by Elena Gritzan
Sandro Perri and his band are about to embark on a tour of Europe and the States. Tuesday night’s show at the Tranzac, the second in a two-night stint at the venue, was a showcase of the amazing talent that the rest of the world is about to experience. In an interesting ordering decision, Perri played second, sandwiched between his supporting acts. The first of which was Tradition, a man-with-guitar act filled with reverb and a contemplative melancholy. The minimalism of a single instrument was a good contrast to Perri’s following set.
It is easy to forget the maximalism present in Impossible Spaces, Perri’s 2011 release. It takes many musicians to achieve the multi-layered sound of the record (he has three percussionists!), the instrumentation is inspired, and there is always a lot to listen to. Yet within his dynamic live set, they manage to make it look so effortless. And just like the record, the live show is something that gets even better each time you see it (this was time number three for me and I would still buy a ticket in a heartbeat were he to play here again next month).
He is often labelled an experimental singer-songwriter, but I think that there is so much more to the sound than that. Yes, he pushes boundaries and is exceptional at crafting memorable songs, but the songs are also capable of engulfing a room with a synth bass groove, of inspiring movement to go with the varied percussion, and of inducing wonder ten minutes into a song. Sandro Perri is an absolute treasure here in Toronto, and hopefully the cities he is about to visit are ready for the experience.
The finale of the night was a set from Prince Nifty (or just Nifty, or Nif D, take your pick). I talk a lot about the merging of genres, but I have never seen it done quite so well. Excelling equally as a manipulator of synthesizers and electronics and as a hilarious folk singer with a guitar, he completely won me over. He began with a remix of Perri’s “Wolfman” (which also closed out Perri’s set). The interesting thing about a Nifty remix is that even an intimately familiar song is rendered almost unrecognizable and turned into bass-y wordless grooves.
I could not decide if I wanted to dance or laugh (especially to the endearing version of “Tinto De Verano” with a much higher proportion of “blah blah blah” choruses and spoken-word interludes), so I did a bit of both. Sometimes one act really can offer you everything.