Published Feb 03, 2011It's amazing what a life-threatening accident can do for your popularity. Black Dub's Vancouver debut was originally scheduled to take place at Venue, but the gig was soon moved to the much larger Commodore Ballroom to meet demand. The fact that this show became such a hot-ticket item is perhaps thanks to the boost in publicity the band's leading force, famed Canadian singer-songwriter/producer Daniel Lanois, received after a motorcycle crash last year.
Lanois may be acting as a side man in Black Dub, but when the band took the stage in front of the sold-out Commodore, it was clear who everyone had come to see. It was Lanois who handled the microphone in between songs, and it was his fiery guitar leads that earned the biggest response from the audience.
The group began with a series of cuts from their self-titled debut, and singer Trixie Whitley cut loose with her best gut-busting wail on the slinky slow jam "I Believe in You." It was shocking to hear such a big sound coming out of the svelte 23-year-old, as her smokey, soulful voice sounded as if it should belong to someone twice her age.
The rhythm section was just as impressive. Drummer Brian Blade hammered out dizzying drum fills on the extended soul jam "Ring the Alarm," while touring bassist Jim Wilson provided rock-solid accompaniment (and sported a comically large soul patch).
But, in the end, the night was all about Lanois. Much of the set was dedicated to his solo work, and the loudest cheers of the night went to the pop gospel cut "The Maker." Black Dub may have come across as just a solo vehicle for Lanois, but it was clear from the reaction that this is exactly what the audience wanted.