The Bicycles released a new album Thursday night at Lula Lounge, with special guests Hooded Fang, and The Magic.
It was a special show indeed Thursday night at the Lula Lounge, a venue not normally frequented by indie-rock fans. With The Bicycles, Hooded Fang, and The Magic billed together, attendees got to see three of Toronto’s most tuneful pop bands—though each one utilizes those pop hooks markedly differently.
Performance: The Gordon brothers fronted a seven-piece band for the show, including guest vocalist Jessy Bell Smith. It’s a bit tricky describing The Magic’s sound. The Guardian went with “Yacht Rock,” though judging by the performance we saw, we’d say that doesn’t quite capture the soul and funk this group is mining. In any event, Geordie and Bell Smith enthusiastically crooned to the crowd, which was appropriate to the venue’s decor. Early in the set, Geordie purred to the appreciative crowd, “This is a romantic room, no?”
Best Moment: The audience responded well to the first single from Ragged Gold, “Call Me Up.”
Miscellaneous: The Gordons aren’t resting on their laurels after Ragged Gold. “We’re working on a new album slowly,” confided Geordie, before he and Bell Smith performed an unnamed new tune.
Performance: While Hooded Fang did some quick sound checking, the fuzz emanating from the speakers made it clear the night was changing to something a bit rougher around the edges. As the band has contracted in size and morphed over time, elements of Daniel Lee and April Aliermo’s other musical projects—most notably their surf-punk duo Tonka & Puma—have been incorporated into Hooded Fang’s sound. The songs still have a rock-solid pop underpinning, though.
Best Moment: Dan and April faced each other, heads together, for a good chunk of “Vacationation.”
Miscellaneous: April told a story about how she and Dan wrote the lyrics for a new tune for a forthcoming album Gravez: “We wrote this song together, but in different parts, and then put them together. I wrote about life, and love, and then I asked Dan, ‘What’d you write about?’ ‘Game of Thrones.’ It works well together, though!”
Performance: The time away from each other has really helped the Bicycles grow. The diverse influences on some songs—like slow, country-crooner “Appalachian Mountain Station”; “Bandana Cat,” which evokes the WKRP in Cincinatti theme; and the video-game-inspired “Goldeneye”—demonstrate that all five members brought lots to the table for their new album, Stop Thinking So Much, whose release was the occasion for the show. The fact that every one of them (save for strong-silent-type bassist Randy Lee) sings lead vocals on certain songs demonstrates the group’s depth of talent, too.
Best Moment: The Bicycles are rock stars for some dedicated fans, at least. Several bras were thrown on stage—and perhaps specifically at Andrew Scott, who was singing lead on new tune “Try Too Hard” at the time.
Miscellaneous: The Bicycles took the time to thank plenty of people during their set, including their guests and their long-time manager Maria Bui. They also gave shout-outs to fellow musicians in the crowd. They mentioned The Elwins’ 7-inch release show on Saturday April 6, and praised Maylee Todd’s new album, Escapology. Sure enough, during the next song, the newly tanned and blonde Todd was crowdsurfing.