Apostle of Hustle and Tanya Tagaq Glen Gould Studio, Toronto ON November 7

Apostle of Hustle and Tanya Tagaq Glen Gould Studio, Toronto ON November 7
Photo: Scott A. Gray
Instead of acting as a traditional opening act, this special CBC-presented concert had the pint-sized Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq collaborating with the Apostle of Hustle crew.

After a warning that her capabilities were at about 30 percent after blowing her voice out at a recent show, Tagaq led the three Apostles in an improvisational jam to commence the music. If that’s what she can do at 30 percent, one struggles to imagine how that other 70 percent would manifest. Gasping, wailing, grunting, gurgling and growling like some sort of self induced spiritual exorcism, Tagaq channelled the emotional release of her voice into a fascinating musical tool to compliment Andrew Whiteman’s Cuban-influenced rock.

"My Sword Hand’s Anger” was the first proper song of the night, and oddly the weakest. Maybe there was a monitor issue happening on the stage, but there seemed to be some kind of rhythmic disconnect between Andrew Whiteman and drummer Dean Stone. Whatever the cause, it was remedied swiftly and there was nary a trace of an inconsistent groove for the remainder of the evening.

Tagaq lent her ailing pipes to a few Apostle songs before retiring her throat for the majority of the set. Whiteman and crew happily and casually treated the audience to a few fan favourites before launching into unfamiliar territory. A duo of brand new tracks from the band’s forthcoming new album, introduced as The Apostle of Hustle Eats Darkness, were unleashed on the eager listeners. The freshness of this material was apparent, but so was the recent recording of it; the band seemed most comfortable playing these new songs.

In addition to these couple of previews, Whiteman also led his Hustlers through a couple of songs they recently wrote and performed as part of a Cabaret. These rare treats aside, the performance escalated in quality and intensity the whole night, climaxing in the return of Tagaq for a vigorous take on "Haul Away.”

Uniformly spectacular and tasteful musicianship dominated the night, leading to a standing ovation and the heart-tugging encore of "Sleepwalking Ballad.” Thanks got to the CBC, for proof that Inuit throat singing and Cuban-infected indie rock blend beautifully.