Published Apr 19, 2018After her first Toronto show in three years immediately sold out and was moved to a stage with triple the capacity, Margo Price proved that her brand of no-bullshit country can still blow the roof off a bigger venue.
The Nashville singer is currently touring her sophomore release, All American Made. Just two songs into Price's set, fan-favourite "Hurtin' (On the Bottle)" made for a raucous sing-along that set the tone for an evening of outlaw country, Americana, and some electrifying bursts of rock'n'roll.
On "A Little Pain," Price ditched her old Gibson acoustic and took the mic in her hand with the commanding stage presence of a seasoned pop-star — while rocking a silver fringe jacket that was equal parts Hollywood and honky-tonk.
Price brought a seven-piece band along with her, treating the crowd to frenzied organ solos and flurries of fingerpicked lap steel. Her husband Jeremy Ivey manned the harmonica most of the night, while booming bass and thunderous drums held down head-bobbing grooves that somehow melded perfectly into the mix of instruments.
But soaring above the impressive musicianship were Price's vocals. At times they were intimate, as on an Emmylou Harris with only a sparse acoustic guitar backing her. Other times they were simply massive, with gripping power as she reached for towering notes on tracks like "Tennessee Song" and "Hands of Time."
She wasn't just singing and strumming though, she moved to piano for a rendition of "All American Made" that was soaked in pained passion, while a couple Himalayan salt lamps lit the stage. She even showed off some drumming skills later in the show.
On "Cocaine Cowboys," she retreated to the back of the stage to take a seat at the opener's empty drum kit, and matched her drummer on every snare hit and tom fill as lights flashed through the haze, and heavy riffs verging on psych-rock filled the hall.
Price only broke from her ambitious pace a couple of times to talk to the crowd: once to add a little anecdote about the trouble she went through to get into Canada for the show, which has proven to be difficult in the past for her, musing on police station visits and fingerprint taking.
Covers of Neil Young, Tom Petty and an encore of "Proud Mary" made for a wild night of tambourines, tassels and turquoise at the Danforth — with the rate of her meteoric rise, Price could be headlining an arena next time she's in the city, assuming she can make it across the border.