Concert of the Year 2001 Year in Review

Concert of the Year 2001 Year in Review
…And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead

The Raven, Hamilton ON

October 24

They're not the most exciting rock band on the planet just because of the chaos and destruction that comes with each show, even though that is why it was, by far, the best concert of the year. –Cam Lindsay

Frank Black and the Catholics

Horseshoe, Toronto ON

April 16

Three nights after losing all of their gear to thieves in the American Midwest, Frank Black and his band of Catholics checked into the Horseshoe for a sold-out three-night stand. Using new equipment supplied by a local music store, Black worked out his frustration with a three-hour set of tunes, including a brilliant selection of old Pixies tracks. Black maintains one of the finest voices in rock and his tight, versatile backing unit is superlative. –Chuck Molgat

Buttless Chaps

Jane Bond, Kitchener/Waterloo ON

September 9

An improbable blend of new wave and old country, the Buttless Chaps' sincere passion recuperates the best of both. The five or six lost souls that gathered this rainy Sunday night were instantly in accord, as the dishevelled Chaps filled the room with their limitless enthusiasm. Singer Dave Gowans reined in the stragglers and soon had them shouting out requests for Images in Vogue, Hank Williams and the Dr. Who theme. Live, the Chaps are far more exuberantly campy than is evident on their CDs. When that feverish energy is properly captured on record, the Buttless ones are destined for great things. -Helen Spitzer

Do Make Say Think/Polmo Polpo

Church at Berkeley, Toronto ON

June 15

It was the kind of show that can't be faked, where Polmo Polpo played an epic set, doing justice to the music of Do Make Say Think, whose members wore rapt expressions personifying the intensity of their sound. One could tell from their cinematic songs, the audience's absorption, and the extended encore where the Do Make's put their balls-to-the-walls that they were in it for the love, the best reason to put on a show in these opulent and acoustically superb environs. -I. Khider

Eric's Trip

The Chestnut, Fredericton NB

September 10

Before they split up in 1996, the members of Eric's Trip each had side projects whose work rivalled and (often) bettered the band's output. When the band got back together for this one last tour we faithful gathered to welcome them home. The show was two-thirds "no time has passed" revelling and one third "they're even better than before" jaw-dropping. We drank beer, hopped up and down, smiled at each other while the band broke our eardrums — then we asked for more. Perfect. -Eric Hill

DJ Food/Dynamic Syncopation/Fink

Reverb, Toronto ON

January 27

A Ninja Tune triple assault highlighted by Dynamic's hip-hop fury on four decks and DJ Food capping off an extremely tight set with a Sesame Street record. –Noel Dix

Michael Franti & Spearhead

Grandview Park, Vancouver BC

July 13

Truly a transcendent and moving experience with folks of all shapes and sizes converging in their own neighbourhood to share in the charismatic Franti's love in. –Fred Davies

One sunny summer afternoon in a park in Vancouver's lower east side, Michael Franti and Spearhead utterly embodied the joy of live performance. Soulful, funky and, at times, blissfully transcendent, Franti's free gig achieved that rare and primal crowd connection, mixing hippie ideology without the flakiness, hip-hop without the aggressiveness and dance music without the electronics. I didn't stop smiling for days. –Joshua Ostroff


Lee's Palace, Toronto ON

May 5

The album was decent enough, but nothing special. Live, an amazing voice, a drummer who also played viola, minimal synths and piano as backup, no guitars, and plenty of effects on the vocals. What else do you need? – Philip Downey

Guided By Voices

The Marquee, Halifax NS

August 11

Even if their last few albums haven't quite been up to scratch, they've got a back catalogue to delve into that most other bands fantasise about. And that's exactly what they did on this, their second night in Halifax. It was a rollicking two-hour trip through all the facets of rock music, culminating in a perfect version of "Baba O'Reilly" for an encore. Just amazing. –Michael Edwards

Matthew Herbert

Mutek @ SAT, Montreal QC

Montreal's Mutek Festival proved to be an ideal setting for sampler-wiz cum conductor Herbert, vocalist Dani Siciliano, and keyboardist Phil Parnell to strut their stuff. Herbert demonstrated live just how easy it can be to construct beats via sampling new sound sources (in this case, tapping mics and snap crackle ‘n popping plastic), Dani sang like an angel, and the audience swallowed each second whole. –Denise Benson

Kristin Hersh

Horseshoe, Toronto

June 25

Kristin Hersh's voice seemed especially raw and visceral in a night of heavy, intense songs. But Hersh constantly dispelled the intensity with her hilarious anecdotes about married life and living on the West Coast. One of the few performers who can shake the walls with an acoustic guitar and not become all sweet and folksy. –Vinita Ramani

Le Tigre

Lee's Palace, Toronto ON

August 21

Exhilarating: equal parts art class, disco throw-down, punk rock party, political rally, and schoolyard skipping rope session, not to mention Kathleen Hanna's first Canadian appearance. –Michael Barclay

Quiet Riot

Ingy Pub, Victoria BC

April 28

Finally getting to see my grade one heroes up close and intimate (very: this is a hotel) was unforgettable. –Greg Pratt


Spectrum, Montreal QC

October 27

Two and a half hours of a full audio assault from Mr. Spaceman & Co. Short of bringing along the orchestra, this was about as big a sound he could possibly reproduce live. Layers of guitar, deep bass, percussion, noise, and a fantastic brass section made this a religious experience that was hard to mentally recover from. Truly amazing. –Rob Bolton


Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver BC

Oct 25

The Groop electrified the material from Sound-Dust, hit on some classic material, and created swirling musical mayhem that was unforgettable but all too brief. –Marc Roy

Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros

Irving Plaza, New York NY

October 10

With stars and stripes draping a packed house full of reverence for one of punk's main men, whose genuine vitality fuelled his blend of Clash classics and new stuff — the contagious feeling of defiant positivity and unity couldn't help but catch. Amazing. –Lorraine Carpenter

Tool/King Crimson

Wiltern Theater, Los Angeles CA

August 13 & 14

A historic double bill where Tool, the prodigal sons, merged with their forefathers onstage in a beautiful 2200-seat art deco theatre to create a psychiatric experience that was directed by someone like David Lean or Stanley Kubrick and projected in Area 51. Tool were at their absolute peak, and as a result should probably retire as it will be impossible to reach that level of a mindfuck again. Art heals. Oh, and American audiences are far more rabid and crazy than Canadians could ever be. –Roman Sokal

Steve Wynn

Horseshoe, Toronto ON

October 11

This visit to the Toronto faithful was in support of his best-received solo record to date — the luscious, double-disc "Here Come The Miracles — and to showcase his seminal Dream Syndicate masterpiece, The Days Of Wine & Roses, in its entirety. From the first set profiling the new album, riddled with hooks and noisy attitude, to the thrill of the second set's faithful reproduction of this landmark album which, ahead of its time in '82, seemed right on schedule in '01. The attitude; garage-grade energy; savage, squalling guitars and Wynn's Reed-like, infectious vocals — everything was perfect. -Eric Thom