Concerts Concerts Up All Night with Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans

Up All Night with Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans at Lee's Palace
Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans
Sunparlour Players, Daniel Ledwell
Lee's Palace in Toronto, ON
February 4, 2011

Photos and Review by: Stephen McGill

Over a year ago, Ottawa singer-songwriter Jim Bryson settled down in an isolated area of Manitoba named Falcon Lake, and with him were indie-rock band The Weakerthans.

Over the course of 6 days they put together an album and named it The Falcon Lake Incident. It’s an album that plays to the strengths of both groups, the instrumentation that The Weakerthans bring to the project complements Bryson’s songwriting and vocals perfectly. Lee’s Palace was the setting for the Toronto date of the tour and they brought with them Sunparlour Players as well as singer songwriter Daniel Ledwell.

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans

Jim Bryson & The Weakerthans were the final band to hit the stage. They launched straight into material from The Falcon Lake Incident which set the tone for the night as they drew most of the set list from that album, though taking a few detours back through Bryson’s discography as well. Where Sunparlour Players had got the crowd riled up, the first part of Bryson’s set served to bring things back down. While they lacked the intensity of the last band, the sheer amount of talent on stage translated into a fantastic recital of the album. One of the better moments was "Firewatch" off Bryson’s Where The Bungalows Roam which got the crowd at the front to start dancing along.

The highlight of the show, however, came after the encore break, when Bryson came out alone on stage, and was then followed by longtime collaborator Kathleen Edwards. The two proceeded to do a cover of Andy Swan's "You Got The Diamonds (I Got The Shaft)" which was fantastic. The rest of the band took to the stage and they played two more songs, closing with "Constellations." Bryson has never seemed particularly appreciated outside of his native Ottawa, and this album, and tour, is looking to be on track to changing that.

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Sunparlour Players

In direct support of Jim Bryson were the Sunparlour Players, the Toronto three piece immediately made a very distinct impression by handling several instruments at once. With each member pulling at least double duty it quickly became apparent that these were extremely talented musicians. They had a distinctly folk rock sound to them, most reminiscent of Mumford & Sons. What they also had in spades was intensity, it was hard to take your eyes off the stage as each musician deftly handled their parts. Over the course of half an hour they touched on material from both their albums, as well as explaining that they’re heading into the studio soon to record a third.

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Daniel Ledwell

Daniel Ledwell was first up on the bill; the Halifax native is perhaps better known as a member of In-Flight Safety. Playing on his own, he didn’t start out seeming particularly comfortable on stage. However, he did manage to bring some humour to the set, making extensive jokes between songs, even going so far as to joke that people should buy his CD because "there’s 5 minutes of stand up between every song." While he only had 20 minutes to play, he ended up making the most of it and left to a good amount of applause.

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