Lee's Palace played host to the much anticipated Kasabian gig this past Saturday to a sold out crowd eager to hear what the Brits had to offer. The night opened with Sterling, a muffled vocalist didn't do much to stir the crowd, but their drummer truly rocked out in his "Men in Black" shirt and tie; excellent control of the snares. Surprisingly, at the end of Sterling's set, the band announced the Montreal-based Projet Orange, which was an interesting decision (thus having Kasabian arrive on stage at 11:45pm, close to those pesky parking police's prime time). I had not seen Projet Orange live before, thinking they were composed of two twin brothers and nothing more. I had heard their CD before the gig, but was not really anticipating them, even with the good vibes I had heard. Boy, did they make me a solid fan. Anticipating two brothers hitting up the stage, I took the five piece that were tuning Projet's gear as "roadies" and tuned them out. Out of nowhere, one of these supposed "roadies" grabbed an electric guitar at the side of the stage, made some sort of twists and turns, like a pitch bend on a piano or the starting of an adrenaline infused Harley Davidson, and completely elevated the sound of his electric guitar through the amp. I think we were all wondering, "Who's this roadie? What new technique is this for warming up the gear?" - awestruck to what followed ladies and gentleman, completely. The rest of the band joined him and sounds ranged from the mystic approach of the opening electro-guitar, to the kick beats coming from the drums and keys, which further enhancing the lead's instrumental wailing and melodic convulsions. My mouth could not close; it was brilliant and brought the energy to the table for Kasabian's main course.
Kasabian's lead singer, Tom Meighan has been splattered around the world press as being a bad boy such as Oasis' Liam Gallagher has proven himself to be. I saw nuances of this, but believe Meighan has more heart for what he's doing than keeping up a faulty persona, at least for now. Kasabian appeared completely grateful throughout the performance, thanking Toronto and God repeatedly. The boys did get some flack for bringing in recorded sounds to the mix, which, I suppose, a few member's of the audience thought could have been performed live by the amazing Serge Pizzorno, who plays lead guitar, keys, and also sings for Kasabian or by the convulsing Meighan himself. If Meighan did not bend down after each song to either play or stop the recorded bleeps and blops, perhaps the hard headed critics in the audience would have been more forgiving. Aside from a couple of people who may have not been getting into the brilliance of Kasabian's throbbing dance beats and alternative electric guitar hooks, everyone else was having an awesome time. Pizzorno did an acoustic performance of "Test Transmission", while favourites, "Reason is Treason", and 'Processed Beats" took center stage. Each song had its own personalized light show, brilliant, vibrant colours pulsating at your corneas enhanced rather than blinded your senses to the music. The closing song, "Club Foot" absolutely made the night, it was like a rave, people at the stage front were moshing and head banging out of control while those at the side waved their hands wildly knocking their beers all over their neighbour and mouthing the words uncontrollably. A brilliant showcase of talent and one Toronto won't soon forget.
Writer: Lindsay Whitfield