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Legendary Pink Dots

  • 28th Jun, 2006 at 12:34 PM

Edward Ka-Spel
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

Two Thursdays ago, I found myself sitting in a hot tub, in a backyard, in downtown Toronto. The circumstances leading to this event are interesting, but beyond the scope of this review. We were basking in the setting sun and warm waters when my friend mentioned that he was going to the Legendary Pink Dots concert. A bunch of us got excited and he invited us to come along.

So we towelled off, changed into some appropriately black clothing, and hopped into a waiting van. We drove to Lee's Palace, where there was a small crowd of smokers gathered outside. After the requisite ritual of hand-stamping, we were inside. On the intimate stage stood four well-dressed men setting up their equipment. Loosely surrounding the stage was a decent crowd. Not too big, and not too small.

Their set started with slow, beautiful music. A languid saxophone meshed with the opiate vocals of Edward Ka-Spel. Here was an old Englishman, bedecked in sunglasses, singing with this charming druggy voice. It was like stepping into a dream filled with liquid music and anguished poems.

Niels Van Hoornblower
Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

The sound changed into waves, like an ocean crashing on the beach. Niels van Hoornblower, the saxophonist, changed instruments throughout the set. First to an electric bagpipe. And then to a lovely flute. The bass-guitarist put down his instrument for a song and picked up an accoustic guitar. The range of sound that we heard was just gorgeous.

The crowd, all dressed in black and goth as could be, started swaying to the music. Some of them started nodding their heads in appreciation and tapping their feet. It was a beautiful sight to see. I made my way to the sidelines and caught a couple of photographs. And that's when Soandso hopped off the stage and mingled with the crowd. Every time he blew on his sax, it would light up and hit the faces of the audience.

The end came too soon, even after the extended encore. Afterwards, all of us sat in the van, happy to have been there. Happy to have gone together.

Article written for Akachic Records.