Uriah Heep - Official Site Uriah Heep's longtime bassist Trevor Bolder has died at…
- Posted on Jun 9th 2010 4:15PM by Mark Wigmore
Known for their distinctive anthems, thoughtful lyrics, and yes, that unmistakable deep voice, the group are several weeks into a grueling eight-month tour, but still shined in the first of two near-capacity shows in Toronto. The act's moody tones might seem like the perfect ambiance for a sit-down concert full of lazy-eyed hipsters, but the 130-minute set was a bona fide on-your-feet rock show.
A healthy crowd was on hand for openers the Antlers. The three-piece attacked a mix of tunes with a wall of sound, though they didn't quite handle the room's famed acoustics. Towards the end of their set the group got all Sigur Ros on the crowd with a massive display of sustained distortion adjoined to unfocused screeching, before finally making way for the much-anticipated headliners.
Hot with indie-cred stemming from their earlier albums, 'Boxer,' 'Alligator' and 'Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers,' the National made their latest offering a highlight, performing nine songs from the critically adored 'High Violet,' released in May.
Singer Matt Berninger employs tremendous command in the position of frontman, evoking both Michael Stipe and the Tragically Hip's Gord Downie with his presence, while often venturing into the adoring crowd as he worked through the material. The deep-end instrumentation was driven beautifully both in technique and dramatic tone by drummer Bryan Devendorf and his brother Scott on bass. The other brother pairing that makes up the National, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, skillfully offset their rhythm guitar parts and backed up Berninger during big vocal moments. To fill out their live sound, the group also hired a two-piece horn section.
Whether sending the crowd into hysterics with instant classic 'Fake Empire' or trying on new material such as 'Conversation 16' or 'England,' the show flowed with a lightness that was unexpected given the band's noir-ish sounds. It is a rarity to catch any act with all pistons firing, but more than 10 years after the quintet moved from Ohio to the musical hub of New York they are in full control of a pitch-perfect catalogue, even if it relies on a deeper register than most.