Mercury Lounge was packed Monday night during its early show featuring a solo set from Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace and English singer/songwriter David Ford. I really wasn't sure what to expect from either singer, being that I never saw them live before, but I walked out in awe of both performers.
David Ford took the stage shortly after 7 p.m., opening up the night with "Go to Hell" off of his latest album, Songs for the Road. A bit of a raspy voice, somewhat reminiscent of James Blunt, his songwriting has been compared to that of Damien Rice and Bright Eyes. His six-song set really impressed the crowd and as his set continued, the audience crept closer and closer to the stage, very attentive to his one-man band performance. Rotating from acoustic and electric guitar to piano, harmonica, tambourine, and maracas - all while singing throughout the song was definitely a sight to see. Below is a video for a better idea, but basically he played and recorded a few bars of the song with each instrument, then looped the recording throughout the remainder of the song. It was unlike anything I've ever witnessed before, but he definitely pulled it off.
Check out his video for "State of the Union" here for more of an idea of what his live performance is like. Let me know what you think!
Ford had the audience laughing during his song introductions, even jokingly dedicating one song - "State of the Union" - to Eliot Spitzer. "This song is about the government, philandering, politics, money, greed, music . . . all neatly compacted into a nice sing-along tune," Ford said. He explained that "Song for the Road" was inspired by spending time away from home and those he loves while on tour. Being from Great Britain, he said, "I love to come to your great country. The land of the free . . . refill I like to call it," he joked before beginning the slower, more mellow closer of his set.
Raine Maida took the stage soon after for a 70-minute, 15-song set. While his set mostly included songs from his latest solo album, The Hunters Lullaby, the night featured Our Lady Peace hit "Innocent" and cover songs by the Pixies and Neil Young. Maida had most of the crowd singing along throughout his entire performance.
Onstage, Maida is such a captivating performer. His voice is deep and dark, blending well with the band accompaniment and darker cello and guitar features. It's hard to keep your eyes off of him - his energy is contagious, almost trance-like. Maida started off the night with "Careful What You Wish For." The song began with a slow piano feature before Maida joined in with cello and guitar picking up the beat.
"This is cozy," he said to the audience at the sold-out show. "I wish you all could fit on our bus. That's not an offer," he joked while screams could be heard throughout the room. Many of the songs from his album sound a bit dark and edgy, with him singing or talking along with the song.
"Yellow Brick Road" Maida started out talking, "I remember the days when we'd talk for hours/We were young we thought we had superpowers/We kissed the sky, expanding our minds, thought we could fly/We were dreamers, and we'd never die/We were young punks but we showed potential/It was us against the world, we weren't sentimental/We weren't our problems, our age or our paychecks/And we weren't taking anybody's shit" before the crowd joined him singing along during the chorus.
For the most part, he preceded each song with a story about the meaning behind the song, joking "I feel like this is fuckin' story tellers or something." Before covering Neil Young's song, "Ohio" he said he was upset when he read Young's recent quote about music not changing the world. Young told reporters earlier this year: "I think that the time when music could change the world is past. I think it would be very naive to think that in this day and age."
Raide then covered Billy Talent's, "Try Honesty" telling the audience, "this is one of the songs I wish I wrote." Soon after, featured pianist of the night, (wife Chantal Kreviazuk) sang a vocally strong and powerful cover of the Pixies' "Where Is My Mind" before Maida closed the night with crowd favorite, the night's sing-along song and Our Lady Peace hit, "Innocent."
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