Published Jan 25, 2014Simone Schmidt has quickly made a reputation as one of Toronto's busiest, most compelling songwriters between her work with One Hundred Dollars, the Highest Order and her solo project, Fiver. (The latter two both released albums last year.) She didn't make the trip to Halifax alone, though: her Dead of Winter set was fleshed out by members of Sackville, New Brunswick-based noise rockers Yellow Teeth. The collaboration worked rather well, adding smart, tasteful support to Schmidt's needy, slow-burning songs.
Unfortunately, the new-ish band performed a set that felt rather short, but it was moving while it lasted. Schmidt's voice is world-worn, able to tap into emotional cues well beyond her years on tracks like "Oh Sienna." She's a compellingly quirky presence onstage as well, stopping the show partway through to brighten the mood of her "really sad songs" by telling a rather terrible joke about a stove and a fridge. (The former was "out of its elements.")
That enigmatic sensibility carried over to a set-ending take on "The Undertaker," the closing track on her Lost the Plot album and a song which, she explained, is literally about the origin story of WWE superstar The Undertaker, his brother Kane and the funeral parlour fire that tore them apart. (Demonstrating full commitment to concept, Schmidt wore an Undertaker T-shirt for the show.) The song, like the set in general, felt appropriately haunted.