Pete Nema Indie Music Reviews     Toronto Concert Photographer
Directory  :  Contact  :  Links  :  Site Index  
    Welcome to PETE NEMA 25-Jul-2017 06:38 PM    

Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle

13-Aug-2006 05:10 PM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle
August 9, 2006
The Drake Hotel in Toronto, Ontario
Review and Photos by: Pete Nema

Full photo set: Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle
Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle
Kevin Hearn is one of the Barenaked Ladies, but no matter how you interpret that statement, don't let it stir up any preconceived ideas. When Kevin is playing with Thin Buckle (his supporting band) he may be using his skill that contributes to the Barenaked Ladies' success, but he is very clearly doing his own thing. The show at The Drake was a CD release party for his 4th solo album entitled The Miracle Mile. The Drake is a very intimate venue with a small raised area for the bar at the back, low comfy seating along the sides, and some standing area in the centre. The audience filled the reasonably small room, and up near the front it seemed that everyone knew each other.

I had neither met nor seen Kevin before, so I was surprised when a beautiful young woman asked me if I was Kevin's brother Sean, whom she had not met but knew was going to be present. It turns out Sean was indeed in the house working behind the scenes, there to provide appropriate lighting for his brother. But before the band hit the stage, a different Sean, Sean Cullen (known for many things, including The Producers) performed a very humorous and seemingly improvisational introduction for Kevin.

Sean Cullen introduces Kevin
Sean Cullen introduces Kevin
Kevin Hearn and Chris Gartner
Kevin Hearn and Chris Gartner
Ron Sexsmith on stage for the third song
Ron Sexsmith on stage for the third song

I decided to photograph Kevin Hearn based on a recommendation from a friend, but I'd actually never heard any of Kevin's solo work so I really had no idea what kind of music to expect. I'll admit that I am not really a fan of the Barenaked Ladies; being a Toronto resident I hear plenty of it, but it's just not my style. However, Kevin's solo work has a very different consistency; more like a very mellow mixture of The Flaming Lips and Grandaddy, with lyrics that discuss unique topics such as mapping the human genome, bomber planes, and viruses, in addition to other more normal subjects.

Hearn opened the set on the piano with Statue of Los Angeles that blended together well with the next song Rescue Us. Both of these were fairly soothing, as was much of the music played that night. On the third song, Kevin asked the rhetorical question of whether it was too early to invite a guest onto stage, and then invited Ron Sexsmith to add vocal accompaniment to High and Low. Kevin's singing voice has a soft pitch that along with the mellifluous music and dim lighting, put everyone in the room at ease. In fact, it put them so much at ease that the audience members standing near the front chose to sit down on the floor to relax and enjoy the rest of the performance. The show was a long series of songs, but could easily be broken into two sets: The first set was about 45 minutes and consisted of all the songs off the new album, and the second set was of equal length with songs from previous albums.

Kevin on the electric
Kevin Hearn on electric
Kevin Hearn on acoustic
Kevin Hearn on acoustic
The subdued and versatile Brian Macmillan
The subdued and versatile Brian Macmillan

As someone who was hearing this music for the first time, I found at least a few songs to be immediately memorable. The songs that really stood out were Map Of The Human Genome, In The Country, and The Good Times Virus. These three songs were played brilliantly by both Kevin and his remarkably skilled band. On the drums was Bob Scott wearing a bowler hat with a red feather and sport socks on his feet (no shoes). Aside from keeping the beat, he performed quite a few interesting and complex percussive manoeuvres and kept everyone amused with his comical expressions. He also hit everything within reach, including his head. Chris Gartner played bass and even though he had a very calm demeanour, he made sure that there was never a dull low-end. For some songs, including the The Good Times Virus, his amazing bass lines seemed to take the lead. Brian Macmillan is a reserved yet versatile player that shared guitar and keyboard duties with Kevin, and even played a little lap-style guitar during one or two songs. I didn't catch the name of the electric cello player who added depth to a number of the compositions.

Chris Gartner on bass
Chris Gartner on bass
An emotive moment
An emotive moment
Bob Scott performs percussive maneuvers
Bob Scott performs percussive manoeuvres

The last song in the set was Perfect Day by Lou Reed, clearly one of Kevin's influences, after which they took a break for a beer. (Kevin had a pint of beer on stage throughout the set, but it must've just been for moral support because he never took time out from his music to pick it up). I was unable to stay for the encore, but the set list showed that among a few other songs they were planning on playing Black Sabbath's War Pigs (strangely, this has been a popular encore song recently). In just over 90 minutes, Hearn got this music listener interested in hearing a few of his songs again, especially Map Of The Human Genome. His music is definitely more mellow than what I normally listen to, but there will be certain times of the night when it will make an excellent life soundtrack. I'll be picking up his new album The Miracle Mile just for those moments in my life when a deep breath is required to stay on track.

Trackback

Trackback URL for this entry: http://archive.petenema.com/trackback.php/concert-kevin_hearn-20060809
No trackback comments for this entry.
Kevin Hearn and Thin Buckle | 0 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.