Tag Archives: Matt Murphy

NXNE Part 3: The Super Friendz

Matt Murphy

I was surprised by a friend when she handed me two North By Northeast wristbands. I promptly started scouring the NXNE schedule, these are the stories.

The Super Friendz

15 June 2013, 12am

The Great Hall

Drew Yamada

The last time I saw The Super Friendz perform in Toronto, I left the show with such a high that lasted me for a whole week, and no it was no artificially induced. It was teh first time I saw The Super Friendz live, and I expected it to be the only time I’d ever see that classic ’90s Halifax rock band. Fate seems to want to correct me.

Fate seemed to have a different plan for me. With NXNE came an announcement that The Super Friendz would be playing at The Great Hall. I usually avoid NXNE, as I’m not doing the whole blogging thing much any more and it’s at a terrible time for those of us who have day jobs in schools. Then when I was handed a free wristband, I was able to pass on my ticket to another and make some stranger happy.

It didn’t feel like the band hasn’t played together for a decade (except two shows) and the band members seemed to be having a great time up on stage. I don’t know what to say other than I left with a giant grin on my face. I loved watching the people in the audience during the encore going crazy to hear “Karate Man” live. Watching Matt Murphy in his Murph-tastic zone is always a pleasure.


  1. When They Paid Me
  2. Undertow
  3. Better Call
  4. Come Clean
  5. Rescue Us From Boredom
  6. Restricted
  7. Boots
  8. Up and Running
  9. Just Say So
  10. Down In Flames
  11. 10 lbs.
  12. <encore break>
  13. Absurd Without It
  14. Karate Man
  15. Super Friendz Theme1
  1. I think []

NXNE Part 1: Mike O’Neill

Mike O'Neill

I was surprised by a friend when she handed me two North By Northeast wristbands. I promptly started scouring the NXNE schedule, these are the stories.

Mike O’Neill

14 June 2013, 10pm

The Great Hall

Mike O'Neill

Mike O’Neill doesn’t play Toronto often. I don’t think he plays all that often, period. Mike O’Neill was, once upon a time, the bass player and songwriter for The Inbreds. The Inbreds were signed to Sloan’s Murderecords record label in the 1990s. Since then, over the past 13 years, O’Neill has released three solo records.

Mike O'Neill

Celebrating the release of a new book released by Sloan about the 7″ singles released by Murderecords, Mike O’Neill opened the show. Shining as always was O’Neill’s uncanny ability to write infectious pop songs and a charming smile that seemed to melt the hearts of all the girls. He opened with the pop song “Henry” and only got better with “Don’t Forget to Breathe.” He continued with “One Pair of Shoes” one of O’Neill’s most beautiful songs.

Mike O'Neill

O’Neill also played his most famous song. In 2001, Neko Case released an EP on vinyl only which featured some traditional songs and some songs by Canadian songwriters. For Canadian Amp, Case chose such songs as Neil Young’s “Dreamin’ Man,” “Knock Loud” by Sook-Yin Lee, and opened the album with Mike O’Neill’s beautiful song “Andy.”

Mike O'Neill

Backing O’Neill were the powerhouse trio of Chris Murphy of Sloan on drums, Matt Murphy of The Flashing Lights on guitar, and Charles Austin of The Super Friendz on bass and guitar.

Charles Austin


  1. Henry
  2. Don’t Forget To Breathe
  3. One Pair of Shoes
  4. Colin
  5. This Is Who I Am
  6. Andy
  7. Wasted Time
  8. Alsatian

Matt Murphy

Nostalgia Machine

Last night at Lee’s Palace, The Super Friendz reunited and brought the house down. Holy shit. That was truly one of the best shows I have seen in a long time. I had never seen The Super Friendz in the ’90s, or during their first reunion tour in 2003 or 2004. When they announced they would be playing Halifax Pop Explosion in October, I debated going… all the way to Halifax… for a single band. Fortunately they announced a Toronto date, and those two shows were the entirety of this tour. I’m very happy they decided to come to Toronto.

While I had never seen The Super Friendz, this is the closest as you can see because Adam decided to film me halfway through the song. I have seen The Flashing Lights at least four times, but I suspect that my list is not complete. When Matt Murphy fronted The Flashing Lights, he controlled the stage like no other. He was the frontman’s frontman. When he played in City Field, he just stood in the background, when he played a few solo shows, again he barely had any presence. The last time I saw him own the stage was at the Guy Terrifico CD release show.

Last night, last night, Matt Murphy was back into his form. He was the showman I knew him to be, he even tried to get up on the drum kit, but that failed. He didn’t hump the drum, though.

I was super-excited to see them perform Drew Yamada’s Undertow and Charles Austin’s Rescue Us From Boredom. Yes, I’m not only in it for Matt Murphy… but he really had the best Super Friendz songs.

The set list wasn’t perfect, but it was damn good, and they avoided much of the terrible reunion album Love Energy.

  1. When They Paid Me
  2. Undertow
  3. One Day
  4. Come Clean [Listen here]
  5. Rescue Us From Boredom [Listen here]
  6. Restricted
  7. Better Call
  8. Karate Man
  9. Fireflies
  10. Little Things
  11. Let You Go Cold
  12. Just Say So
  13. The World’s Most Embarrasing Moment
  14. Down In Flames
  15. 10 Lbs. [Listen here]
  16. Girls And Their Boys (encore)
  17. Absurd Without It (encore)
  18. Up & Running (encore)

There were some obviously missing items like Stop-Start and Forever A Day and Prattle On, but I guess it couldn’t be 100% Matt Murphy.

Honky Tonk Hiccups

Matt Muprhy + Neko Case = <3

#Rocktober 30 volume 14: Rob Benvie, Matt Murphy, Different Skeletons, and Queen’s Park

This month I turn 30. To mark such a remarkable event, I’m spending every day of October drenched in awesome-sauce.

Last night I went to a weird alley in Kensington which in turn led to a staircase up to a strange bar I’ve never been in.  It was a packed house where Rob Benvie of Thrush Hermit fame was to be reading from his new novel. I didn’t quite understand why the place was so packed, but I quickly found Natalia and Tim and hung out with those two for a while. After hanging around for a while, we spotted Val, in the audience, and chatted with her. Turns out she’s in a choir called Choir! Choir! Choir! who were performing that night. In addition, about 70% of the audience were also in Choir! Choir! Choir!

Benvie read a portion of his book, and I still hate being read to. It’s this weird problem I have, nothing against his prose. As he was finishing his reading, Choir! Choir! Choir! made their way up on the stage, and packed it like sardines. Suddenly the bar seemed empty. They performed two songs from the 1990s (when the book is set), one I didn’t recognize, and “Waterfalls” the TLC song, not the Paul McCartney song.

After that Benvie read more from his book, and shortly afterwards, a new band took the stage featuring Matt Murphy of Super Friendz/Flashing Lights fame. They played a handful of songs that were okay, but didn’t sound too tight. There was a large amount of feedback, leaving much of the audience with fingers in their ears. Who goes to club shows without earplugs? It really wasn’t anything special.

From there I had a quick walk up Augusta to College where I went to Rancho Relaxo. Closing the night at Rancho was Different Skeletons, a band featuring three awesome dudes, two of which are named Daniel. Unfortunately there were still two bands playing sets, and they both kinda sucked. So I spent those hours talking with Different Skeletons, their ladies, and other assorted friends.  Most of the time was with Julie and (drummer) Dan1. I’ve known Juile for years now, and about a year ago, she and Dan had a party at their place. I was chatting with Julie in the hallway, when Jamie walks by. Turns out that Jamie and (guitarist) Daniel’s band Fat City had lost their drummer and now formed Different Skeletons with Dan. It was slightly to weird to see two very distinct aspects of my life merge in an unexpected way, but it made for more opportunities to hang out with friends.

Different Skeletons then set up their gear on the dance floor, and performed a set which was sloppy at first, but got much better as the band went on. Dan’s drums were super loud, being immediately beside the audience, but fortunately ear plugs were invented. At first you couldn’t hear Jamie’s guitar, until about halfway through his songs2. The performances got better until their poorly attempted cover of Joel Plaskett’s “Nowhere With You.” All in all a fun set.

After an hour or two of goodbyes, I realized that the TTC was closed, and I didn’t want to cab back home, so I started walking east along College. From there I went to Queen’s Park. The Legislature is beautiful at night. I wandered the grounds of the Legislature and looked at the many statues in Queen’s Park.

From there I continued walking east, until I collapsed in my bed.

  1. Julie pops up from time to time in the site header, she’s the cute super-skinny girl. []
  2. Jamie and Daniel swap guitar and bass, playing one person’s songs, then the other’s. []

Ben Gunning (with Matt Murphy)

A long time ago, in the mythical 1990s, there were a couple bands who took my heart by storm. The Flashing Lights and The Local Rabbits. The two bands would frequently play shows together around Toronto. Sunday night the frontmen from those two bands played two sets at The Drake Hotel to kick off Ben Gunning’s residency.

Matt Murphy started off the night, he who was formerly in The Flashing Lights, was playing along with his acoustic guitar, and though I’ve seen this man perform countless times and in many different genres and band setups, I had never before seem him performing alone, with a guitar. Murphy started off the set with “Pretty Boy Floyd,” a classic Woody Guthrie song1. He carried on, mostly playing new songs, but did include a song from he called old, but didn’t date, which he only recently finished, in addition, a City Field song which was not on their EP, and “Worth A Song” from the Guy Terrifico soundtrack. Murphy swapped between acoustic and electric guitars, and finished the set with “Way Out There” by Hank Snow.

Ben Gunning’s set consisted almost entirely of songs from his two solo records, Beigy Blur and Mal De Mar2, with the exception of one new song. His performances were good, and though the audience consisted of myself and my friend Allegra, Gunning played as if he was playing to a sold out crowd. I can safely say that at least 50% of the audience thought he chose an ideal set list, combining the best of his two albums, from “Beauty of God” and “Oh Rebel” on the first record to “Take The Hook” and the title track from the second.

Ben Gunning continues his residency, playing the first Sunday of the next two months at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. You can catch him on August 1 (with Steven McKay) and September 5 (with Thomas).

  1. Which I know better as a Byrds song. []
  2. I really hope I spelled those right. []

Top 50 Albums of the Aughts

1) Sleater-Kinney – The Woods (2005)
2) The Magnetic Fields – i (2004)
3) Belle & Sebastian – Dear Catastrophe Waitress (2003)
4) The Flashing Lights – Sweet Release (2001)
5) Neko Case & Her Boyfriends – Furnace Room Lullaby (2000)
6) The Joel Plaskett Emergency – Down At The Khyber (2001)
7) Julie Doiron – Woke Myself Up (2007)
8) Neil Young – Live At Massey Hall 1971 (2007)
9) Valery Gore – Avalanche To Wandering Bear (2008)
10) God Help The Girl – God Help The Girl (2009)

11) Wilco – A Ghost Is Born (2004)
12) Joel Plaskett – Three (2009)
13) Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings The Flood (2005)
14) The Rural Alberta Advantage – Hometowns (2008)
15) Valery Gore – Valery Gore (2005)
16) Andrew Bird’s Bowl of Fire – The Swimming Hour (2001)
17) Elevator – A Taste of Complete Perspective (2000)
18) The Guthries – Off Windmill (2000)
19) The Magnetic Fields – Distorion (2008)
20) Cuff The Duke – Cuff The Duke (2005)

21) Matt Mays – Matt Mays (2002)
22) The Apples In Stereo – New Magnetic Wonder (2007)
23) Neko Case – Canadian Amp (2001)
24) Local Rabbits – This Is It, Here We Go (2001)
25) One Hundred Dollars – Forest of Tears (2007)
26) The Guthries – The Guthries (2002)
27) The Joel Plaskett Emergency – Ashtray Rock (2007)
28) Amy Millan – Honey From The Tombs (2006)
29) Elliott Brood – Ambassador (2005)
30) The New Pornographers – Mass Romantic (2000)

31) Rufus Wainwright – Poses (2001)
32) The Superfantastics – Pop-up Book (2007)
33) Dan Mangan – Nice, Nice, Very Nice (2009)
34) George Harrison – Brainwashed (2001)
35) Belle & Sebastian – The Life Pursuit (2006)
36) Sleater-Kinney – One Beat (2002)
37) Final Fantasy – Has A Good Home (2005)
38) K’naan – The Dusty Foot Philosopher (2005)
39) The Bicycles – The Good, The Bad & The Cuddly (2006)
40) Elliott Smith – From a Basement on the Hill (2004)

41) Peter Elkas – Wall of Fire (2007)
42) Gentleman Reg – Darby & Joan (2004)
43) Neko Case – Middle Cyclone (2008)
44) Wilco – Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
45) k-os – Joyful Rebellion (2004)
46) Matt Murphy – Bring It Back Home: The Life And Hard Times of Guy Terrifico (2004)
47) Cuff The Duke – Life Stories For Minimum Wage (2002)
48) Tom Petty – Highway Companion (2006)
49) Travis – The Boy With No Name (2007)
50) Ruth Minnikin – Marooned And Blue (2004)