Published Jul 23, 2012The press photos don't lie. Liars are, to quote ZZ Top, well-dressed men these days. Walking on stage in suits, physically, the trio appeared to be taking the more delicate shades of the latest album, the electronically composed WIXIW, to heart.
Opening with album opener, the serene "The Exact Colour of Doubt," onlookers had every right to believe the trio could be a very different band on this tour, with its ambient-leaning, undemanding performance. Then again, if you've ever seen Liars perform, you'd have to be a complete fool to think they'd be able to contain themselves.
The Brooklyn-cum-L.A. band soon broke out of their stillness when towering frontman Angus Andrew announced, "When we're in Toronto, the only way we can describe how we feel is to say, 'YEEEAAHHHH!'" as they launched into the massive percussive blast of Drum's Not Dead's "Let's Not Wrestle Mt. Heart Attack." From there on in, it was a guessing game as to what they had in store -- that is if you hadn't already read about their set list from the previous nights.
The sweat began to soak through the suits, Andrew's shoulder-length hair became a flailing mess and the tendencies to bring on the cacophony became too much for them to contain. "Pillars Were Hollow and Filled with Candy, So Tore Them Down" brought back the skipping post-punk hysteria of their beginnings, the overpowering drone rock of "Scarecrows on a Killer Slant" delivered murderous shout-outs and head-nodding, and "Octagon" confirmed in the flesh that, yes, it is the cousin to Radiohead's "Idioteque."
When Liars introduced WIXIW's stand-out banger "Brats," which required Julian Gross to leave the kit for bass, the band demonstrated their ability to transport the crowd, as the pulsating bass and 4/4 rhythm felt as though we had moved to the dance club above the venue. Saving the best for last, they treated the crowd to an encore consisting of They Were Wrong So We Drowned's "Broken Witch" and their self-titled's "Plaster Casts of Everything," leaving the room with a malevolent kind of excitement.
A surprisingly short set in all, Liars kept things neat and efficient, delving deep into their catalogue while sampling the latest shift in their ever-evolving journey. Or in other words, giving fans exactly what they were looking for from a band who have been kicking around for a dozen years.