Concert Review: The Both, August 15, Mod Club

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Ted Leo and Aimee Mann are both performers with very distinct styles, neither of which would necessarily be an obvious match for the other, yet after touring together a few years back, the two joined forces as The Both, creating a musical partnership which has been surprisingly effective. In addition to the songs from their self titled debut, the both of them collaborate on a few tracks from their respective solo careers, putting a slight twist on old favourites. And their collaboration has also highlighted how well they work together as a comedic team through their stage banter, with Leo often playing the role of put-upon straight man.

Along with memorable performances of songs such as “Milwaukee,” “Volunteers Of America,” and Mann’s “Save Me,” some of the more notable moments of their show came during their frequent back and forth between songs, such as Mann asking to borrow Leo’s handkerchief midset or her teasing Leo for his knowledge of hobbits. Mann mentioned how she initially hesitated to share the song “Hummingbird” with Leo as she thought he might find it too “folksy and woodsy.” Leo reminded her of his Rush fandom and quoted some lyrics from “The Trees” at her to show he was down with the folksy and woodsy. Mann replied that those lyrics sounded pretty Hobbit-y.

Speaking of Rush, it seems some of those in attendance missed out on another collaboration Mann did back in the ’80s with the Toronto power trio. After closing off their set with Leo’s “Bottled In Cork,” The Both broke into a cover of Rush’s “Time Stand Still” (or most of it at least) as a nod to their Toronto setting. When they returned for the encore, Leo asked the crowd how many knew that it was a Rush song and that Aimee had sang on it. There was a smattering of applause, which led Mann to estimate that maybe 14 people knew. “And those are my 14 people,” added Leo.

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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