This is an except from an article I wrote for Sticky Magazine covering Patrick Watson’s Toronto Concert.
“In total darkness, the simply dreamy piano melody of “Lighthouse” began, while Watson cooed the delicate lyrics of the song that has always evoked a likeness to Gary Jules’ “Mad World” for me. As he whispered the question “Won’t you shine a little light on us now”, trumpets kicked in with a surge of strings in perfect sequence with the lights booming to life.
My love affair with Patrick Watson’s music began in 2006 when I heard Polaris Prize winner Close To Paradise. However, tonight was all about showcasing Adventures In Your Own Backyard, the bands brilliant fourth album, released in April and recorded mostly in Watson’s Montreal apartment. “Lighthouse” starts the album on such an immense high note that I found it hard to move past it when listening to the album, but the melancholic second track “Blackwind”, with hollowing falsettos, anxious glockenspiel and hints of pedal steel made it easy to sink into this album and the evening’s set.
Circular disks flanked the stage, projecting black and white footage of a parade, swimming hammerheads, butterflies, soaring birds and abstract patterns. Alongside this, the album continued to unfurl with “Step Out for a While”, as billowing smoke and red atmospheric lighting pulsated brighter with each drum beat & symbol crash. It created quite an eerie atmosphere that loaned itself well to the unearthly carnival feel of the song. The next song, “Quiet Crowd”, was said to be dedicated to the quiet people out there on most nights, but that evening was for the people of Montreal, banging on their pots & pans and encouraging people of Toronto to do the same (with this past weekend’s tragic event, I could clash many pots in demonstration). Things got scaled back for “Words in the Fire”, with Simon Angell (guitar) and Watson gathering around one microphone while a singular halogen light shone on. Robbie Kuster (drums) would casually squeeze in with the singing saw, an aptly named instrument that added a delicate sweetness that sounded like a distant children’s choir. They reminisced about creating this song by a campfire in northern Montreal, where they were asked to play Bob Marley and created this subtly brilliant song instead. It felt like we were being serenaded at that very campfire, until the thunderous applause brought me back to reality.
The show was one beautiful new track after another, with songs like the cheerful “Into Giants” that balances triumphant trumpeting and folksy quaintness and showcases Mishka Stein‘s ability to bring a song together with an unforgettable baseline. The all-instrumental “The Things You Do” is destined to be in many movie soundtracks, as it is so incredibly moving (Patrick Watson did co-write “To Build a Home” with Cinematic Orchestra after all, so clearly a penchant for grandiose anthemic songs is evident). After “Strange Cooked Road” they took things back to 2009’s Wooden Arms with favorite “Big Bird In A Small Cage”, where the audience got to participate in a sing along. Next was sultry “Morning Sheets” that has a wonderful Led Zeppelin “Kashmir” explosiveness to it, followed by the towering inferno of a title track “Adventures In Your Own Backyard”.
To download Adventures In Your Own Backyard click the album cover.
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