Concerts Concerts Plants and Animals and The Barr Brothers Serve Up Free Thrills

Plants and Animals and The Barr Brothers Serve Up Free Thrills

Plants and Animals at Horseshoe Tavern
Plants and Animals
The Barr Brothers
The Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto Ontario
April 20, 2010

Review by: Sean McNamara
Photos by: Pete Nema

A free show at the Horseshoe featuring Plants and Animals and The Barr Brothers was just way too good to pass up. Apparently, many other people felt the same way!

Plants and Animals

Montreal's Plants and Animals appear on stage in front of a jam-packed Horseshoe crowd. They start off their set with "Tom Cruz", the first track off their brand new album La La Land. The song leads off with Nicolas Basque (bass, guitar, keyboards) providing a bouncy bass line that carries the song. We're only one song in and the crowd is already swaying around and dancing!

The band's sound has changed slightly with this new album. A good example of this is is "The Mama Papa", the first single off of La La Land. Still containing an artsy tinge, but now rocked up and ready to energize the dance floor thanks to a pounding beat delivered by Matthew Woodley (drums), this song has everyone moving or nodding their heads in appreciation. Plants and Animals then slow it down a bit with the song "Game Shows" from their new album. This track builds slowly to an amazing conclusion which sees the band singing behind Warren Spicer (vocals, guitar).

A horn section joins Plants and Animals on stage for a couple of songs towards the end of their set. The highlight of these is the new song "Celebration", which changes pace and gets louder than quiet throughout, ending in a symphonic blast delivered by the horns. To me, this songs performance shows the confidence of the band, as they seem completely comfortable in their progression as a rock band.

Their set ends off with "Swinging Bells", whose infectiously uplifting la la la's endear themselves to the entire crowd, and the now beloved "Bye Bye Bye", the hit song off of Plants and Animals debut album Parc Avenue, which gets the crowd singing along with the band and clapping their hands. Plants and Animals know how to deliver a great show, old songs and new songs alike. I have a hunch that with their great new album now in stores, we will be hearing a lot more from one of Canada's most enjoyable indie bands.

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The Barr Brothers

The Barr Brothers opened the night and took the stage to an overly chatty, fairly crowded Horseshoe Tavern. Those who were paying attention were definitely in for a treat, as this band offered a very entertaining set that varied in it's sound from soft, melodious folk-inspired songs to bluesy, rock-tinged melodies.

The band, consisting of Brad Barr (vocals/guitar) and Andrew Barr (drums), who are also part of the band The Slip, and including Sarah Page (harp) and Andy Vial (keys, bass), combine traditional folk music with a more modern, progressive sound. The instrumental parts of their performance are wonderful to watch, especially Sarah's harp, which was featured a few times throughout The Barr Brothers set. Highlights of their set were the beautiful acoustic "Beggar In The Morning", and blues-inspired rocker "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Cryin'", which demanded the attention of the crowd with it's powerful drums and vocals.

The Barr Brothers proved themselves as a band to watch out for, keep on the lookout for an upcoming album and live show near you.

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