By: TJ Liebgott
September 21, 2009
"Perez Hilton Presents" went down exactly as you’d picture it: a self indulgent event to further glorify a man whose only role in life is to air other people’s dirty laundry and crudely draw cocks overtop pictures of celebrities. However, one thing I did not bank on is that Perez actually has a knack for quality music.
Before the show even started, patrons where greeted by a giant TV over the stage that made the Opera House look like a Much Music video dance party. Videos of artists such as Lady Gaga and Madonna played away until they where replaced by an introduction by Hilton that was reminiscent of 80’s icon Max Headroom. For those of you that missed out on the Max Headroom craze, give it a quick Google and you’ll see why it was just as annoying now as it was then.
Fans of Norway artist Ida Maria were disappointed to learn that somewhere between New York and Toronto, Ida Maria had to leave the tour. Fortunately the hole was filled quickly by locals Anjulie and Woodhands. Having only heard Anjulie’s name in passing but never her music, I was quickly taken in by this Toronto artist. Backed by a very talented band, Anjulie’s music is a hard thing to pin down. Her influences seemed to range from the days when Diva’s were known for there soulful voices and not their tempers, with a mix of 60’s girl groups and a little Cyndi Lauper thrown in for good measures. For some reason the set reminded me of something you would hear in a Quentin Tarantino movie. The highlight of Anjulie’s set was the incredibly catchy single "Boom," which had some great dance moves from her backing singers. It’s only a matter of time before Anjulie’s aspirations become to large for Toronto to contain.
I still don’t know what to think of Toronto band Woodhands. At times, this two-piece was fun and energetic and at others not so much. Most of the time when I did get into their set it was when they where playing covers like Eddy Grant’s "Electric Avenue" and parts of the Run DMC classic "It’s Tricky." While the band has talent, I think Woodhands sounds better coming from a DJ’s iPod at Wrongbar than they do live.
New York band Semi Precious Weapons is the kind of band I wish was from Toronto just so I could write about them more without feeling the guilt. Having first seen SPW at the Velvet Underground last year, it was good to see them in a bigger venue like the Opera House. The larger stage gave them the chance to really go crazy. SPW treated the stage like its own personal amusement park and discovered every square inch of the venue. SPW is a band that gives 110 percent to their audience and demands their audience to give them the same treatment with lead singer Justin Tranter screaming "louder bitches" between songs. Opening with their self-titled track "Semi Precious Weapons" and closing with the unforgettable "Magnetic Baby", SPW provided an assault to all the senses that will long be remembered. Next time this glam rock outfit is in town be sure and check them out.
Closing the tour was New Zealand’s Ladyhawke. Unfortunately, Ladyhawke lacked the intensity that SPW had. The stage show was pretty static with frontwoman Phillipa Brown barely moving a foot away from her mic. It wasn’t until the third song in before things started getting going. Its too bad because the music is very well written and would be great for busting out some wicked moves at the Dance Cave, but the live show was severely lacking. The only real highlight was the song "Dusk Til Dawn." It seems as if most agreed since the crowd began slowly disappearing as Ladyhawkes set went on. Perhaps Ladyhawkes music would serve better as something you put in your CD player while getting ready to hit the town on a Saturday night.