concert review: Centro-matic w/ Great Lake Swimmers, D Trevlon @ Horseshoe Tavern(Toronto, Ontario), April 5, 2006
Wednesday night I caught a trio of musical acts at the Horseshoe who performed satisfying sets for the fickle Toronto audience in attendance. It's a shame that the audience weren't more attentive for Kirkland Lake, Ontario artist D Trevlon because he performed a decent set of noir folky, country tunes that were reminiscent of Lee Hazelwood and Johnny Cash. Ok, so maybe the gist of my description of D Trevlon's music was lifted from his MySpace site, but so be it. D Trevlon's vocals are less baritone than Lee Hazelwood, but the moody atmospherics of Lee Hazelwood is stamped firmly all over the music, which really was just D's vocals, acoustic guitar, and a little bit of footstomping here and there. The streaming audio tracks over at his MySpace site is a good place to sample some of his songs. Also check out the MySpace site for some future live dates(he even has a show on April 19th in Mississauga at Executives of all places, but will also take part in the Toronto Roots Festival which'll be running from June 23rd to 25th).
My experience with trying to catch Great Lake Swimmers live(either as a solo act or as a band) has been like trying to catch a glimpse of Snuf-a-lufagus: I just kept on missing them. For the most part, it's been sheer laziness that I haven't made it out to any of the numerous shows Great Lake Swimmers have performed in and around Toronto. (I almost caught a Tony Dekker solo performance during this year's Canadian Music Week but that show was as an opener for Isobel Campbell, and of course you know that got cancelled.) It was a great pleasure to see them finally, and it was the full band version that performed Wednesday night. It was quite obvious by how fast the immediate area in front of the stage filled up after D Trevlon's set, who most people were there to see. It was a beautiful set of hushed folk-rock with the vulnerable vocals of Tony Dekker guiding the songs along. Actually, the songs were slightly more spunky at times than I'd expected such as on the band version of "I Will Never See The Sun". Centro-matic's keyboardist contributed some violin on several songs. Tony's own band added varying bits of guitar, banjo, bass guitar, and brushed drum rhythms with a respectable subtlety that matched the music's melodic beauty. The turnout for Great Lake Swimmers was much larger than I'd thought especially for a Wednesday night, so it made for a thoroughly enjoyble set.
Unfortunately after GLS' set, the crowd thinned out a bit. Well, too bad for those that left, but headliners Denton, Texas' Centro-matic definitely brought the goods. I'm new to the band and it's more than a little mind boggling how prolific this band has been over the last 10 years. Yes, there's definitely a lot of catching up for me to do. My best reference point for Centro-matic's music during their set is "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot"/"A Ghost Is Born"-era Wilco. I anticipated a little bit of a country rock influence and while that influence did rear it's head, the music was much more dynamic than that. I was surprised and also grateful to hear a dominant pop influence, from the sing-a-long vocals/background vocals, to some bits of crunchy power-pop guitar work and tuneful keyboard arrangements, and finally a arsenal of vacuum-tight pop melodies. Will Johnson's affecting lead vocals were dynamic, quiet and confessional one moment, then yearning and urgent the next. I loved how he'd step away from his mic and still continued to sing, giving his vocals a distant-sounding quality. The enthusiasm level of the band seemed high as displayed by their physical enthusiasm onstage and Will Johnson seemed very grateful for the band's reception from the smaller-than-during-Great-Lake-Swimmers'-set but enthusiastic crowd. Great set for the band's Toronto debut. The one-song encore was a nice ending to the night, and if I remember correctly after asking the guitarist at the merch table, was a song called "Love Has Found Me" which is the catchiest slice of keyboard driven pop music since Wilco's "Hummingbird" which coincidentally Centro-matic's song is very remniscent of. Although, Centro-matic's song first came out in 2000 on a split 7" single they released with Tripping Daisy.(Download the mp3 here.)
[photos from the show]
Download an mp3(courtesy of Team Clermont) of new song "Artic Circle" by Final Fantasy off his upcoming new album "He Poos Clouds".
UK's White Rose Movement will make up their cancelled Toronto date with a show at Lee's Palace on May 10th. [via Emerge]
Eric Warner informs over at Stille Post that, Saturday Looks Good To Me will be performing a matinee show as part of the Over The Top Fest on May 7th at The Drake Hotel. And there'll be BBQ. Hmmm. BBQ. Check the newly launched Over The Top Fest website for all the details about this year's festival.