Sunset Rubdown / The Witchies / Elfin Saddle Lee's Palace, Toronto, ON July 10

After nearly two months of touring in North America, indie experimental band Sunset Rubdown finally found themselves in Toronto to play one last show before heading back to their Montreal home. Joined by melodramatic songsters the Witchies and Japanese folk experimental band Elfin Saddle, the bands gave what was easily one of the most memorable performances of the year.

Although time seriously lagged in between sets, when Sunset Rubdown finally began, the change in the audience was immediate as the tired and anxious listeners perked up, stood a few inches taller and allowed themselves to be spellbound Spencer Krug's marvellously tensile voice.

The opening song "Empty Threats of Little Lord," from Sunset Rubdown's 2006 album Shut Up I Am Dreaming was as romantic as it was eerie, as the song blanketed the crowd in its calming demeanour. Without breaking the sound that hung in the air (except to switch instruments), the band plugged away at avant-garde pop songs primarily made up of their most recent album Dragonslayer. Each song performed, growing in sound and charisma, caused all the preternatural melodies and chord progressions sound natural.

The encore performance of the ambitious "Nightingale/December" was the show's zenith. Joined by two members of Elfin Saddle, the three drummers, two guitar players and two keyboardists tackled the layered conglomeration of sound. It was an explosive reverberation, made especially beautiful by keyboardist Camilla Wynne Ingr's charming voice wafting above.

As often as Krug let out his arpeggiated "woah oh ohs" so did he too remind the audience how "nice" we were all being, which made sense once he confessed he was hopped up on cold medicine. Even in a "delirious" state Krug knows how to put on one hell of a show. Sunset Rubdown is a worthwhile band certainly worthy of all the positive praise they receive.