Published Jul 24, 2016Elizabeth Powell formed Land of Talk while living in Montreal, but her roots can be traced back to spending her formative teen years in Guelph. Embracing the hometown spirit of Hillside, she showed off a rootsier sound during an afternoon workshop alongside Evening Hymns' Jonas Bonnetta, Jesse Mac Cormack and Donovan Woods.
By Saturday night (July 23) at the Island Stage, Land of Talk were back in their latest fully fledged form. Recently returning to playing shows after a six-year hiatus, no one in the crowd could detect any traces of lingering rust.
Powell was backed by bass, drums, keys and a fleeting French horn appearance, but easily stole the spotlight with her evocative voice and unrestrained stage presence, jerking erratically or gracefully swerving to meet her guitar's every move — just not literally, as she asked all stage lights be lowered to the lowest levels possible.
Taking an early enthusiastic audience response as a challenge — one happily accepted by Powell, saying "you're on" — the band plowed through cuts old (like opener "Quarry Hymns") and new (like "Spiritual Intimidations"), especially working the tent into a frenzy during long winding instrumental breaks.
"We should have called the band Land of Rock," Powell quipped, deadpan, before launching into closer and crowd favourite "Some Are Lakes" and letting the song explain just exactly why.