Photographs by Matt Forsythe.
I see the guy in the Morrissey t-shirt. What is he saying exactly? Is he there to antagonize Murray Lightburn and his bandmates in The Dears with the comparison that has dogged them since they released their debut End of a Hollywood Bedtime Story in 2000?
I’ve always felt that this comparison undermined the incredible vocal talent that Lightburn possesses. Friday night at Lee’s Palace was proof positive that he hasn’t let any of this get in his head. Straight out of the gate, the walls could barely contain him.
Concentrating on songs from the recently released Times Infinity Volume 1, The Dears fired up the crowd with note perfect renditions of album opener “We Lost Everything” as well as album standout “I Used To Pray For the Heavens to Fall.”
Not turning their back on highlights from their considerable back catalog, The Dears dug deep to include “22: The Death of All the Romance” and a particularly candid version of “The Second Part” off 2004’s No Cities Left.
True to any band that has stood the test of time, they didn’t avoid the crowd pleasers. “Lost In The Plot” had the crowd singing as loud as Lightburn himself and “You and I Are a Gang of Losers” proved that slacker anthems need not be angry to be effective.
Billed as a celebration of 20 years of the Dears, Toronto witnessed first-hand why they have endured and become one of the tightest units this country has produced.