Who: The Elwins, Spells of Vertigo, Heyrocco
Where: The Great Hall, Toronto
When: 26 November 2015
In one word: Lively
The show started off with a bang from the first openers. Spells of Vertigo delivered a high-powered performance combining melancholic grunge and ‘80s inspired rock fuelled by rambling bass lines and melodic guitar riffs. Droning vocals and unique instrumentals filled the venue with clear atmospheric sound. Second openers Heyrocco delivered a similar hard rock kick, but with less clothing than the first group. Their sound brought Nirvana to mind. They had a laid-back (but not lazy) stage presence, socializing with the audience between songs and telling the song’s story each time. “This song is your math homework”, vocalist / guitarist Nate said before their second last song. Both acts had great emotion on stage and had tight rhythm, which allowed the guitarists to throw themselves around and engage in some crazy, yet entertaining antics; like Nate’s backwards somersault with his guitar. Despite completely inaudible backing vocals, both openers gave great performances.
Members of The Elwins were out in the audience socializing and getting pictures with fans and guests before their set. The Great Hall was pretty full by the time they started. The stage had shed its clutter as the night went on and opening acts passed. Light up geometric prism stage props were set up, and dry ice rolled across the stage as the Elwins walked on. They started off with a fast energetic song intro, and then fell back into a steady groove accompanied by swaying red and orange lights. Their performance livened up the evening with a poppy punch, which I previously learned was exactly the sound they were going for in their new album according to keyboardist, vocalist, and rhythm guitarist Feurd. Yes, he’s the one with the awesome moustache. All three guitarists bopped in time with the lights, and the show soon became a full room dance party; it had a good feeling I hadn’t really experienced before at a live show. Everyone was moving.
As the night went on, the band shared instruments and lead vocals. Percussionist Travis Stokl used a mix of electronic and acoustic drums giving a different depth of sound in each song. I find that kind of thing always adds a good dose of variety to a live performance. They hardly strayed pitch and rhythm wise. The band members smiles rarely faded; it was easy to see they were enjoying themselves and the room was filled with a really positive atmosphere. Their songs had all the audience singing along by the time the second or third chorus rolled around. They closed the show with their hit “So Down Low” which the whole audience sung and moved to – Fuerd said the band’s fan base grew a lot after “So Down Low” was used in a Fido commercial on radio and television.
Despite having a seeming lack of variety in their original material pace wise (it is all pretty fast, catchy stuff) songs didn’t blend together; there was always a difference in pace between one song and the next which made it easy to stay involved.
Fuerd says seeing the audience singing along to their songs is spectacular. “You get the sense that people really enjoy the songs, and you really want to entertain people” They definitely entertained.
Catch them on tour at more locations in Souhtern Ontario, Quebec or the East Coast as they continue to promote their latest record, Play For Keeps until Christmas.
© Robyn Bond, Music Vice
Show photos by Music Vice contributor Hannah Edgerton:
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