. : : July 20th, 2011 : : .
It was only three or so blog posts ago when I compared Heartbeat Hotel‘s singer to former The Postage Stamps’ Keith Hamilton. I knew the gentleman was keeping busy after the latter band’s dissolution with promoting concerts in Toronto and southern Ontario, and his own band Hamilton Trading Co., but I guess the busiest man in Toronto still wasn’t busy enough.
I was getting excited for The Paper Lions‘ return to Toronto, and decided to do some reading on that bands that would be joining them for their show at Lee’s Palace. I was stunned upon discovering that local openers, Freedom or Death, had recently recruited Mr. Hamilton into their fold, and despite several years absenteeism, I’d somehow blindly found my way back to him. I’d actually just re-listened to the old Postage Stamps back catalog the whole way through the previous weekend. Seriously, what are the odds?
It was great seeing an old friend, and luckily, I had a chance to quickly catch up with my old chum before securing and settling into my usual taping spot, and he took the stage with his new comrades.
Having only sampled a single song online before heading out for the show, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the band. As it turns out, Freedom or Death were absolutely explosive with electronic-influenced alterna-pop. Super loud synths, sampler and keyboard heavy that unfortunately more often than not threatened to swallow Keith’s six-string contribution whole, the very inorganic instrumentation was made engaging by an earnest and energetic performance, especially by front man Sway.
Sway’s vocals soared with the strength of a lifetime professional, and definitely carried ever the lesser moments of the set. Unquestionably sharing similar influences to Murray Lightburn of the Dears, with perhaps a bit more new wave twist, it’s familiar, fresh and easily marketable.
The band’s also had some success — enough to warrant an overseas tour that is currently taking them through Germany — and it will be interesting to see if this momentum carries over to a broader mass appeal. Good luck, Keith, and great to see you again, old friend!
- Virginia Woolf
- Back For More
- Lost In Dances
- This Crowded Room
- [banter/”Happy Birthday”]
A very big thanks to Freedom or Death, Keith Hamilton, Paper Lions and Lee’s Palace.