The Gig: Sam Roberts Band, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Jezabels
Where: Toronto, Canada
When: 26 July 2012
In One Word: Splendid
Toronto has a new concert venue to celebrate. Echo Beach (seemingly named after a 1979 song by Martha and the Muffins) is a 4,000 capacity outdoor venue which lies in the shadow of its bigger brother, The Molson Canadian Ampitheatre. It is situated against the picturesque backdrop of Toronto’s waterfront and city skyline. Echo Beach opened last year with a view of filling a hole for a medium-size outdoor concert venue in the city. Tonight’s Sam Robert’s concert was my first time scoping out this new venue, and I am happy to report that Echo Beach seems to meet its designed purpose: a decent size outdoor venue that gives big-but-not-quite-Florence-big bands like tonight’s line-up who can’t quite sell out the Amphitheatre a viable and OUTDOOR alternative to 3000-ish capacity venues like Massey Hall or Sound Academy.
First impressions at Echo Beach were definitely good. There was a bit of a mini-festival feel to proceedings, given the abundance of food and merch stands that line the pleasant curved path that leads you from up beside the Molson Ampitheatre box office and down to Echo Beach. Sadly, like at music festivals, the beer sold at Echo Beach is seemingly a special batch brewed by a colony of Trappist monks in France, or something, and will set you back $10.50 a beer – consider yourself warned. Some promo girls and guys handing out free samples added to that mini-fest vibe: but no free KFC for me thanks… “I’m a vegetarian… ha!”
Food stands and expensive beer are to be expected at an outdoor concert venue – the pleasant surprise at Echo Beach is the sand! And even better, the volleyball court. How many venues can offer that?
Now, this is looking more like a ‘venue review’ than a concert review but really, the venue plays a big part in the concert experience. Tonight’s experience was very much a pleasant one.
I continue to be enthused by The Jezabels who opened the show in the bright evening sun. It was a different experience to the immense showing the Australian band had given three months ago at the Mod Club – but Hayley Mary was once again on form as dynamo powering The Jezabels for a buoyant performance, and a good reception from the sun-soaked Toronto crowd. Naturally it is a different vibe seeing a band in the open air and daylight, compared to a sweaty sold-out rock club, but The Jezabels adjusted well to the daylight [not that they are vampires…] and continue to be impress the socks off of me.
It was still daylight by the time Bombay Bicycle Club took the stage. We’ve also reviewed BBC in recent months in Toronto, and it’s fair to say that tonight many more girl-boners were popped by the female fans who swooned for Jack Steadman and co. Definitely a sunshine atmosphere, and a drum solo towards the end of Bombay Bicycle Club’s set added to the fun.
Montreal based Sam Roberts Band were the last band up, and this was my first time seeing a group who are something of a Canadian institution. With six Juno’s to his name, I felt like I should be taking notes should Sam Roberts come up as a question in my Canadian citizenship test one day: this is very definitely CANROCK. I couldn’t stay the whole set, but as I walked away from Echo Beach to the distant cheers for “Sammy, Sammy, Sammy”, it was very much a party atmosphere down at Echo Beach.
© Brian Banks, Editor, Music Vice
Photo gallery of The Jezabels, Bombay Bicycle Club and The Jezabels at Echo Beach, Toronto:
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