At the El Mocambo in beautiful Toronto, Ontario, Canada, a local band played a show to celebrate the release of their debut EP called The Cheap Speakers.
Opening the night was Big Crimes, who bored me immediately. I ran away to the back of the bar, where I found refuge with Allegra, Al, Alicia, Daniel, James and Nick. Much better.
The second band arrived, and they called themselves Lordy Lordy. Why? I have no idea. Their first song I enjoyed. It inspired me to visit the front and ponder if they might be good. They sounded like Shotgun & Jaybird. Then the second song began, and I found myself at the back of the bar, again.
((Photo not taken at the show.)) The third band, however, I was quite excited to see for two reasons. 1) Every time I had seen him before, was fabulous. 2) I had been wanting to buy his latest record, What The Boat Gave The River since its release, but it seems no Toronto stores carry it. I succeeded, and that might make its way into a review later. Any way, this is Mark Berube and the Patriotic Few.
I was excited, and I think I might have perhaps oversold him to others. It was probably the worst show of his I’ve ever seen, but it was still a great show. The audience was not receptive, the sound was mixed poorly, and Berube just seemed disconnected. The songs were damn good, and a nice mix of tunes from both What The River Gave The Boat and What The Boat Gave The River.
The biggest disappointment with the set was Berube’s performance of “Yebbo Mama” a capella, which left those interested unable to hear such a beautiful song, and a bar full of people more easily able to ignore the musician, and talk amongst themselves.
The final band to arrive to the stage is a local favourite… well a local favourite when they’re your friends. Or a local favourite, if you spend too much time at Rancho Relaxo where they have charmed the regulars.
1 The Cheap Speakers are Brennan Gault, Natalia Manzocco and Tim Dafoe. I’ve known these three people for quite some time now. Manzocco2 and I have been friends for years now, and since then she’s introduced me to her bandmates and they’ve become good friends. So, it’s not a band I can fully disassociate with to write a review.
With that in mind, I will say they tore up the stage at the Elmo. I’ve seen The Speakers a number of times, probably a dozen, and I think this might be their second best show3. They were pretty tight, and you could tell they were having an amazing time. Natalia’s vocals were better than ever.
The only complaint I can make was that at times there was no subtlety to Tim’s lead guitar. When the guitar was over-wanked4, Tim’s grunge influence at times did not mesh well with the Pop Band that are The Cheap Speakers.