Live review: Shiny Toy Guns at Santos Party House, NYC

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What a difference a new singer can mean to a band. When Shiny Toy Guns’ singer/keyboardist Carah Faye Charnow left/quit the band earlier in the year, there was a public outcry on message boards. Enter new singer Sisely Treasure, a longtime friend of STG’s, who stepped in to join the band and record vocals on their upcoming second album, Season of Poison. Probably due to Treasure’s brush with reality TV on Pussycat Dolls Present: The Search For The Next Doll, sentiment among fans was guarded and expectations low. On their first NYC in over a year, the foursome tore through a set of hits from their ubiquitous debut, We Are Pilots, opening with the urgent electro-rock of “Starts With One.” Amid a barrage of blinding strobe lights and smoke, Treasure sauntered onto the stage and used the duration of the show to confirm she is twice the presence of the band’s former singer. Sometimes jogging in place while she sang, other times strutting like a diva, she was often poised right at the front of the stage—something her predecessor was loath to do. When she belted out new single “Ricochet!,” articulating every single lyric, a throng of Jersey/Long Island teenyboppers poised by the front of the stage were jumping in unison with her. The finale was an obvious bookend: a rousing rendition of their mega-hit, “You Are the One,” and it was good to see everyone remembered the song’s lyrics. Though their set began and ended with old hits, Shiny Toy Guns have turned a page on their career. At last they can finally concentrate on their next chapter.

Words & images: Darren Ressler

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Exclusive: Peter Hook says New Order has split up, starts Freebass with ex Smiths and Stone Roses bassists

New Order bassist Peter Hook has talked to Big Shot about the rumors of the legendary electronic band’s demise. “New Order have broken up,” he told us, speaking from Los Angeles. Hook says it’s in every band’s interest to know when to call it a day, and he is busy taking on new projects.

“As far as I’m concerned New Order have split up and the atmosphere is very frosty, unfortunately,” Hook says. However, he wouldn’t rule out a future reunion. “Good God, if The Eagles could get together again after they went through then I suppose there’s hope for us all.”

Despite his relationship with vocalist Bernard Sumner going sour, Hook and drummer Stephen Morris closely oversaw the band’s new DVD, Live at Glasgow (they hated the way the last DVD looked), which also contains unreleased performances from Glastonbury in 1981 and various festivals. Hook jokes he is more excited about the older material than the recent Glasgow footage.

“As far as I’m concerned New Order have split up and at the atmosphere is very frosty, unfortunately.”

Hook keeps busy by DJing and co-founded a new band, Freebass, with bassists Mani (Stone Roses/Primal Scream) and Andy Rourke (The Smiths). “We originally started it one drunken evening because we were all pissed off with our lead singers because they wouldn’t work,” he explains. “Thankfully it’s grown into something I am becoming quite proud of and it’s getting me quite excited these days. We’ve got eight songs finished at the moment. Once we got over the hilarity of taking the piss of three bass players working together, it’s actually worked so I’m delighted.”

Freebass has enlisted the vocal services of Tim Burgess (The Charlatans) and Howard Marks, among others. Hook says Ian Brown and Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins) will both appear on their forthcoming release. So Freebass’ debut album will arrive in 2009, right? Wrong! “Expect something very quickly, actually,” Hook promises. “I’m determined to get rid of it! I’ve been really busy DJing, and I keep putting the project on the back burner. Obviously, I still have to work to live so it’s difficult for me to commit full time to Freebass. But it’s getting there, slowly inching forward. Fortunately, we’ve been helped by our friends along the way.”

Listen to Peter Hook discuss New Order’s breakup and the band’s new Live at Glasgow DVD. Plus, Hooky reveals the recent discovery of a vault in Manchester full of rare live tracks!