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Pilot Speed

07-Jul-2006 05:13 AM Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Pilot Speed (a.k.a. Pilate) DGD_2006_C01948.jpg
June 29, 2006
Koolhaus in Toronto, Ontario
Review and Photos by: Pete Nema
Enema Rating:
Before the band even hit the stage, a young woman who had won a contest on 102.1 The Edge came out to perform the introduction using the band's new name: Pilot Speed. For people who have never heard of Pilate (pronounced "Pilot") this is probably uninteresting, but to the many local fans that helped this band become who they are today, it may have come as a surprise. The short story is that Pilate needed to change their name to avoid litigation in the U.S. The longer story can be read in the June 27th news entry on the Pilate website. But whether they are known as Pilate or Pilot Speed is irrelevant - either way they are band with a live show as strong as the bands that influenced them and a repertoire of songs that can turn a crowd of people into gushing, endorphin-filled fans.

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Chris Greenough plays to the front row. Todd Clark during the opening number. Taking advantage of a Gibson.

Pilate opened the set with Knife-Grey Sea, also the first track off their new album Sell Control For Life's Speed. I guess when you write a song that just feels like an opener, you may as well use it that way. With Todd Clark starting out on keyboards, the band was masked in blue light that made them look cool and easy-going. By the third song they were playing Into Your Hideout, the hit off their first album Caught By The Window. With these first three songs Pilate exposed their musical influences - their sound and stage persona are a brilliant extension of at least one or two great bands of the 90's, with tonal guitars and textured keyboards. What this means is easily accessible music, but unique enough to evoke passion.

Throughout the set Clark alternated between keyboard and acoustical or electric guitar, all the while managing to hold the audience with his vocals. In between songs he addressed the Toronto audience with comments that showed respect for their local fans, such as "I'm sure we've seen many of you at places 1/100th this size" as well as respect for the two opening bands Wintersleep and People in Planes. Clark, in combination with Chris Greenough on guitar, Ruby Bumrah on bass, and Bill Keeley on drums, worked up a sweat as the band flowed through a mixture of songs from both albums. Each song in the set seemed to bring the crowd closer to the stage and when they finally played Alright, the energy on stage was so strong that I could feel my heart rate increase.

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Chris on the Fender. Bill Keeley during Into Your Hideout. Todd Clark alternates between keyboard and guitar.

After a short break, Clark returned to stage with an acoustical guitar and played a solo version of Mercy. The entire audience joined in the singing causing Clark to exclaim "You guys were far better than I on that one". For the final encore, Into The West, Clark started out solo on the keyboard but was joined by the rest of the band for the remainder of the song. A nearby couple were so excited by this choice of song that some inappropriate touching started up. And then when it was finally over and the crowd started filing out of The Koolhaus, another couple announced that they had just got engaged. True or not, it was indicative of the kind of effect Pilate, er, I mean Pilot Speed, has on their fans.

Until that night, I had never seen Pilate live despite the positive reports from friends and family. In that respect, nothing has changed. This is a band that has it - personable stage presence, the ability to perform like they're really enjoying themselves, and amazing music that builds and crescendos in a way that leaves the audience elated. Does the name change from Pilate to Pilot Speed really matter? If it allows them to share their music with a much wider audience and spread the kind of euphoria that was felt in the Koolhaus that night, then it definitely matters - for the better.

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