Concert Review: Whale Tooth, The Drums @ The Glass Factory, Toronto, Canada

Thanks go out to PeteHatesMusic correspondent Darryl for his hard work on the following piece:

It was probably the most musical weekend of 2012 in Toronto and, if you’re a fan of outdoor concerts, you just might’ve never set foot indoors over the weekend. The NXNE Festival brought several free shows to Yonge-Dundas Square, Lady Antebellum was in town at the Molson Amphitheatre, Radiohead was scheduled to play Downsview park (before a tragic turn of events foiled the show), and Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and others comprised a myriad of ultra-talented performers at the MMVA’s.

As part of the ever-improving NXNE Festival, organizers managed to secure a solid roster of mainstage artists for Yonge-Dundas Square. This year, Toronto freeloaders were able to enjoy headlining gigs by Bad Religion, Matthew Good, The Flaming Lips, Raekwon & Ghostface Killah, along with many other fan-favourites such as Of Montreal and Portugal. The Man.

For those that are fans of the more conventional concert setting, the NXNE Festival also included countless gigs at the various legendary clubs around Toronto. Over the week, acts such as Purity Ring, A Place to Bury Strangers, and Plants and Animals obliterated venues such as Lee’s Palace, El Mocambo, and Sneaky Dees. And, of course, the festival also provided a great opportunity for local bands looking to expand their following and submerse themselves in the spirit of a music festival. These shows are always a riot with highly enthusiastic fans and a bonus attempt to simulate a week of European culture, pushing last call back to 4AM.

Even deeper in the vault of NXNE offerings, there is a contingent of private parties providing unique experiences for a lucky few. (Well, we assume there is a contingent, anyways). Thanks to the generous folks at Rdio, PeteHatesMusic was granted a special invite to an exclusive party at The Glass Factory at 99 Sudbury for an evening of drinks, snacks and music. The Glass Factory, by the way, happened to be a beautiful event space perfectly fit for a party with a stylish, hip crowd.

For those unaware, Rdio offers a web-based music subscription in many countries around the world. Rdio provides it’s users with a resource for streaming music legally while both online and offline. There are also apps available for Apple and Android wireless devices meaning you can bring your Rdio subscription with you everywhere you go. / end Shameless Plug

For the Rdio NXNE party, the main course was a headlining set by Brooklyn, New York new wave-charmers, The Drums – fresh from their run of European tour dates. Backing up for a second: the party started at 7pm. From about 7-9, we found ourselves just trying to break even – scarf down samples of Kernels popcorn, Tiny Tom’s donuts, and Baskin Robbin’s ice cream, followed by a session on the dance floor in an attempt to shed some of the newly-acquired pounds. Incidentally, the dance beats were provided by Brendan Canning (of Broken Social Scene fame). Rdio also kept attendees entertained with a Twitter board and some interactive art for the artsy types. And did I mention the open bar?! In all seriousness, life as a blogger is great! Free food, free drinks, and free music! And it so happens that this blogger is a big fan of The Drums.

Brendan Canning

Brendan Canning

Some time around 9pm, Toronto’s own Whale Tooth took the stage for a short, sweet set of indie-pop tracks. Whale Tooth provided just the kick needed to inject a new level of energy into the crowd. With their album Search Party set to be released in July, the band pointed eagerly-anticipating fans to Rdio for an exclusive pre-release streaming over the next month.

The Drums were next up and wasted no time diving into their catalogue of bouncy tracks, kicking things off with What You Were from 2011’s sophomore release, Portamento. Over the next 45 minutes, the boys seamlessly mixed in 5 tracks each from Portamento and their 2010 self-titled debut LP. Personal highlights included The Future – the hidden gem closing track from The Drums – and the emotionally-charged If He Likes It Let Him Do It. “This song was written for gay people,” frontman Jonny Pierce stated, further providing support in their public campaign against the challenges faced by same-sex couples in modern society.

The Drums in Toronto

The Drums in Toronto

Catchy singles Best Friend and Money were interspersed with other trademark numbers, such as How It Ended, Days, and Book of Stories.

Without fail, the hugely successful Let’s Go Surfing yielded the most enthusiastic response from the crowd (which, by the way, couldn’t have been more than 100 – 120 people) and marked both the climax and conclusion of a crisp set from the evening’s stars. Not a bad effort at all from a bunch of guys who’d arrived from Amsterdam just a few hours before the show.

PHM Rating: 9 out of 10
Setlist for The Drums @ The Glass Factory, Toronto, Canada – Friday June 15, 2012:

What You Were
Best Friend
Me and The Moon
If He Likes It Let Him Do It
Book of Stories
How It Ended
The Future
Let’s Go Surfing

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