Bruce Peninsula / Muskox / Timber Timbre St. Andrews-by-the-Lake Church, Toronto Island, ON July 20

Bruce Peninsula / Muskox / Timber Timbre St. Andrews-by-the-Lake Church, Toronto Island, ON July 20
Celebrating the release of their spectacular seven-inch, Lift Me Up/Jack Can I Ride?, Bruce Peninsula found themselves an old wooden gothic revival church on the shores of Lake Ontario to showcase their intense interpretations of rural spirituals and indie folk.

Coming along for the ride was the equally old-timey sounding Timber Timbre, who, with nothing but his raspy delivery, contorted face and sparse guitar pluck kept the audience rapt with his dark intense imagery wrapped in a deceivingly simple delivery. While he set the mood perfectly, it was then disrupted mightily by the very very odd Muskox, who are essentially a jazz band with a banjo. All involved were very accomplished musicians but they only connected when they toned the jazz down to a simmer, as their drawn-out instrumentals made the audience very fidgety by the end of their set.

Things, though, got back on track when the ten members of Bruce Peninsula took the stage. Throughout their triumphant set, at least half of all musicians were singing at any given time and when all really connected, the goosebumps were raised and the tiny church was shaken to the core. Stomping, singing and growling their way through original numbers and revamps of chain-gang spirituals, the show hit a fever pitch at the end when singer Neil Haverty dropped the mic and ran up and down the pews, crying and singing to heaven like a man possessed. Indeed, when all the singers, who included Katie Stelmanis and Casey Mecija from Ohbijou, connected, the electricity could be felt and one was tempted to rise from your wooden pews to sway and clap. Everyone should be lucky enough to feel the power and energy that Bruce Peninsula seem to emit from a power on high. Hallejuah!