The Weakerthans / The Constantines The Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto ON April 2
Published Apr 03, 2009The Constantines ensured the third and final night of the Rolling Tundra Tour in Toronto went off with a bang. Although people were still streaming in, the Cons had the front half of the room captivated and bouncing, and grabbed the attention of the back half when Weakerthans lead singer John Samson came out to sing "Little Instruments," which ended in him crowd surfing. "That's the greatest thing I've ever seen," Cons front-man Bryan Webb said as Samson scrambled to get back stage.
The majority of the set showcased songs from their latest release, Kensington Heights, but their older material had the crowd singing aloud. "Nightime/Anytime" would have ended in a standing ovation if that were possible. Before the last chorus rang out, the band broke into a jam session that resulted in lively yelps from the crowd, cheering them on to continue.
That set the stage for the Weakerthans. The club was packed at this point, with the demographic skewed north of the post-college segment - a testament to the staying power of the Winnipeg group whose first album came out 12 years ago. From the onset it was clear all five members (Rusty Matyas from the Waking Eyes, who opened the show, played with them) were genuinely having fun. Samson's uniquely beautiful voice held all of their energy together. When he sang, it was as if he was having a conversation with the crowd - in his socially awkward way.
Every song they played seemed like a number one single. "Pamphleteer" got a greater reaction than the sugary sweet "Civil Twilight," showing how dedicated everyone was to their entire catalogue. With an empty stage, the crowd cheered Samson back on to play "One Great City!" by himself, before the entire band busted out synths to attack "Anchorless." Even walking off the stage for the last time couldn't stop the applause, as a few lingered by the front hopeful for just one more song.