On Saturday night, ‘90s alt rock loving patrons of Toronto made their way to the Danforth Music Hall for an early Mazzy Star show.
As the lights went down, candles lit a purple stage and a projection of a crescent moon rising, which turned full then set, which was looped in the background. As the Santa Monica-based duo consisting of multi-instrumentalist David Robak and singer Hope Sandoval made their way on stage no lights shined down on them. The only change to the stage was the projection of the moon rising and setting had changed to an image of a very early dawn over the mountains. No words were said as the band began the set with the hauntingly soothing “Look On Down From The Bridge” from their 1996 album, Among My Swan, which they followed up with several fan favourites including “Cry Cry”, “Into Dust”, “Lay Myself Down” and arguably one of their breakthrough single “Fade Into You”.
As the sun projection faded, the visuals changed with each song from vintage photos of groups of women to scenic images, and with the stage so dark at times it was hard to see the petite figure of Sandoval, who is notorious for having a shy personality and having a reputation as a performer who always seems to be idly withdrawn while on stage, though her powerful, sweet and soulful voice wasn’t lost. The “no phone” rule that was enforced throughout the show didn’t seem to bother anyone and at times it seemed like people preferred it that way. Then again if you were ever to walk into the lobby would have seen a large group of people who were not at a bar, not in line for the washroom, but yes, checking their phone…. And that’s their loss.
After an hour and a half set the band came back for not one, not two, but three encores that included the first single from their first album since 1996’s Among My Swan, called “California”, in addition to “I’ve Been Let Down” and a gloomy version of “So Tonight that I Might See”. At the end of it all the entire set clocked in at just less than two hours leaving everyone bewildered and ever more enchanted.