Concerts Concerts The Twilight Sad at Lee's Palace

The Twilight Sad at Lee's Palace

The Twilight Sad at Lees Palace
The Twilight Sad
Odonis Odonis
Lee's Palace
February 29, 2012

Review by: Chad Hutchings
Photos by: Michael Fil

The Twilight Sad brings a show that's not just worth hearing - it's worth the hearing loss.

The Twilight Sad

Last Thursday, around 500 Torontonians suffered through the day with their ears violently ringing - what most of them would consider a small sacrifice when weighed against the night before, spending the free day of the leap year in the audience of Lee's as Scottish rockers The Twilight Sad came to the stage for one of their louder than loud performances. 

That said, this isn't some metal group that gets famous from cranking their amps up to eleven.  The volume of their sound is arguably just the best companion to a sound that can be hard to finger, hopping around indie rock sub-genres from album to album.  All the while, though,  there's that distinct anthemic shoegaze coming along for the ride - a sound that translates well in a venue like Lee's, where the darkness and close acoustics can often carry the same sombre edge as The Twilight Sad's mostly grieving work.  

Unfortunately, the sound at Lee's wasn't completely on the band's side all night.  With vocal levels low from the get-go (a problem that plagued openers Odonis Odonis, who made no effort for resolution during their set), the booming walls of sound often overtook lead James Graham's singing, shadowing the voice that at first could only be heard at its best in bits and pieces.  Songs coming early in the set-list, most notably "That Summer, At Home I Had Become The Invisible Boy", offered up flashes of vocal brilliance, but only when the instrumentals eased up.  Of course, with Graham's voice being just one piece of a stunning sonic puzzle on stage that night, the sound was plenty compensated.

Either way, by mid-set, the group had talked the sound guy into setting things right, and the last element came properly into play for a set that couldn't disappoint.  The newest, synth-heavy work showed its face through the show, but the group didn't neglect their earlier pieces in a set-list that was no let-down to fans of any of the group's discography (a personal highlight in the set was found in the fiery performance of "And She Would Darken The Memory Of Youth", which has probably made a strong tug at memories of a troubled romantic past for more than one guy in the audience).   And, while the group wasn't heavy on audience engagement, Graham didn't skimp on showing the crowd how genuinely surprised and grateful he was for the large turn-out, and he didn't come up short on impassioned movement on stage during a set that was on fire from beginning to end.

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Odonis Odonis

Odonis Odonis at Lees Palace   Odonis Odonis at Lees Palace   Odonis Odonis at Lees Palace   Odonis Odonis at Lees Palace   Odonis Odonis at Lees Palace