July Talk Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON, October 19

July Talk Horseshoe Tavern, Toronto, ON, October 19
Photo: Tiana Feng
Meanwood and Stella Ella Ola started the night off energetically with their foot-stomping soul rock and summery garage pop, but it was July Talk's night to shine and that they did.

With manic energy, Peter Dreimanis's raspy Tom Waits-like voice started the set. Leah Fay wasn't in sight yet, but just as it was time for her part in "The Garden," she pranced on stage in a sultry black dress and red scarf.

July Talk played an out-of-order rendition of their entire new self-titled album. Dreimanis and Fay's presence on stage was animated yet convincing. Dreimanis was aggressive in both musicianship and persona, borderline stalker-like in facial expression.

Conversely, Fay was sweet, angelic and beautiful. Though seemingly innocent, she continuously teased the Dreimanis with flirtatious actions such as using the mic stand as a dancing pole or simply with her sparkly smile.

The two knew exactly how to captivate the audience and played off each other with perfect chemistry. Themes of masculinity versus femininity, not to mention love and hate, were organically displayed. Dreimanis's seemingly whisky-soaked voice and Fay's Amy Milan-like soft tone only added to the drama. Their bandmates were not forgotten and were often included in some angry and flirty moments. Though July Talk were quite theatrical, it all appeared spontaneous and not rehearsed.

Towards the end, Fay jumped into the audience and people came out of nowhere to pour what looked like fake blood all over her. She climbed back on stage for "Let Her Know," and the fake blood splashed the crowd at the front as she removed her shoes and jumped about.

An encore with their latest single "Paper Girl" ended their set. Everybody burst out singing during the earwormy chorus, "If you want money in your coffee, if you want secrets in your tea, keep your paper heart away from me." The line was impossible to forget for the rest of the night.