Limblifter El Mocambo, Toronto ON June 16
Published Jun 17, 2012Perhaps the only thing more shocking than the announcement that Vancouver alt-rockers Limblifter were reissuing their 1996 self-titled debut on vinyl, was Ryan Dahle's decision to pull the group out of mothballs to play some shows to support the re-release. To be certain, this was not a reunion of the same band who made that slab of '90s radio-friendly Can-rock, as Dahle's brother Kurt (who now drums with New Pornographers) and bassist Ian Somers were both MIA. Instead, we got a four-piece that included Sloan multi-instrumentalist Gregory Macdonald and a pair of hired guns. They not only dug through the best bits of Limblifter's debut ("Screwed Up," "Vicious") but also delved into the band's subsequent radio hits "Ariel vs. Lotus" and "Wake Up to the Sun." Dahle seemed genuinely pleased to perform to such a warm reception, but with no other original band members to share the moment, the set had a very workmanlike feel to it. Lesser-known tunes, such as a cut from Dahle's 2009 solo album and a new track, really dragged down the set, and by the two-thirds mark, many were just waiting for the hits. The set ended, predictably, with "Tinfoil," and an earlier promise of new material. Yet Dahle and co. were never really able to put up a good argument for why we might want such a thing.
CORRECTION: As many enraged commenters have pointed out, the "hired guns" mention are Megan Bradfield and Brent Follett, who played on Limblifter's 2004 I/O album. While the reviewer has already explained in his write-up why he did not enjoy the show, you can read more positive words on Dahle's Irrational Anthems here. In fact, Exclaim! gave the album our Mark of Excellence.