Wow! What a great night last night was! My musical mate @sephiros (a.k.a. RP) and I ventured to Sound Academy to see Massive Attack. In a stroke of wonderful luck, RP was at home right along the QEW, so the drive in was simple down the Garndier along the Lake to the venue. But first we stopped to eat like Kings! KINGS! I’ve went to a lot of restaurants with RP and I trust his culinary wisdom, he suggested a South Indian restaurant called Rashnaa. I’ve had Indian cuisine many times, but not South Indian which is, as I discovered, hotter! We ordered the traditional South Indian staple Masala Thosai and started with veggie samosa. Damn. The food was so flavorful and delicious! The samosa pasty made me want to just eat samosas for dinner. The demeanor of the server was oddly indifferent but that didn’t deter a great meal. My first Thosai was yum. It is an impressive site. It looks like a long crepe (or I thought a massive fish filet). It was filled with potato, onion and spices. You eat it with a spoon of coconut chutney and then dip it all in a sambar (lentil soup like mixture) the culmination of which is like getting punched in the mouth with flavour. Don’t be shy to ask for mild. Regret is a terrible thing. We parked on Amelia Street which has to be one of the cutest street I’ve seen in Toronto. Lovely little row houses with perfectly manicured and landscaped lawns.
From Rashnaa it was a short drive to the venue. Of course, we got raped $15 to park. Sigh. I’ve never been to Sound Academy before. Mother nature provided us with some entertainment while we waited in line. Lightning struck the CN tower four times while we waited, greeted with oooos and ahhhhs from the crowd. Hehe. It must get hit all the time. Crazy. Fortunately we got in before the downpour. What a nice venue. It is decorated in a very modern, urban chic style. Everything looked new and polished. It was a impressive looking venue. There was an upstairs area for 19+ with a balcony that overlooked the stage. We watched the show on the floor. The crowd had a curiously friendly, thoughtful air to it. People said excuse me and sorry as they passed through the standing room only crowd. Huh. The crowd was also quite a mix of ages. There were tons of 40+ 50+ and probably even 60+ fans in the audience. We also noticed an older lesbian couple. We both thought it was nice they they felt comfortable enough in public to show some affection towards each other. How many cities in the world would that be the case? We figured many more sadly would not be.
Anyway, the music. Things didn’t start off well with MNDR from New York. She tried pretty hard but the combo of her unique voice over common beats and samples didn’t work for me at all. I thought it often sounded like whining dogs or cats in heat. There were moments she had me then in the next breath, lost. I hope she has an education to fall back on. She played six songs. The crowd was equally indifferent to her in spite of some effort to get the crowd going. *shrug* Next up was Massive attack vocalist Martina Topley-Bird who performed some of her solo material. It was interesting to note both opening acts were just one person and a synth. One was awful, one was good. Martina’s sound was much more balanced. I didn’t like some of them – they were fall to mellow – but could she ever sing. She did a quite demo of her vocal sampling gear as well. Live, on the fly. She sung a little harmony into it and looped into a song on the fly, it was pretty neat. Happy Birthday Martina!
The show got exponentially better when Massive Attack took the stage. Where to begin? The visually were striking. The wall of the show was all LED lights that they used throughout the show to display quotes and facts and figures… all very political stuff… it was inspiring. As RP noted, you actually came away having learned something. How many concerts can you say that about? There were a ton of Howard Zinn quotes onscreen and facts about military spending, images, patterns… it was both beautiful and… informative. Oh and Massive Attack brought the rock. I wanted to see MA a few years ago and couldn’t, they made up for it in a mind blowing 2.5hr set! Their sound translated well filling the venue wall to wall. They played a lot of singles and material from throughout their career. They seemed to be having fun on stage and extended a few tracks with some improv playing. The venue seemed to be trying to get the crowd in for the second show at a reduced price. I guess it isn’t sold out. If you can go, go.
The show is incredible. The original distinctive deep vocal sounds of Daddy G returned, and the crowd was appreciative giving him a big round of applause after he started singing. Man, he’s a big boy. Before MA took to the stage we saw five mics on stage. One of them seemed to tower over all the others… Daddy G’s. Hehe. My favourite vocalist of the night, however, was Deborah Kerr (thanks RP for the correction! it was not Neneh Cherry. Names are not my forté..) Go see MA. That is all.