The Peptides Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 14

The Peptides Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 14
Photo: Kevin Jones
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It was hard to know what to expect based on the row of animal tail-dangling microphones that lined the front of the stage as Ottawa-based nine-piece the Peptides scurried around setting things up. All was revealed in the initial moments of their dramatic opener, however, as the well-choreographed troupe, decked out in vintage wear from the '50s and '60s, ran through a theatrical display of funny faces, statuesque poses and rehearsed exchanges laid over a moving collection of rock, funk and hints of soul. Songs that begin with a rigid, military stiffness suddenly erupted into swinging Latin jams, while the group's five singers each took their turn on lead, often melding harmonies while the others played in the background. The four musicians at the back of the stage anchored each tune with workman-like efficiency and were greeted with a respectable and well-warranted round of applause at the close of what was an interesting showcase that played a bit like a mini-musical without dialog.