Concert review: The Watchmen with Birds of Wales [Horseshoe tavern, September 25, 2010]

Toronto – Ever go to a concert and feel like it’s in fact a costume party? This Saturday night certainly seemed like one. The Watchmen obviously have some inner strengths, not least being emotive singing. But unless you have been sleeping for the past decade, both Joey Serlin and Daniel Greaves now sport sleek and edgy bald looks. I counted no less than 20 other guys who share this fashion sense at the Watchmen’s reunion show when I walk in, and more over the length of the night. Granted, it’s not something rare. We’re not talking about a Halloween party where everyone caught the flu at work and decided independently that it would be original to have green snot hanging from their noses collectively. And it is edgy – I wish I have the wherewithal. It’s just hilarious to wonder how many hair-styles the Watchmen inspired. Was it just some freak coincidence, or is it a generational trait that we’re all becoming old men? Maybe I should do the same. Oh, wait, I need a job first…

Birds of Wales was on the stage when I strolled in from the 12C fall evening. It was a nice, calming walk. You might expect BoW’s frontman Morgan Ross to share the same sedated feeling – after all, he and his crew hailed all the way from Queen/Ossington. As soon as I found the left side bar of Horseshoe, I knew this wasn’t going to be the case. Ross’s stage presence can be described as energetic – if that term also applies to beagles on Redbull. He constantly addresses the audience, stopping for 30 sec or more between songs to ask for half-emptied beer bottles, over-head claps, Saturday nights over Monday mornings, and what-not. While his band mates don’t share this expressiveness, they were also very glad to be playing. So the Birds of Wales built up a lot of positivity for this set – they got points in my book for it. I can’t say that their music is my cup of tea… and in no way would I relate them to Coldplay. When played live, it’s even more of a cross between folk/country and pop-rock than on myspace. The lyrics isn’t anything to pour over, either: “24, turning 25. All my friends are getting married, settling down with families. Maybe someday. But not just yet.” But the beats catches easily and it’s quite fun to foot-tap along. The Birds of Wales took their bow after around 40 minutes, and the crowd hunkered down with their beers for what Ross promised them in between every song.

At this juncture, I was standing right in front of the sound system at the right side. The Watchmen came on and opened with what sounded like Incarnate. This is when I realized a deja vu from 10 years ago when I went to Placebo – my ear drums felt literally like they were underwater. Horseshoe is usually conscientious – but I guess the Watchmen deserved their turn to blast out loud. By the 2nd song, I could feel the pressure waves coming in my right temple and shooting out the left, with reflections bouncing in my noodle. I thought of Russell Peters’ “mind-blasting”, and retreated – my lens would have been mis-aligned, too. Beside the soundboard, the concert became manageable again. I could hear Greaves’ howl in Zoom, the softer singing in Brighter Hell. I think they also played Falling. Of course, I also heard everyone sang along during All Uncovered and Any Day Now, which was honestly what I had hoped to hear anyway. Mind you, this is from far back in the house. I was lucky if I caught a glimpse of any one of the them – mostly I just saw the infamous Horseshoe post, or Ken Tizzard’s cowboy hat. Tizzard and Serlin seemed to like to play with their backs toward the crowd – I saw that a couple of times and was quite amused. Overall, though, I couldn’t fight the feeling that I was back in Edmonton. It was a nostalgic night, not always for the best reasons. But good enough for a Saturday.

Birds of Wales:
The Watchmen:

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Posted on by Gary in Concerts

One Response to Concert review: The Watchmen with Birds of Wales [Horseshoe tavern, September 25, 2010]

  1. heyjude

    Where have The Watchmen gone….? Live in Australia, never got to see them. Saw Daniel on Good News Week in Oz once…he & they were brilliant. I am still in awe of them…not many bands stack up these days as far as I’m concerned. I miss them :(

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