Concert Review: Chilly Gonzales & Kaiser Quartett, February 5, Massey Hall


There are certain musicians who just seem to have a natural knack for live performance and Chilly Gonzales is most definitely one of them. He’s quite the showman, easily building a rapport with the audience right off the bat – his show is part musical performance, part comedy routine, part music/history lesson and entirely impressive.

On this evening, Gonzales was backed up by Hamburg’s Kaiser Quartett, who he described as being his sampler for the evening, having the ability to play anything from the history of music. He later demonstrated his string quartet as sampler theory by having them build a beat, with each player adding an element of a basic beat as if they were a living four piece drum machine. And while Gonzales noted that the actual drummer was being made redundant, he instructed the drummer to dance instead because, well, what’s dance music good for if no one’s dancing? And so the drummer danced the robot as Gonzales implored the crowd to do the same.

After an entertaining set that featured a cover of Giorgio Moroder’s “Midnight Express” theme, Gonzales and the Kaiser Quartett returned to the stage for the encore … and proceeded to run through the entirety of their set all over again in a sort of condensed Readers Digest-style encapsulation of the whole show in a few minutes. Hilarious. And impressive. All of this for the benefit of “a musican friend” of Gonzales’ that had just arrived at the venue. This was of course, the first hint that a certain well known Toronto musician and frequent collaborator with Gonzales might be making an appearance. And of course, shortly after the string quartet left the stage again, Leslie Feist made an appearance to cap off the night.

Disguised as a Massey Hall worker in glasses, hat, and a cheesy false moustache, Feist took to the stage and began to stack some chairs as Gonzales complained about his moment being ruined in mock outrage before she removed the disguise. Some guy in the crowd then shouted out, “Where’s Peaches,” which was admittedly a little bit funny, but when he tried to engage with them some more, Gonzales shut him down with a simple “Your time is done, sir.” Classic.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts