Great Bloomers Lit Up The Horseshoe With Distant Fires

Great Bloomers @ Horseshoe Tavern, 30-11-12

Date of show: November 30, 2012
Written by: Chiara DiAngelo


Against a backdrop of weathered images reminiscent of the Something More 7” artwork that were provided by a slide projector portraying a different slide for each song, Toronto’s Great Bloomers made their triumphant return home after a cross-country tour. Kicking off with the appropriately triumphant- feeling “Something More,” frontman Lowell Sostomi (vocals, guitar) appeared genuinely elated to be back on his home turf.

Even when they slowed things down slightly for “The Fire Burns Strong,” there was still a liveliness to their playing, especially with Tim Moxam (guitar, vocals) on trumpet. Their alt-country roots were on full display during “Nighttime” before reaching into the back catalogue of Speak of Trouble with “Admit Defeat,” “Lobbyist” and “This Ain’t You,” which spurred a spontaneous clap-along as the thick crowd up front really started to get into the spirit of the night. Responding with an exclamation that the crowd looked great, Moxam even brought out a mirror to prove it!

Their set concluded with a string of slower songs, including “Pale Morning Strangers,” one of my personal favourites from the new record, and “Sunday Clothes” during which Moxam once again picked up the trumpet to add a lamentful feel before picking up the pace for final song “Slowly In Your Gaze.”

Not quite done however, they ended the night with a three-song encore that included the rousing single “I Wanna Die Young,” and their rendition of Tom Petty’s “Listen To Her Heart” that was sent out to their good friends in The Wooden Sky who had also just gotten home from tour. The camaraderie not only between Toronto bands, but between Toronto bands and their city always warms my heart. Great Bloomers welcomed Toronto to their new record and Toronto welcomed them back home – with open arms.

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Wool on Wolves

Great Bloomers’ tourmates Wool on Wolves were the second band of the night. A five-piece of multi-instrumentalists from Alberta, they filled the stage with the wide array of all their various instruments. They introduced the audience to their latest album, Measures of Progress, which came out earlier in November. There is a distinct diversity from one song to the next on the album, and this lended itself well to creating an attention-holding live performance.

They started off with “Broken Pictures,” featuring Thomas Reikie (guitar, vocals) on banjo, Gordon Brasnett (guitar, bass) on slide guitar, and Eric Leydon (keys) on trumpet, showing off their skills early on. Tim Moxam of Great Bloomers added an additional element, joining them on the trumpet as well for third song, “Midnight Avenue.” They slowed it down momentarily for “Love is Learned.” While quite folky on the album, there may have been violin but there were also some serious beats behind it when performed live. There was a reverb-laden trance-like feel to “Be the Change” and “Inside the Light” was eerily dark before they were able to encourage a sing along to the more animatedly uplifting “won’t you pick me up?” on last song “Medicine Shows.”

Despite this being their third release, they’ve remained relatively unknown in Toronto. It’s likely though that their energetic set introduced themselves to a room full of new fans. Well, two at least!

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GROUNDERS

Opening the night was local band GROUNDERS. Having recently released their first official recording, Wreck of a Smile (on cassette tape!), this was one of the best sets we’ve seen of them yet. The Horseshoe stage had undergone a makeover with new carpet and a sparkly tinsel backdrop, but that wasn’t the only change immediately noticeable. While typically erring more on the serious side, the band looked jovial and like they were having fun up on stage. While there was still minimal interaction with the audience as they played their intricately experimental brand of fuzzed-out rock, their set culminated with “Along the Line” and a serious fury of guitar and bass shredding. Frontman Andrew Davis then handed his guitar off to a friend in the audience and they finished their set with a proclamation of their love for David Wilcox and a cover of “Bad Apple.” It was slightly crazy and more than a little unexpected. Could a different side of GROUNDERS be emerging perhaps? Either way, we liked it!

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Categories: Live Music

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