Veruca Salt’s girl power still rules

Original lineup’s reunion strikes a chord

VERUCA SALT at Lee’s Palace, Tuesday, July 28. Rating: NNNN

When Louise Post stripped off her guitar at the end of the Veruca Salt show at Lee’s, she gave collaborator Nina Gordon a big hug while Gordon was still strumming and allowing her final chords to reverberate. 

The gesture was obviously staged, but nobody cared. This was a love-in from the moment the two rockers hit the stage with their original bassist, Steve Lack, and drummer, Jim Shapiro, for the Toronto stop of their reunion tour.

A 17-year hiatus may be a bit long, but VS made it seem like bands should temporarily break up more often. The outfit, as tight as ever, came across as fiercely committed, zig-zagging through old stuff – Volcano Girls and Spiderman 79 were killer – and new songs from their recent Ghost Notes.

Crucially for a show like this, the current material didn’t slow things down, as it often can in front of rabid fans. Especially strong was Laughing In The Sugar Bowl, which re-energized the set when it started to sag midway through. That slowdown had a bit to do with muddy sound, a rarity at Lee’s, that buried some of the vocals.

But for the most part, the band was ferocious, wholly invigorated, generous with their admiring audience – Post got down on her knees at one point to connect with the crowd – and obviously happy to be back.

Openers Charly Bliss were loud and fun, with lead singer Eva Hendricks – plainly influenced by the headliners – happily bouncing around the stage to the band’s rockin’, sometimes quirky tunes.  

But the night belonged to the veterans. Sparkle while you can, girls. | @susangcole

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