The Mark of Excellence


The Music Gallery, Toronto, ON, October 18

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Shigeto - The Music Gallery, Toronto, ON, October 18
Photo: Vincent Pollard
By Vincent PollardShigeto, aka Detroit's Zach Saginaw, began his set by explaining that he was so impressed with the setting of the Music Gallery, which is housed in St. George the Martyr Church, and the beauty of Nick Storring's performance that he decided to completely change up his set. Starting his first track off just on electronic gear, it didn't take him long to get behind the drum kit.

Deeper and more spiritual than his many of previous sets, the performance found Saginaw break out into an uncontrollable grin behind the kit, revealing him in his natural habit. The crisp, jazz drumming and the fluid way he passed from the kit to the electronics every few minutes was exceptional. At times, he even played both simultaneously — with sticks in one hand and the other at the controls.

He segued from a new track into "Huron River Drive," from this year's mini-album Lineage, to a more upbeat number that started out purely electronic and ended up entirely on the drums, sounding like a cross between a Buddy Rich solo and samba carnival rhythms. Next came several new pieces with a backing track of skewed vocals and an R&B lilt. At one point, the samples cut out and Saginaw went to the mic, smiling and exclaiming "Fucking computers!" before playing another new song with gamelan-like beats and ending in a dexterous button-pushing version of "A Child's Mind," also from Lineage.

Delivering an exhilarating set, Shigeto dug deep tonight. Maybe the surroundings helped, but it began as a fluid, spiritual jam that gradually morphed into a set of shorter songs you just couldn't sit still to. It would be great if his set tonight was indicative of what's to come with his next recording project, and given that he played several new tracks tonight, it most likely will be.
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