By: B Hartling
Who: July Talk
When: October 24, 2015
Where: Tide & Boar Ballroom, Moncton NB
There are few things I have enjoyed more as a photographer than the opportunity presented to me October, 24th at the Tide & Boar ballroom when I found myself, camera in hand, standing just a few feet in front of Peter Dreimanis when July Talk took the stage. Being an early fan of the band and having seen them live at this year’s kick off of Wayhome Music and Arts Festival I knew full well that the energy rippling through the sellout crowd for this performance was not unfounded and that if I was quick enough on the shutter button I was going to walk out with some amazing images. Both of these facts proved true as one of the best stage performances in rock and roll unfolded before our eyes over the next almost hour and a half.
Opening things up by tearing into Blood + Honey it was immediately clear that July Talk would not have to contend with the sort of subdued concert goers Moncton can at times be known for; who, though appreciative of the acts presented to them, perhaps are not as vocal as many bands are accustomed. Instead every word and gesture from the stage was met by a thunderous response as the anticipation that had been buzzing through the city since the show’s announcement finally found its release.
The on stage dynamics between the two vocalists, Dreimanis and his lovely counterpart Leah Fey perfectly encapsulated the duality of tenderness and aggressive force the band has come to be known for, as well as the stark contrast between Peter’s gravely baritone and Leah’s sugary sweet vocals. At times biting, slapping, poking and prodding at each other and just as frequently embracing each other the duo’s interactions over the course of the evening brought to life the dysfunctional relationship portrayed in Headsick, a performance which won over all in attendance.
Leah Fey in particular delighted the fans as she doted on them, sharing with some the honey she had brought on stage to coat her throat and with others her beer. At one point in the show she came down into the audience and instructed everyone to sit down with her, and let me tell you… when Leah Fey gently puts her hand on your head and pushes you towards the floor saying “sit down photographers” – you drop your camera and sit the fuck down!
Far from being a one trick pony, July Talk brought plenty of substance along with the stage flair in the form of a solid playing and vocals throughout a set list jam packed with staples from their debut album along with some news songs, giving us a taste of the sophomore release currently being worked on. Guitarist Ian Docherty is by no means as animated on stage as either Dreimanis or Fey, nor is there bassist Josh Warburton however both shone in their own way pulling out the low-key blues riffs and dynamic bass lines, while Danny Miles held it all together on drums.
Highlights of the night for me were their renditions of personal favourites (the previously mentioned) Headsick as well as I Rationed Well and the new track Push and Pull. Some of the biggest cheers from the crowd came early in the set when the band broke out the “song about douche bags” Gentleman back to back with, perhaps their most well-known song, Guns and Ammunition. Ending the night with an encore performance of Paper Girl, during which Fey provided some brilliant photo ops after dousing herself with a bottle of beer… many thanks for that!… the packed venue erupted in cheers and applause.
Whether you are a diehard July Talk fan or a poor, unfortunate soul who has never had the opportunity to hear this amazingly talented group you will not be disappointed catching a show as they continue their North American tour. Every aspect of their dynamic performance will leave you completely satisfied and yet begging for more and at the end of the night you will walk out convinced you have just seen the best live act going.
See many more photos from the show on our Facebook page!
Taker of pictures, writer of words, worker of magicks! Based in Toronto!