28
Mar
08

Dance Me to the End of the Tour: Sons and Daughters in Toronto


This past Wednesday at Lee’s Palace in Toronto I finally got to watch Glaswegian four-piece, Sons and Daughters, perform live. I became a fan in 2004 when I first heard their debut Love the Cup, however, I lost track of them over the last few years and missed the release of their second album The Repulsion Box. I became aware of them again last year as they began getting more and more attention for their latest album, the Bernard Butler-produced This Gift. When I finally took a listen to This Gift, I marvelled at the difference between it and Love the Cup, a much slower and folkier body of work. I can still reconcile the two by the thread of call and response vocals of Adele Bethel and Scott Paterson and the Celtic lilt of their garage rock, but I was curious about how the live show would go down. I was truly impressed by the energy and unadulterated joy they project on stage. Adele, looking like a cross between a disco diva and Wonder Woman in her blue eyeshadow, gold sequins, purple hotpants, and knee-high gold boots, stomped her feet and brandished her tambourine, leading the band through a breathless aural assault that had the energy of a punk show.


Notably, they played almost exclusively songs from their last two albums The Repulsion Box and This Gift, including opener Gilt Complex, Hunt, Dance Me In, Chains, Flags, Rebel With the Ghost, Taste the Last Girl, Iodine, Rama Lama, Goodbye Service, and The Nest. The only song from Love the Cup to make an appearance was Johnny Cash, and it was re-tooled into a faster piece from the version I remember, naturally to fit in with the newer sound. Their encore included a blistering performance of This Gift followed by the raucous House in My Head. Highlights included Chains, which shuffled along like a rockabilly song, propelled by Scott’s “whoah-oh-oh”s, Dance Me In, which felt like a Celtic jig played on speed, and the absolute insanity of House in My Head, where I was certain my own head would be shaken loose. Adele spun around, whipped her microphone cord and flung herself toward the audience, careening like a pinball into all corners of the stage, and at one point, she stood in a playful salute posture. Scott, in his sparkly black shirt and quiff, played his guitar in true guitar hero fashion, his face contorting with passion as he crouched and lurched or ran to the edge of the stage for solos. Bassist, Ailidh Lennon, was more reserved in her black dress and boots as she hung back and kept the rhythm pulsing like a racing heartbeat (her reserve could have some connection to her being sick with flu) while drummer, David Gow, kept a crazy pace through the entire set, heavy on offbeats, forcing you to dance, clap your hands and swing your head. Scott and Adele’s vocals are perfectly matched and blend in both sweet lilting and wild yelping. For a band who mentioned their love for Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash and Leonard Cohen, this newer incarnation doesn’t quite mesh with those influences anymore. Perhaps they never truly did. Oddly enough, seeing them live, I could now recognize The Smiths in some of the songs like two of my favourites, Darling and Iodine, and Taste the Last Girl – there was something Marresque about the guitar and melodies.

Adding to the overall charm of their show, Adele and Scott talked to the audience in between songs, revealing genuine down-to-earth personalities. Adele prefaced Dance Me In by telling the audience that it was an answer to Leonard Cohen’s Dance Me to the End of Love and how excited she was that he was touring again, and she introduced Taste the Last Girl with mention of a rubbish ex-boyfriend. She also joked about how the night before they played a song so fast she almost had cardiac arrest (with the alacrity they played this particular night, I could definitely see how that could happen). With self-deprecating humour, Scott prefaced Rebel With the Ghost with the fact the song was quite easy because it was all “nah-nah-nahs.” Close to the end of the show, both Scott and Adele talked about how happy they were to be heading home now because this was the last gig of the North America tour, leading into the catharsis and tour-end celebration of House in My Head. The band I loved in 2004 has changed, but they have convinced me to fall in love with them all over again in 2008.

Opening band, Bodies of Water, didn’t disappoint and definitely deserve mentioning. Having listened to a few of their tracks in advance, I was excited to witness their sound live. For only four people, they create a choir of voices, filling the small venue with waves of beautiful sound. Their songs are long and meandering, switching time signatures several times before ending, but it never gets tedious; instead, you feel like you’re accompanying them on a journey that no one has mapped out yet, but is bound to be filled with serendipity and wonder. Styles seamlessly moved from gospel to reggae to latin to operatic epic. Keyboardist and vocalist, Meredith Metcalf, hit spine-tingling heights in vocal range during It Moves – I will always remember that. They have that powerful organic feel of several people functioning as one like Arcade Fire or Broken Social Scene, but they accomplish it with far less people. They deserved far more than the small crowd that hung back from the floor in front of the stage. Truly impressive.

Darling – Sons and Daughters

Chains – Sons and Daughters

It Moves – Bodies of Water

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2 Responses to “Dance Me to the End of the Tour: Sons and Daughters in Toronto”


  1. 1 Ed
    April 1, 2008 at 11:37 am

    Have seen Sons and Daughters live eight times over the last five years in the UK and they do not disappoint.

    Great blog, BTW, will be adding a link to you over at 17 Seconds

    Ed

  2. 2 JC
    April 5, 2008 at 6:40 pm

    Like Ed, I’ve seen S&D loads of times in recent years, but the new LP has left me a wee bit cold. But I’m delighted you had such a great night.

    And reading about Lee’s Palace brought a wee tear to my eye. I spent 4 months in Toronto (July-October 2007) and went to many many gigs at many many venues. Its a fantastic city for live music…


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Gigs Attended

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There is no part of my body that has not been used

Pity or pain, to show displeasure's shame

Everyone I've loved or hated always seems to leave

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So I turned myself to face me

But I've never caught a glimpse

Of how the others must see the faker

I'm much too fast to take that test

The Smiths Queen is Dead

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're happy

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Oh, Keats and Yeats are on your side

A dreaded sunny day

So let's go where we're wanted

And I meet you at the cemetry gates

Keats and Yeats are on your side

But you lose 'cause weird lover Wilde is on mine

The Clash London Calling

When they kick at your front door

How you gonna come?

With your hands on your head

Or on the trigger of your gun

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Charles Windsor, who's at the door

At such an hour, who's at the door

In the back of an old green Cortina

You're on your way to the guillotine

Here the rabble comes

The kind you hoped were dead

They've come to chop, to chop off your head

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Then you came with your breezeblocks

Smashing up my face like a bus-stop

You think you're giving

But you're taking my life away

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Won't someone give me more fun?

(and the skin flies all around us)

We kiss in his room to a popular tune

Oh, real drowners

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Don't walk away

In silence

See the danger

Always danger

Endless talking

Life rebuilding

Don't walk away

Walk in silence

Don't turn away in silence

Your confusion

My illusion

Worn like a mask of self-hate

Confronts and then dies

Don't walk away

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You don't want to hurt me

But see how deep the bullet lies

Unaware I'm tearing you asunder

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Is there so much hate for the ones we love

Tell me we both matter don't we

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I don't know whether

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You then put me under

Personal taste is a matter of gender

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I wake at dusk to go alone without a light

To the unknown

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I want to feel

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Because there's nothing else to do

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And I feel I'm a stain on your horizon

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And there won't be no-one I need to rely on

Is it him, is it me

Or is there something only I can see

How did I get here, why do we blow around like straw dogs on the breeze

I'm a special one, what they used to say

But I've to stay on, finish levels-A

You don't need exams when you've read John Gray

The Indelicates American Demo

And nobody ever comes alive

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And boys who should know better grin and get high

With fat men who once met the MC5

And no one discusses what they don't understand

And no one does anything to harm the brand

And this gift is an illusion, this isn't hard

Absolutely anyone can play the fucking guitar

JAMC Darklands

And we tried so hard

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Plucked her eyebrows on the way

Shaved her leg and then he was a she

She says, hey babe,

Take a walk on the wild side

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Hide on the promenade

Etch a postcard:

How I dearly wish I was not here

In the seaside town...that they forgot to bomb

Come, come, come - nuclear bomb

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Back when we were kids

We would always know when to stop

And now all the good kids are messing up

Nobody has gained or accomplished anything

Wire Pink Flag

Prices have risen since the government fell

Casualties increase as the enemy shell

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This is your correspondent, running out of tape

Gunfire's increasing, looting, burning, rape

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Well, maybe there's a god above

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And what costume shall the poor girl wear

To all tomorrow's parties

For Thursday's child is Sunday's clown

For whom none will go mourning

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My body is your body

I won't tell anybody

If you want to use my body

Go for it

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Oh it's opening time

Down on Fascination Street

So let's cut the conversation

And get out for a bit

Because I feel it all fading and paling

And I'm begging

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Mansun Six

And you see, I kind of shivered to conformity

Did you see the way I cowered to authority

You see, my life, it's a series of compromises anyway

It's a sham, and I'm conditioned to accept it all, you see

Japan Gentlemen

Take in the country air, you'll never win

Gentlemen take polaroids

They fall in love, they fall in love

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We just want to emote til we're dead

I know we suffer for fashion

Or whatever

We don't want these days to ever end

We just want to emasculate them forever

Forever, forever

Pretty sirens don't go flat

It's not supposed to happen like that

Longpigs The Sun

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Make me smell like myself

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To make me smell like someone else

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I got love for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

I've got hugs for you if you were born in the 80's, the 80's

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Douse himself with cheap perfume

Eyeholes in a paper bag

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Gotta help him find a wife

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Falling here from grace

Sister feeling call

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Half a world away

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Bloc Party Silent Alarm

North to south

Empty

Running on

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He doesn't like chocolate

He's born a liar, he'll die a liar

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Well Daft Punk is playing at my house, my house

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There's every kid for miles at my house, my house

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There's a fist fight brewin' at my house, my house

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Stars Set Yourself

I am trying to say

What I want to say

Without having to say "I love you"

Josef K Entomology

It took 10 years to realise why the angels start to cry

When you go home down the main

Your happy smile

Your funny name

Cocteau Twins Bluebell

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Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Yes, she's a beautiful brunette angel from heaven with her hairagami set

Hair kisses 'n' hair architecture

Augment a beautiful brunette

New Order Power Corruption

How does it feel

To treat me like you do

When you've laid your hands upon me

And told me who you are

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You must let her go

She's not crying

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Baiting

Feeling like I'm waiting

Modern times

Valentines

Hating

Hating to distraction

Just leave them alone

Whipcrack

Girls in the back

Girls in the back

Puressence Don't Forget

They say come back to earth and start getting real, yeah

I say come back to earth and start getting real

I know I can't

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So I walk right up to you

And you walk all over me

And I ask you what you want

And you tell me what you need

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The problem of leisure

What to do for pleasure

Ideal love a new purchase

A market of the senses

Dream of the perfect life

Economic circumstances

The body is good business

Sell out, maintain the interest

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Sitting in my armchair thinking again and again and again

Going round in a circle I can't get out

Then I look around thinking day and night and day

Then you look around - there must be some explanation

And the tension builds

Psychdedelic Furs

India, India

You're my love song

India, you're my love song

In the flowers

You can have me in the flowers

We will dance alone

And live our useless lives

Ladytron Light Magic

They only want you when you're seventeen

When you're twenty-one

You're no fun

They take a polaroid and let you go

Say they'll let you know

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No consolation prizes

Spit out your lies and chewing gum

Cut off your hair yeah that's it!

If you look like that I swear I'm gonna love you more

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All the neighbors are startin' up a fire

Burning all the old folks, the witches and the liars.

My eyes are covered by the hands of my unborn kids

But my heart keeps watchin' through the skin of my eyelids

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Prince charming

Prince charming

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of

Don't you ever, don't you ever

Stop being dandy, showing me you're handsome


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