steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

live review
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info opinion


The Subways

Mar 9, 2006

@ Sala Rossa

part of April 2006 update

This British trio played on the OC but I still didn't expect their show to be so well-attended by the teenage girl demographic. I figured the relative obscurity and hipness of the Sala Rosa would probably keep away the hording masses. Oh, so naive.

Don't get me wrong, this was no hormone holiday - there were plenty of older types around, but the OC definitely left its mark. As for the music, I came in familiar only with their biggest single, "Rock N Roll Queen," but left feeling like I knew the whole repertoire. That was partly because the songs sounded the same, but also because, from a songwriting standpoint, this was damn catchy stuff. Lead male singer Billy's nasal Anglophone wail worked perfectly, and the harmonies provided by bassist/singer Charlotte added to the fun, though her mic seemed to be a little low in the mix. My judgemental self tired of some of the attempted rock cliches; Billy went for the wild frontman routine, but often came off stiff - crowdsurfing for 2 seconds then asking to be put back on the stage, climbing up on the speakers then carefully climbing down (where's the leap of faith, man?). They threw Montreal a few bones ("bonjour!" to introduce themselves, "merci!" between songs) and heaped praise at the audience ("you are the reason we do this!") but you got the feeling they wanted to be in a bigger venue than they were. I was tickled by the presence of roadies, the first time I saw a whole crew with designed t-shirts setting up at the Sala, and shed a silent tear watching Code Pie (who I regrettably missed) packing their gear into a car right next to The Subways' ridiculous tour bus. But pretensions aside, this was at heart a fun concert. The crowd, a little young, was ten times as enthusiastic as the ones that inhabit the room on other nights. Saving their big hit for the encore was a cute gesture, though I thought the last song before it was probably their best (not to mention the longest, peaking with a climatic finale that almost distracted me from Billy's on-stage antics.) I probably wouldn't shell out my own cash to see these guys, but I have no problem with them spearheading the teenage rock revival scene. If this is what we're dealing with, the current generation of adolescent girls is in good hands.

Matt Shimmer