Dakota Tavern, Toronto, ON, March 2
Billed as a showcase for new material written on their Canadian and European tours, McGrath and his three piece band — guitarist Peter Dreimanis and drummer Danny Miles from July Talk and bass player Clay Jones from the Mohawk Lodge — wasted no time, ripping into a handful of hard rockers to start the night's early set.
McGrath's howling vocal style made it difficult to hear many of his lyrics on this first listen, but the set's first salvo bore more resemblance to 2010's Peacemaker. What lyrics could be made out included several references to Canada, a favourite subject of the singer.
Clad in a black zip-up hoodie, McGrath thrashed about the small stage, turning to Miles while rocking in time with the music. The band, having spent the last couple months rehearsing these songs, played with fury, and it seemed a fair assumption that many of these tracks were written as a unit rather than McGrath on his own.
The set's middle section featured more mid-tempo rockers including a fantastic song McGrath said was "about R.E.M.," one that resembled Young Canadians' "Johnny Brought the Bottles Back" before building into a rager, and a third with the line "People gotta move on with their lives" in the chorus.
McGrath and co. ended their short appearance — they played for less than an hour — with three older tracks, including "Pain of Love" and "Signals," played with even more confidence than the already spritely new material.
Dreimanis revealed that the group hope to record these songs in a cabin sometime in the next few months. If McGrath's recent release of Pegasus, which included material that was eventually reworked for Young Canadians, is any indication, these songs could take completely different form from what was on display this night. But it's clear that McGrath has the makings of another great album on his hands.
ReviewsJan 24, 2015
Devin Cuddy BandThe Company House, Halifax NS, January 23
Considering that he's dabbling in some of classic rock'n'roll's most rollicking, fevered sounds, the first half of the Devin Cuddy Band's De...
ReviewsNov 13, 2014
Ryan Adams / Butch WalkerMassey Hall, Toronto ON, November 12
Few musicians are as prolific and proficient at songwriting (and pot-smoking) as Ryan Adams is, so performing at a venue with a super-strict...
ReviewsNov 10, 2014
Blue Rodeo / Adam Baldwin / Carleton StoneRath Eastlink Community Centre, Truro NS, November 9
No, you're not misreading things: Nova Scotia Music Week's headline act this year was Toronto's Blue Rodeo. Bringing in an outside act ...
ReviewsOct 21, 2014
The Rural Alberta AdvantageStarlite Room, Edmonton AB, October 20
It was Rural Alberta Advantage frontman Nils Edenloff's birthday. His band had just come off performing to a sold out crowd in Edmonton a fe...