Photographs by Katrina Lat.
Opening acts are tricky business, often a mismatch, sometimes a pleasant fit, occasionally it’s an artist/band on the rise, and once in a while it’s a local gem. Enter Jane’s Party, a staple on the Toronto circuit, the pop-rock outfit has continued to mature, becoming more confident and polished over the years. The culmination comes with their third album, Tunnels, which includes the groovy single “Coming on Strong,” a collaboration with Jim Cuddy (Blue Rodeo) and The Darcys.
In support their third album, the boys put on a rousing performance. The road trip of “San Francisco” to the swaggering “Busted Jeans” and older staple “Meet Me Halfway,” earned boisterous applause from the swelling audience at the Danforth. The band’s yesteryears melodies and rich vocal harmonies where on full display, stealing a bit of Lord Huron’s thunder. Though Tom Ionescu’s mastery on guitar often stole the show.
Opening acts are there to make an impression and warm up the audience, Jane’s Party made the most of it, raising the bar for Lord Huron’s much anticipated arrival.
Packing Danforth Music Hall, the LA troubadours’ brand of indie folk (think Fleet Foxes, My Morning Jacket) may seem like a faded memory, yet when it’s as spirited as Thursday night’s performance it’s hard not to find it endlessly charming. Providing just about all the energy need leader singer Ben Schneider cranked it to 11 from the opening chords of “World Ender,” a revenge ditty infused with a tinge of rockability to the gallop of “Meet Me In the Woods.”
Throughout, Schneider and company infused their underrated sophomore album, Strange Trails with a gritty rock sensibility. Elsewhere soulful ballads like “End of the Earth” and “Love Like Ghosts” remained beautifully haunting, while the Springsteen-esque bounce of “Fool for Love,” like much of the night, had the Danforth singing and clapping along.
It’s easy for the familiar sounds of Lord Huron’s take on indie folk to be an underwhelming snooze but thanks to plenty of soul, swagger and jangly guitar they turned out a sometimes raucous, entirely charming performance that makes Strange Trails a far more compelling record, worth revisiting.