Concert Review: Sunshine State @ Lula Lounge, Toronto 4/24/08

And the catch-up continues!!

Note to self:  proper review of Sunshine State’s stellar debut was apparently NOT done.  Conclusion, self?  You are terribly neglectful and full of FAIL, to use macrospeak.  I wonder if I bundle said failure into a cat macro if I will admonish myself less?  I digress.

Sunshine State kicked the summer into gear with a full band gig at Lula Lounge, a venue nestled in the west end of Toronto, making for a long commute for this North Yorker, but one well worth the time (and not just for the delicious drinks, either!).  While I’m accustomed to and love the duo shows James and Aleza put on, the full band ensemble worked just that much better, wowing even those of us who are fast becoming SS show veterans.  The playful guitar of James becomes the leader in an enticing melody that inspires one to salsa not only to the dance-demanding Mas Que Nada, but every song.  I could easily transplant myself to the patio upon which I sipped margaritas in Mexico on my birthday, snack on delicious Mexican food, then add Sunshine State in full band mode and deem it perfection.

Highlights:

One Night Stand:  Aleza always, without fail, cracks me up whenever I speak to her, and on stage, her humour is often unleashed.  In this case, this song has become the ‘William Shatner tribute’, with Aleza delivering the opening lines in a manner that would make Shatner so proud.  I can’t listen to the studio cut anymore!  I’m spoiled!

Booty Call::  Easily one of the strongest songs on their debut, and a fan favourite live, it expands as many of their tracks do into a playful, flirty jam.  This track is one of the ones where the camaraderie between Aleza and James sparkles .

Holiday:  Holiday is a new song, one I first heard during Sunshine State’s opening set for Karen Kosowski’s CD Release at the Rivoli in March, and it’s a strong effort, one that would easily feel at home among the other tracks on their CD.  Aleza and James have an incredible way of taking a sad story, but still tinging it with hope in the melody, creating a ‘comforting via empathy yet cheering’ effect.

Day Job:  Sunshine State is ‘big in Japan’ and this lovely song, one I frequently blare on the way to work, is responsible!  And really, who could resist a song of dreaming about a brighter, better future job in the hell of a cubicle?  I randomly began rewriting it once via text message to a friend, substituting in details of my own job…  Possible contest?  Best rewrite gets goodies and concert tickets?  Hmm…

Thank You (For Leaving):  Disco remix!  I’ve always thought of this song as a new I Will Survive (it’s so apt for my last major break-up in 2006 that it became an anthem), but to see the band jam this out with disco flavour, complete with disco ball, was just incredible.  This is another one that is permanently spoiled now;  the studio track just can’t keep up!   I eagerly await a live recording (from Japan?).

Sunshine State has an official site now!  http://www.sunshinestate.ca.   Mind the .ca!  Their debut is available at shows and online and I insist you grab it.

SETLIST:  SUNSHINE STATE @ LULA LOUNGE, TORONTO 4/24/08

One Night Stand
Booty Call
New To Me
The Crush
Holiday
7 Months
Mas Que Nada
The Day After
Day Job
Drug Dealer (A Love Song)

Encore:
Thank You (For Leaving)

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