Concert Review: Feist – May 13 – Hummingbird

Feist rocks it

Toronto – So let me tell you about the Hummingbird Centre. It’s no longer called the Hummingbird Centre. It’s now called the “Sony Centre“. But I prefer calling it the Hummingbird; and it’s a great place to see a medium to large band while avoiding the uber-mega crowds of Ricoh and beyond. The best and worst part of seeing a rock show at the Hummingbird is the acoustics.

You see, under the right conditions, you can practically hear a pin drop. The effect can be positively spine-tingly when the crowd is silent and the performer is in control of the room. Unfortunately, the acoustics are so good that I find myself hyper-aware of the crowd around me. I saw Radiohead at the Hummingbird a few years ago when this douchebag on the other side of the floor said something during quiet time and managed to ruin the moment. Anyway, the point here is when you’re at the Hummingbird, everyone can hear you.

Now, then. My friend rightfully points out that these concert halls are designed with acoustics in mind, and behave in this fashion. This is a valid point. I suppose when I go to see the symphony at Roy Thompson, the crowd just doesn’t yell “I LOVE YOU!” and “yyyeaaAAAHHHH! WhooOOooo!” to Peter Oudjoudjou. This probably has to do with the fact that the Classical-listening audience tends to be older, less drunk, and less stoned then the hip urbanistas that patrol Feist and Radiohead concerts.

Anyway, instead of ranting about the douchebags that like to ruin shows, I want to help solve the problem. As such, I’ve prepared this handy-dandy flowchart that all of you space cadets can print out, laminate, and whip out when you’re wondering when it’s an appropriate time to clap, and when it’s an appropriate time to shut the fuck up. I love playing around with flowcharts like this at work because it totally makes me look like I’m working hard. I highly recommend learning how to vent via the magical power of flowcharts.

How to Not be a Concert Douchebag

Figure 1 – How Not to be a Concert Douchebag

Now, on to the show. The opening band was Great Lake Swimmers. This band is not just chill, they’re super-duper chill. Their self-titled debut album is interesting because there are crickets in the background throughout. This adds a homey consistency to their particular brand of indie campfire folk. The one downside about this show was technical in that they seemed to be running into some feedback issues occasionally, which took away from their super crisp sound. I would like to listen to this band unplugged next to a real great lake that I just swam around in, while also listening to real crickets and warming up next to a cheery fire and making smores while surrounding by my friends both old and new.

Anyway. Next up was Feist. Leslie Feist. Feist is her real name by the way. What can I say about Feist? What a voice. She owns her voice in a way that few singers own their voice. Feist just absolutely rocks, both literally, with songs like Sea Lion Woman, and figuratively, with her exuberant prancing and mischievously funny stage banter. The show was coupled with some extremely tasteful and creative effects. These visual artists used all sorts of sweet, low and high-tech techniques to artfully lend to the atmosphere of Feist’s music. They used disco balls, fake snowflakes, and a projector with home-made arts-and-crafts to make their own moving pictures that blended perfectly with the music.

The quiet moments, for their part, sounded really fantastic. It was too bad that Feist’s request for the crowd to not yell during these quiet moments fell on deaf ears. See figure 1. Some of you might remember her song “1, 2, 3, 4” from Apple commercial fame. Personally, I’m partial to I Feel It All, which was the signature song at this year’s film fest. I’ve been conditioned to watch a movie after hearing that song, and was a little disappointed when there was no movie. Fortunately Feist followed it up with another one of those Feist songs.

Lake Swimmers: 3.7 out of 5 Great Lakes
Feist: 4.5 out of 5 Snowflakes (which Feist continually tossed at the crowd)

Posted on by Mark in Concerts