Concert Review: Athlete, June 7th, Lee’s Palace

Toronto – Much like the Turin Brakes show a few weeks ago, the Athlete show on Monday night was a show where there were few new fans, but a nice collection of old die hards who had already memorized most of the lyrics of all the popular Athlete songs. For me, it’s always amusing to see a band that could probably fill a venue five times the size of Lees Palace overseas come here to a crowd of about 100-124 people. Maybe it’s humbling. The UK band was in town to promote their new album, Black Swan, which was recently released stateside after being released in England in August of 2009.

Starting with El Salvador, one of the lead singles off their debut album Vehicles and Animals, the casually dressed band delivered a hit filled set for 80 minutes that satisfied even the most hardcore fan’s appetite. I will be the first to admit I was not the biggest Athlete fan coming into the show, and I had only a passing interest in seeing them live (really, I just wanted to hear a live rendition of Wires) however, I was pretty much blown away at their set. They just produced a really good vibe and they are a really rock/pop band. Almost all their hits are radio friendly with nice melodies and catchy anthemic choruses. The show was also helped by Joel Pott’s wit and dry humour which produced the following exchanges:

Joel: I’m feeling particularly English tonight (while drinking a bottle of water)
Fan: If you were feeling English, you would be drinking beer!
Joel: No, If I was feeling English, I would be drinking…. ale.

To his credit, Joel and the rest of the gang did bring out the ale for the encore. The other memorable exchange of the night was this one

Joel: (telling an audience to purchase their single to hear some dub remix of a song)
Fan: (saying something about Joel deliberately hawking merchandise)
Joel: Chill out! I just saw Steve Jobs conference today, I feeling like making some sales

Needless to say, the back and forth banter between the band and the fans led the show to have a pretty high ‘intimate’ feeling. I would say the songs that got the best reactions were Half Light, Hurricane, You Got the Style and of course, Wires. You Got the Style induced quite the sing-a-long. I didn’t even know I knew most of the lyrics to that song until they played it. Weird.

Naturally, the set ended with the song Wires, Athlete’s biggest hit and best song. There’s something to be said about ending your set with your best tune, it leaves the audience happy and dazed and that’s how everyone was after they played the song, complete with an acoustic extended outro sing-a-long. All in all, an excellent show that would have made new fans out of anyone who was there who wasn’t already one, too bad most people there were already converted.

El Salvador
Superhuman Touch
Magical Mistakes
Black Swan Song
Twenty Four Hours
Half Light
Wild Wolves
One Million
You Got the Style
The Outsiders
The Getaway

Rubik’s Cube

athLete – wires by imfogg

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

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

3 Responses to Concert Review: Athlete, June 7th, Lee’s Palace

  1. Amber

    We were lucky enough to see the tour starter, at Maxwell’s in Hoboken. It was much the same, with many die-hard fans (my husband and myself included). We did drag along a friend that happened to be in town from DC, and as of today, she is a full blown Athlete-convert, blasting El Salvador in her Rock the Vote offices in DC. A very proud moment for me, indeed. The wonderful thing about Athlete, something I say every single time we see them (and Hoboken was number 6, we have seen them on both sides of the pond) – Athlete are one of the few contemporary bands that are AS good live, as they are on the album. I am never disappointed in their shows, and I always leave feeling the joy that comes from musicians that are in their element. I cannot say the same for their opening act this tour – Carney were trying too hard, and they felt inauthentic. The music wasn’t bad, but the theatrics were. I couldn’t help thinking that Athlete chose them so they could sort of ‘train them up’. Great review!

  2. jaymac

    Having never heard of Carney before I have to disagree with your comments Amber. Being a huge Athlete Fan since Vehicle and Animals,they were the reason I went. But, I was completely blown away by Carney, the lead singers enthusiasm and amazing vocal talents, complemented the bands tight tight chops. Their last song left me breathless. When Athlete took to the stage I was still in awe to what I had just seen and heard. It took me a while to give my head a shake and get into Athlete. The band all looked tired, but yet again delivered a stellar show. Highlights for me were One Million, You got Style adn Rubiks Cube (a song that has to be heard live). I was a little dissapointed that their set was only 75 minutes, considering they’ve got 4 albums and a few EPS. I would of loved to hear FLying over bustops, or Light the way. Ah well, maybe next time.

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