Concert Review: The Deep Dark Woods, November 14, Adelaide Hall

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Unfortunately Toronto has basically become the centre of the universe over the last few days but these five scraggly-haired dudes from Saskatchewan remind us that there’s more going on in our fair nation.

Riding on their newly-released and well received album Jubilee, we’re left wondering if there’s a thriving alt-country, roots-rock scene in their hometown of Saskatoon. The Sheepdogs anyone? The Deep Dark Woods are more of an independent, DIY band as shown by the release of their fifth album and constant touring across North America rather than The Sheepdogs who more or less rode in to town on support from their Rolling Stone “Choose the Cover” win as well as CanCon regulations giving them a decent amount of airplay. Oh, and then there’s their beards. DDW seem just fine in this position. They could still beat up the Trews.

This time around they’re getting more media attention than ever and are set to take off on a three-week tour of Europe in the new year which is just their second such tour. On this night though, their songs of heartache, hope and longing were played for a fairly energetic crowd. Lots of talking from the beginning of the show but DDW were pros and played through despite some “Shhhhhhs” in the audience. The capacity of Adelaide Hall is 680 but it was not sold out although there was a roped off area on the second floor. When asked why I couldn’t get through I asked if it was VIP. Security just said “something like that.”

DDW are experienced and skilled musicians. Neck-bobbing bassist Chris Mason is one of the most talented you’re going to see playing alt-country music today. Their newly acquired lead guitarist, 19-year-old Clayton Linthicum, is also well versed in this musical style and is like any of these old souls in the band. But its the vocals by singer and guitarist Ryan Boldt that stands out because they’re so effortless. It’s part Chris Isaak, part country twang.

Even though the last song turned into an extended psychedelic Spiritualized-like intro, by the end of their 90-minute set, some were dancing.

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Posted on by Brent in Concerts

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