Concerts Concerts Said The Whale Kill Toronto Fans With Kindness

Said The Whale Kill Toronto Fans With Kindness

Said The Whale at El Mocambo
Said The Whale
In-Flight Safety, Graham Wright, We Are The Take
El Mocambo in Toronto, ON
March 27, 2009

Review by: Whitney Pineault
Photos by: Terri Coles

A near full house was present for Vancouver's indie folk-pop five-piece Said The Whale for the Toronto stop on their Kill 'Em With Kindness spring tour.

Said The Whale

The front of the stage was crammed with eager fans who came alive as the band opened their set. I actually could not believe how lively the crowd was from beginning to end! It was clear Toronto had come for a good time and Said The Whale did not disappoint. Though a seemingly mismatched looking group, the band had an amazing chemistry together - each bringing his or her own unique presence to make one hell of a talented ensemble. From the very first note sung, hand clapped, or chord stuck, especially on fan favourites “Out On The Shield”, “The Light Is You” and “This City's A Mess”, the crowd would jump and shout in excitement. All of the energy Said The Whale were emanating from the stage, the audience would take it and just throw it right back at them. There was so much love in the room! At one point, a fan to the left of me was dancing so wildly I was nervous of getting smacked in the face by a flailing limb. He clearly deserved a high-five.

Vocalists Ben Worcester and Tyler Bancroft alternated lead roles, both equally strong and dynamic. Combined together, and often joined by all members, their voices produced some really gorgeous harmonies. One of my favourite moments was during ballad "Curse Of The Currents". What a beautiful song. Hearing their voices blend together live gave me goosebumps that lingered long after the song had finished. Keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown, who I may or may not have a huge lady crush on, had an elated smile on her face the entire set. Her keys and voice are heavily featured on "My Government Heart", a songs that stands apart from the others, and one favourites. The band also debuted a brand new song for the Toronto audience and it was received very well. Although it seemed to be happening all too soon, the ukulele was brought out and "Goodnight Moon" marked the end of their energetic performance. Said The Whale had charmed everyone in the room and left us all wishing for just one more song.

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In-Flight Safety

As Halifax natives In-Flight Safety took the stage, it seemed that the packed house had dispersed slightly. I don't know about anyone else (yes, I know I should be watching what's going on on-stage) but I love people watching at concerts. It was really interesting to see how diverse the audience was for In-Flight Safety. They have a very polished, smooth sound that was more on the mainstream side compared to the other acts on the bill, but it is a sound that would transcend well in much larger venues. Vocalist, John Mullane, who I have to say, had a wonderfully strong and dynamic voice (including a falsetto that just did not seem possible to come out of such a manly looking guy) interacted with the crowd in between songs, stating the band was "just having so much fun up here", and you could tell. They had a great comradery on-stage, genuinely seeming to be enjoying themselves. My only complaint was the band's lack of movement. Having a short attention span, I found myself getting distracted by what was going on around me rather than enjoying the show in front of me. A good save was when the band was joined by Scott Remila (City & Colour, The Violet Archers, Raising The Fawn) who lended his vocals for one song. As their set wrapped up and in true rocker fashion, the guys began getting increasingly rowdy and proceeded to minorly destroy the stage, flinging mic stands and tipping over keyboards and drums. It was an amusing end to what was, largely, a  laid-back performance.

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Graham Wright

Taking a time-out from his full-time gig as Tokyo Police Club's vibrant keyboardist, Graham Wright opened the show with his Good Times Band comprised of Spencer MacEachern of Woodward Company on bass and Will Currie of Will Currie & The Country French on drums. A novelty "Good Times" banner had been strewn between two mic stands, as if an indicator of what was to come. Wright as a frontman works well and here's why: he is just so darn intriguing to watch on stage - not to mention a highly dynamic musician. This was my first time hearing his side project and to be honest I wasn't sold at first, but his indie-folk rock short-but-sweet songs definitely grew on me. Wright conversed with the crowd between songs — seeming surprised at the sizable turnout for his hometown stop. Apparently the band had made some sort of pact to consume bacon everyday during the tour and Wright encouraged anyone who happened to be in possession to hand it over. Unfortunately, no bacon was exchanged. Although much more reserved than his usual erratic stage antics, Wright displayed his many musical talents including guitar and harmonica. The occasional unrestrained movement would surface, but he seemed very focused on the music he was delivering to the audience. I can't speak for everyone, but I am confident Toronto would gladly welcome him back with open arms.

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We Are The Take

Sadly, I was unable to stay for the closing set by We Are The Take. It would be nice if the TTC kept the subways running at least until last call on weekends.

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