Concert Review: Leif Vollebekk, Wilderness of Manitoba, November 25th, Horseshoe Tavern

Toronto – Although I am more of a brit rock / electro pop listening kind of guy, I generally believe that everytypes of music has it’s place and time. It turned out that last Thursdays triple bill of Olenka, Leif Vollebekk and the Wilderness of Manitoba was the perfect place and time for me. You see, I had arrived at the Horseshoe on the heels of a hard fought ball hockey game, one where I got so pissed at one of our own players for his lack of defensive intensity that I yelled at him on one particular play loud enough for the entire gym to hear, and made some of my teammates cringe. It was a bit harsh, but I don’t care much for half hearted efforts on the court. I needed to simmer down. It was just a ball hockey game in a recreational league. What I needed, was a night of smooth, relaxing, homely folkish songs, and that’s what I got on Thursday.

Arriving later then I expected, I missed Olenka & The Autumn Lovers set, which started at 9pm sharp. From what I heard, it was pretty good. Shortly after 10 pm, Leif Vollebekk entered the stage with a drummer and a bassist, something that apparently is not typical for him. Leif had a very laid back demeanor and frequently made funny anecdotes with the crowd. It was very homely.

His music reminded me of Bob Dylan mixed with some Ryan Adams. Basically, it was a bunch of storyish lyrics layered over some calming acoustic guitar work. I wonder if I got the Dylan comparison because he did a Dylan cover. I’m not sure. Maybe I just ripped off what Frank wrote. I’m not sure about that either. It was pleasant. I think harmonica’s have a way of calming people down, makes you think of those times back in the day when things were simpler, and you were some beggar in the midwest, just trying to find a living, hopping on trains with other similarly unfortunate souls and as you past the time, you whip out the harmonica and bust out some songs about struggling. That’s what I visualize when I heard these tunes. Just the good ole days. Maybe in my previous lifetime I was one of these people in the wild wild west. Maybe I’ve been playing too much Red Dead Redemption. I don’t know.

The Wilderness of Manitoba were the headliners on this triple bill. It was a landmark moment for me. This was the fifth time I’ve seen the band, making them the band I’ve seen the most. Up until last Thursday, I had seen the following bands four times:

The Antlers
Belle & Sebastian
British Sea Power
Franz Ferdinand
Matt & Kim
The Rapture

Yet somehow the Wilderness of Manitoba managed to surpass them all in just a year! How did this happen? I don’t even have an album of theirs. They aren’t even British. It goes to show, if you work as hard as they do, and play in the city as many times as they have, inevitably, you will have seem them live a few times. I last saw the Wilderness of Manitoba at Summerworks. Re-reading that article, I just realized I used the same material from the last article as I did in the previous paragraph. Sigh. I’m a recycler of my own words.

Even with my fading memory, I am happy to announce that the band seemed to have taken another step forward in their showmanship. I’m not sure how much they utilized their drummer in the past, but this time around, he was quite a large part of their show, providing a nice oomph to their otherwise soft folk music. It appealed to the side of me that like music to move a quicker pace, something that a folk act occasionally misses. It was a nice little bit of enhanced energy that added to their show, which once again featured exceptional harmonies. My only complaint was that I didn’t quite hearthe bowl that one of the dudes used, making it seemed kind of gimmicky (especially if you haven’t seen them before) and also Melissa’s vocals seemed to have been drowned out by the louder then usual instruments.

All in all, it was a lovely evening filled with friendly vibes and peaceful, calming music.

The Wilderness of Manitoba – Bluebirds (Live at Yale St July 14 2010) by PirateClub

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

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

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