Friday, September 29, 2006

Our Love Is So Much Stronger

concert review: The Dears @ The Mod Club(Toronto, Ontario), September 27, 2006

I've seen The Dears live quite a few times now. I'd already seen them twice this year - their Canada Day show at Harbourfront in Toronto and then their set at the Virgin Festival earlier this month. My favourite live show of theirs was and still is their triumphant show at the Phoenix in July 2005, a dramatic combination of The Dears epic rock songs set against the backdrop of interesting light effects. Yesterday's show at The Mod Club came close to the emotional resonance of their Phoenix show last year, even if yesterday's show was less theatrical. And while I found the musical directness of the new material initially less interesting(than "No Cities Left"'s songs) in a live setting(when I saw The Dears at Harbourfront in August), their performance at Virgin Festival and yesterday's performance at The Mod Club only confirms how much the new material is starting to sink in for me.

With the band impeccably dressed in black outfits, they exuded an aura of Euro-cool yet still maintained an affability about themselves. The affability I mention, I particular saw in the guitarist(Patrick Krief) and the rhythm section(George Donoso III on drums and Martin Pelland on bass guitar) who were quite a bit more animated than the band's female members. Female members Valerie and Natalia both on keyboards bookended either side of the stage, Valerie on one hand casting seductive glances to the audience, Natalie on the other hand expressing a Sprockets-like coolness, and still both alluring in their own ways. I found the sound mix quite a bit of an improvement from any of the previous shows I've seen them live. In the past, I usually found Valerie and Natalia's background vocals buried in the mix, and further along these lines I'd say the same for Valerie's flute arrangements(particulary on "Never Destroy Us"). However this time around, it was a joy to finally hear the nuances of Valerie's and Natalie's background vocals and Valerie's flute arrangements. Murray Lightburn was in top form, not only vocally but also in his role as frontman as he brought at times an Evangelical zeal to the stage. The set was a mix of songs from "No Cities Left" and "Gang Of Losers" and for a free show(sponsored by Rogers and alsp part of The Edge's Next Big Thing Concert Series) the crowd was pleasantly enthusiastic. Like Murray said to the audience yesterday, the band's been the Next Big Thing for, like, the last 6 years. And what I perceived as a subtle 'f*!k-you' to The Edge was Murray thanking The Edge for supporting them at least for that one night - really how often does The Edge play The Dears, at least compared to some of the shit music they play ad nauseum?

Oh, sorry folks, no photos. Forgot my camera. The only photos I could find from the show were from Kari.

Of course, check out the band's MySpace for tour dates and such. They'll be back in Toronto for a two-night stint at Lee's Palace on November 16 and 17.

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