Published Apr 20, 2012"We're ending it on a good note... it can happen," insisted Forest City Lovers' singer/guitarist Kat Burns during her band's farewell appearance at Toronto's Great Hall. After six years, the folk pop outfit called it quits so members could pursue new endeavours. Luckily, their catalogue was tailor-made for goodbyes.
Burns's lyrics often focus on departures, tackling the theme from an array of angles. Writ live, in context, they were particularly poignant and impactful. On "Phodilus and Tyto" leaving was a threat, yet "Scared of Time" used it as a fear, with the former being a gorgeous grower of a piano ballad, while the latter pit a plodding melody against marching percussion to create pitch-perfect melodrama.
Though the outfit have an obvious knack for contemplative numbers, their nuanced attack lifted tracks out of headphone territory. Throughout, violinist Mika Posen provided a slew of dynamic moments, shifting from grandiose to meditative and chamber to bluegrass and even a hint of ska (yes, ska violin).
The Patrick Watson-indebted "Monsters" showcased the quintet at their best with jump-out frights (i.e., surprise down-strokes and one-off kick drums), a fitting dash of feedback and epic strings.
A major highlight, "Don't Go," began with a pretty bit of guitar, all loitering notes and tenderness, but a speeding drum and insistent percussion urged it on, making the song both an appropriately sombre goodbye and an optimistic, buoyant and auspicious look toward the future. It perfectly encapsulated an evening that was full of emotion yet still ebullient, amiable and hopeful.