Concert Review: Thrush Hermit, March 26 & 27, Lee’s Palace

Toronto – We here at The Panic Manual have made no secret of the fact that we like Joel Plaskett.  The dude has been writing good tunes and playing great shows for awhile now.  But as I’m sure many of you are aware, before he went solo, he was a part of the great East Coast band Thrush Hermit.  I probably remember seeing Thrush Hermit first on the old MuchMusic program Much East. (creative name, that)  Their videos from back in the day were a little bit odd and definitely pretty awesome.  I also remember getting their album Sweet Homewrecker through the old Columbia House music club thing.  Ah nostalgia …

And I suppose in a way nostalgia is what brought me to this show.  I liked this band a lot back in the day and still do, but I never got to see them.  So I was really looking forward to these shows, so much so that I got tickets for both nights (but passed on the Sunday afternoon show … that would be too much Hermit even for me.  If anyone saw it though, let me know how it was)  And Thrush Hermit did not disappoint.  Taking to the stage to the strains of the intro to “Skip The Life” playing on a loop (which gave it a weird Twin Peaks-ish quality) and lit by the warm neon glow of their “Rock & Roll” sign, they immediately kicked into a night of their greatest hits.  They played pretty much every song I would’ve wanted them to, except “I’m Sorry If Your Heart Has No More Room.”  I would have shouted out a request for it, but that would have taken too long and been a bit awkward to shout out, so alas, I didn’t hear it. 

 I also didn’t hear the opening acts on either night, which bummed me out a bit afterwards as I heard that Attack In Black played on Saturday.  Oh well, such is life.  What I did see, however, was some weird jazz band playing at The Tranzac on Friday night before heading to Lee’s.  Their guitar player looked like Matt Groening and had lots of effect pedals.  And on Saturday, I saw Mayor Miller drinking alone at a neighbourhood bar.  You’d think the Mayor would be able to rustle up a few drinking buddies, but whatever. 

Thrush Hermit put on a great show, rocking out like almost no time had passed.  In fact, time seemed to be a theme for the night, as right before the band came on, Colin James’ “I Just Came Back To Say Goodbye” was piped in over the speakers and after the band left the stage, we were treated to Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” to tell us it was time to go.  Also, Rob Benvie and Joel Plaskett got into a brief discussion on time vortexes and such.  And I’m always up for some good time vortex banter, so that was good. 

There wasn’t too much variation between the sets on each night.  In fact, speaking of lack of variation, I suspect that Ian McGettigan has been wearing the same shirt for every show of the tour.  If so, I applaud his decision.  As I said, the hits were pretty much covered.  Highlights included “On The Sneak,” “The Day We Hit The Coast,” “Oh My Soul!”, “Heart Wrenching Man,” ” Hated It,” “French Inhale,” “North Dakota,” Joel Plaskett flashing a light on the crowd during “From The Back Of The Film”  and the highlight of the set on both nights, “Violent Dreams.”  On Friday, they also played a song I totally didn’t recognize, “Take Another Drag.”  Even Benvie seemed a bit surprised as he looked down at the setlist: “That’s one for the diehards.”  Saturday was notable for the appearance onstage on Sloan’s Chris Murphy, who introduced the band for their second encore and joined them onstage for a duet with Benvie on “25 All Right.”  

Oh, and Saturday night was also notable for being loud.  Very loud.  I’m sure it was also loud on Friday night, but on Saturday I was up front and to the right of the stage.  I think I could actually feel my skull shake.  I happened to be passing by Lee’s Palace on Sunday afternoon too, and could hear the bass from outside the venue.  So yeah, loud.  But loud is good.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts, Everything