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September 14th, 2011
After seeing Said the Whale perform in Vancouver, Halifax, Calgary and Toronto, I can confidently say they are one of Canada’s most beloved indie-rock acts – as if a Juno for New Group of the Year didn’t already prove that. But even upon first glance, it’s clear the group radiates West Coast charm. Keyboardist Jaycelyn Brown has movie star good looks and adds sweet harmonies to match, while singer/guitarist duo Tyler Bancroft and Ben Worcester have a friendly magnetism that just screams “Canadian.”
Meanwhile, bassist Nathan Shaw and drummer Spencer Schoening hold down a rhythm section tighter than the curves of the Kicking Horse Pass (and probably more dangerous). Schoening in particular is quickly building his reputation not only as a dynamic and captivating player, but also as an incredible doppelganger for Our Lady Peace drummer Jeremy Taggart.
If the six (or so) new songs the band tested out on Thursday night at the Mod Club is any indication, an upcoming release in 2012 should please long time fans and new listeners alike. Bancroft and Worcester are evidently still motivated songwriters, mining lyrical inspiration from the effect of the Olympics on Vancouver to the effect of the Internet on your skin. While it’s hard to pick a favourite, the audience responded kindly to one new track featuring the participatory refrain, “We are lucky and we know it; we clap our hands to show it.”
The band also pleased the all-ages crowd with gems such as Camilo (The Magician) and False Creek Change from the 2009 album Islands Disappear, but may have saved the best for last with a heart-wrenching rendition of Curse of the Currents (from the 2008 release Howe Sounds/Taking Abalonia) that left a few concertgoers with tears in their eyes, and this one with the delight of having experienced one of the finest concerts Toronto might see all year.
Said the Whale is currently on tour:
September 14 | Ottawa, ON | Live Lounge
September 15 | Sudbury, ON | The Townehouse
September 17 | Thunder Bay, ON | Outpost
September 19 | Winnipeg, MB | Park Theatre
September 20 | Saskatoon, SK | Christ Church Anglican
September 21 | Edmonton, AB | Starlite Room
September 22 | Calgary, AB | Republik
September 23 | Banff, AB | Banff Centre
September 24 | Nelson, BC | Spirit Bar
October 1 | Port Moody, BC | Port Moody Inlet Theatre
All photos by Dan Carruthers.Tweet