STEVE WYNN AND THE MIRACLE THREE with MEAN RED SPIDERS and POPPY SEED and the LOVE EXPLOSION at the Horseshoe, May 10. Tickets: $10. Attendance: 75. Rating: NNN Rating: NNNNN
After consistently avoiding Toronto stops in tour routing for over a decade, Steve Wynn, suddenly seeming to have made this city his second home, played his second gig at the Horseshoe in seven months.That's not a complaint. Wynn has long been an unjustly overlooked singer/songwriter talent who does his best work in person, as many people discovered on his last trip through upon hearing him reprise the timeless songs he wrote for the Dream Syndicate's classic Days Of Wine And Roses album.
While the focus this time was on Wynn's newer compositions, which indicated that his best work may be yet to come (he'll soon be returning to Tucson to begin recording a new album), his Miracle Three backing band regrettably don't push and challenge him like the Dream Syndicate once did.
The trio of drum pounder Linda Pitmon, bassist Dave DeCastro and guitarist Jason Victor are excellent accompanists and have become a tight unit over the past year of non-stop gigging, but they lack the spark of spontaneity and the killer instinct.
There's no sense of urgency to what they do, and accordingly, the white-knuckled desperation that made performances by the doomed Dream Syndicate so memorably thrilling is long gone.
What now appears to be a much healthier distance between Wynn and his ill-fated characters might not be entirely advantageous for someone still intent on dealing lyrically with the dark side and trying to conjure images of unspeakable brutality.
The closing run at The Days Of Wine And Roses was a powerful finale but nowhere near as harrowing as it should've been.TIM PERLICH