. : : October 21st, 2011 : : .
Sometimes it’s hard to get out to a show to see opening bands. I know it. You get off work, need time to change, get ready, wind down, make dinner, catch the highlights on the tele, whatever. And without name recognition or previously established familiarity, you find excuses to delay arriving on time. “Maybe we should grab a drink at the bar down the street, first,” or “I could use a quick cat nap before heading down.”
I try to avoid these all-too familiar pitfalls, because I’ve discovered SO MANY wonderful local talent by getting to a show well in advance of the headliners. Most of the bands that enjoy frequent representation on this blog? Yep, saw them open for someone else.
But I’m not perfect. I don’t remember exactly why, but I remember being quite late for The Rest‘s gig at the El Mocambo. When I arrived, I was quite sure I’d missed the start of their set. When no band was playing as I walked in the door, I sighed a breath of relief: they were just about to go on, after all.
Well, not so much. Turns out, things were quite a bit behind schedule, and I’d only missed the first of the evening’s four bands. Sometimes the world works in mysterious ways.
Setting up on stage was Del Bel, a Toronto-area band made up of members of the who’s-who of the local music scene, including (amongst many others) Do Make Say Think, Ohbijou and Broken Social Scene. Apparently it was the band’s first show in T.O., but you wouldn’t know it to look at them. Three-quarters of a dozen strong, the band had an entire horn section and strings accompanying the standard indie band layout of keys, guitars, bass and drums. It was exciting to see.
Singer Lisa Conway threatened to steal all eyes in the room with a sexy, sultry confidence and a full, warm voice, but a stage quite literally filled with talented musicians is exceptionally strong competition. While the eyes struggled to settle in, all ears turned rapt attention toward the organized cacophony emanating from the stage.
Stylistically, Del Bel is difficult to pin down. The band is cohesive in sound, but jump from genre to genre like a frog on a lilypad. At one moment, bouncy pop; the next, jazzy cabaret. In a bite-sized 25-minute performance (that still somehow manages to hit almost every song on their album [at the point of this performance, still a couple weeks away from release]), it shouldn’t necessarily work — but it does.
So, thanks Del Bel, for waiting for me to show up, and for reminding me why I never should have been late in the first place.
02. Stirring Bones
03. Missing and Done
05. This Unknown
06. Slave To The Deep
08. Dusk Light
09. No Reservation
Thanks to Del Bel’s many members, and Exclaim.ca!