Do Make Say Think at Bronson Centre TheatreSupport: Flying Hórses
November 10, 2017 at Bronson Centre Theatre
After 8 years, Do Make Say Think (DMST) not only surprised fans with the album, Stubborn Persistent Illusions, they also announced a tour. Fortunately, one of their stops was Ottawa. Once the tickets were available I bought two, marked my calendar and waited for November 10th with great anticipation. Then the most incredible thing happened, I was given the opportunity to do a live review of the show for E&D. Not only would I get to see and hear DMST live but I would also get to write about the experience and share it. Incredible. Then, if that wasn’t enough, about a week before the show I learned that fellow Canadian artist, Flying Hórses, would be opening for DMST. It was going to be a great show and indeed, it was.
When I arrived at the venue, there was a flurry of activity and there was already a great vibe emanating from the place. Once inside the theatre, I was awe struck at the amount of gear on stage. The stage was packed with an incredible array of instruments. I never saw anything like it before. They were illuminated in grey and blue hues, coolly waiting to be played.
Flying Hórses quietly came on stage. She started her set with a rendition of ‘Spiladósir’ off of her album Tölt. She mesmerized the crowd by playing her signature music boxes. She continued the incantation via the upright acoustic piano set up at centre stage. It was a great introspective and inspiring set and a great start to the show.
After a brief pause, DMST came out and went right into playing ‘Bound’ followed by ‘And Boundless’. Hearing it through headphones is one thing but experiencing it live was quite another. I have never felt, heard or seen anything like it. There were 9 musicians on stage, all playing as one, creating a wonderful wall of incredible sound. Knowing that most of the band members are multi-instrumentalists is one thing, but to actually see it happening before your eyes is another. Throughout the set, they interchanged instruments so matter-of-factly. It was awesome and satisfying to see.
The band then played ‘Fredericia’. Oh those bass slides!!! Something to see live! Also, Dave Mitchell and James Payment were mind blowing on drums. They were symbiotic in their playing throughout the entire set. They were incredible as well as Julie Penner on violin and the entire horns section. Really, the entire band were incredible.
After maybe the 4th or 5th song I finally realized that there was a screen in behind the band with visuals playing. The visuals went unnoticed not because they were not interesting. I was completely enthralled in the music and I was pretty close to the stage to really have a good view of the screen. From what I could see and from what I gathered from others who attended the show, it looked like a live stream of the band. Their forms were unclear and often morphing into different images and colours. I would also describe it as infrared images of the band. Whatever the images were and from what I did see, it was a great addition to the show.
Justin Small addressed the crowd a few times throughout the set, which was great. He shared a few interesting things with the audience, including how the new album was based on a poem.
Throughout the set, although there was so much going on both physically and sonically, I felt as though the band created space in their music. Leaving room to add even more layers, if they wanted. I was awe struck by their musicianship. I also found that the band members were down to earth, walking freely among the fans and even selling their own merch. I had the opportunity to talk with Justin Small while purchasing a few LPs. How many opportunities do fans get to actually meet and speak with the band members? It was a great experience all around. He shared with me that the set list of the evening was exactly the same as the one they played at their June 10th show in Toronto (available on setlist.fm).
Do Make Say Think is a band that needs to be experienced live at least once in your life, if possible. They bring their albums to life in such a way that it leaves one breathless and inspired. This show did just that.