Published Oct 30, 2011The zombified indie rock collective Donlands & Mortimer, known as "Deadlands & Morbider" on this particular night, entered the stage to a rather small crowd at Lee's Palace. And it was a shame: those who came late missed an hour-long upbeat, jazzy rock set from the six-piece orchestral band, something that fans of the night's other acts would have thoroughly enjoyed.
Soon after, the Elwins were all smiles as they opened with "On Your Doorstep" from their unreleased And I Thank You LP. Despite playing in a yet-to-be-full venue, the spunky band attracted a high-energy dance crowd in no time with their upbeat '60s pop melodies. For the Ontario quartet, the night was dedicated to costumes, dancing and having a good time. In the spirit of Halloween (with half the band members dressed in wigs and skirts that showed a little too much leg hair), the group rewarded the best costumed dancers in the crowd with candy. Making their way through a mere six-song set list, including "Larry Pastorous," "Sittin' Pretty" and "Forgetful Assistance," the Elwins managed to create a cheerful vibe within the short time they were on stage.
Soon after, an oh-too-familiar Spice Girls song began playing over the speakers and out ran the five-piece all-girl Sheezer, each dressed as a member of the British pop act. Opening with "Tired of Sex," the Toronto-based Weezer cover band rocked song after song having minimal interaction with the excited crowd. Other than cracking a few Geri Halliwell jokes when Laura Barrett's mic failed and offering up some lame Halloween puns, it's safe to say the Sheezer ladies didn't have entertaining stage banter, nor much of a stage presence.
But surveying the crowd, there is no doubt that they have a dedicated fanbase, as many head-banged, jumped and sang along to the familiar tunes. Still, for those who weren't hardcore followers, Sheezer's lack of enthusiasm was a bit of a turn-off.
After a set of Pinkerton tunes, Sheezer took a break, leading the crowd to dwindle. Ten minutes later, the band returned slightly more energized, banging out "The World Has Turned and Left Me Here," "Buddy Holly" and "Say It Ain't So" with some awesome guitar ripping and drum smashing, along with terrible stage banter once again. It's sad to say, but Sheezer may try to come off as a wild, party-hard band, but their mellow onstage attitude or the nonchalant rocker "image" they upheld just didn't fit the bill.
If you have not seen the Elwins exclusive interview and live performance on Exclaim! TV, check it out here.