When you return from a show having learned three brand-new, never-before-seen dance moves at a party that came very close to being shut down by the cops… You know it’s been a good night! That, future bucket-kickers, sums up the opening show of Taverne Tour last Thursday at The Diving Bell Social Club. It didn’t disappoint!
Before I dive into the meat of this show review, a small confession: I signed up for this show to see The Leanover. They’re one of my personal favourite local bands. In the process, I discovered Vancouver funk masters Schwey (how did I not know about them?!) and a pretty cool Toronto-based headliner, Jaunt. Those three names sound like they could be dance moves, don’t they? Read on to find out why I am stealing this observation from the opening band’s lead singer!
Anyways, first thing’s first: if you live in Montreal and you don’t know The Leanover, go see them. Mega-talented frontwoman duo Ali Overing (vocals, guitar) and Lou Seltz (bass) will not disappoint you. They put on an ethereal, mesmerizing performance that stuns with its simple, yet fierce musicality. Their sound is reminiscent of The War On Drugs and The Cranberries, only more raw and with more accent on the bass-guitar interplay. Ali is a powerful singer with excellent projection, and we could all hear her clearly even when she backed away from the microphone to hit those high notes. One last thing: ladies of The Leanover, if you’re reading this, your closing song “Consequences” is trippy as fuck. The breathy vocals are amazing. It might be your best song. I can’t wait to hear the studio version!
Schwey got down like it was 2015, and the whole floor was shaking within minutes! Bassist Isaiah (Finewine) Dobbs grabbed everyone’s attention by the balls with a blistering opening solo. This set was nothing less than a fiery dance party that made hips gyrate, temperatures rise and jaws drop. The colourful, 70’s vibe oozed with that James Brown, Earth, Wind & Fire and WAR feeling. Bonus points to band leader, hype man and bassist Finewine for keeping the energy up and cleverly introducing us to three new dance moves: the Leanover, the Schwey and the Jaunt! We all got a good kick out of that.
Toronto headliners Jaunt are fresh off the release of their new single, “Nostalgia For The Present Moment”. They were equally great, with a kind of Radiohead-meets-Jack Johnson and Beck sound… A solid pop/rock experience which remained danceable. Some of the songs had a Tame Impala vibe. Co-lead singers Thomas Helliwell and Caitlin Woelfle O’Brien are great together, but I would have liked to hear more from Caitlin. This may have been a sound issue with the venue, but I couldn’t hear her enough. Overall, Jaunt were interesting, but it may have been a mistake to place them after Schwey. This brought the energy down a bit.
The Diving Bell is a fantastic place, but sadly, its survival may be precarious. Owner Austin Wrinch fought tooth and nail to set up a legitimate venue with a liquor licence… But they’re on the third floor, which makes them a bit unaccessible. Plus, if they continue receiving noise complaints, I fear they may go the way of Divan Orange and end up shutting down. It would be a shame! By the way, how exactly do you get a noise complaint when you’re on Saint-Laurent and your downstairs neighbour is a bar? It beats me.
Written by Henri Brillon
Photography by Michael Kovacs
*edited by Dominic Abate