We realize that we probably talk about Owen Pallett, aka Final Fantasy, way too much. So we’re not going to talk about his free show on Saturday night at North York Central Library, also featuring The Creeping Nobodies, Hank, Ninja High School, and Bob Wiseman. Nope, not a word.
Instead, what we do want to tell you about is the Toronto Public Library’s stellar new local CD selection – the whole reason that the two library concerts are happening. The TPL (with some help from Soundscapes) have bought up and put into distribution a whole bunch of CDs that you can borrow just as you would any other album from the library (meaning there’s no special conditions, and you can reserve them for pickup).
Some of the almost 150 artists whose new releases will be available to borrow throughout Toronto’s library system? Howsabout the Hidden Cameras, Peaches, K’naan, Laura Barrett, MSTRKRFT, Islands, Kardinal Offishall, Feist, Broken Social Scene, Apostle of Hustle, k-os, More Or Les, The Bicycles, Controller.Controller, Death From Above 1979, Metric, Amy Millan, Our Lady Peace, Royal City, and, of course, Final Fantasy and all of the bands who played with him on Saturday night. We’ve gotta say that with the exception of a few picks (uh…like Massari; aren’t Honda Civics and library cards mutually exclusive?) the TPL’s done one hell of a job picking their releases.
To get your hands on the releases, you can either browse the library catalogue, or just call or drop by your local branch. Oh, and a review of Saturday’s show is after the fold, but you probably don’t want to read that.
Screencap of Final Fantasy XIII from RPGamer.
Well, ok, we had to say something.
Saturday night’s concert was amazing – as far as free, all-ages shows in out-of-the-way public libraries go. Final Fantasy was as incredible as you’ve probably heard he is, and you could hear people whisper “holy shit,” “oh my god,” or some combination of the two every time he’d loop one track of vocals or violin on top of another one during a song. Pallett went through track by track, flawlessly, with nothing but his violin and a hell of a lot of pedals, producing a sound that is anything but minimal. It’s hard to describe. Instead, you could just watch Pallett perform “This Lamb Sells Condos” in San Francisco a few months back. Nothing is pre-recorded, nothing goes wrong. If you could see Pallett’s feet, you’d see them frantically tapping along to the beat, before jumping back and forth from pedal to pedal, playing back the snippets of violin or vocal parts he had recorded moments before in perfect synchronicity with one another.
There were technical difficulties. The sound wasn’t terrific for some of the bands. Mics went out. At the beginning of Pallett’s set, a water bottle on top of an amp fell off and spilled onto the stage, which the violinist didn’t notice until midway through a song. He took his socks off, and chuckled as enthusiastic young volunteers wiped the ground behind him. “I’ll return the favour,” Pallett told them between breaks, “whenever you spill water.” But the mood dropped a bit after that, Pallett visibly a bit annoyed at having a thin layer of water under his feet. In the end, he played for less time – though was no less spectacular – than any of the other acts before him.
Those other bands, meanwhile, completely charmed (Bob Wiseman – with adorable videos), completely scared (The Creeping Nobodies – with their lead singer), or completely polarized (Ninja High School – with their mosh pit) the audience. Worth it? Definitely.
If you missed out on the concert, but are dying to see a library show, there are still a few tickets left for November 18th’s gig at the Toronto Reference Library, featuring Great Lake Swimmers.