Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

Fast Blood

The Spinto Band and Frightened Rabbit in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangFrank YangSo hands up whoever had “50%” in the “How many people are going to take off after Frightened Rabbit’s set?” pool. Congratulation, you win some taffy (note: you do not actually win taffy). I had guessed that about that percentage of the couple hundred who showed up at Lee’s Palace on Tuesday night were there to see the highly-regarded Scottish outfit make their Toronto debut, and I was about right. This is not to take away from the other two acts on the bill – both headliners The Spinto Band and locals Spiral Beach put on good shows and were certainly well-matched stylistically, but if someone was there for the angsty anthems of the middle act, then the other two might not have been up their alley.

Now most local bands added to a touring bill would likely just show up, do their thing and leave, but full points to Spiral Beach for making the most of the opportunity, dressing up the stage in an elaborate setup of lights, signs and pylons to accompany their half hour set. They also brought their own fans, who turned the dance floor of Lee’s Palace into, well, a dance floor. I hadn’t seen Spiral Beach for at least a couple years, since they were a very green outfit, and it was immediately obvious that what unrealized potential I’d seen in them back then as they tried to meld New Wave and surf rock was now very much being realized. Like an un-kitschy but still tremendously fun B-52s, they were unceasingly energetic onstage in the way that young people are. I’m now exponentially more interested in this band than I was before.

I’d caught an approximately 15-minute set from Frightened Rabbit at SxSW back in March but even in such a short time, they – and their album The Midnight Organ Fight – made an immense impression. Similarly, though they were the ones most were there to see, they had only an opener’s set length in which to satiate the fans who’d been waiting a long time for them to visit. To this end, the barreled through their set – comprised mainly of Organ Fight but with a few nods back to Sing The Greys by request. Frontman Scott Hutchison’s cheerful demenaour was a decided contrast to the downcast nature of his lyrics, particularly as delivered in his thick Scottish burr, and though the band’s songs seem like fairly straightforward rocked-up folk, seeing the range of instruments and arrangements needed to recreate them faithfully – how many four-pieces do you see with three of them wielding Telecasters? – you come to appreciate how sophisticated they are underneath. To say nothing of simply being great songs. Next time back, Frightened Rabbit had best be headlining their own show. If not for the fans’ sake, then for the sake of the band who’d be unfortunate enough to have to play after them.

And this time out, said band was The Spinto Band, on tour in support of their new record Moonwink. But if the Delaware six-piece were at all perturbed at all the extra elbow room for those who stuck around, they didn’t let it show. Or they loved it. It’s hard to tell, they were simply so gleeful on stage. And that’s good because their technicolour pop songs demand glee and the Spinto Band played and danced like deliverymen of sonic candy floss overdosed on their own product. Their most impressive moment was when singer/guitarist Nick Krill broke a string on his guitar and proceeded to unwrap the mic from the stand, carry it over to the spare guitar, swap guitars and re-mount the mic all without missing a note. That was slick. And while I was definitely there to see Frightened Rabbit, I wasn’t sorry I stuck around.

Laundromatinee has a session with the Spinto Band.

Photos: Spinto Band, Frightened Rabbit, Spiral Beach @ Lee’s Palace – October 21, 2008
MP3: Spinto Band – “Summer Grof”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Head Rolls Off”
MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “The Modern Leper”
MP3: Spiral Beach – “Made Of Stone”
Video: Frightened Rabbit – “Heads Roll Off”
Video: Spiral Beach – “Made Of Stone”
Video: Spiral Beach – “Kind Of Beast”
MySpace: The Spinto Band
MySpace: Spiral Beach

Crawdaddy and Cord Weekly talk to Sloan.

Wired and Buzzbands talk to the principals of Magnetic Morning. They’re at the Horseshoe tonight.

The Verve have a new video.

Video: The Verve – “Rather Be”

Blurt interviews Lucinda Williams.

Paste and NOW feature Of Montreal. They’re at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre next Tuesday night.

So thanks to some serious pathos on my part and some serious excellence on the Apple Store’s part, my laptop got fixed yesterday (dead logic board) in under four hours turnaround. That is absolutely amazing. Which means that my laptop is alive and coming with me to New York. Which means pretty much nothing to you, but certainly makes things more enjoyable for me.

By : Frank Yang at 7:03 am
Category: Concert Reviews

Tags: , , , , ,

RSS Feed for this post5 Responses.
  1. David says:

    I would’ve described it as Frightened Rabbit having an opener and a closer.

  2. Bruce says:

    Yes, an odd but satisfying triple bill. Spiral Beach — how endearingly adorable are they? Definitely very B-52s, with a little Sparks thrown in. My fourth time seeing them, and they’re so much more assured each time.

    Frightened Rabbit were every bit as good live as could be hoped. “How many four-pieces do you see with three of them wielding Telecasters?” Until they broke out the four-string for set closer Keep Yourself Warm, bassless accusations could be made ; ) I spoke to guitarist Billy Kennedy after the show who was (Scottish vernacular warning!) well chuffed, and he said a return to Toronto in February was likely. Break out your woolies, boys.

    Second time seeing Spinto Band, who were exactly as I had remembered them (and as you describe them). Reminiscent of the kind of New-Wavey bands that exploded out of basements in the late 70s, all twitchy and exuberant. Nick Krill was like David Byrne had just stepped out of a time machine set to go back 30 years! A shame about the audience exodus, but as you said, fairly predictable.

  3. mmo says:


  4. Allan says:

    Yeah I wasn’t surprised by the exodus. I’m surprised they didn’t give the Spinto Band a chance. To be fair I left half way through their set only cause I live so far away but they were still good. I just didn’t know any of the material beforehand.

  5. Spinto Band and Frightened Rabbit at Lee’s Palace | Allan's World of Music says:

    […] Chromewaves also has his review up. We used our own pictures this time ;). […]