Concert Review: The Morning Benders, April 14, Drake Hotel

Toronto – If you read our blog on a regular basis (and why wouldn’t you), you will know that we kinda like The Morning Benders. For a quick intro, they are a band from San Francisco/Berkeley that uses harmonized vocals, shoe gazey guitars and nice slow buildups all wrapped up in a Grizzly Bear-ish calmness. Wednesday night marked their return to Toronto, and they were there to promote their latest effort – Big Echo. Me, Gary and a bunch of his lab mates showed up. I didn’t really talk to them though, because I find that when you talk to a bunch of people of the same discipline, they tend to all talk about the same thing, and it’s hard to make conversation, specially when you don’t know anything about whatever molecular neutron electro charge physics discipline that they are in. Sure, I could have made some overtly sexist/racist joke, and then amuse myself with the absolutely horrified look on their faces, but these are my friend’s friends, so I had to respect that.

The band took the stage promptly at 11:00. PROMPTLY. True sign the band is operated by Asians. The thing that still amazes me is how young these guys are. I swear to god most of the band is like 18 or so. I look at them and I imagine what it would have been like if I had stayed in my basement and learned to play instruments and write songs when I was growing up instead of playing ball hockey, watching 1$ movies and picking on my friend’s siblings. How different life would have been.

The Morning Benders played around 45 minutes, basically covering all songs on the album. Despite his best efforts, Chris Chu was unable to generate a dance floor for some of the more upbeat numbers such as Cold War (Nice Clean Fight), such is life playing shows in Toronto man. In terms of stage presence, the band is still clearly finding it’s groove. While lead singer Chris Chu is slowly learning the ropes of being a lead (playful interactions, carefully timed winks, grooving), the rest of the band more or less just stand there looking partially horrified like it’s Saturday afternoon and they have to recite a passage in mandarin to their teacher. Yes, Saturday afternoon. Still, the music stands for itself, The Morning Benders music is a slow tempo, low key sound that focuses on progression and layering instead of manic jangly guitar action so I guess it makes sense to just take it easy on stage as well. One thing is for certain, the band can do harmonics and they can definitely sing and hit their notes. Given their type of music, it’s a great talent to have.

The last song of the night was Excuses. Everyone knew this would be the last song, and when the Chris Chu said “this is our last song, it’s called ‘Excuses'” the whole crowd knew it was the last song and there would be no encore (which I am a fan of). This song is simply, awesome live. I am going to quote myself (from twitter) for this:

If the morning benders were the Cleveland cavaliers then ‘excuses’ is definitely Lebron James. that song kills

Is it lame that I just quoted myself? or is it awesome? I’ll let you decide. Like I mentioned last week, this song just slays the crowd. It’s got a dramatic buildup, a great sing a long and a wailing wall of sound guitar finish that leaves everyone in a daze. What was even better for this night at the Drake was that Chris Chu’s looping microphone broke. If you have seen them perform this show live, he usually uses a mic to record parts of his “da dum ba dum” parts live, and then sings over it (kinda like what Final Fantasy does with his violin). The mic was not working in this scenario, so instead he had to construct basically a 3 part choir (split into left of stage, middle and right of stage) and basically conducted the sing-a-long part. Awesome.

Overall a great song to end off a stellar show. Everyone left happy.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Music

About Ricky

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

3 Responses to Concert Review: The Morning Benders, April 14, Drake Hotel

  1. Brian

    “Is it lame that I just quoted myself? or is it awesome? I’ll let you decide.”

    Lame. Definitely.

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