JunoFest Night 1: D-Sisive, Said the Whale and Horsey Craze

Friday, March 25, 2011

D-Sisive – 9:30PM @ The Horseshoe Tavern

D-Sisive kicked off a night of Juno nominees at the Horseshoe Tavern and boy did he kick it off with a bang. He brought along KC Roberts and the Live Revolution to back up his MC skills, the band comprised of guitar, keys, drums, bass, and a 3-piece horn section. Muneshine, another MC, also joined him. With 8 others on stage with D-Sisive, it was hard not to be impressed. He was also quite funny, with banter like, “Who said D-Sisive can’t be romantic? I’m romantic as fuck.” This was followed by, “Am I allowed to swear on the radio?” The show was being aired live on CBC Radio 3. “I’ve just been fined $700,” he joked. D-Sisive may have not won the Juno for Rap Recording of the Year, but he certainly showed why he deserved the nomination.

Said the Whale – 10:45PM @ The Horseshoe Tavern

Said the Whale, winner of New Group of the Year, brought quite the crowd with them. They filled up the Horseshoe Tavern, with eager fans squished up against the stage. The band was making a Juno appearance mid-US tour and co-frontman Ben Worcester exclaimed, “We sure are very pleased to be in Canada!” The band had some rocky times in the States, but Said the Whale seemed to have had a new life breathed into them, as they played with such energy and charm and banter that teased the CBC Radio 3 listeners with what they were missing (or not really missing?).

A Said the Whale set is like being taken on a journey through Canada, with many of their songs making reference to touring, but with a particular emphasis on their home province of British Colombia. The band powered through such favourites, but also played a few newer tunes that really seemed to have more of an emphasis on keys, courtesy of Jacelyn Brown. Spencer Schoening (drums) plays with such a lighthearted approach, really having fun by drumming on the ceiling and barely being able to stay seated behind his kit. Said the Whale also introduced their newest member, Nathan Shaw, on bass.

The band’s songwriting and beautiful harmonies have a way of drawing their audience in and encouraging participation. As they played “Emerald Lake, AB,” the crowd was singing “What a fine life we are living” and Worcester turned the microphone to face the crowd. There’s also “Holly, Ontario,” which (other) co-frontman Tyler Bancroft joked as being “the loudest song” they play. The crowd was singing and clapping along and Worcester encouraged, “Come on, keep up!” They ended off their set with “Goodnight Moon,” calling it “Goodnight Toronto.” And although the crowd didn’t want their 13-song set to end there, Said the Whale certainly gave the entire Horseshoe Tavern the gift of a good night.

Horsey Craze – 12:15AM @ Silver Dollar

Given all the emphasis on Neil Young at the Junos (Juno Award wins for Adult Alternative Album of the Year and Artist of the Year) and praise for his humanitarian work (honoured with the Allan Waters Humanitarian Award), it seemed like the right choice to check out Horsey Craze, a Neil Young cover band made up of (former) members of the Constantines, Will Kidman and Dallas Wherle, as well as Justin Small (Lullabye Arkestra, Do Make Say Think) and John Pinnington. The rousing set featured some trading off on vocals between Kidman and Small and a crowd that wanted to hear all their favourites.

The highlight of the night seemed to be “Like a Hurricane,” a song that was drawn out and featured hell of a lot of impressive guitar work. Horsey Craze meant to end with “Rockin’ in the Free World,” with promotor Silver Dollar Dan Burke rockin’ out on stage with the band, but they were cheered on for an encore. Ending the night with “Cinnamon Girl,” Horsey Craze’s tribute to Neil Young was a great way to end the night.

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Categories: JunoFest 2011, Live Music


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