You know when you go to a show, but not a lot of other people do and you wonder why the hell not? That was the case for the Dog Day/Apollo Ghosts tour stop in Toronto last night (for me). The tourmates and their opener, The Raccoon Wedding, all performed really splendidly, and yet the second floor of Sneaky’s wasn’t as sweaty as it usually is. Perhaps everyone there had a rockin’ good time, I don’t know, but I did find myself wishing people would show it more.
But let’s start from the beginning.
Within being at the venue for twenty minutes, I had already been in an uncomfortable situation with the drunkest guy there. At first, it was hilarious because he was losing his mind to the Raccoon Wedding, but somehow little me, standing in the back, caught his attention. He distracted me from a few songs out of the set because he was slurring at me and it was not so funny anymore. Also, guy, it was 10:30. That’s embarrassing. Anyways, I pretty much knew nothing about the Raccoon Wedding going into the show, but they really won me over (besides the distraction – points!). They carry infectious charisma that’s humble despite their frat boy persona. But it was fun, like a house band who actually know their stuff. They had wicked bass lines, a trumpet, a passionate singer and a crazy drunk fan. Seems like they’re doing pretty well so far. I’ll be sure to check them out more in the future.
The most disappointing part of the night was how nobody really got into Apollo Ghosts until the band pretty much forced them to. They are a blast, and that’s always what I hear about them. So it was sad to see that people were standing far from the stage and barely moving until lead singer Adrian dared someone to crowd surf for a hug and a free record. However, by the time that song was over, the band’s 5 vinyl for $5 were sold out, so the brave soul got his hug and a promise for a beer. Whether or not he got that drink, Apollo Ghosts proved that they can get the right attention, but they shouldn’t always be asking for it. I hear it’s much better in other cities, so I can only speak for Toronto.
Anyways, the trio put even more of a comical twitch to their already quirky songs by ending each one even quicker than usual with a “THAT’S IT!” and with their banter. Adrian had stripped himself of his shirt by the first song (I wasn’t aware men could grow hair on their shoulders) and donned a rough cape with an AG sewn on. These guys and gal are not to be messed with! The most heart-warming moment was when Adrian wished “the woman he loved” Amanda (on drums) a happy birthday and then proceeded to sing the happy birthday song. I see a really bright future for this band, and their wit and enthusiasm will be a key factor. Toronto, one day you will appreciate them more!
Dog Day took the stage — now a duo of the former front runners, husband and wife Seth and Nancy Smith — to a larger crowd, but one that was more eyes glued to the stage than bored. They ran through a heap of new material, so that was another factor into the crowd’s reaction, but from what I heard (even though I can never distinguish what they’re singing), it sounds like they’re onto something great. I was really skeptical about them being a duo until about their second song was over. I realized that they looked so much happier — I feel like I’ve never seen them smile until now — and that they appeared to feel at ease and able to be more free in the music they wanted to play. Seth let himself go rocking out on the guitar numerous times, parting from his usual stare-at-the-mic-to-go-with-my-shoegaze bit, and Nancy, now as drummer, had her eyes keep tabs on him for her new-found beats. She lets her tongue out of her mouth and she looks like a puppy, which sounds strange, but is actually endearing. So after getting through the new songs, one of Seth’s solo songs, a cover, and inviting Apollo Ghosts on stage to play a Vaselines song (see video below), the crowd demanded an encore. It took a while for them to set up again and decide on what to play — Seth stated “we’re out of material because we’re new again” — they did finish with a now old Dog Day song (which one escapes me now). Seth and Nancy proved last night that they can make it on their own. Besides moving to a house in the woods (“we play games with our chickens”), their bond together is now more publicly shared and explored when they let it, and fans can see the dedication and excitement for what’s to come.