Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Radio Dept., Nightbox @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (May 29, 2011)

The Radio Dept @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon
  The Radio Dept @ Horseshoe Tavern: photo by Michael Ligon

Update[June 15/2011, 12:06 am]: Review now up.

So it had only been February 7 of this year which marked the Toronto debut of Swedish shoegaze-y, indie-pop trio The Radio Dept. but that didn't stop them from booking a second Toronto show just 3 1/2 months after, this time taking place at the slightly cozier Horseshoe Tavern. The other big show that night was anthemic Scottish shoegaze pop outfit Glasvegas playing a sold-out show at Lee's Palace and since my plans were foiled in picking up an advance ticket to the show, I decided to go check out The Radio Dept. for a second time.

New local dance-rock outfit Nightbox opened the show attempting to drive the crowd into a frenzy and only half succeeding. Indeed there was a small yet enthusiastic number of people dancing but then there was also quite a number of others seemingly disinterested. Count me as somewhere in the middle. I appreciated the band's sensibilities and was reminded a bit of UK's Friendly Fires but for some reason I don't recall being intrigued by the songs live. Strangely, their recorded output(from the samples on their MySpace) displays a melodicism, plus an equitable melding of organic(guitar, drums, bass) and electronic(programming, synth) influences that I really dig. Off-night for me perhaps that prevented me from being open to something new, but I guess all I was wanting was my dose of The Radio Dept. Until the next time Nightbox.

I never got around to reviewing The Radio Dept's show at Lee's Palace back in February but if I did, much of what I would have said would have applied to the band's recent show at the Horseshoe Tavern on May 29. Dim lighting. Sparse musical setup. Void of any stage presence. But all that aside, with music as delectably melodic as the band's hazey, indie-pop tunes, it didn't much matter. Playing some of the same songs they played back in February at Lee's Palace such as "David", "Freddie and the Trojan Horse", and "The Worst Taste in Music" but also adding some different ones like the breezy "This Past Week" and the stunningly dreamy and my absolute favourite "Pulling Our Weight", the inclusion of the latter resulted in this show inching ahead as the better show over the February show at Lee's Palace, even if the sightlines at the Horsehose can be less than desirable [which was of no consequence to me since I was near the front]. While the Glasvegas show may have been the higher profile show that night, there was a near-capacity, if not sold out capacity for The Radio Dept at the Horseshoe. And so for the hour or however long it was, reflective of the dream-like quality of the band's music, the crowd was put into a dream-like state that Sunday night making the entrance to the work-week the next day just that much more bearable.

Photos: The Radio Dept., Nightbox @ Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto (May 29, 2011)
MySpace: Nightbox
MySpace: The Radio Dept.

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