The Barr Brothers kicked off Thursday night (December 6) in Toronto with a well-executed set mixed with classics and some newer tunes as well. Fresh off a 15 month tour and still jet lagged from their flights home from Japan, each member brought a whole-hearted performance to the legendary Massey Hall. We started following the Barr Brothers a few years ago, and it’s excellent to see them graduate from small clubs like the Dakota Tavern to tonight’s large-scale performance. Unfortunately, they weren’t granted the advantage of a sound check, but the crowd didn’t seem bothered by the less than perfect acoustics in what should have been a perfect acoustic environment, granting the group a standing ovation, and bringing a clear sense of pride to the musicians’ faces.
Patrick Watson continued the evening with an impressively dynamic performance. His casual persona and stunning vocals captured the venue in minutes, and the show ventured into unexpected territory with vibrant, explorative jams. Beyond his remarkable melodies, one of our favourite sounds of the night hands-down, was Watson’s silly, contagious giggle, which kept the audience laughing throughout the evening.
A full-scale performance, pulling out all the stops, Watson welcomed a Montreal choir on stage with him to fill out the already booming vocals and echos. Also the final stop on a year-long tour, Watson made the Massey Hall show a family affair. Dedicating “Big Bird in a Small Cage” to his nephew in the audience, as well as singing a song for his mother, and kids back home who had been waiting for him all year. Patrick also invited the Barr Brothers to join him to close out the show, reiterating the family theme and talking about the bond the two groups formed together on the road for months. The finale, The Cinematic Orchestra’s “To Build a Home” was a perfect close to a spectacular performance. An orchestral masterpiece at it’s finest, Watson and his band took full advantage of Massey Hall’s stage and acoustics .