From the moment Owen Pallett stepped onto the stage on February 26th with his skinny jeans and his hair meticulously sculpted, he was the epitome of an indie hipster god.
Toronto-based band Snowblink played before him, getting the crowd ready with piercing vocals, jingle bells and praise for the audience.
Lead singer Daniela Gesundheit expressed her appreciation for the small, intimate group at the Ford Plant for being so polite and “generous” with their cheers since her last experience at the venue had included broken toilets and stolen cash at the front door.
“I’m telling you guys that so I can give you extra praise,” she joked.
Their set, while not long, was breezy, soothing and eerie all at the same time.
When it was time for Pallett to play, he was accompanied on guitar and percussion by his friend and fellow musician, Thomas Gibb. Pallett got himself comfortable on the stage by taking off his shoes and requesting for the lights to be dimmed.
“Can we make this more intimate?” he asked.
With only the lights from the street coming through the window, Pallett planted himself in front of his keyboard, with his violin on his shoulder and his stockinged feet dancing along the loop pedal.
There was an impassioned rendition of “Many Lives -> 49 MP” which at one point had Pallett screaming into his violin for extra dramatic effect. I had no idea you could even do that with a violin, but my brain exploded from all the awesome.
Pallett also played a number of songs from his latest release, Heartland, including a percussion-heavy “Keep the Dog Quiet” and a frenzied version of “The Great Elsewhere” that gave me chills.
The way Pallett used technology during his performance was astounding and effective in the Ford Plant’s small space. Every square inch of the room reverberated with his rich voice, nervous yells and violent shredding of his violin.
The most memorable parts of the night came when Pallett asked the crowd for “impromptu requests.” Known for his covers during live shows, Pallett has performed songs by Bloc Party, Mariah Carey and Arcade Fire, among others.
When Tim Ford, owner of the Ford Plant, hollered out for Television’s “Marquee Moon,” Pallett gave it a go (the friendly and energetic Ford even sang along). He performed The Mountain Goat’s “Alpha Omega” by The Mountain Goats without hesitation. He even gave a live teaser of the Tay Zonday viral hit, “Chocolate Rain.”
The man might be a jukebox.
After jamming out on his violin and loop pedal for about ninety minutes, Pallett ended his show with the beautiful, “The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead.” A throwback to his Final Fantasy days, it was the perfect way to close out the show.