THE IRONWOOD – OCTOBER 9, 2012
This delectable double-header bill, featuring alt-country darlings Cuff the Duke and folk sweetheart Jenn Grant, promised an evening of heartstring-tugging, introspective tunes and delivered.
Kicking the night off with Toronto’s Cuff the Duke, a collection of fellows who embody the exact type of man you’d want to write home to mom about, I almost immediately began mourning the absence of standing space. From my perch at the back, the Ironwood’s equivalent to nosebleeds, I found myself toe-tapping and bobbing in my chair. Cuff the Duke, in spite of a discography replete with relatively mild-mannered tunes, relayed an infectious energy that seemed stifled by a sit-down crowd more interested in their candlelit dinners than the treat before them onstage. Interspersing a well-balanced set spanning their last few albums with funny, earnest anecdotes related by frontman Wayne Petti, Cuff the Duke’s set was saturated with a charisma that can only be fully appreciated in a live setting.
Next, in a slightly more low-key, but every bit as captivating, performance, Jenn Grant took the stage. For those who have not yet encountered Grant’s music, hers is the sort of voice that wraps around you like a favourite blanket, soft and warm. Regrettably, these outstanding vocals were at times smothered by the want of a few more notches up on the mic’s volume. Nevertheless, the set was well received and Grant managed to shine and provide a magnetic show. One highlight of the evening was an evocative, soulful cover of Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger,” which had the audience torn between amusement and contemplative reverie. If loving unusually executed covers is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
It’s unique talents like Jenn Grant and Cuff the Duke who serve to reinforce my pride in the strength and diversity of Canada’s musical climate. Individual artistic merits and differences aside, you can’t walk out of a show like this without reflecting on the fact that Canadian music is pretty damn great.
By Brianna Turner
Photos: Kaely Cormack