July 21, 2011 – Sound Academy, Toronto, Canada

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Setlist:
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Concert Review:
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Videos:

The Bazaar

Lullaby

Fire In The Head

The Messenger

Heaven Coming Down

Temptation

Psychopomp

Release

Sister Awake

Writing’s On The Wall
The Bazaar
Lullaby
Psychopomp
The Messenger
Fire In The Head
Correspondences
Heaven Coming Down
Sun Going Down
The Halcyon Days
Save Me
Release
Temptation
Winter Solstice
Sister Awake

Sound Academy, Toronto – July 21, 2011
By JASON MacNEIL, QMI Agency
Jeff Martin scratched that nearly seven-year itch again and the result is pretty good.

As the lead singer/guitarist for hard rock trio The Tea Party, Martin made some impressive inroads through the mid ‘90s and into the new millennium. But the group – also featuring drummer Jeff Burrows and seasoned bassist/keyboardist Stuart Chatwood (who resembled Dieter from Saturday Night Live’s Sprockets skits) – hit a wall in 2005 and disbanded, something Martin recently said was “not amicable to say the least.”

Judging by the band’s quite impressive return to form Thursday night at a well-filled Sound Academy, all that conflict is water under a heavily influenced Zeppelin-esque bridge.

“We’re back….,” Martin said following the Middle Eastern-tinged The Bazaar following a chunky, heavy Writing’s On The Wall which got the nearly two-hour show underway.

Currently on a small Summer Twilight 2011 tour which has touched down at some festivals, The Tea Party were not only fighting fan expectations but also an audience physically drained from the ridiculous high temperatures outside. “I would like the Sound Academy to pay their air conditioning bill,” Martin later said with the sweat literally dripping off his hands. “Other than that, no complaints.”

And there certainly were hardly any complaints with the material chosen, whether on the somber, sparse and haunting Psychopomp, the groove-riddled yet intricate Fire In The Head or during Heaven Coming Down off 1997’s Triptych effort. Early in the night only Correspondences – a tune the group said was a personal favorite – went awry.

Of course the Led Zeppelin comparisons are nothing new for the band and that was quite evident on several occasions. During Lullaby Martin began waving his hand around a Theremin a la Jimmy Page while later bringing out a cello bow to slide over his electric guitar strings. Heck, even a lyric from the beautiful Delta blues romp Sun Going Down – one which really energized fans – contains “…in through the out door,” the title of Led Zeppelin’s 1979 studio album.

With smiles all around, Martin had even the most fatigued fans shouting out lines to several songs in a give-and-take format. He also pointed out after The Messenger that had Ringtones been invented in back 1995, the group would have been millionaires many times over. “You got a message,” Martin said in his deep tone which easily recalls The Doors’ Jim Morrison.

The Tea Party beefy sound didn’t register well during the psychedelic vibe on The Halcyon Days but the tender Release more than made up for it.

As Burrows delivered more drum fills than some would have thought probable, The Tea Party wrapped up with a decent but far from divine Temptation before returning for The River and Sister Awake, the latter working in a portion of The Rolling Stones’ Paint It, Black.

Despite saying he felt like he was in hell with the heat, both Martin and the fans found a little bit of heaven Thursday night.

By Jacob Goguen – July 22, 2011
If the talented trio’s powerful July 21 gig at Toronto’s Sound Academy is any indication, then music’s the plain-and-simple focus for Windsor’s own genre fusing rockers The Tea Party nowadays.

Back from a six year “vacation”, as lead-singer/guitarist Jeff Martin described it to the fiercely loyal capacity crowd Thursday night, the boldly experimental act – filled out by bassist/keyboardist Stuart Chatwood and drummer Jeff Burrows – is certainly making good on it’s aforementioned website tag line and statement of purpose, “No politics . . . Just Rock and Roll”, thus far.

In particular, the emphasis on rock and roll was clearly heard in how the Tea Party, who kicked off their roughly 110-minute set at 9:50 p.m., effortlessly hooked the roaring crowd with the one-two-three blast of the explosive “Writing’s on the Wall”, the middle Eastern tinged “The Bazaar”, and the pile driving “Lullaby”, before heading into more exotic territory with the harrowing “Psychopomp”.

As well, kudos must be given to Jeff and co.’s well balanced set, which not only succeeded in running through much of the trio’s finest work, but also served uninitiated listeners as a fine intro to the band’s many upon many sides and sounds, and gave a little something extra to major Tea Party devotees with the inclusion of the expansive Edges of Twilight album track “Correspondences” – granted though, for those not-so-hardcore fans, the lengthy performance made for a bit of a lull in the otherwise high energy proceedings.

Arguably, the highpoint of the entire show was the tribal and anthemic “Save Me”, which had the crowd more than willing to pick up the track’s soaring chorus vocals. Also notable was the fact that, midway through, the graceful composition turned on a dime into an intimate and endearing cover of Jeff Buckley’s timelessly heartbreaking “Last Goodbye”.

“Save Me” was so rousing though that it couldn’t help but eclipse the remainder of the show. Sure, the haunting “Release” and set-closing “Temptation” were great as ever, but they nevertheless had the misfortune of following such a towering number. Also, not quite as arresting either was the band’s encore performance of “Sister Awake” – a driving tune which, like “Save Me”, turned into an inspired cover, said cover this time being “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones.

Taking the rest of the gig into consideration though, especially such focussed and hypnotic cuts as the tension building “Fire in the Head” and the endlessly moving Daniel Lanois cover “The Messenger”, the years away don’t seem to have deteriorated the Tea Party band-dynamic one bit.

As Jeff himself stated Poltergeist style to near deafening applause early on in the evening, they’re back.

Opening for the Tea Party were Orillia based rockers Bleeker Ridge who, over the course of a 45-minute set, did a damn fine job at warming up the audience with heavy hitting numbers like “Small Town Dead” and “Sick of You”, and Oshawa’s the Standstills (a.k.a. bluesy alt-rock guitarist Jonny Fox and power house drummer Renee Couture), who wowed withed their storming brand of groove heavy rock and roll.

26 Responses to July 21, 2011 – Sound Academy, Toronto, Canada

  1. Transmission says:

    Another amazing performance by The Tea Party! Two straight hours of seamless, hard-core musicianship. I’ve seen you guys play 14 times now and I think this was one of the best (if not the best) performances from you that I’ve ever been to. Personal favorite songs from the night are Correspondences and The Halcyon Days. It sounds as if you guys are here to stay and that’s literally a dream come true. Take care.

    **Does anyone know where those visuals came from during some of the songs? I remember seeing the Temptation one on their last tour…but there were a few songs with visuals and they were amazing to see. Can they be obtained somehow?
    **I’m quite sure Edwin was standing near me for the first hour of the show, then he left.

  2. Jenn says:

    Thank you everyone that posted pics and videos! Especially the concert MP3! If anyone was standing near me, I was the girl that lost her memory card, a MAJOR frustration, in that all the concert pictures and videos I took were gone just like that! Terribly frustrating! Thank you to those that helped me look! It wasn’t found, sadly, but if someone DID find it, I’d love to have it back!
    A big THANK YOU to The Tea Party, though, for an AMAZING show!! I hope Jeff, Stuart, and Jeff really are back together for the long haul- I will for sure be at your next Toronto-area concert, and I will super-glue my memory card into my camera!!! It was a fantastic show, my first TTP show, and I didn’t even notice the heat it was that rockin’!

  3. Jeff says:

    Here is the show: MP3 @ 320kbps

    http://www.megaupload.com/?d=Z6FMC2VX

  4. Chyrch says:

    That was a great show, despite the ridiculous heat. Fire in the Head and Temptation were absolutely amazing.

    The venue kinda sucked though, and Bleeker Ridge was pretty bad. Other than that, it was great.

    • Liz says:

      I thought Bleeker Ridge sounded ok. It’s not really my kind of music, but I thought the singer had a decent voice. I thought he looked a little bit like Layne Staley for some reason.

      I agree about the venue. I was up in the balcony so I was ok (wouldn’t have gone otherwise), but I didn’t like how the floor was long and narrow. Unless you’re in the very front you can’t see. It’s also a pain in the ass to get to, not at all close to the subway and the car lineup to get out of that little street was horrendous – took me forever to get to the highway. I’m thinking they played there since other venues like the Kool Haus were booked early, since I really don’t recall Tea Party ever playing The Docks/Sound Academy back in the day. But the show was amazing and let’s hope it’s a permanent reunion :)

  5. Scott McDeivitte says:

    Loved this show! Best of the current tour and one of the best all time. Passion, power and energy. Lets hope some new music springs from this and we see the boy’s blow out a tour next year!

  6. Nikki says:

    who recorded the Temptation video? I think you were the girl in front of me I kept accidentally pulling her hair and apologizing! I was the short girl in the black skirt! I would really love to trike a deal with you for a copy of the pics and videos :)

    This concert totally brought back my love full force for the boys! I hope Jeff was right, and they are here to stay!! What an amazing concert, amazing sound, and a really amazing crowd too! TTP fans are just as great as the band themselves… well, almost :)

  7. Liz says:

    FANTASTIC show last night! I was very impressed with how tight and cohesive the band sounded after so long without playing together.

    Jeff’s voice was cracking a bit on the higher notes (like during Last Goodbye), but he just smiled at himself when it happened. I’ve noticed that with the other shows this tour too – is he having a problem with his voice?

    A little disappointed that The River was cut out, would’ve liked to hear that one. But that was definitely one of the best Tea Party shows I’ve been to. Psychopomp was, well, Psychopomp – simply stunning. Release was also particularly memorable/touching; Jeff was just singing at one point without touching his guitar and it almost sounded acoustic. I really hope they stay together this time. Last night proved Tea Party really has something magical that needs to be brought back :)

  8. Disco Volante says:

    DID ANYONE GET A VIDEO OF HEAVEN COMING DOWN FROM THIS SHOW?!?!?!

  9. Gaetano says:

    please tell me someone got a bootleg of this show! :)

  10. Becka says:

    FANTASTIC show last night guys!!! Clearly Peterborough was just a warm up- you guys are going full steam now!!! Looking forward to seeing you again in a couple weeks in North Bay- third time’s a charm! :D

  11. jay says:

    hey all!
    does anyone know what time the tea party is supposed to go on tonight? (just figuring out babysitting for our 1yr old!). I’m guessing since doors are at 7, opener will start around 8? TP on at…? Hope someone can lend a hand…cheers!
    J.

  12. Becka says:

    I’m curious about that too! Anyone know?!

  13. Liz says:

    Anyone opening for Toronto?? Or is it just Tea Party on at 8pm?

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