The Most Serene Republic delight at the Horseshoe
September 11, 2010 — Somehow, things rarely go poorly at an Arts and Crafts show. Such was the case last Saturday night, when the Most Serene Republic graced the Horseshoe Tavern with an enjoyable performance peppered with humorous interludes. But first, Toronto indie champions Dinosaur Bones took the stage.
Dinosaur Bones always manages to connect with their audience while keeping the dialogue at a minimum. Gracious thank yous are extended, of course, but apart from that the band lets their distinctive, atmospheric tunes do most of the communication. Lead singer Ben Fox’s vocals are raw, and blend well with an infusion of fuzzy guitars and big bass lines. All this is offset by textured keys, adding unmistakable depth. And yes, this is the live experience. One note though: the absence of [former?] guitarist Joel Clifton was remarkably noticeable. When I saw the band during NXNE, cohesion and friendly banter between the members was striking. Complete musical solidarity with new guitarist Josh Byrne (of the Archives) could take a few more shows, but it is in process.
The Most Serene Republic took the stage around midnight as the headlining act, closing the show with a thoroughly entertaining (and not just musically) performance. Lead singer Adrian Jewitt is an entertainer almost as much as he’s a singer (or a tromboner; he also plays the trombone), and he semi-successfully got the crowd laughing with off-hand jokes and sarcastic remarks in those sometimes awkward breaks between songs. During songs, however, he was prime; all unwavering vocals and expressive eyes. He also dances. Kind of. But in all seriousness, the Most Serene Republic are musically charming as well. Songs are light, delightful, and adorned with various horns and strings (included in these are the consistent guitars as well as the less-exercised banjo and trombone). Exuberant friends guesting onstage (tender hugs and pick-ups included), and witty banter complete the experience. This band just wants to have a good time, and makes sure their audience does with them.
– REVIEW AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAKINA SHAKIL