Damien Rice Throwing Rice at Dawn

Damien Rice
El Mocambo
September 11, 2003
Irish musician, Damien Rice is out to change the definition of folk music. After waiting several hours to see the man himself outside Toronto's well-refurbished hot spot El Mocambo I heard an older man who was passing the crowd remark, "Damien Rice? I've never heard of him." Yet, you could tell he was just as intrigued as the rest of us that this musician, at his debut Toronto performance could attract a line up that went clear around the block.

Moroccan lanterns and stone floors began to create a European flavour to the evening as LA natives, Pedestrian wowed the packed crowd through their set with an incredible dynamic for making each song's lush bluesy/alt rock soundscape impact your senses in every direction.

Little did anyone know, the man that was about to hit the stage was smoking a drag by the bar whispering in Irish to a fresh fan base of curious Canadians. After about an hour of anticipation, a small man with a big voice in an unremarkable gray t-shirt pushed the crowd's eye lids up from their beers with his crescendos of a cappella vox mixing, drums and bass and a charming young lady named Vyvienne playing cello whose timid demeanour was transformed when she broke into Purple Haze by Jimmy Hendrix backed by her own magnificent cello.

Damien's character allows for his own definition of a folk artist, which is relating to and entertaining the crowd above anything else with a variety of musical influences. He went from rock to folk and even spoke French and Freudian to adoring jubilance. After covering the tracks off of his debut CD "O", with a memorable performance of "Woman like a Man" from his first EP he kept the crowd until 2am as he rocked out with a flawless version of Led Zeppelin's "Babe I'm going to leave you" with the opening band Pedestrian backing him.

After the show I spoke with a bedazzled Damien about his impression of Toronto, "I took a look around on my bike the other day; it's lovely. The crowd tonight was also very impressive, I'm glad I came."


Writer: Lindsay Bloemink

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