Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON January 6

Emily Haines & the Soft Skeleton Danforth Music Hall, Toronto ON January 6
Photo: Fudagraphy
Don’t let the twitching silver Converse sneakers under the piano bench fool you… Emily Haines is no shy girl, or, as she would agree, has "balls of steel.” The front woman of Metric and Broken Social Scene collaborator is not new to amazing the masses with enthralling live performances, which is why, on a Saturday night in her home city, some fans might be hesitant to admit that her performance was rather mediocre. Her debut solo album, Knives Don’t Have Your Back, is a lovely display of sweeping piano ballads and elaborate, yet subtle, sorrow that lurks her inner most thoughts. The album was a treat for any fan of her previous musical ventures. When the blonde chanteuse approached the stage in front of a full audience and started with the first song from the album "Our Hell,” she proceeded to play Knives in its entirety from beginning to end. Her simplistic note hopping and sexy distinctive vocals didn’t seem as exciting anymore, not to mention erasing all hopes one could have for an encore. Not that the uplifting horn motif in "Mostly Waving” didn’t lift you out of your skin, or that her between song banter (comprised of political and storytelling wit) wasn’t entertaining, but encountering the songs in the same order that you just heard in your car before entering the venue was far too predictable! Fans sulked into their seats and some let their eyelids be gracefully shut. Some other faces lit in a hue of blue, stared wide-eyed at Haines (dressed in sweatpants) and her two accompanying Skeletons (which might as well have been called "ghosts,” due to their lack of interaction with the crowd), the string quartet off to the left, or the occasional trumpet employee. A different kind of performance from a brilliant songwriter.