The Drake Underground, Toronto, ON
November 11, 2010
Stacked is the only way to describe the sold-out Glasser/Twin Shadow double bill at Toronto’s Drake Underground. It was one of those shows where, six months from now, you can casually drop in a conversation that you saw Twin Shadow and Glasser play this tiny show like it’s NBD. But both one-person acts are big deals, redefining solo indie music and producing introspective, modern-day electronica. So it was disappointing, but nicely freeing, that one-third of the crowd cleared out after Twin Shadow’s opening set.Playing with a backing band, Twin Shadow’s George Lewis Jr., a mustachioed, ponytailed Brooklynite, came out to whoops from the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd. With a poppy pinned to his lapel, he spoke (in a tone softer than his sophisticated singing voice) about the red flower pin, describing it as a very Canadian gesture. Being genial to the max won the crowd over, and Twin Shadow played a full set of his neu new wave tracks, opening with “Shooting Holes” and including jams “When Were Dancing” and “Castles in the Snow.” It was a less literal, but obviously influenced, take on the ’80s in 2010, but with no blue eye shadow or female fashion victims, just Lewis’s flamboyant hair.
The link between Twin Shadow and Glasser’s Cameron Mesirow is loose; the former is dancey and romantic, the latter cavernous and mesmerizing. Mesirow came out all in red followed by her black-jumpsuited band. There’s a thematic, polished element to her show that wasn’t reflected in Twin Shadow’s tight but looser set. Instead of a drum kit, the drummer banged on a drum pad and a laptop glowed in the corner, configuring bits of distortion after distortion. Mesirow was all big-room vocals and winsomely awkward; she shimmied and threw herself around the small stage, belting ghostly vocals to bass-y and drum-y (but not drum and bass-y) beats. “Tremel” was the short set’s highlight, with Mesirow’s airy vocals ducking and weaving beneath jaunty bass and shimmery loops.