Seu Jorge Lula Lounge, Toronto ON - September 22, 2005

When Brazilian singer-turned-actor Seu Jorge signed on to be the equivalent of a walking soundtrack in Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic, you can bet he didn't think it would be the biggest move of his musical career. There's no question though that more than a few in the crowd at his recent sold-out Toronto debut came out to see if there was more to the funky samba singer than a bunch of quirky Bowie covers. A questionable move by the event organisers to open up a second show just two hours after the doors opened on the first made little sense to the peeved concert goers who entered Lula Lounge to find that the concert had been turned into a dinner and show event (with tables and chairs occupying the entire half of the dance floor closest to the stage). However, it didn't take long for the resulting lack of intimacy to subside, with Seu Jorge taking the stage and quickly heating things up with some juicy samba-soul. Backed by a four-piece bass and percussion unit, the lanky baritone ripped through a boisterous set with an energy that has never entirely translated to his studio work, eschewing many of Cru's uneven bossa attempts for the body-moving groove of songs like "Tive Razão" and "Tu Queria" from his first disc. Frequent percussive diversions got people up on their toes before the capacity crowd was floored by a 15-minute show-stopping showcase by Jorge's three percussionists, who were certainly prepared to work for their keep. The night ended with Seu Jorge standing to transmit the voice of Brazil's many shantytowns with "Eu Sou Favela" before tearing into his original funked-out version of "São Gonça," made famous by his former group, Farofa Carioca. Handily winning over those in attendance, it seemed fitting that Jorge should take a brief nap at the back of the stage. After all, it looks like things are about to really get cooking for this Rio de Janeiro export.