Monday, May 7th, 2012
We Have Made A Spark
Rose Cousins at The Rivoli in Toronto
Frank YangIt’s basically a given that the songwriters who pen the saddest songs also have the wickedest senses of humour, right? I have no quantitative proof to support this – only anecdotal – but if I were to start assembling some scientific proofs in support of this hypothesis, I’d certainly include Rose Cousins’ show at The Rivoli on Thursday night in the lab report. It was a record release show for her third album We Have Made A Spark – the gorgeousness of which was saluted hereabouts last month – and while three months after it came out seems a little late for a record release show, she has been touring the record all over since it came out and has presumably been making each show an occasion. This one certainly was.
And not just because they put out chairs, dispensed with an opener, and scheduled an early start time, though those were certainly signs that it wasn’t going to be a typical show. As was Cousins opening up the show solo with a cover – Blue Rodeo’s “Five Days In May” – which would be one of two songs by others she’d perform that night (Ana Egge’s “Shadow Fall” being the other). The rest of the show, however, was dedicated to showcasing Spark in all its rich emotional nuances with Cousins moving from guitar to piano and being accompanied by two of the musicians who played on the album, Austin Nevins on electric guitar and Zachariah Hickman on upright bass. She was also joined through the night by special guests Suzie Ungerleider aka Oh Susanna, Ruth Moody of The Wailin’ Jennys and Robyn Dell’Unto who augmented Cousins’ own gorgeous vocals with some astonishing harmonies.
Between the songs, however, it was all charm and humour with Cousins proving herself quite the crack up with anecdotes, impressions and audience banter, the crowning glory of which was a hilariously detailed description of her ideal soundtrack placement for the song, “Go First” – specifically, the season finale of a surgical drama that included but wasn’t limited to a newborn child getting an arm transplant from a gorilla. It really is a shame that a video already exists for the song because her treatment had “viral” written all over it. It was moments of levity like this that helped provide the right amount of lightness to balance out the emotional weight and dark tones of the songs, though as Cousins pointed out the album isn’t all downcast – it acknowledges and arcs towards the silver linings of matters. No jokes were needed to end the show on a high note, however, as it was all hands on deck for a rowdy cover of Adele’s “Rumour Has It”. Not even the ginormous thunderstorm that awaited outside the Rivoli could dampen the spirits of those leaving the show after that finale; our clothes, yes.
NOW had an interview with Cousins in advance of the show.
Bry Webb and Del Bel will team up for a Wavelength show at 918 Bathurst on June 1 to mark the release of a collaborative single which you can hear below. Single aside, both have excellent albums to draw from – Webb with Provider and Del Bel with Oneiric – and both have already put on impressive shows this year in support of them – Del Bel in January and Webb in February. All of which is to say you can’t go wrong here. Tickets are $12 in advance.
Uptown and Beatroute have features on Great Lake Swimmers, back in town playing a show at the Music Hall on June 2. They’ve also just been announced as support for Blue Rodeo’s annual Molson Amphitheatre show on August 18.