the difference anymore.

As the band played on I was pleasantly surprised at how good they were, I have never in my life seen them perform and had only heard a few of their songs. Vocals were stellar, I did not hear him go flat once during the fifteen track set which is extremely rare for a live show. What I liked about this Swedish punk band is their music had melodies and guitar solos, it was not all yelling and auto-tuned pop hooks. The songs have a creative trance like ambiance with a solid structure that draws you in. Refused put on one of the best shows I have seen this year and they didn’t need to use any pyrotechnics to make that possible. They ended off the last Toronto set with encores “New Noise” and “Tannhäuser / Derive”. If you are a punk fan and you have the opportunity to see this band live, I suggest you take that chance before it ends, who knows if anyone will ever see Refused rock the stage again.

COPYRIGHT © 2012 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved

Photography By: Dipan Cheema for FridaeTV