With Winter Gloves being one of my favourite Canadian bands ever, I naturally had high hopes for their show at the Horseshoe Tavern on Friday, November 12th. I was not disappointed.
The show started a little later than I had expected- it turns out that the first opener, the Golden Isles, needed to drop out for a medical emergency. This left just Whale Tooth and, of course, Winter Gloves.
Whale Tooth took the stage at about 11 p.m. and played a solid 35 minute set. I had definitely heard of Whale Tooth before, but had never had the chance to listen to them play live before. They were very refreshing.
Their music can best be described as pop-rock, but at times the band sounded very much like a rock and roll band- the guitarists seemed to love what they were doing. The crowd also seemed pretty pleased, particularly one fan who, likely inebriated to some degree, said “Holy fuck, you guys are awesome!”
I found the bassist at first to be a little static, plucking the bass notes at one corner of the stage. But as they played more songs, he livened up and moved beside one of the guitarists. He even contributed vocals during their last song. Lead singer Elise LeGrow seemed to be having the greatest time on the stage- she was shaking and swaying and dancing. She was perhaps having the most fun of anyone there- not to say that audience response was tepid.
At midnight, Winter Gloves took the stage to wild cheers from the crowd. When I interviewed them last year, they talked about being an opening band and its difficulties. Now they finally had a show all to themselves.
They began the set with “We Need New Transportation” from All Red, followed by “Tooth Fairy.” The audience was already pretty enthused.
Charles F, Winter Gloves’ lead singer, was as manic as ever on stage, and this definitely made the audience happy. In the span of one song, Charles could be playing keyboard and tambourine and singing. Even then I felt like Charles probably wished he could be doing more. Oh, he also climbed into the audience a few times.
The other band members also seemed to be having a lot of fun. Drummer Pat Sayers, rocking his awesome mustache, pounded at the drums with endless enthusiasm. New guitarist Nico Ormiston seemed right at home playing content from All Red as well as About a Girl. Even keyboardist/bassist Vincent Chalifour got crazy into a few songs.
The crowd loved everything they played, but went absolutely nuts when Winter Gloves played their most frenzied song. Earlier on in the set they played “Let Me Drive” from About a Girl, and later in the set they played their quick and chaotic “Jump.” I kind of wished Winter Gloves had ended their set with “Let Me Drive” as it would have pumped the audience even more.
It was also obvious that the concertgoers at this show were not recently converted fans. When the band sang “Party People” and “Factories,” the audience correctly filled in the “oh oh’s” of both songs when Charles turned the mic over to the audience.
The only criticism I can make of their set was their stage banter. Some of their dialogue seemed to be a tad forced and awkward. But it didn’t detract too much from the overall experience.
For an encore, Winter Gloves first played a cover of Madonna’s “True Blue” and brought Elise LeGrow back on stage to sing with them. They then finished off the encore, appropriately, with the final track of All Red, “Ending Soon.”
Winter Gloves possess a lot of talent. They pack the energy of their songs into short song lengths and are absolutely a pleasure to watch on stage. They also give away CD’s at every show. That they aren’t bigger than they are right now is quite surprising.