The Uniter at NXNE, Part 1 - Tuesday, June 14

Following a successful hometown album release party on Saturday, June 11, Winnipeg’s The Details played a pre-North by Northeast gig in Toronto at the Horseshoe Tavern this past Tuesday, June 14.

The crowd wasn’t huge when I got to the gig at midnight, mid-way through the band’s set, but the 60 people there were appreciative of the quartet’s thoughtful indie rock.

I’ve never been a huge fan of The Details, but the four songs I witnessed definitely made me wish I’d arrived at the venue earlier.

“The Original Mark” and “Satellites,” two songs from the band’s just-released Lost Art record, were included toward the end of the set.

At the beginning of the band’s final song, lead-singer/guitarist Jon Plett slipped in a few bars of Adele’s ubiquitous springtime hit, “Rolling in the Deep.”

It was a nice touch from a band that chooses interesting covers. If you don’t know what I mean, click here to see them performing a note-perfect rendition of Bon Jovi’s “Bed of Roses.”

* * *

I arrived late to The Details’s gig because I was coming from Lee’s Palace, where Seattle singer-songwriter and ex-Pedro the Lion frontman David Bazan performed a taut 18-song set.

Wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt, the 35-year-old singer-guitarist was backed by a bass player and ferocious drummer.

The set included a handful of songs from his second full-length solo release, Strange Negotiations (released last month), alongside Pedro the Lion songs like “Of Up and Coming Monarchs.”

Bazan, a disaffected Protestant Christian, has always been known for his highly personal, deeply affecting lyrics.

While the crowd appreciated hearing older material, this writer found the Strange Negotiations material to be some of the strongest in the set—particularly lead single “Wolves at the Door,” which kicked off the show, and “Won’t Let Go,” a ballad whose emotional swells were echoed by the swells in volume of Bazan’s Telecaster.

Bazan kept the stage banter minimal, stopping after every few songs only to ask the crowd, “Do you have any questions at this point?” and then answering a few that were shouted to him.

I’d be surprise if there were more than 200 people in the venue, which looks as though it can hold at least twice that many people.

Still, for those who were there, it was a memorable concert, and many attendees could be seen singing along with every word.

After playing their set, the band walked off stage and Bazan turned his amp off. When the crowd cheered for more, he obliged with a solo performance of Gillian Welch’s “April the 14th Part I” and the Pedro the Lion song “Priests and Paramedics.”

David Bazan performs “Wolves at the Door” at the Turf Club in St. Paul, Minnesota at the beginning of June.

Related links:
The Uniter at NXNE - An Introduction
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