The one thing that anyone would expect going into a Strumbellas concert would be a fun environment, with a lot of singing along. Both of those points were proven throughout this show. Set aside the fact that they sounded fantastic, the Strumbellas put on a show that was filled with fun and quirks.

One look at the band as they came out on stage, and that’s immediately evident.

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From lead singer & guitarist Simon Ward walking around the stage barefoot (with pink toenails), to keyboardist/vocalist Dave Ritter wearing a hat with his name written in bold across the front of it and the imaginative artwork hanging as the stage’s backdrop, it was clear that the band’s personality was being presented alongside it’s music – which is really the reason why we go to concerts in the first place.

Before I keep going with the main act, I’d like to talk about the Zola’s. When I was initially told about the tickets, I was sold knowing that the Zola’s were the opening act. With Swooner being one of my favourite indie albums of 2016, I didn’t care who was headlining. And unsurprisingly, they didn’t disappoint. They started their 45-minute set list with what was definitely a crowd favourite; Molotov Girls. Dancing around stage in a modern day pirate shirt that would make Jerry Seinfeld proud, lead singer Zachary Gray was able to get the crowd on their feet through his infectious enthusiasm. At one point through their set, he blindfolded Keyboardist Tom Dobrzanski because, apparently, Tom had been bragging that he could play their songs with his eyes closed. And, well… he could. After blindfolding Tom, they lead into the second half of their set with Strange Girl. The Zolas are coming back to Toronto on March 16 at the Mod Club, and I already bought my tickets on the way home.

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Now, back onto the Strumbellas. I don’t think I emphasized it enough above, but they sounded fantastic. This was even more evident when they quieted down the crowd to do an off-mic rendition of The Fire. The crowd was into the set from start to finish, clapping their hands and singing along to every chorus possible (at least I know I was). The band also decided to give us an early Christmas treat and played their own rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as a part of their encore.

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I’m really not one to complain about much, but if I had to point out a negative here, the only one would be the time. With a set time of about 50 minutes, I was still hoping for more, even though I knew they left it all on stage. But, hey, that’s just me being a greedy fan.

Zolas Setlist:

  1. Molotov Girls
  2. Get Dark
  3. Fell in Love With New York
  4. Ancient Mars
  5. Strange Girl
  6. Frieda On the Mountain
  7. This Changes Everything
  8. Invisible
  9. Swooner

Strumbellas setlist:

  1. Wars
  2. Lakes
  3. End of an Era
  4. Yound and Wild
  5. We Don’t Know
  6. Shovels & Dirt
  7. Hope
  8. The Sheriff
  9. The Fire (Acoustic)
  10. Sailing
  11. Spirits

Encore:

  1. Home Sweet Home
  2. Rudolph the Red Nosed Raindeer
  3. Wild Sun

Stay tuned for more live indie music reports!

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