Dawn Time Riot
Release Date: October 16, 2010
Dawn Time Riot is the full-length debut for Kingston, ON the Gertrudes, following their critically acclaimed 2009 EP, Hard Water.A little bit of bluegrass, a dash of folk-infused country, a dribble of ambience and a lot of passion make up Dawn Time Riot. A homegrown ensemble, their latest effort features over 100 Kingston guest musicians. While the traditional folk sounds of banjo, mandolin and harmonica are the glue that binds, the inclusion of the Theremin, brass instruments and other electronic sounds catapult the otherwise familiar, down-home folk album into a modern sphere of uncharted territory. An incredibly diverse collective, the Gertrudes don’t shy away from creating insanely catchy, leg-thumbing folk pop anthems (“Wind From the South”), while paying tribute to bluegrass with the boisterous, banjo-laden “Freight Train.” The aching “Sailor” showcases the their ability to translate feeling and setting through sound, crafting a howling abyss that transforms into a catastrophic storm. Standout track “You Don’t Mind” is a slow, deep breath that sounds, at times, like a sombre hymn. A meticulously crafted spectrum of modern folk sounds, Dawn Time Riot is an ambitious debut for the Kingston collective, which have bigger and brighter things awaiting them.
The Gertrudes – “Sailor”
This review was originally published on Exclaim.ca.
I hate Centennial Hall – with its dingy, cramped balcony seating offering horrible views, its overpriced beer, and its less than stellar sound system.
Yet in spite of it all, Metric put on a spectacular show Friday night at London, Ontario venue.
Set openers, The Stills, played to a less than half-filled hall who didn’t seem too interested. They failed to impress the audience with their typical-sounding indie-rock. All their songs seemed to mesh together and none of them were even that catchy, except one which featured ‘nice’ harmonies. Needless to say, I was less than impressed and ready for the real show.
Metric hit the stage full of energy and opened with “Twilight Galaxy”. However, the Centennial Hall’s sorely lacking sound system prevented Emily Haines’ true vocal ability from being fully showcased. (The vocals, especially in the beginning, were hazy when she pronounced s’s and t’s, but got better towards the end). Haines rocked out with her signature dance-moves, her body twitching from side to side, as the crowd cheered her on. The show was sold out, but for some reason the back half of the bottom floor (general admission) was scattered with only a few people; Centennial Hall was definitely not at full capacity, but Metric didn’t seem to mind. Haines, ever the enigmatic front-woman, coaxed the crowd – from general admission to either sides of the balcony – to “stand up at some point” because it wasn’t a baseball game (or something to that effect).
Since the release of their fourth studio album, Metric has gained a much more mainstream following, which probably explains the crowd last night peppered with aging men and their wives all they way down to seven-year-olds with their parents. I guess anyone can appreciate a little Metric in their lives. The band on was on their A-game last night. Haines kept up the energy all night long with with manic dance skills and shaking her head (because “it’s empty”), and the rest of the band followed suit with a contagious energy of their own.
The played every track – except for “Front Row” – off their latest album, Fantasies, as well as scattered fan-favourites from their entire catalog, like “Combat Baby”, “Monster Hospital”, “Poster of a Girl”. Standout performances were definitely “Stadium Love”, “Satellite Mind” as well as the acoustic encore of “Combat Baby”, which allowed for Haine’s soft vocals to envelope the entire hall.
If you haven’t caught Metric live, yet. I suggest you save up and buy a ticket to their next concert in your area. And if there are seated tickets – don’t even think about it – go for general admission because their energy-filled set list will have you on your feet the whole night. No more seated balcony tickets for me; I’ve learned my lesson!