Concerts Concerts Sing-Along Sessions with The Morning Benders and Make Your Exit

Sing-Along Sessions with The Morning Benders and Make Your Exit

The Morning Benders at Drake Underground
The Morning Benders
Make Your Exit
The Drake Hotel, Toronto Ontario
April 14, 2010

Review by: Natalia Buia
Photos by: Pete Nema

It was my first time checking out the Drake Hotel Underground and what bands could have given me a better first impression of the venue than these two melodious bands?

The Morning Benders

The guys from the golden state have opened for some amazing indie bands in the past, such as Death Cab For Cutie and Grizzly Bear. Now they're out on their own in support of their superb new album Big Echo. The Morning Benders seemed a bit timid as they got on stage after Make Your Exit's thriving set. Maybe they just needed to warm up, and maybe the crowd needed some liquid courage to move around and dance more, to provide the band with positive feedback. Whatever the reason, both the band and the crowd eventually settled into a happy mid-week level of musical engagement.

The majority of songs on the set list were from Big Echo, but the band also threw in a few older numbers from Talking Through Tin Cans (2008), their first album. They warmed up the fans early in the set by pulling out "Promises", one of the most easily likeable tracks from Big Echo. There's something slightly reminiscent of The Beach Boys when they play, especially during songs like "Mason Jar". These shy guys in their skinny jeans and buttoned-up shirts didn't hesitate to get the crowd as involved as possible to liven up the night. Chris Chu (vocals) even busted out a maraca and hired the entire crowd as backup singers during "Excuses", a song on which his already excellent vocals were noticeably outstanding. "Excuses" may be the opening track on Big Echo, but it is definitely an excellent song choice to close out the night. 

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Make Your Exit

Opening the night was local band Make Your Exit. There's a lot of great talent emerging from this fine city of Toronto, and some may wonder: Who's got time to listen to it all? I'm not sure, but keep your ears open for Make Your Exit as they continue to spread their musical seed across the provinces. As I watched the band play songs off their album Remind Me The Reason I Came, I noticed how all five members brought something unique to the stage. What gives them an edge is their pitch-perfect harmonies (if you like Fleet Foxes, you're in for a treat) and the magic that spurs from their saxophone player, Oliver Pauk. He also busted out a mean xylophone solo, thanks to the request from a heckler in the back. Jeff Buckley (guitar, vocals) knows how to warm up a crowd, eventually bringing the audience closer to the stage. As their set list dwindled down, more people seemed as interested as I was. Their timing was impeccable on the new songs they shared with everyone, and their harmonies and hard work paid off playing the more familiar songs like when they closed with Leave This Town. They managed to get a group of people in the crowd singing along to the chorus... I think I could even see Pete Nema singing while hiding behind his camera.

If you're getting your underoos in a twist because you missed out on their snazzy performance, they'll be back in town on April 30th, playing with Young Rivals at the Horseshoe Tavern.

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