by Tyler Nanson
Though the highlights of the night were inevitably reserved for hometown headliners Pup, for a brief blip on Echo Beach, Toronto belonged to five-dudes known as Twin Peaks. Ripping through an eight song set to a respectable but patchy crowd. The lack of audience crossover between the pop-punkers and garage-rockers was notable and surprising. Sure, we’re talking about two entirely different genres here, but as group entities, both occupy a similarly rock-centric indie-space. The lack of early-birds at the venue gets even more puzzling when one considers that the Chicago based group likely has a slightly larger worldwide following than their counter-parts. In any event (or lack thereof), the seasoned millennial veterans soldiered on, using the gig to springboard songs from their upcoming record Lookout Low into sonic existence.
For a group that could simply turn the amps up to eleven and deliver the more bombastic bangers from their back-catalog in a haze of messy distortion, the mix and performance here was pleasantly intricate and un-muddled. Distinguishing between the altering licks of co-lead guitarists Cadian Lake James and Clay Frankel was both simple and pleasurable, while keyboardist Colin Croom added a sort of Steely-Dan style smoothness from the side-stage.
Twin Peaks are anything but a glorified bar band. New tracks, such as “Oh Mama,” played out like a professional jam session in public. In keeping with new tunes, the night also saw the live debut of “Dance Through It”, the lead single from band’s aforementioned upcoming record. Appropriately groovy and tuneful, the track displays the band’s fullest and most mature sound yet, making for not only a winning single, but a winningly dance-able live anthem. Closing out the set-list was fan-favourite “Strawberry Smoothie”, a fruitful showcase for Jack Dolan’s deep, domineering bass lines and Connor Brodner’s hard-hitting palpitations which pulsated from behind the kit.
While tracks like “Smoothie” and “Wanted You” peppered the show with the odd “hit”, the set-list was such that the passive, middle-of-the-road fan very well could have been at a bit of a loss. The performance was energetically accessible enough to win over newcomers, and featured enough deep cuts extracted from a recent single compilation, titled Sweet 17’ Singles, to satisfy fans of the hardcore persuasion. But those stuck somewhere in between, looking for a “Butterfly” or “Making Breakfast” may have been lost in a self-inflicted personal purgatory. Despite this, for most in attendance, the sandy beach, scarlet sky, and some laid back Rock n’ Roll made for one chill hangout.
Images courtesy of the artist