Show Review – The Strumbellas Break New Ground

Review and Photo By Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
MORE PHOTOS ON page 18/19 Marchs Vandala Magazine – READ HERE

The Strumbellas exude a certain character. They are clearly very comfortable on stage now and yet they still remain quite aloof and playful. Their live show displays the band’s intense communal nature and not only with their fellow band mates. What can only be described as ecstatic mantras are peppered throughout their set. When the entire band starts singing in unison, “I will wait, I will wait, I will wait by the fire”, you cannot help but sing along and feel a part of the club. The Dakota is also one of my favourite intimate venues, making it perfect for such an experience. The sound is always fantastic there. Last night featured a nice blend between lead guitar and violin solos and room for all of their powerful voices.

The Strumbellas have constructed an amazingly intricate wall of sound for a group that was once known as a humble folk-rock band. They blend elements of bands like Arcade Fire and Old Crow Medicine Show into one multifaceted but simple style. Their lyrics are very much tangible, emotional stories that can be interpreted in a wonderful kind of generally applicable way.

Their lead singer Simon Ward was striving ever so much (and succeeding) in looking like Bob Dylan during his weird ‘I can do anything’ phase. Ward went into another world when he was singing and had his eyes closed in concentration for most of the set. At one point he stood on a chair in the audience for a paired down acoustic number and was swarmed by a sea of excited faces and iPhone cameras.

I think that the moniker of folk-rock can no longer accurately describe this bands approach. In fact, they may have just broken some noteworthy new ground. I cannot recommend these guys more highly. The Strumbellas are playing another set at the Dakota next week, and play Toronto often. So keep watch, these guys are on the rise. To catch The Strumbellas and for more informations visit www.thestrumbellas.ca

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