Concert Review: FOXES IN FICTION, TEEN DAZE (2012-05-05 @ The Garrison)
On Thursday May 5th, a crowd of dedicated enthusiasts fought off thunder and lightning and filed into The Garrison to catch British Columbia native TEEN DAZE in his Toronto debut.
The event was presented by Toronto music blog Diamond Atlas as a sound and visual showcase with a stellar five-band lineup – as TEZETA, SOUTHERN SHORES and MEGAFORTRESS kicked off the bill taking the crowd from dance pop to shoegaze and back before FOXES IN FICTION took the stage and wooed audience members into a dreamy trance.
This being the first time I had seen FOXES IN FICTION, I was struck by the sincerity of his work. With soothing vocals that faded and echoed atop bass lines and beneath carefully woven loops, Toronto’s Warren Hildebrand shared his soulful songs with a crowd that swayed to his music.
Hildebrand sang like a story teller in command, asking the audience to relate. As songs stepped and wondered toward their crest, euphoric yellow, pink, soft blue, and green patterns revealed themselves on display behind him.
At one point during his set, Hildebrand concluded a new tune and immediately apologized for the unpolished sound. But the crowd rejected his criticism and cheered in support of the piece – it was a glimpse at the critical and perhaps too honest artist behind his work.
Pulling from his two-year catalogue, FOXES IN FICTION closed with a selection of songs that laid a summery haze over the audience. These bass-strong but floating ballads were perfect preparation for the crowd to get “Teen Dazed” – as Hildebrand phrased it.
After a quick set change, the long awaited headliner picked up with a heavy bass line back-dropped by dark green and blue visuals. Layered on top of the track’s deep bass were thin, airy synths and vocals that called from a place nearly washed away. The crowd, quite willingly, climbed into the palm of TEEN DAZE’s hand.
As the set unfolded he transitioned from dream wave to ambient dance, setting a hypnotic pace and debuting songs from his now newly-released album All of Us Together. Exactly one month before his new album’s release, TEEN DAZE gave a performance worthy of the high praise; as one song led into the next and a half-hour of dancing passed by as if it were a fraction of the time.
Throughout his set TEEN DAZE controlled his music and the crowd with an able hand – silencing the bass and absolving with synths before returning the bass to carry us to the next break. Some tracks journeyed off on tangents while others were more structured with rhythms that pulled straight through. The variations kept pushing the set forward while never prodding too hard and straining the composition.
After dancing well into the early hours of Friday morning, TEEN DAZE capped off the night with a pair of punchy tracks including the horn clad Let’s Groove, and What You Feel – song choices appropriate to the set’s high energy and destined for many, many replays.
Photos by RYAN STEPHENSON PRICE