Other Lives at The Underground at Drake Hotel, Toronto – Concert review and photos

February 15, 2012

Other Lives at the Drake Underground - photo Rebecca Connor, Music Vice
The Gig: Other Lives
Where: The Underground at Drake Hotel, Toronto
When: 15 February 2012
In One Word: Remarkable

How do you fit an orchestral alt-rock band onto the basement stage of the Drake Underground? Seems impossible, when in fact, it’s quite simple: Other Lives.

The past year has been a busy one for Stillwater, Oklahoma, based band Other Lives. The band has been on tour for nine months and they’re still going strong. On the back of their rigid tour schedule they’ve generated quite the buzz in the music scene. After touring with Bon Iver, Other Lives have undoubtedly begun to garner the attention of music lovers worldwide.

Each member of Other Lives adds a crucial element to the huge sound that is found on their new album Tamer Animals and onstage, where they flawlessly recreate the tracks. With a wide array of instruments: classical, modern, and homemade –  notably a set of deer antlers with bells attached – the music is intricate and unique. Every member moves with quick precision, often employing a multitude of instruments over the course of a matter of seconds. It was quite the spectacle to watch the band, and also a delicious treat for the ears. The sheer energy that pulsed through the cozy crowd was incredible. Every note, from every instrument entwined itself into a perfectly orchestrated arrangement.

Given the date and all, it was a veritable love-in between the audience and the band: and if the Toronto crowd weren’t charmed enough already, then an encore starting with an amusing back-forth by frontman Jesse Tabish before a solo rendition of “Black Tables”, and then a cover of “The Partisan” by Canadian icon Leonard Cohen did the trick.

As Other Lives approach their upcoming tour dates opening for Radiohead on their North American tour, I can’t help but feel as though I’ve won the jackpot, being able to see this larger than life band at such an intimate venue. I have the sneaking suspicion that next time we see Other Lives in Canada, they won’t be playing in the basement of a boutique hotel.

© Rebecca Connor, Music Vice

Editor’s comment:
Other Lives were fantastic to see and hear live. Tamer Animals is a complex, multi-layered album with many subtle shifts and nuances, with various instruments woven into the mix with liquid precision: the live show was always going to be different, but Other Lives bring that same fluidity to the stage when they perform. Their sophomore album was created after a toiling 14-months locked away in their home studio, and all that work and dedication shows when the band play their music. The deftness and timing between the changes in instruments, along with the level of detail and focus to the performance, was pulled off with a calmed and controlled assurance. Truly, it was music in motion.

Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice

Watch out for an interview with Other Lives recorded at the show, coming up soon on Music Vice.

Pictures of Other Lives at The Drake Underground:

Video: Other Lives frontman Jesse Tabish wishes Toronto a happy Valentines Day and performs “Black Tables” solo:

Internet link: Other Lives

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One Response to Other Lives at The Underground at Drake Hotel, Toronto – Concert review and photos

  1. James on February 17, 2012 at 3:27 pm

    Great article! I’m sad I missed this show. Defineately going to check this band out though.

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