This past week was any music lover’s dream. A slew of live shows covering music from the 80s all the way until 2012, represented by four bands ranging from all over the globe. It was a good time to be a music fan in Toronto.
Wintersleep @ Danforth Music Hall
Halifax-based band Wintersleep is on tour promoting their fifth studio album Hello Hum. The venue was small and intimate and though they played well, nothing much about the show really stood out. It was too similar to listening to their albums at home and there was minimal interaction between band members. Hopefully with a little more time and experience, they’ll feel more adventurous on stage and put on a more entertaining show.
The xx @ Massey Hall
London band The xx are touring in support of their sophomore album Coexist. Massey Hall was the perfect setting for their intense, rock-electronic vibe, and some of the most emotive lyrics in music today. The contrast of the vocals, the simplicity of the guitar riffs, combined with the electronic beats and variety of percussion instruments, made it impossible to sit still. The entire crowd was begging for more the whole night. Unreal.
New Order @ Sony Centre for the Performing Arts
80s English band New Order took the stage in Toronto for the first time in over a decade. Best known for their influence on the electronic and new wave scene in the 80s, they played their greatest hits, not to mention a few tracks by Joy Division – the band where three out of the four New Order members began their careers. They were fun, energetic – surprising at their age – and looked like they were having the time of their lives. A performance much more appreciated by true fans, but still enjoyed by any music lover.
Smashing Pumpkins @ Air Canada Centre
One of the defining bands of 90s rock/alternative music, Chicago’s Smashing Pumpkins are touring in support of their 2012 release, Oceania. Lead singer Billy Corgan is the only remaining original member in the current band. A sea of fans gathered, feeding off nostalgia and dying to take a trip down memory lane. The first half of the show they played the entire Oceania album: it felt like being held hostage because everyone was there for the classics. After Billy Corgan’s ego was stroked, they rocked out hard for the second half was incredible – it felt like high school all over again. However, the show as a whole would have been much more enjoyable had they mixed up older and newer material.