July Talk at Malkin Bowl 9/16/17
At this point in their career, July Talk is well known as an outstanding live band. They are Canadian darlings, having cut their teeth on extensive touring, and they deserve all the appreciation and fan love they get. While the Toronto group is no stranger to performing in Vancouver, Saturday’s (Sept. 16) show allowed them to perform in the beautiful Stanley Park’s Malkin Bowl venue for the first time.
Unsurprisingly, July Talk was in fine, energetic and playful form—gyrating around the stage to electrifying riffs while taking swigs from a large mystery bottle. Singer Peter Dreimanis, with his sexy cookie-monster-like voice (trust me, that’s a pretty fantastic thing), was absolutely seductive. Flinging himself around his equally enthusiastic co-singer Leah Fay from the first notes of recent album Touch’s “Picturing Love” to the encore’s “The Garden”. The opening song had the audience going hard, and Fay was like a rock ballerina with an intense inclination for hair whipping. But it was “Summer Dress” that was the highlight of the evening. Despite July Talk’s fantastic stage presence, vocals and tight instrumentals, one critique that can be made is that the songs can be a little too pop-y for their calibre of musicianship. 2012’s “Summer Dress”, however, is an exception—coming off as a little more unique and rough than some of the others in the lineup.
“Lola + Joseph”, “Guns + Ammunition” and “Paper Girl” got some key audience reception. July Talk kept trying to push the audience to dance and scream, and while concertgoers definitely loved them, they were not too inclined to dance along with the wildness on stage. As is their custom, Dreimanis and Fay grasped at each other, providing theatrical sexual tension and microphone twirling galore. It’s evident that they have a proverbial box of stage antic tricks, and they pulled out quite a bit of them over the weekend. Fay’s insistence on going into the crowd to clutch at fans’ hands was a little over played, but the love was there. One thing is for sure, July Talk is good to their fans and they take that relationship very seriously.
“Our first Vancouver show was at The Media Club—maybe—there were maybe 15 people…or 12,” said Fay. July talk certainly has come a long way, performing at the Junos and selling out venues. The Malkin show was fantastic, but the group’s high-energy seems better suited to a more intimate venue like the Commodore. Still, the fun lasted the whole set; “Beck + Call” and “Push + Pull” had the group sweating and covering every inch of the stage. Dreimanis and Fay sang the more intimate “Touch” for the first encore song, and the crowd’s realization that they would soon have to say goodbye to these wonderfully animated performers was a sad one. Don’t worry though, they’ll be back again soon. July Talk loves Vancouver, and Vancouver loves them.