Spring is in the air (and frankly has been pretty much all winter here in Toronto) and I'm starting to venture out to some shows. I saw The Joy Formidable, A Place to Bury Strangers and Exitmusic at Lee's Palace. They put on an excellent show at one of my favourite venues. I can't wait to see The Joy Formidable again on their next trip through Toronto.
Exitmusic definitely has the atmospheric and quiet-loud dynamics elements down. Not so much for crowd interaction but that's certainly not a deal breaker. Although I couldn't hum one of their songs today, I'll definitely look for more of their music online.
The guitar player from A Place to Bury Strangers should get some kind of award for coolest sound check. Turn up guitar. Let a wail of feedback and groan of discord ring out and we're good to go.
A few minutes later their set started with the band positioning their own lights and getting the aural bombast started. They do bring the noise. And what an enjoyable noise it was. They don't sound as "gothy" live as they do on album. At least to me. Unfortunately I didn't pick out "So Far Away" which I found to be their most accessible song in my pre-show listening. Good stuff from these dark noise-makers.
After a long harp tune-up and set change, the main attraction took the stage. Besides a few festival gigs they have set for this summer, this was the final show of their tour in support of The Big Roar so they let us know early that they planned to go out in style.
When they opened with "A Heavy Abacus" I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. One of my favourites for sure. They played "Cradle" fairly shortly thereafter. The singer was a dervish on stage. Bouncing from drummer to bassist to mic to gong and back again. Overall, it was a truly solid main set.
The band really show how great a time they are having up there. The drummer has tremendous energy and enthusiasm, the singer is almost boundless and seems as though she'll break free of gravity at any moment, and the bass player does his best to hold it all together while grooving out.
For the encore, they treated us to a song from their recently-completed new album with the quiet "Silent Treatment". The new album is due out in the fall. Can't wait. Except for the whole another-summer-will-be-over-by-then thing.
Then we got a marathon "Whirring" for their final song of a fantastic evening.
Young bands remember - trashing your gear at the end of the show means not having to play another encore.
I've posted tons of The Joy Formidable videos before so here are some different ones.
"A Heavy Abacus" live from London Koko
"The Everchanging Spectrum of a Lie" live from Sarm Studio
A live version of "Whirring". Eight minutes of joy. Who could ask for more?
"Greyhounds in the Slips"
"Cradle" from Glastonbury 2011
A Place to Bury Strangers have just released this tune, "You Are The One", from their forthcoming album Worship which is out June 26.
And here's Exitmusic's video for "The Hours"
The photos in this post are original pics by me, not the usual professional pics stolen from some other web site. You can tell the difference original art makes.