The Wooden Sky Packs The Opera House

The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12

Date of show: April 20, 2012

For a while now, The Wooden Sky has been selling out every hometown show and this night was no exception. The crowd had been eagerly anticipating Gavin Gardiner (vocals, guitar), Andrew Wyatt (bass, vocals), Simon Walker (keys, guitar, vocals) and Andrew Kekewich (drums) to hit the stage of The Opera House, pushed right up toward the stage.

The band started off the set with “Child of the Valley” off their latest record and swiftly moved through tunes from both Every Child a Daughter, Every Moon a Sun and If I Don’t Come Home You’ll Know I’m Gone. It wasn’t until the set was nearing its end that the band played “North Dakota” from their debut full-length When Lost at Sea. With the addition of violin from Edwin Huizinga, the band put on a beautiful performance. Gardiner leads the way with his raw vocals, one of my personal favourites, but the impressive harmonies from Walker and Wyatt add such beautiful depth to the tunes.

It was a beautiful moment when Gardiner band dedicated “Angels” to Levon Helm, with “L.H.” in a heart taped onto Kekewich’s kit to pay tribute to the recently passed legend. This served as one of the highlights of the set, in addition to some of the old favourites that had much of the packed house singing along.

While they weren’t in the house, The Wooden Sky dedicated “Leave a Light On” to Yukon Blonde, former tourmates who recently passed through the city. Not to leave out their current (at the time) tourmates, the band brought out Sunparlour Players for “Malibu Rum” and again later to add additional percussion to set closer “Something Hiding in the Night”.

While The Opera House is a little less intimate than their other recent hometown shows, the band still managed to create a feeling of intimacy, which really peaked when just Gardiner and Walker came out on stage to start the encore with “Oslo”. The moving encore continued with “Oh My God”, “Late King Henry” and a cover of Nirvana’s “All Apologies”. As The Wooden Sky continues to grow and play bigger venues, it seems they bring out more treats for the fans that have been supporting them all along, which has me (and probably every other fan) looking forward to every show that much more.

The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12
The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 The Wooden Sky @ The Opera House, 20-04-12

Sunparlour Players

Based out of Toronto, Andrew Penner (vocals, guitar, banjo) and Michael Rosenthal (drums, glockenspiel, bass, vocals) of Sunparlour Players warmed up the stage for The Wooden Sky. The two put on quite a powerful performance, playing their dynamic alt-country/rock style. With so many instruments on stage and just two people playing them, their attention to detail and particular sounds is certainly remarkable.

With plenty of material to choose from since they’ve been around in some form since 2006, the percussion-heavy “O’Captain” seemed to stand out in the set. This was the first time I’ve seen Sunparlour Players and this set had me interested enough to check ‘em out again, but perhaps in a bit more of an intimate setting. While it was my first time, some of those around me in the crowd up front seemed to be quite familiar with the band, making it evident that they brought in a good draw too.

Sunparlour Players @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 Sunparlour Players @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 Sunparlour Players @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 Sunparlour Players @ The Opera House, 20-04-12

Evening Hymns

While Sylvie Smith usually joins Jonas Bonnetta of Evening Hymns on stage (and sometimes there’s a full backing band), he went at it solo on this night. Doing his best Bob Dylan impression with his attire, he started off the night with his earnest folk music. There is something in his songs that allows Bonnetta to really touch a crowd. Perhaps it is that he seems to bare his soul in his lyrics, allowing one to feel his pain when he sings of his father who passed, an inspiration for may of his songs. Playing on his mother’s birthday, Bonnetta brought out flowers for his mom towards the end of the set, making the set feel even more personal.

In addition to songs from Evening Hymns‘ first record, Bonnetta played songs from his forthcoming album, including title track “Spectral Dusk”. Bonnetta even played a song that no one has heard before that he had written while living in the woods in Perth, Ontario. He dedicated a cover of Tom Petty’s “Time to Move On” to The Wooden Sky, but the set closer “Mtn. Song” was probably the highlight of the set, with looping and a little bit of an edge that sets this song apart from his other softer, more emotive tunes.

Evening Hymns @ The Opera House, 20-04-12 Evening Hymns @ The Opera House, 20-04-12

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Categories: Live Music


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