Concert: Mute Cute Girl in Toronto

Artist: Mute Cute Girl (Sarah Slean and Friends)

Date: January 27, 2001

Venue: Rivoli

City: Toronto, ON Canada

Review by by James McGarry

Sarah Slean was scheduled to perform at the Rivoli in Toronto, ON on Thursday January 27th. She unfortunately got laryngitis and was instructed not to sing at risk of doing permanent damage to her voice. But like a true performer, she didn’t want to disappoint her fans. She show must go on! So Sarah and her Manager, Heather, put together a wonderful show!

Here is a recap from one of her fans who attended the show.

I think we’re all still in awe, Heather, “I just made some phone calls, man”, managed a, there’s no other word, miracle. I just don’t know what to say, gushing words don’t even do it…

The band:

Sarah Slean: piano and dry erase board
Sjanie McInnes: backing vocals and Sarah’s “Voice”
Kurt Swinghammer: guitar magic
Drew Bersten: bass
Mark Mariash: percussion
Tory Cassis: trumpet

There’s no real describing it though. I must say when Ms. Pollack tells
you there is a “surprise” you will be _surprised_. This was a dream, it
had to be, kids, this did happen, right?

All I’m thinking is, “Anyone else woulda just canceled. No one, on
_this_ planet would’ve rounded up a pile of musical pals and made
magic.” I’m so giddy thinking about this 🙂 It, it… it was an amazing

Get well soon, Sarah!


Set list

(Thanks Tab!)

Me & Jerome by Jay Englishman
Before Your Time by Kurt Swinghammer
My Invitation by Sarah Harmer
Habit by Dave Matheson (Moxy Fruvous)
Bonnie’s Song by Coco Love Alcorn
High by Tory Cassis
Eliot by Oh Susanna & Leslie Fiest (Fiest/By Divine Right)
Weight by Moe Berg
Blue Parade by Sjanie McInnes

[Sarah Slean Official Site]

Concert: Tara MacLean in Minneapolis (2000)

Artist: Tara MacLean

Date: January 25th, 2000

Venue: The Loring Bar

City: Minneapolis, MN

Review by [Amy Lotsberg] Producer of Collected Sounds

We got there in what we thought was plenty of time, but there are only a few tables and a few couches…all taken. So we hung out next to the bar.

I looked for Tara in the crowd but didn’t see her until she was getting up on stage. She was very stylish in her black bell-bottom slacks and a black shirt with a sun on the chest and red mesh sleeves. Her hair was in pig tails and she had on big chunky boots.

She chatted like she knew all of us personally and told some funny stories: Her husband, Bill gave her the boots she was wearing. She said, “I was sick and that’s what he does when I’m sick, he buys me shoes! A perfect man, perfect man.” Then she lifted up her pant leg and showed that the boots came up past her knees. He crowd “who–hoo”ed.

She said she put them on in the hotel and was, like, “whoa! So if I go bailing off the front of the stage…that’s why!”

When she introduced the song “Red” she said it was written for a former boyfriend. She dated Dennis for awhile (like 3 years) and he turned out to be a drug dealer “Don’t they all?”. And after they had broken up she ran into him in a bar. He was with a sleazy “bar fly” and Tara got angrier than she ever had been. She said, “You know how that is when your scalp tightens and your face flushes?” And she stared heading over to the girl to “take her out” (she described her as having “big hair (gestured big hair) and big __(gestured hips)”).
A bouncer who was a mutual friend of theirs stepped in a scooped her up and carried her out of the bar. She never got to beat the crap out of the girl but she said, “They’re married now.”

She spoke of growing up on Price Edward Island and of her father who was a sailor. When he would go out on the boat he would first teach her a guitar chord and she would practice it until he came back. When he would return she would be very excited that she had learned it. She said, “But I only know 5 chords…(fake weeping) he never came back”. Then giggled and said “No, I’m kidding!”

The encore. Child, was about when she was going through the bad breakup that resulted in her writing most of the CD Silence. “Most of that CD was written when I was getting over this fella.”
The song is the advice that her mother gave her. She said that she made it into a song so that one day her little girl would think that she was really smart.

After the show, she jumped off the stage and stood there while people came up to meet her. She signed autographs and sold some CDs.

I went up to her with my “Silence” CD in hand (the one I bought years ago) and asked her if she would sign it. She said, “Sure” and took the booklet out of the case. She said, “What’s your name?” I told her and she signed the booklet. I noticed that others were buying CDs but they looked different. I said, “Are those the same CD as this one?” and she said, “Yeah, they wanted me to be more direct I guess.” I wasn’t sure what she meant, but I gathered it was the cover art where she was looking straight into the camera instead of glancing downward.
She gave me back my CD and said, “It was nice to meet you Amy.”

Tara was adorable, funny, and personable and has a wonderful voice. I was actually surprised at how strong her voice is. She doesn’t cut loose as much on the recordings but her voice is positively beautiful!

Set list

That’s Me
Red (dedicated to Dennis the Drug Dealer
If I Fall (One I wrote for ‘Felicity’)
For You
Jordan – Dedicated to her dad A man of great faith.


[Tara MacLean Official Site]

Album Review: Blue Parade by Sarah Slean

Album Name: Blue Parade
Artist: Sarah Slean
Year/Label: 2001 / Independent

[Buy at Amazon]

Review by Sophie

Here was my initial impression of ‘Blue Parade’: aa, it’s nice, typical Sarah Slean, all the songs sort of sound the same, nothing on this recording to rival “I Know” or “John 23rd”.

OK, before the hate mail starts a-coming my way, let me repeat that this was my INITIAL impression. I didn’t toss it into the reject pile. I brought it with me in the car and just kept listening to it and listening to it and listening… until it was all-consuming and I couldn’t imagine even having the desire to listen to anything else. I thought all the songs sounded the same? How could I have thought that!! Yes, they sort of fit into a certain genre, but they do not all sound the same. I sort of hate to list favorites, but I can’t help it — I’ll do it anyway: “Narcolepsy Weed”, “Bonnie’s Song”, “Twin Moon” and “Blue Parade”. Those are probably my main ones. Of course I also love “High” and “Playing Cards With Judas”. Well, I guess that’s almost the whole album!! There is not one song that I dislike. Oh, I forgot to mention “Awake Soon”. How could I have forgotten that one?

My avocation is writing and yet, as that saying goes which way too many people have taken credit for over the years, talking about music is like dancing about architecture. And so my words fail me here. I find here a young woman – still in the process of developing her talent – who is not afraid to be fragile and, paradoxically, becomes strong for having that quality. Her music is beautiful, ethereal, etc… All these adjective have been used to death to describe her music, I’m sure.

I love “Blue Parade”. And it’s taking a little trip around the world: I bought a copy for my 18-year-old niece in Russia, who loves everything I send her (I turned her on to Tori), and I know she will love this CD, too.

Posted on January 1, 2000

Track Listing
1. Playing Cards with Judas
2. Bonnies Song
3. My Invitation
4. Before Your Time
5. Habit
6. Twin Moon
7. Awake Soon
8. HIgh
9. Eliot
10. Blue Parade
11. Narcolepsy Weed
Hidden Track: Madeliene

[Sarah Slean Official Site]

Album Review: To The Teeth by Ani DiFranco

Album Name: To The Teeth
Artist: Ani DiFranco
Year/Label: 2007 / Independent

Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

This is one of my new favorite Ani CDs. She never ceases to amaze me! I seem to like every new recording more than the last. As I mentioned before, she is joined by Prince and also her former touring partner, Maceo Parker.

This CD is very funky as you might well imagine!
The song, “Freakshow” is such a freaky song that my husband came over to my computer when I was listening for the first time, and said, “What the hell is this?” and picked up the CD. He was surprised to see it was Ani. After more listens it doesn’t seem that strange anymore, but it is still very cool.

I first heard Ani and band perform the song “Providence” on her tour through here last October. It is a beautiful song and I was really disappointed when it didn’t show up on “Up Up Up Up Up Up”. But now we get it in all it’s 7 minute and 18 second glory. I happen to have a copy this song being performed at the show here and since it is engraved on my brain from over listening, this version was different to my ears, but I like it nonetheless…and you can really tell that “Prince” is contributing some of his funky style.

This is a very strong CD and I think that even in it’s odd-ness, it will grow on everyone, especially if you already like Ani’s music. This maybe isn’t a good first try for someone just getting into her though.

On the title track, “To The Teeth”, which she performed here at Midway Stadium last July (see review) she speaks (sings) of what people with guns are doing to America . “I’m gone take all my friends / and I’m gonna move to Canada / and we’re gonna die of old age.” Sounds good to me!

Posted on January 1, 2000

Track Listing
1. To The Teeth
2. Soft Shoulder
3. Wish I May
4. Freakshow
5. Going Once
6. Hello Birmingham 7. Back Back Back
8. Swing
9. Carry Around You
10. Cloud Blood 11. The Arrivals Gate
12. Providence
13. I Know This Bar

[Ani DiFranco Official Site]


Album Review: Diabolical Streak by Jill Tracy

Album Name: Diabolical Streak
Artist: Jill Tracy
Year/Label: 1999 / Slight of Hand

Buy the CD

Review by Amy Lotsberg Producer of Collected Sounds

You are in New Orleans, it’s hot, muggy and the air still. You are sitting in a small dark theater drinking and fanning yourself to get cool. But you hardly notice because and listening to an incredible performer who is playing the piano and telling stories of death and love.

This album transports me to another place and time. It creates such imagery. Her music is a cross between ragtime, Tori Amos and a little Squirrel Nut Zippers gone mad. Her voice recalls Siouxie Sioux. Her lyrics are beautiful yet unsettling.

The CD opens with “Evil Night Together”. Which is sort of a frolicking, “let’s go out and do crimes” kind of feeling:

“I’ll hold your hand while they drag the river
I’ll cuddle you in the undertow
I’ll keep my hand on your trigger finger
I’ll take you down where the train tracks go
Let’s while away the hours
Let’s spend an evil night together”

Meanwhile the music is filled with jangly piano, a weeping violin and a strong drum beat.

The song, “The Proof” is all over this death theme. Whether it is with “her husbands hunting knife” or at ones own hands…it is quite spooky.

She moves away from the death thing for a trip to love in “Extraordinary”.

“I’ve searched the holy books and I’ve dog-eared every page
I’ve stolen secrets from the sorcerer’s own sage
I’m rendered speechless in my pretty little rage
But I’ll save one word for you…

Then there is the other side of love with “The other Side of Pain

“The Persian rugs have gone threadbare
The waxing moon has lost its flair
The wishes drowned beneath the well
The razor blades have all gone dull.”

With song titles such as “The Fine Art of Poisoning”, “Pulling Your insides Out” and “Doomsday Serenade” you get the idea. If this is your thing I highly recommend this CD. Go ahead…spend an evil night with Jill Tracy, I dare you!

Posted on December 5, 1999

Track Listing
1. Evil Night Together
2. The Fine Art of Poisioning
3. Pulling Your Insides Out
4. Extraordinary
5. The Proof
6. Just the Other Side of Pain
7. You Leave Me Cold
8. Doomsday Serenade
9. Precursor # 7 (For a Levitation)
10. Diabolical Streak

[Jill Tracy Official Site]


Concert: Tori Amos Alanis Morrisette in Minneapolis

Artist: Tori Amos Alanis Morrisette

Date: September 16, 1999

Opening Act: Lotusland

Venue: Target Center

City: Minneapolis, MN

Review by [Amy Lotsberg] Producer of Collected Sounds

The opening band was called Lotusland. Being that promoted this concert, they used a lot of their bands to be openers for this tour.
These guys were good. Part Siouxie and the Banshees and part Throwing Muses…dreamy pop that rocked out occasionally. Go to their site and listen for yourself.

We were amazed that Tori was playing first, but not unhappy! We really expected to hear Alanis first, but when we heard the opening sounds of Cornflake Girl we smiled and said, “Tori? First?”

Cornflake Girl segued into “God”. What hit me immediately and what unfortunately was present all through the show is that the sound at Target Center is the worst. It was just a wall of sound. This is partly due to the fact that I don’t believe that Tori has ever played the same song the same way twice (which is a good thing). But this time it was so over-produced and messy that I could not tell which songs were being played. And I am a huge Tori fan! I own all her major releases, many singles and *shhh* a bootleg or two. But even I was stumped until I heard a familiar lyric.

his was not true of all the songs she played. She came out all by herself and did a great rendition of “Jackie’s Strength”. About half way through it she stopped playing, laughed and said, “I fucked that one up good…let’s start again…” and continued singing without missing a beat. Every applauded and laughed and all was good. She continued to amaze us with her beautiful voice reaching those high notes and making the stadium buzz with electricity.

For an Encore she did Precious Things. All I can say is, “Perfect”.

I am sorry that I cannot give a full review of Alanis’ set as we did not stay for the whole thing. You can blame my husband who absolutely despises her and felt he should chatter on about just how much he can’t stand her the entire time. It began to be less fun for me too so we left.

But we did see 3 or 4 of her songs and I thought she was very entertaining. I am writing this 3 months after the concert so I regret that I cannot remember which songs they were. I enjoyed her though, so : P on Greg!