Homeshake / Sheer Agony / Baby Cages Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, August 13

Homeshake / Sheer Agony / Baby Cages Adelaide Hall, Toronto ON, August 13
Photo: Rick Clifford
Even with the funkiest jams and a killer backing band at your deposal, it can be really hard to keep a crowd attentive and focused on your set. This is something that Montreal's Peter Sagar (aka Homeshake) learned the hard way last night (August 13) at Adelaide Hall, a night in which the former Mac Demarco guitarist's grooved-out love songs almost got lost in a swarm of loud conversations by a defiant crowd throughout the course of the show.
The stacked bill began with Toronto's Baby Cages, a last-minute addition to the line-up that started the night off on a fairly dull note. Their moody guitars and bubbling drum machines never really wowed the audience for more than a song or two, and as the energy dwindled, the lead vocalist's soothing, crunchy drawls went from omnipresent to out of earshot by the time their last song came along; the audience clapped, but their eyes were downcast.
A slight shift occurred once Sheer Agony's jazzy, upbeat power-pop ran through the room, their smooth melodies accompanied by some of the wickedest guitar solos ever. "Get Back" hit that psychedelic sweet spot with a lot of punchy bass lines to which the crowd couldn't help but bop along. Their vibrant stage presence was a welcome change, and a lot of their set found the audience a little more receptive and dancing to every song. Sheer Agony ended their set, and a nice selection of old soul and new jack swing tunes from the PAs kept the room moving a bit while Homeshake prepared to take the stage.
Sagar and his band arrived shortly after midnight and began the set with a few soapy serenades from In The Shower, his boozy falsetto in full force as the murky guitar riffs on "Chowder" carried a lush, plaintive groove that resonated with the audience right away. Songs from Homeshake's forthcoming effort, Midnight Snack, saw Sagar lose his guitar for a few tracks so he could dive into more soulful, dazed electronics laced with silky percussion samples and fluttering keyboards.
Unfortunately, somewhere along the way, a small portion of the audience got bored, which led to a flood of loud conversations that began to drown out the band's performance. Sagar hushed the crowd a few times before stopping mid-way to tell someone to please be quiet, a boss move that got a lot of people cheering: "I don't mean to be a hard-ass, but could you all talk less?" pleaded Sagar, to a crowd that eventually got the hint after a few songs.
The night concluded with a couple of older songs, with Sagar's vocals more sultry than ever. Visibly frustrated by some of the earlier shenanigans, he managed to end the night with a smile and still give a few of his fans a good show.