Concert Review: Alice Phoebe Lou, March 28, The Garrison

It’s become a bit of a tradition for me over the years. Every year, in advance of the Panic Manual team’s annual trek to Austin for SXSW, I scour the local concert listings for the names of acts who’ll be coming through Toronto before playing the Texas festival, hoping to either check them off my list before SXSW has even begun, thus freeing up space to see another of the hundreds of acts playing there during the week, or to make a note to catch them again if they really impress.

German singer Alice Phoebe Lou was initially one of those acts I’d hoped to see beforehand, but due to some unforeseen visa-related issues with her tour, the first couple of dates got shunted to the end of the tour instead, making her Toronto date the first show I’d see this year after the craziness that is SXSW. Probably for the best, as outside of the hustle and bustle, her music had more of a chance to shine through. Well, Maybe “shine” is the wrong word to use for a show at The Garrison though, where everything is perpetually bathed in that low, purplish light.

Lou mentioned how glad they were to finally be playing Toronto after the delay for what was now to be the final show of her band’s current North American tour, following that comment up with a Timber Timbre cover, thus cementing her Toronto cred.

She also played a handful of songs without the band, including one song introduced by Lou as being “about pictures of people’s dicks being sent to people who don’t want to see them” that ended up being one of the most memorable of the entire evening. She followed that up with a song performed on the piano and introduced thusly: “I’m going to play a song on the piano. I don’t do so very often so it might be a little fucked up but it’ll be fine.”

Lou has a funny and very personable manner on stage with a voice that’s simultaneously ethereal yet powerful. I’m sure that no one in attendance (including Lou and her bandmates) would have minded if the show had gone on much longer than it did, but Lou had other plans, informing the crowd that she and her band had to cut out of there quickly after the show to catch a midnight flight (adding that she was glad they didn’t book with Wow Air).

The highlight of her set for me was her performance of “Skin Crawl,” a song about the patriarchy and toxic masculinity which she introduced as being about “not being a dick” and which covered many of the same themes as the earlier ‘dick pic’ song. It also featured a nice moment where Lou and her band played a musical interlude while she spoke over it, explaining that it would give everyone a chance to use their “witchy energy”.

“But in a good way,” she added.

Good witchy energy – I can’t really think of a better way to describe the mood of this show.

Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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