EMA / Nü Sensae
Garrison, Toronto ON March 13
Opening act Nü Sensae from Vancouver seemed a tip of the hat to Anderson's noisier tendencies while testing the patience of those who've fallen for her more intimate moments. The three-piece carried themselves with an unassuming manner, but were blisteringly loud once they got going. One of the leading lights in Vancouver's DIY punk scene, Nü Sensae's records have always felt a tad thrown together, as if they were making things up as they went along. Live, though, the group are a razor-sharp force to be reckoned with.
After briefly taking the stage to set up her gear while playfully singing along to Beyoncé, Anderson disappeared only to reappear to the droning sounds of her three-piece backing band, who deftly recreated (or reinterpreted) selections from Past Life Martyred Saints. She came across as both playful and confident, and her enthusiasm clearly rubbed off on the packed venue.
Framed by a collection of coloured LED lanterns crafted and triggered by multi-instrumentalist Leif Shackelford, the band, taking cues from Anderson, delivered stellar stabs at "The Grey Ship" and "Anteroom." By the time they reached pulsing album highlight "Milkman," Anderson jokingly complained about how hard it was to sing the song live, then asked the crowd, "Is it weird that I feel less dorky gasping like a dying animal than I do dancing onstage?"
Anderson went solo for "Cherylee," a track from Gown's last record Red State, and recent anti-bullying song "Take One Two," before her band returned for set stopper "Redstar" and finished with "California." Visibly moved by the crowd's reaction, she returned for two more songs, capping the night off with another Gowns track, "White Like Heaven."
Unfazed by her growing profile, Anderson seems right at home sharing her most personal thoughts with an audience, and thanks to a crack group of backing musicians, she's able to make that experience simultaneously intimate and larger than life.
ReviewsDec 06, 2014
Peaking Lights / Bobo Eyes / Richy BooFox Theatre, Vancouver BC, December 5
Despite a growing discography and maturing sound, Peaking Lights seem to only be getting younger and younger. On tour to support their lates...
ReviewsDec 01, 2014
James BlakeVirgin Mobile Mod Club, Toronto ON, November 30
Only one week removed from announcing plans for a new record, London musician and producer James Blake had the audience at the Virgin Mobile...
ReviewsNov 27, 2014
Gordon LightfootMassey Hall, Toronto ON, November 26
Outside of playing road hockey with Don Cherry, it's hard to imagine a more Canadian activity than seeing Gordon Lightfoot at Massey Hall. I...
ReviewsNov 26, 2014
Cold SpecksThe Imperial, Vancouver BC, November 25
As the driving force behind Cold Specks, Al Spx has been through a lot in the past couple of years. Her 2012 debut I Predict a Graceful Expu...