Fun-loving Fred

FRED EAGLESMITH with the LONESOME FIDDLE BAND at the Horseshoe, December 14. Tickets: $8-$10. Attendance: 250. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNmaybe.


FRED EAGLESMITH with the LONESOME FIDDLE BAND at the Horseshoe, December 14. Tickets: $8-$10. Attendance: 250. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN

maybe it had something to do with the evening’s “Big Hair Country” theme. Perhaps it was the feisty new rhythm section or possibly the season. But whatever the reason, Fred Eaglesmith was in unusually good spirits for his Horseshoe show. And all the better for it.At Toronto shows past, the farm boy philosopher would spend at least a quarter of his stage time bad-mouthing the big city, but here Eaglesmith and crew got right down to house-rocking business.

Of course, there were a few lighter moments in which the wiseacre strummer announced his intention to run for public office on the winning platform of “putting the beer store and the liquor store in the same building.” Yet as soon as the cheers subsided, he was back blasting away at bottle-rattling volume, and the sing-along crowd couldn’t get enough of it.

Just when it looked like Eaglesmith could do no wrong, he sent his cohorts off the stage and began a solo set of mournful ballads. Bad move. Quicker than you could say “sensitive singer/songwriter,” the energy level in the room dropped like tech stock.

Folks wandered over to the bar for refills and discussed the deer population as if it were an intermission. Oh Susanna was hauled up for what should’ve been a duet highlight, but her voice was lost in the idle chatter. Instead of closing with a bang, Eaglesmith spent the rest of the night trying to regain momentum.FRED EAGLESMITH with the LONESOME FIDDLE BAND at the Horseshoe, December 14. Tickets: $8-$10. Attendance: 250.

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