Concert Review: Fool’s Gold, July 21, El Mocambo

Toronto – Fool’s gold is another term for the mineral pyrite, so named for it’s superficial resemblance to actual gold.  Fool’s Gold is also the name of a Los Angeles based band influenced by African music and Western pop.  Being a band that is heavily influenced by African rhythms and melodies, the Vampire Weekend comparisons are inevitable, so let’s just get the obligatory Vampire Weekend reference out of the way right now.  Truth be told, Fool’s Gold seem more strongly influenced by the music of Africa and have incorporated it much more into their sound than Vampire Weekend ever has.  With driving basslines, heavy percussion, and copious use of saxophone, the six members definitely got a good groove going.  Oh, and to throw another cultural influence into the mix, most of the songs were sung in Hebrew too.

We’ve mentioned in the past how bands can use ploys such as playing acoustically or at the front of the stage to draw the audience in closer.  Fool’s Gold did utilize the front of the stage trick later in the show (and eventually came right off the stage) , but early on in their set, singer Luke Top used another technique, which he referred to as “Jewish guilt.”  Simply put, he just asked the crowd nicely if they could please come closer since they “we didn’t come all the way from LA not to see your faces.”  And it worked like a charm.  I think this was a crowd that wanted to be charmed a bit anyways.  And to dance.  And really, it’s the kind of music that’s hard not to dance to. (Note: I did not dance .. but I was tapping my foot a bit) 

I imagine Fool’s Gold would go over quite well in a festival setting – those sunny guitar melodies would probably go over even better with actual sunshine in the mix.  In addition to being well suited for a festival, I also found myself thinking they would make a great wedding band.  That’s not a slight at all.  I was at an Ethiopian wedding last summer that had a live band at the reception.  It made for a great dance party … although somehow I don’t think these guys want to end up on the wedding circuit.  Still, by the end of their set, they had a large chunk of the crowd dancing and chanting along.  That’s better than a pan full of pyrite.

Posted on by Paul in Everything, Reviews