Forgive me for the late posting: medical woes conspired to keep me from prolonged computer usage (translation: I took a hard elbow to the orbital bones and it’s been brutal to use my eye for days). I’m now in the market for a voice-to-text program because knowing me, this will happen again.
But hey! In the midst of the injury came a show, and what a great one it was! Cruising into Lee’s Palace (a venue I really don’t spend enough time at) with my two compatriots, we made ourselves at home (read: bought a few drinks each) and enjoyed a stellar night of music.
I managed to slide in halfway through the set of Desperate Executives and found myself disappointed I’d missed the first half. An indie roots-rock band hailing from Toronto, Desperate Executives are exactly that: white collar workers channeling their frustrations and thoughts about life and its daily grind into music. Self-described as a blend of Blue Rodeo and The Tragically Hip. I’m more inclined to suggest The Hip with a more poppy-blues feel a la Blues Traveler (tune “Tiny Little Fragments” is reminiscent of their hit “Runaround”), with a little more flavour… Perhaps Wintersleep or solo Chris Robinson in terms of flavour. Straight up rocking blues makes for a head-nodding, hip-shaking good time, perfectly suited to a night at the bar chatting with friends. Vocals are gritty and earnest, perfect alongside the acoustic-driven numbers. I’ll definitely be checking out their release Towers Of Gold and suggest you do the same.
More about Desperate Executives here.
The Ruby Spirit
Imagine, if you will, that Debbie Harry was born in 1985 and grew up feeding on the Seattle grunge scene and The Jesus and Mary Chain, among other tasty treats of the 90s rock vibe. Imagine next that The Killers fired Brandon Flowers and recruited this incarnation of Debbie and tossed her in the hands of Ann Wilson and Karen O for a little tutelage. Are you feeling the awesome yet?
The crowd certainly was feeling it when The Ruby Spirit took the stage. Polished and brimming with stage presence, The Ruby Spirit have a retro feel that evokes the best days of London’s rock scene and a grounded sensibility that is hallmark Canadian songwriting. Songs are meant to move, to evoke a reaction and they do not disappoint. Lead vocalist Paige Boy is enthralling yet endearingly sweet, and determined to get a crowd grooving – and succeeds with gusto. My companions and I were absolutely blown away and frankly irritated that they weren’t already on our respective radars.
For those with cars, you have the incredible opportunity to catch The Ruby Spirit opening for The Jesus and Mary Chain for free tomorrow night in Buffalo. As I cannot drive, I demand you do so for me.
More on The Ruby Spirit here.
Blog followers will recall that I immediately loved Whitby natives Avery island after catching their NXNE 2012 set. Finally able to immerse in a full-length set with the entire band united, I was all the more impressed.
My instinctual comparison to Rilo Kiley still holds (think earlier works The Execution Of All Things and Take-Offs and Landings, or b-side “A Town Called Luckey”), which isn’t to say that Avery Island lacks its own unique flavour. Powerful lyrics and jammed out sprawls reminiscent of a prog-rock vibe fuse together to give the band its own thoughtful (and political) voice. The melodic hooks and rich vocals of Lauren Heenan are memorable, the sound cohesive. Like preceding band The Ruby Spirit, it was impossible not to move to the music; it quite literally enthralled and made standing still painful. Stand out performances of the night included “Lock Me Up” and Brand New cover “Degausser”.
Keep your eyes peeled for a review of their 3-track EP I picked up at the show, as well as this band. They’re on the rise.
More about Avery Island here.