Monday, August 25, 2008

Cuff the Duke.

Friday night I went to the Horseshoe for the Cuff the Duke show. The last time this band played Toronto I didn't go, and have mildly regretted it since. I bought their latest album from Wayne Petti himself back in late 2007, and since then have been waiting for their summer show. They headlined two nights this past weekend; mid way through their set I wanted to come back for the second night, but I knew I couldn't. That's how good they were. My blogger friend agreed that this was one of the best shows of the year for him. For me, it may have been the best I've been to. Ever.

Here's what went down. I missed most of the first opener, but caught enough of the Stables to know that I will see them again. Great stuff! Folky foot-stomping music, complete with incomplete drum kit and a hockey-stick bass. The trio were having a great time and seemed all kinds of thrilled to be playing. The venue wasn't crowded for their set, and there was lots of room at the front. Which is where I was, and where I stayed. Here's a couple shots of their set: The place quickly filled up when the middle act, Bruce Peninsula, started up. I saw this group play their 7"release show at a church on the Toronto Islands earlier this summer. That experience was not matched Friday night. (Hard to be ethereal at the Horseshoe, or without Katie Stelmanis providing back-up vocals.) Still a really good set from the current touring members of the band, including Neil Haverty, Matt Cully, and lead female vocalist Misha Bower. The slightly smaller group meant Misha's vocals stood out more than they did at the church show, which was a good thing. She's great. The band gave a spirited performance which proved to me that they are indeed a special band and not just a choir with rock backing. Here are Neil, Misha, and another vocalist.And then Cuff the Duke took the stage. I haven't seen a band this well-known in such a small venue before, and that by itself made the evening a real treat for me. Excited though I was, I was not expecting to be as impressed as I was by the band's performance. As Bob pointed out to me, these guys know how to rock out like experienced performers who have been on a lot of tours. But they still got the energy of a young band. No jumping off the stage and dancing with audience members like they did a few years back during a Wavelength show, but still. Basia Bulat (and her band members Holly Rancher and Allison Stewart) joined the band on stage for a couple songs, as did the guys from the Stables. The first encore was a great big party with all the opening acts up on stage singing along. So much fun. The sound may not be the best at the Horseshoe, but I'm not sure there's a better place to be right up at the front, seeing an awesome rock band play to a roomful of happy people. It was absolutely thrilling. (And not just because I have a mild crush on lead singer/guitarist Wayne Petti. [Who doesn't?])

1 comment:

Quadb said...

Haha! Great review and what an awesome show. I'll admit that I now understand your Petti crush a little bit more.