Concert Review: El Perro Del Mar, Feb. 21, 2010, The Mod Club

Toronto – With two Swedish bands playing, it was Nordic night at The Mod Club.  In fact, taking into account the documentary on Norwegian black metal that I saw on Saturday, this was a whole Nordic themed weekend for me … but I digress.  I will add though that El Perro Del Mar and Taken By Trees seem much nicer than Count Grischnach and are highly unlikely to burn down any churches.

When I arrived at the club, Taken By Trees were already more than halfway through their set, which was a bit disappointing as they sounded really good, a bit reminiscent of bands like Belle and Sebastien or Camera Obscura, but with maybe a bit more of an exotic vibe.  They incorporated some bongos into their sound at times and the keyboard player had a nice trippy flute type sound he used from time to time, giving me the impression of the aforementioned bands jamming with Rick Wakeman or Kitaro.  Awesome.  The trippiness was further enhanced by the video screens showing nature images in a loop – things like flowers, raccoons, and what I think was people riding horses through the water.  One of their last few songs was introduced as “a rare song … a b-side” and it ended up being the best of the bunch in my opinion, having a bit of a twangy vibe.

After a break, El Perro del Mar took the stage and I was surprised to find that singer Sarah Assbring was backed up by the same band that made up Taken by Trees (minus the keyboard guy).  This is a good thing as they were a pretty solid band.  The rhythm section was especially impressive, with the drummer hitting harder than I had expected and the bass was loud as hell, maybe a bit too loud at times, at least from where I was standing for the first few songs.  Still, the bassist laid down some solid grooves, even sounding a bit dubby at times.

Sarah Assbring has a powerful voice and put it to good use this night.  While singing, she alternated between playing an acoustic guitar and doing a sort of swaying dance that reminded me of something you might see from an 80s pop group like Bananarama or Boy George (I know he’s not a “group” but you get what I’m saying and besides I’m not sure if the other members of Culture Club did much dancing)  or maybe a scene from some long lost John Hughes movie set in Sweden.  The songs ranged from slightly uptempo tunes to some more downbeat yet lush sounding ballads like “It Is Something (To Have Wept).”  She also engaged the crowd with some awkward but endearing attempts at stage banter that didn’t always elicit much response.  That could have something to do with the fact that it was a Sunday, something she herself mentioned on stage. 

“I know it’s a Sunday, but we’re going to try and get a groove going.” she said.  They did.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything

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