Tortoise at Lee’s Palace in Toronto

18 February 2010

Post-rock darlings Tortoise played to a packed house at Lee’s Palace on Thursday night in Toronto and effortlessly showed the crowd why they are one of the best bands in the business. Playing choice tracks from their extensive repertoire, they had us hanging on every note, synth line, and cymbal crash — and I gotta say, the crowd at Lee’s was one of the most agreeable Toronto audiences I’ve experienced in recent memory. Strangers cheered and slapped each other five, all of us momentarily morphing into a contented collective that was simply enraptured by Tortoise’s good vibes.

Tortoise are professional musicians that love what they do, and it’s wonderfully apparent on stage, as they’re grooving and smiling and rocking out a fabulously tight set. With two drum kits up front, and synths, Vibraphone, guitars, and an electronic xylophone set up around them, the quintet played tracks from their latest release “Beacons of Ancestorship”, and fed the crowd hits from “TNT” and “Standards”. They came out for two encores and ended with one of my all time faves, “Glass Museum”. It was an emotional, nostalgic, and mature set that never failed to impress. Simply put, you can’t go wrong seeing these guys.

Tortoise and I have a long history together. I have been with them since the beginning. I’ve seen them play live 7 or 8 times. I saw them at The Magic Stick in Detroit for their “Millions Now Living” tour way back when, where they showed up on stage silent like automatons with little headlamps and played “Djed” in its entirety. Jeff Parker wasn’t even with them yet. And now over a decade later, they’ve only gotten tighter and classier at their craft, and it’s amazing that at the same time they remind me of good times and great memories from the past, they’re also launching me into this new and bright decade. Love ’em.


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3 Responses to “Tortoise at Lee’s Palace in Toronto”

  1. hot sauce Says:

    i used to love tortoise. i caught them a few times.. the last time may have been in the early 2000s or actually, prob more like late 90s at lee’s palace. then they put out an album (i forget which one) that sounded a bit like elevator music to me so i lost interest. what’s their new stuff like? i didn’t realize they were still going strong!

    -MR (former post rock/math rock/indie rock head :))

  2. mmmlele Says:

    Hey MR. The new stuff is more of a return to their earlier releases, but maybe a little proggier (if that’s a word). I was also disappointed by their last album but the new one is pretty great. And their live shows are always awesome.

    Did the Hot Sauce crew go see Nosaj and Daedelus that night? I saw both of them play last year, so I chose the Tortoise show instead, but I heard it went off…

  3. hot sauce Says:

    yes, i went to that show (the sole representative of hot sauce) – it kicked ass! getting to work the next morning was hard though…

    i will check out the new tortoise. i liked their more proggy sound (from their first album even, before “millions..”)


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