It’s funny to live in (or near) a major city where concerts are in high demand. A few years back I was talking to a pal who lives in Michigan who said that the one of the things she really liked about Mid-Western living is that she never has to buy tickets as soon as they go on-sale. I guess over time I just got used to buying tickets as soon as they went on sale.
This show was a gradual sell out, but a solid sell out in the general admission section. This was the first show at the Danforth Music Hall that I had been to where the seats had been taken out of the floor section. According to this article (http://www.blogto.com/music/2012/09/danforth_music_hall_gets_more_concert-friendly/), the venue has had some renovations done, which has led to a convertible general admission venue that holds about 1400 people and soft seating that fits just over 1100.
This venue will be a terrific compromise for bands that have been playing the Sound Academy, which in my opinion is one of the worst contributions to the Toronto music scene. I suppose the venue serves its purpose for small festivals requiring different rooms, but its main space is a terrible environment to see any act.
The Danforth Music Hall also has a slight slant to the main floor which greatly helps with sightlines. The slant is a result of the former permanent seats.
This show was tremendously early, making difficult for anyone to attend, but on a work night, I really cannot complain. Father John Misty was on stage performing promptly at 8pm with many people scrambling in as they heard music seeping out of the venues outside doors. Father John Misty’s a folk ensemble whose frontman, Josh Tillman, is the former Fleet Foxes drummer from 2008-2012, the heart of the bands career to date. A week or so before this gig, I started listening to Father John Misty after hearing the tune “Funtimes in Babylon” from a Daytrotter Session. I loved how much it reminded me of Pedro the Lion’s David Bazan’s solo efforts. I gave the album a few spins and realised that I didn’t want to have to miss this gig.
In scrambling to get tickets, I found out that the gig’s main floor was completely sold out and had little interest in grabbing tickets in the seated, upper section. Fortunately, I found a last minute Craiglist sale!
Both the band and vocals of Tillman were pretty flawless. Tillman also had some sweet dance moves that I felt established an atmosphere that made people more comfortable to dance. I unfortunately met up with some pals that felt differently about their set claiming he had “stupid dance moves.” They did make a comment that they were much better than the last time they had watched Father John Misty play. Their big criticism of his former performance was that he was too high.
Throughout the gig, Tillman made jokes about how playing four gigs in Toronto across twelve months made him a local artist.
I’ve been pretty in love with the Walkmen for the past five years since the release of the album You & Me. The band’s got a pretty distinct sound that I think few bands have caught up to. This is probably my fifth or sixth time seeing the Walkmen and with every gig, I always seem to acquire a greater sense of admiration for the band. Their music is somewhat pretty, but has a great sense of urgency and panic which deters me from listening to them as much as I could. I was astonished that they played their golden gem and great crowd pleaser “The Rat” second in their set. I felt this set was a bit dull in comparison to other gigs, no discredit to their sound but the band cannot rely on singer Hamilton Leithauser’s pep. I was however extremely happy with their song selections and I was especially delighted to hear tune “We Won’t Be Beat” near the end of their set and my personal favourite ditty “Canadian Girl.” I guess I’m impartial to the band’s sweeter tunes… I can’t help it, I’m a sap.
I have to give it to the Walkmen, they aren’t afraid to change up their song orders. I’ll admit here, I really like to see bands I love more than once, but I’m growing tired to seeing the same gigs over and over. I think the Walkmen do a terrific job of changing it up but I guess that’s as much for them as it is me.
Throughout the entire set there were lights shining from behind the band which cast big shadows of the band members on the walls of the venue. It was a really unique sight that added a bit more entertainment to a mediocre set.
The gig was completely through by 10:30pm which allowed the nine to fivers to be home in bed at a decent hour.