Concert Review: The Wave Pictures, Maylee Todd, White Suede, March 25, Drake Hotel

Toronto – On Wednesday night, at Royal Albert Hall in London, England, my favorite band ever, Suede was playing some charity show for cancer or something. It was the first time they had played for seven years or something, and I wasn’t there. Did you know it costs $2500 to fly to England for one night and then come back the next night? Seriously. I know. Too expensive. As I laid there on the floor in a fetal position crying, I realized that I would be watching a band called Suede this week anyway. This didn’t make me feel any better, but that’s the way life goes I guess. The band was actually named White Suede, who were playing a triple bill at the No Shame showcase on Thursday night, also featuring Toronto singer Maylee Todd and British band The Wave Pictures.

White Suede – I didn’t know much about this band going in, so I’ll refer to the PR email for an introduction. According to the email, White Suede “is the latest incarnation of a collaboration between songwriter Daniel Bedard, guitarist and band leader Adrian Traub-Rees and soulful diva extraordinaire Kritty Urinowski”. I don’t know they are, but it so happened that Thursday night was the band’s first performance ever. A band’s first public live performance is always interesting..everything either goes right, or everything falls apart. Luckily for White Suede, it was the former and not the latter. A large 7 piece band, White Suede consisted of drummers, synth player, bass, guitar and three vocalist – two of them females. Joe from Mechanical Forest Sound likened their appearance to that of the Commitments, something I didn’t realize at the time, but is completely true. The fourty minute set consisted of energetic music that is influenced from 70s rock mixed with some soul and Motown vibes. All the songs seemed very radio friendly and had a classic innocent kinda vibe to it. There was synchronized dancing moves between the two female singers and overall, it was fairly entertaining – especially for a first show ever.

Maylee Todd and Pegwee Powe – Next up on the bill was Toronto singer/songwriter Maylee Todd. You may know her as the singer on various Woodhands songs. I would classify her set as a smorgasbord of sounds and genre. A real bass, harp, accordion and various other instruments were used throughout the set, which features elements of pop, jazz, soul, motown and funk. One constant among all the songs is the use of Maylee Todd’s voice – which is powerful, clear and sharp. I really like songs that were more soul/funk oriented and to me, that might be the best use of Maylee Todd’s talents. It seemed like she was dabbling in many different genres in order to experiment or maybe she gets too bored if she consistently does one thing, but to me, her soul/funk stuff is definitely the best. Either way, the set was once again, energetic, sometimes disorganized but all in all very pleasant. The lyrics didn’t really make sense sometimes and the banter was a bit awkward at times, but I still enjoyed the set.

The Wave Pictures – I think the Wave Pictures takes the award for the shortest sound check/setup time ever. I swear, they did it in 10 minutes. It was impressive and made me happy. I guess this is one of the benefits of having a simple drum/guitar/bass setup. It’s a real shame that only 50 or 60 people were in the audience for their set because the Wave Pictures delivered a really honest, catchy dose of folk rock with clever lyrics and observations. Casually talking about the Queen, shopping for vinyl at Rotate this and problems crossing the borders, the band seemed to engage the audience as old friends rather then people who paid to see them, making the show quite intimate. There were definitely some hardcore fans in the audience who seemed to know lyrics to every song and I am sure they are quite happy with the set. The 40 minute set consisted mainly of songs off the recent albums Instant Coffee Baby and If You Leave It Alone. All 3 members of the band shared vocal duties including drummer Jonny Helms, who much to the delight of the crowd, sang Now That You’re Pregnant as the set closer. Good times all around.

All in all, a pleasant night of pleasant music.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.