reviewed by Michael Thomas
For some reason Toronto was bursting with excellent music choices on Wednesday night. Among many choices, I headed to the Dakota Tavern for a solid double bill.
Starting off the night was Delta Will, a very familiar band to readers of this blog. The band has been hibernating a bit as they work on their debut LP, and Wednesday night had them unleashing some pent-up energy. Old favourites like “Ways to Enchant” and “There is a Future” crackled with new life, with the former adding more guitar and the latter including some furious fretting. The showcase of newer material also showed that despite the band’s evolution, the project’s original blues influence is still alive and well, from the main guitar line of a blistering rock number to the (relatively) more subdued beginning of “No Skin and Bones.” Deciding to forgo the trusty “Good Will” as a closer, they instead capped off their stellar set with “You are a Dream,” the feverish synth-and-drum-heavy concoction.
Rachael Cardiello and her Warm Electric Winter band hadn’t played Toronto in a while either, but that was because they’d been on tour for two months. It was a pretty triumphant homecoming, to say the least.
Cardiello’s strings and her backing band are very versatile, moving from straightforward pop to barn-burning roots to even more baroque-style pop at the drop of the hat. Nowhere else but the Dakota can an artist request an audience singalong at just the second song and handily receive one. She introduced one song as the fruit of a collaboration centred around dealing with the passing of her father, and it was fittingly the most sparse but also nakedly emotional song.
Cardiello kept the energy up with an ode called “That Night in Canada” and ended her first set with the undeniably soulful “They Always Do” and had a good half of the crowd dancing along. Work limited me to only catching her first set, but she did tease “secret piano songs hot off the presses” and covers of Tom Waits and Beyoncé, so it was no doubt a good night for those who could keep their energy up past midnight.
But even for those who just saw the first two sets of the night, it was more than enough proof that Toronto has a cool band everywhere you look.