Hercules & Love Affair / Lioness The Opera House, Toronto ON October 18

Hercules & Love Affair / Lioness The Opera House, Toronto ON October 18
Photo: Andrea England
The Toronto debut of Hercules & Love Affair as a full band was met with more enthusiasm than the oft stuffy Big Smoke prefers to exude, but it was all for good reason: the eight-bodied disco octopus brought an unforgettable celebration of escapism for a sea of ironically garbed individuals looking to set their bodies free.

An obvious absence was the prominent stage presence and elegance of torch song extraordinaire and Love Affair collaborator Antony Hegarty, but the vocal tag team of Kim Ann Foxman and Nomi Ruiz more than held their own for his parts.

Nomi was of particular note, sashaying and voguing across the stage in the scantiest of outfits, verbally blowing kisses with each lyric of "You Belong” and "Hercules Theme.” The boyish Foxman was the introvert of the two, nursing a flu bug, she casually danced and struck her drum pads while forcing out the laissez faire "Athene.”

Hercules himself, Andy Butler, was in the back programming the show, but was far from hidden. His closely cropped head was stuck in a permanent nod, his body bouncing like it was in an induced caffeine high as he as his crew dropped their soulful take on Blue Öyster Cult’s "Don’t Fear the Reaper” or his big hit, "Blind.”

For the most part, though, Butler’s "horny boys” stole the show, as the trombonist and trumpeter put the brass ahead of all the elements, to force the tunes to reach their maximum potential.

Toronto’s own Lioness may have had less than half the crowd for their opening set, but they proved the spot was earned with their own twist on familiar music. Less Paradise Garage, more Nag Nag Nag, the trio featuring Controller.Controller’s rhythm section (Ronnie Morris and Jeff Scheven) and vocalist Vanessa Fischer (ex-No Dynamics) dished out some death disco to an audience that appreciated the vigorous minimalism of the band’s make-up.