THE FLASHING LIGHTS, at Lee's Palace, May 26. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 200. Rating: NNN
In a world of precious few sure things, Toronto mod squad the Flashing Lights can always be counted on to deliver cracking good sets with an arched-brow seriousness that invites everyone into their orbit.
At Lee's Friday supporting Limblifter, the Lights shook loose vaguely psychedelic, 60s-coated pop bursts from their new Elevature EP with the fidgety enthusiasm of kids at show-and-tell.
Sharply outfitted singer/guitarist Matt Murphy was particularly on his game, cracking wise but playing rock star with the appropriate hip-shaking verve.
It helped that the bottom end was stapled down by the twin talents of bassist Henri Sangalang and drummer Steve Pitkin. Combined with Murphy and organist Gaven Dianda, the rhythm section made a powerful case for precision, reminding everyone of the simple but undervalued truth that it makes a huge difference when a band knows how to play.
One could only assume that Sloan's Chris Murphy -- in the crowd as he so often is at Flashing Lights shows -- was marvelling at the group's easy instrumental rapport since Sloan, god love 'em, have never quite measured up to their records in concert, maybe because of all that guitar-bass-drums-swapping business.
That's not a slag, but rather a convenient comparison to illustrate the basic but bankable joy of a group like the Flashing Lights. At the end of the set, no lives are changed and no epiphanies are had. Things are just sweet all round.