Concert Review: Daniel Lanois, November 9, Danforth Music Hall


Right before the start of his set, Daniel Lanois took to the stage at The Danforth Music Hall to issue a caveat of sorts to the audience, announcing that while he would get to the familiar songs later in the evening, the set would first focus on his latest, Flesh and Machine. He announced that he was “bringing the studio to the stage” and that he would be taking us on a journey of sorts. And it was indeed a journey, a fully satisfying one.

For roughly the first hour of his set Lanois and his talented bandmates Brian Blade and Jim Wilson took us all on an excursion in sound, playing all newer material, which Lanois described as his vision of the future of music. With Wilson switching between guitar, bass and various electronics and Blade impressively holding down the beat, Lanois was free to explore the “studio rat” aspect of his persona in a live setting. Interestingly, he didn’t even touch his guitar until well into his set, focusing on purely electronic sounds before finally moving over to his pedal steel. Quite a switch from the last time I saw him where, while opening for Emmylou Harris, he noted that he was one of the last guys left to play guitar without an effects pedal. Lanois certainly had no qualms about using all of his expertise in crafting sounds during this performance. And if a technical problem at the very start of his show got things off to a shaky and somewhat awkward start, all of that was forgotten by the end of the evening.

As promised, Lanois took us all on a journey this evening, though he didn’t just stick to the established highways and byways, but often forged new paths, making for an evening of true sonic exploration – at times dubby, at other times dipping a toe into post-rock territory, and always interesting.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts