These ass-kicking rockers dropped into Toronto on Saturday to play a packed show at Lee’s Palace. Having seen Mounties play numerous times over the last few months, I was super stoked for this intimate show. We arrived early to the venue and sat down with the night’s openers, Gay Nineties, to chat before their imminent set – this was one of the most fun interviews I’ve witnessed and they were a wonderfully warm group of people to speak with.
Gay Nineties played a rousing set, packed with treats from their forthcoming EP Liberal Guilt. Frontman Parker Bossley commanded the stage and charismatically led the band and crowd through the lively set. My personal favourite songs of the night were the hooky Hold Your Fire and their terrific single Letterman. An added bonus was having Sex With Strangers’ leading lady Alexis Young pumping up the backing vocals and fun factor on stage. Closing out the set, Gay Nineties gave us their endearing spin on Tom Petty’s American Girl.
Mounties exploded onto the stage, opening with their groovy track Pretty Respectable. Within moments, I could sense the band had become more aggressive than the last time I saw them, as Steve Bays captivated the audience with his trademark keyboard tilts and mic tosses.
On Made Up My Mind, Hawksley Workman unleashed his inner animal as he pummeled his drum kit with tactical force. Throughout the night, Hawksley shared his inner musings with the crowd who found him to be quite hilarious, except for one woman at the back of the bar who unabashedly told him to “shut his piehole”. As the venue began to rumble with hisses directed towards her, Hawksley responded by saying, “you have a heart of courage” to the woman. Not to let this go, he would sprinkle the phrase “shut your fucking piehole!” melodically into many of the songs played throughout the night. That’s what makes Hawksley Workman so damn awesome – his sense of humour and quick wit.
I’ve been to Lee’s Palace many times, but tonight, the mix was exceptionally stellar thanks to Andrew White’s skilled touch and exceptional ear at the sound board.
For me, Mounties’ entire setlist felt more like a greatest hits rather than a band playing songs off a debut album. Waking Up On Time seemed exceptionally melancholy yet beautiful and If This Dance Catches On felt like the band caught fire as the live version felt much heavier than I had ever heard. The audience went berserk when guitarist Ryan Dahle started to play Headphones’ signature riff and eventually the anthemic-like track became the sing-song of the night.
The band seemed extremely comfortable when playing together; there were parts of the show where they were jamming and having a good time. As the night was closing out, Mounties left us with the hypnotic single Tokyo Summer.
After the show, I caught up with Steve to tell him that even though I didn’t think it was possible, their performance was “next level shit”. After that night, calling Mounties a “super group” is most definitely an understatement.
For all features and interviews with Mounties, click here.
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Review by Yaz Atout (@YazAtout)