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Boy, Shaker, and Matt Mays & El Torpedo

Lee’s Palace in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
September 25th, 2004

Boy: Rating: ★★★☆☆
Shaker: Rating: ★★★★☆
Matt Mays & El Torpedo: Rating: ★★★★☆

Lee’s Palace feels empty for a Saturday night. About fifty people sit around waiting, talking, and enjoying a beer. Ready for the band to arrive, the crowd waits patiently as Boy prepares to take the stage.

Boy are five men: guitar, drums, more guitar, bass and keys/slide guitar/more guitar. Blasting the venue with loud guitars, Boy is capable of getting the few people at the venue moving. Poorly mixed, the audio is muddy with vocals and the Rickenbacker guitar is drowned out. Generic rock is a term that can be used to describe Boy, but they brought something else to the atmosphere. Not the greatest songs, not the greatest musicianship, but a good start to a good night of music. Fun songs, fast beats, and a feeling of 1970s rock, all collided into a wall of rock and roll.

Shaker provides some all out gut wrenching rock and roll as Lee’s Palace slowly fills to capacity. Great songs (helped by a significantly improved sound mix) following the sounds of such greats as The Allman Brothers Band and Neil Young, Shaker are able to rock out loud while still retaining a sense of melody, something lacking in a lot of bands today. Seeming to know how to handle the audience, Shaker takes control of the stage presenting a rock and roll spectacle without the need for fancy lights and stage. Ripping up in a jam and enjoying the music they’re playing. With very few mistakes in their playing, Shaker is a very tight band which seems to be heading in the right direction.

Perhaps modeling himself a bit too much on Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, Matt Mays is able to bring the night home. Moving away from the alt.country label which has followed him since his days with the Guthries, Mays now carries an air of rock royalty in his music. Filling Lee’s Palace, the floor is packed all the way to the bar. Song after song, everything is great. His CD contains a who’s who of Canadian rocksters including Bob Egan (Wilco & Blue Rodeo), Mike O’Neill (The Inbreds), Dave Marsh (Joel Plaskett Emergency), Charles Austin (Super Friendz) and many more. El Torpedo are able to live up to the great musicianship found on the record and reproduce it live with great results. Matt Mays leads them from song to song clearly enjoying the performance which bounces onto the audience.

A great show all around. All three performers were very good, only getting better as the night goes along. At 2 AM, Mays finished his set, the band cleared the stage and the audience slowly left Lee’s Palace.

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