DO MAKE SAY THINK at the Danforth Music Hall, Saturday, June 10. Rating: NNNN
Thirty minutes into Do Make Say Think’s long-awaited, awe-inspiring hometown set, multi-instrumentalist Charles Spearin began hopping around like a puppy dog on a trampoline.
They’d already done a number on us by then, thanks to a devastating one-two-punch opening of Bound and then And Boundless from their new album, Stubborn Persistent Illusions. Backlit by five glowing orbs and flashing tube bulbs, the Toronto instrumental music icons’ facial expressions were shrouded in enough darkness that everything felt pensive until Spearin couldn’t take it any more.
“When we first walked out here, we were very nervous,” he said into a mic. “But now we’re filled with love and it’s great. And just so you know, we love each other dearly, and we love you, and all my nerves have disappeared.”
It has been eight years since DMST released and toured behind 2009’s Other Truths. After such a hiatus, the band clearly put a lot of effort into this lone show (a full tour is coming in November) to celebrate their return. The stage production was thoughtful and cool, complete with distorted projections of films, poetry and the band itself, captured onstage.
The strength and vitality of this outfit, bolstered by a recurring horn section and the indispensable Julie Penner on violin, was evident in fresh fare and gritty, transcendent versions of Do and the firecracker that is The Universe!
But they were particularly triumphant because, even as of two days ago, this show almost didn’t happen. According to a news-filled bit of banter by guitarist Justin Small, one of DMST’s two drummers, James Payment, scalded his foot with a pot of boiling water on Mother’s Day.
He lived with the pain too long – when doctors finally saw him, the foot was so infected they contemplated amputating it. After successful surgery saved the foot, Payment was cleared but admitted back into hospital days ago. During a panic-stricken DMST practice with a new drummer on Thursday, Payment waltzed in the room, took his seat, and the band was whole.
For all of the moodiness and hard textures fans expect from a DMST show, this one was fuelled by something new: joyous relief.
email@example.com | @vishkhanna