Colleen Brown @ Horseshoe Tavern

. : : July 13th, 2010 : : .

Following Dark Mean on Tuesday’s Dave Bookman‘s Nu Music Night was Colleen Brown — my reason for coming out for another night of beautiful music in spite of a looming double shift in the morning. The crowd had dispersed after the opening bands set, some to the bar, some to the pool table, some outside for a cigarette, and some to a table for a bit of comfort and conversation. Surprisingly, they were slow and hesitant to come back once Colleen started her set.

She opened again with the infectious Red Light Green Light, but the attentive few stood well back from the stage, leaving myself as the sole person on the dance floor. It was a full three songs before a couple tepidly joined me, and a song or two after that before anyone else inched their way forward. By the time the band broke out with Love You Baby, a respectable crowd had gathered. More impressive was the small group of enthusiastic dancers off to one side of the stage who managed to help jack the energy in the room back up a notch, allowing Colleen end her set on a high note.

The set list didn’t differ significantly from the previous night’s, but this may be due to having a shorter set than what was expected and having to exorcise selections from the set on the fly. I noticed the sound guy was being a bit of a jerk, and immediately after a quick sound test (and before the band had fully finished tuning up their instruments), he impatiently barked over the monitors, “Your thirty minutes starts NOW!” I guess he had places he’d rather be and was in a hurry to get out of there. From the poor mix of both band’s sets, I’d almost rather he didn’t show up at all.

Colin Cripps joined Colleen’s band again, and sounded more comfortable on a couple of the shakier songs from the night before. His guitar was mixed a bit louder and thicker sounding than at The Drake, which may have helped. Unfortunately, that was the only way in which the Horseshoe bested the Drake Hotel — as indicated above, the sound and mix were notably muddier and lacked a fair bit of the punch of the smaller room. It is safe to say a new King Of Sound in Toronto has been crowned in the Drake.

Peter Hendrickson stood out over both nights as having exceptional personality in his drumming, that came across audibly as forcefully and wonderfully as it did visually. Rounding out the rhythm section was Patrick Michalak, who kept up admirably on a full stage of exceptional musicians.

With both nights’ setlists leaning heavily on newer material, I can’t help but wonder if we can’t expect a follow-up to her recently re-issued album Foot In Heart in the upcoming months. Perhaps that’s why the Edmonton, Alberta native has spent so much of the summer in Toronto? One can only hope.

I have learned that Colleen is likely to announce another Toronto-area show in the next couple of weeks before her Canadian fall tour as support for the Crash Test Dummies. I will keep you all updated via @haterhigh, and will be there myself without a doubt!

01. Red Light Green Light
02. [unknown]
03. Chasing Beautiful > Fantastic Feeling
04. Baby Blue Eyes
05. Strangers Know Better
06. Love You Baby
07. Man, Woman & Child

[info.txt // flac fingerprint ]
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Strangers Know Better (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

Thanks to Colleen Brown and band, Dark Mean, and the Horseshoe Tavern.

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