DIANA Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, June 17

DIANA Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, June 17
Photo: Calum Slingerland
One day after the 2015 Polaris Music Prize long list was announced, a long-listed group from the previous year showed off what they've been up to since their first Polaris nomination. Leading her band mates to the stage, Carmen Elle and the DIANA crew pleased the packed Drake Hotel with familiar cuts from 2013's Perpetual Surrender before simply announcing "Well, that was the old stuff. This is the new stuff."
The band's performance was as technically sound as ever in delivering their synth-pop stylings, anchored by steady bass lines and throaty tenor saxophone solos. The band even mixed in a few cover songs, challenging the audience to a game of "name that tune" with a moving rendition of "A Walk Across the Rooftops" from Glaswegian pop group the Blue Nile (which no one recognized, though one boisterous onlooker guessed it to be a deep cut from Gucci Mane).
Though Elle admitted to the crowd she was having some difficulties with seasonal allergies, she didn't show it, moving around the stage and forcefully strumming her guitar without missing a single note. The energy and exceptional musicianship exhibited onstage undoubtedly bodes well for future recording plans.