Concert Review: Radio Dept, February 7th, Lee’s Palace

Toronto – It has been well documented that the Radio Dept have never been to Toronto for a show, and there was a large buzz of anticipation amongst the sold out crowd at Lee’s Palace on Monday night as the band came to promote their new best of album Passive Aggressive: Singles 2002-2010. Having seen them in London in December, I both excited to revisit this band I love and also quite curious to see how the crowd would react to the bands live set.

When you go to see a Radio Dept show, you aren’t going there to see someone jump up and down on stage, to do some call and response or to go crowd surfing. You are there to listen to the music that they have spent so much time crafting. At an average of about three years an album, you can definitely tell that Johan Duncanson, Martin Larrson and Daniel Tjader have spent many hours carefully arranging each note, chord and beat that goes into each song. With that much time, you can understand their decision to forgo a drummer and use pre-recorded backing tracks instead. Taking the stage with nothing more then a keyboard and a few guitars/bass, the trio calmly took the red dim lite stage and played a solid but short set consisting of material from their entire discography, including standalone single and show starter Freddie and the Trojan Horse.

One of the beautiful things about witnessing the Radio Dept live is seeing how much they can do with so little. They seem to exist in a space where one or two chords in their song can make as much of a statement then some band who hires an entire string section. I think I knew that they were good minimal artist from their album, but it’s amplified quite a bit when you are watching three guys on stage generating the music and then you see the guitarist pluck a few chords and in your mind you are like “wow, that’s awesome”. Some might complain that their set wasn’t terribly upbeat and they did not do much to engage the crowd, other then answering one concert goer who asked why they didn’t tour more. The answer was “it’s too expensive” which seems very fitting for a band who does so much with so little.

Highlights for me were Lesser Matters material Why Wont You Talk About it and Ewan, along with the lone song played off Pet Grief – The Worst Taste in Music. I think the crowd really enjoy the newer material, as Heaven on Fire was a song that got the crowd moving a bit, although minimally, which was probably fine for everyone, since we all had our jackets on and didn’t want to increase the room temperature too much. Does that make us old? I’m not sure. My only qualms about the whole experience was that the bass was terribly high for some tunes and the annoying green christmas lights that were hung across the room was a distraction at times.

The band closed off with an encore of the track the City Limit and does what any good band would do, leave the crowd wanting more. Let’s just hope we’ll see them again.

Freddie and the Trojan Horse
This Time Around
New Improved Hypocrisy
I Wanted You to Feel the Same
The Worst Taste in Music
Messy Enough
Why Won’t You Talk About It
You Stopped Making Sense
Domestic Scene
Heaven’s On Fire
Never Follow Suit
Closing Scene
The City Limit

Chromewaves was also there, check out his review.

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything

About Ricky

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

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