The Elwins Dakota Tavern, Toronto ON June 14

The Elwins Dakota Tavern, Toronto ON June 14
Every 4th of July, the boys in The Sandlot get to play their only night game of the year. To them, baseball is a cause for constant joy, but the total ebullience of doing it in an unfamiliar setting is overwhelming for Squints, Ham and most of the team. Of course, Benny the Jet stays focused, knocking the ball out of the park. Similarly, while the Elwins clearly relished their uncommonly late (circa 2 a.m.), "special guest" slot at the Dakota, they held it together, delivering a romping, smiling show to a laminate-heavy room. With shades of Vampire Weekend and consortium pop (see Hooded Fang), the four-piece created a deceptively big sound, full of infectious, stickier-than-flypaper hooks. Bonus: pulling off an in-earnest Beyoncé cover (in this case, "Countdown") is no easy feat. Kudos.