Concerts Concerts NXNE 2013: Falling In Love With July Talk

NXNE 2013: Falling In Love With July Talk

July Talk at The Mod Club
July Talk
Imaginary Cities
The Mod Club in Toronto, ON
June 14, 2013

Photos and Review by: Pete Nema

I saw a lot of excellent performances during NXNE 2013, but without question, the best performance of the week was that of July Talk at The Mod Club.

July Talk

July Talk released a self-titled album back in October 2012, an album I discovered because it kept showing up in my Heavy Rotation section on Rdio. At first, I was a little off-put by the low, growling vocals of Peter Dreimanis (vocals, guitar) but in combination with the sweet voice of Leah Fay (vocals) I came to the decision that it works, and works well. The songs "Paper Girl" and "Brother", tracks 3 and 4 on the album, are what convinced me to keep listening. Now with many listens over a month or so, this whole album sounds natural and the songs have grown on me immensely, to the point where I consider it among my favourite additions this year.

During NXNE, I was fortunate enough to catch a short July Talk set during an afternoon party. Only about half of the crowd was really paying attention, but even so, they put on a really fun performance. It was there I decided to be at their show the next night at The Mod Club, a decision that was just one of a few that made NXNE 2013 so great for me. Even considering all the incredible fun I had and great sets I saw during NXNE, the performance by July Talk stands out. The sound was spot on providing me with clear amplification of every song. As much as Dreimanis' vocals are growly on the album, they seem slightly mellowed on the stage. I'm not sure that's actually the case, but with the incredibly full sound of The Mod Club, every song came across much better than the studio work. And just like on the album, the vocal combination of Dreimanis and Fay is irresistable.

If the music alone was all I had to write about, this still would've been an excellent show, but that was only half of it. The other half was the performance itself, something July Talk has obviously been working on, and it has come together incredibly well. Aside from a little give-and-take interaction on stage, they had a few things in mind, with a big finish in lurch. A single bed was placed stage left and occasionally Fay would head over and jump around a bit. In heels, no less. At one point, they asked if anyone was feeling tired and wanted to come up to take a nap. With the crowd being slow to respond, Branko Scekic (of Dinosaur Bones) volunteered. In a move that got both Peter and Leah laughing, just before taking cover in the bed, Branko leaned toward the mic and demanded "keep it down". But it was the final song of the night for which the true presence of the bed was revealed, and it wasn't what I expected. The bed was really just a prop, something to hold a pillow, a pillow that Leah would start to tear apart and as she tossed the contents over the stage, the entire venue erupted with blasts of white feathers that floated down from the ceiling. A venue-wide pillow fight of sorts, with the main action happening on stage. The show ended with Leah collapsing on the stage floor.

All around, so good. It was everything. I really can't recommend them enough. Gush, gush, love, love, etc.

Info: July Talk
Connect: Facebook, Twitter
Music: Bandcamp
Video: "Paper Girl"

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Imaginary Cities

There's a lot of positive talk about Imaginary Cities and although I am able to see what others enjoy about their music, I just don't connect in the same way. However, I'd be lying if I said I didn't enjoy their performance during NXNE. I've seen them in the past, and I'll probably see them again. Based on what I saw, they've grown into their stage show and their new music has a fuller sound. They are a solid contributor to the Canadian music scene, especially with respect to their live performance, and for that, they have my respect.

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