Concert Review: Turin Brakes, May 20th, Mod Club

Toronto – Turin Brake has been around for ten years! Can you believe that? It only seemed yesterday when Turin Brakes came out of nowhere with The Optimist, a Mercury nominated album that brought us the songs Underdog (Save Me), The Door and the Road. Turin Brakes arrived at the height of the acoustic/moody movement in the UK, a time that also saw bands the like of Elbow, the Doves and Coldplay rise to the occasion.

I’ll be honest, I have not listened to much Turin Brakes since 2005’s Jackinabox, which coincidentally was the last album they toured in Toronto for. They have since released two more albums, including 2010’s Outbursts, which was released in March. I guess the band was in town to promote this new album, as well as celebrate ten years in existence.

Five years is a long time to not tour a city, especially one like Toronto, where bands visit left and right. You forget about Toronto, Toronto forgets about you. This was more or less the case at the Mod Club, where the venue was about 1/3 full. It is a shame. I mentioned to Paul that if Turin Brakes was an up and coming band from Ontario, their type of folk rock music would just slay Toronto. They would probably fill out the Phoenix. Instead, they are a ten year old band from England, so the crowd support was non existent. I guess it’s a matter of who you are and where you are from in the world of music.

I couldn’t help but be impressed with the show. The fans that were at the show were real fans. This wasn’t a show where random people who were curious in this band attended. This is a show where the real fans showed up and the band knew that. It led to a pretty relaxed and intimate vibe that was only helped by the the band’s casual approach and funny anecdotes. Sitting on stools with acoustic guitar, a real bass and sometimes a drum machine, the band played a 90 minute set that included all the hits including the songs mentioned above, Long Distance and the OC song Summer Rain. There’s something to be said about seeing a veteran band at work, one that has played their share of festivals and big concerts. Turin Brakes just had great confidence and comfort level on stage. I think for newer bands, a nearly empty crowd at a place like the Mod Club might be discouraging. Not Turin Brakes, noticing the crowd was pretty fa away, the band decided to sing the next song unplugged, forcing all the crowd to gather round. Needless to say, once they were there at the front, they did not leave. Classy.

New material was introduced through out the set, and it retained the the trademark Turin Brake sound – mellow out folkish tunes with good melody and strong singing. Olly Knight has a good singing voice, it’s quite unique and he uses his range well.

All in all, the show was good. The crowd there was quite happy and the two covers played – Michael Jackson’s Billy Jean and Chris Issac’s Wicked Games added a nice little twist to the set. The only criticism one could make about the show was that most Turin Brakes songs stick to a similar formula. It works for them obviously, but for a casual/new listener, the music can sound kinda same-y, which might be an issue for a 90 minute show. However, to the fans, nothing can be better.

ps. to the girl requesting “State of Things”, you might need to yell a little louder next time.

Sea Change- Turin Brakes by GoodSeedPR

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

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