July Talk returned to Toronto last night for an explosive performance on the heels of their new album, Touch (out Sept. 9th via Sleepless/Island/Universal). The crowd packed into the Danforth Music Hall as some rocked bunny ears and others wore unicorn costumes.
‘It feels so good to be home,’ guitarist/vocalist Peter Dreimanis said to the crowd. The band had toured almost nonstop since they formed in 2012. The juxtaposition of Dreimanis’ gravely voice to Leah Fay’s sure yet gentle vocals revealed itself to be only part of their allure. They opened with a single from their 2012 self-titled release, “Summer Dress” which got the audience moving.
Without pause, drummer Danny Miles signaled the start of “Headsick”, as the stage personas of the two lead singers filled the room. On command from Dreimanis, the audience reached up to clap to the beat as harried white strobe lights illuminated the stage. Fay removed her jacket and revealed a tribute to consent with the word “ask” written twice across her chest.
‘Who’s stolen skin do you fit into,’ the crowd shouted along during “Blood & Honey”. Both in black and white while bathed in spotlight, Dreimanis and Fay plastered their hands all over each other’s faces and hair, as Fay’s voice chimed as Dreimanis’ rattled through, their newest single “Beck and Call”.
With each song they fell deeper under each other’s spell. Drawn to each other like magnets, Fay prowled around Dreimanis as he growled out the chorus of “Uninvited”. He dedicated the next track, “Jesus Said So” to Canadian icon and Tragically Hip frontman, Gord Downie. Dreimanis keyed the haunted chords from, “Strange Habit” as Fay wrapped herself up in the microphone cord and sang along.
Onstage they seemed possessed; by the music, each other and the crowd. Their movements were so pointed and entertained as their personas tackled each song. Opposite to the gentle sound of her voice, Fay thrashed on stage and hoisted herself over the crowd. Later Dreimanis crowd surfed for, “Guns + Ammunition” while he played the guitar.
Their hour and a half long set ended with an encore of their best and most subdued performance. For, “Touch” Fay slung a guitar for the controlled performance that crescendoed into an incredible light show. They dragged themselves offstage after they said goodbye; high from the performance. The born performers seemed more than ready to do it all again the next day.
Check out our photos here.