DEL BEL and BRY WEBB at 918 Bathurst Centre, Friday, June 1. Rating: NNNN
The performance beautifully matched the recording's lo-fi intimacy of the jaunty, throwback jazz-blues tune, No Cure For Loneliness, in the beautiful venue (enhanced by the colourful Wavelength-sponsored projections of General Chaos), but the collaboration didn't end there.
Nine members strong (and by the end, 12), Del Bel's expansive, cinematic orch-pop delivered an extra punch with a full horn section, pedal steel and the unassumingly dramatic lead vocals of Conway, but the addition of the deep, expressive bleat of the former Constantines frontman added another level of character to their already rich compositions.
Webb slowed the tempo for his later set, showing off the quiet acoustic folk side he unveiled on his debut solo record, Provider.
As the show progressed, though, Webb took advantage of the extra musicians at his disposal (bassist Tyler Belluz and steel guitarist Mike Brooks already play in both bands, but he also used the horn section), and the additional layers reminded Constantines fans just how incredible Webb's gruff voice sounds when propelled by a bigger sound.
An inspired collaborative encore brought the whole ensemble out for a fun, all-on-the-table version of Seals & Crofts' yacht-rock hit, Summer Breeze, ironically sending the audience out into the rain.