TOM FUN ORCHESTRA, BRUCE PENINSULA, and THE DARCYS at the Horseshoe, Saturday (January 31). Rating: NNN
Initially at least, the idea of having Halifax's Tom Fun Orchestra headline over local faves Bruce Peninsula -- debuting songs from their new disc A Mountain Is A Mouth (Bruce Trail) -- seemed like an odd billing arrangement.
But perhaps no stranger was the choice to have the show opened by alt-rockers the Darcys who didn't have much of a connection to either of the other acts apart from facial hair but then again, the same could be said of more than half the crowd.
That's not to suggest the Darcys' opening set of Pavement-inspired 90s nostalgia was completely without merit. However, the fact that their best tune of the night was a cover of Final Fantasy's The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead is an indication that they'd be wise to spend as much time on their compositions as coordinating their vested stagewear. Everyone save a few of the Darcys' brew hoisting buds up front let out a great sigh of relief as the various members of Bruce Peninsula appeared and started hollering their secular hymns. Only because this was the 11 member version of the ensemble, there was much more shouting than advisable to make up for the missing voices.
Still the shoulder-to-shoulder turnout was completely enthralled by the boldly bellowing display.
It certainly was a hard act to follow for the Tom Fun posse but the crowd-pleasing crew are in their element surrounded by a liquored-up gathering on a Saturday night. With the screech of a fully amped squeeze box and fiddle, they kicked up the energy level a few notches and blasted out their lusty brand of East Coast swing. The people that left after Bruce Peninsula were replaced by many more who eagerly joined the jostling moshers up front.