Concert Review: Teenage Kicks and Clothes Make The Man

Band: Teenage Kicks and Clothes Make The Man

Venue: The Horseshoe Tavern

City: Toronto, ON

Date: November 11, 2010


Teenage Kicks – 3.5 out of 5

Clothes Make The Man – 4 out of 5

By Aaron Binder

Teenage Kicks

You don’t get anywhere in the music biz with a bad name (okay, Cute is What We Aim For may have gotten lucky) or a cheesy persona.  It seems like Teenage Kicks have built their style of music and swagger around this thought.  They are a bunch of guys who seem to just enjoy playing straight up rock and roll and not giving a damn what anyone thinks about it.

While this does make for an entertaining stage show, they may want to consider integrating some more noticeable melodies into their music if they really want to captivate crowds.  To contrast that thought, they sure as hell excel at getting people behind their easy to love choruses, simple but well-layered guitars and blues-influenced solos.  It’s the kind of music that gets way better the more you drink, and that is meant in the best way possible…I’m sure more than one person has thought to themselves ‘Hey, it’s Tuesday morning, why shouldn’t I open the bottle of Jack?”

Their set was mostly enjoyable, although some of the songs tend to blend together from one to the next, many of the melodies and hooks aren’t accentuated enough to really notice, but with some slight tweaks they could create some ultra engaging tunes.  They were slightly sloppy throughout the set, unfortunately during their flagship song ‘Shook our Bones’ they were a little off, but luckily their set picked up afterward.

This is the band that you could enjoy at a college party in a college movie; easy, giving and there to have a good time.  They ended their set with I Get What You Give, the other song of their 2 song 7”, it is a delightful romp that is by far their best song, you can tell a lot of heart and soul has gone into this one.  It is definitely radio single material as well, the melody sticks out, already great bass is kicked up a notch and the vocals strike straight through the heart. If they can keep writing great songs like this, they’ll be a must see in 2011.

Clothes Make The Man

Photo by Sunny Fong

Kingsville, Ontario is a small town of about 6000 situated about 45 minutes from the more broke than a dollar store pregnancy test city of Windsor.  The town is best known for their long but mostly undocumented history of ditch-jumping championships at Lakeside Park, ditch-weed grade marijuana, and as being an exporter of some of the best musical talent in the country.  That’s right, the whole freakin’ country.  Considering that half of Clothes Make the Man is from Kingsville, it is safe to say that they are damned awesome.

Usually when you head out to a show and check out an obscure band on the rise, you can often tell they are nervous on stage, their mannerisms seem forced and there isn’t much of a connection with the crowd.  When CMTM stepped onto stage at the Horseshoe on November 11th, they stepped up with the aplomb of seasoned veterans and proceeded to do what they do best, kick more ass than a kung fu school situated on a donkey farm.

Not only is their brand of rock engaging and fantastic, they have some of the strangest but most entertaining banter out there.  I’d expand on this thought, but it’s really worth checking out on your own…oh, also for the music.  Each musician brings their own weapon to the mix, they command their instruments masterfully as a unit, which is far more innuendo than necessary, but poignant nonetheless, each song they play has a flavour of each member in the mix.

The band is great, but their strengths lie in their new music, their older tunes are good, but their new stuff is great.  When it comes down to the final thought, we all want to have fun and listen to something that strokes the pleasure centre in our possibly fickle minds, CMTM provide that enjoyment, and for anyone that isn’t a complete sycophant, you may even enjoy the fact that it is starkly obvious they love being up there too.


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