Given the circumstances, this show was a sweeping success. Sunday is not exactly the best day for shows in a city that’s made up of 41% devout Mormons who observe the sabbath, a day of rest. So those in attendance were either nonmembers or huge fans, to whom seeing this show was worth compromising their beliefs momentarily (I guess that makes me one of them…). Unfortunately, even with the nonreligious and the more spurious Mormons in attendance, the crowd was still quite small. Guaranteed this crowd would have been much larger if this were any other day of the week.
Worse yet, the band’s equipment refused to cooperate with them, strings snapping, faulty cables, and even a busted tuning key. So, to say the odds were not in their favor would be putting it mildly.
Nevertheless, in a setting that could (and probably should) have been disastrous, Land of Talk pulled out all the stops in a clutch performance worthy of mid-90s John Elway. They even made light of their situation. Leading lady Lizze Powell said with a smile in between songs, “Bet you five buck something breaks again.” When nothing broke, she explained, “Well, look guys. I know I said I’d pay you five bucks, but that’s all the money we have.” One brave crowd member yelled, “Keep it!”, and Powell said thanks before jumping into the next song. If you were to bump into Powell on the street, you would never think she was in a band, even less so as a frontwoman. Her demeanor is that of a sweet, jovial older sister. But when she sings, it’s a different story. You instantly are aware that this woman was put on earth for the sole purpose of singing.
The Montreal three-piece took the stage with seven members, much to the surprise of the crowd. Opener Suuns has been on the road with Land of Talk since the beginning of the tour and will continue to be their opener and for a good reason: LoT needs some extra hands for what they’re doing.
Land of Talk’s sophomore effort, Cloak and Cipher, is bigger-sounding and adds a great amount of texture to their signature sound. Thus, they need a bigger band in order to reproduce that bigger sound live. Suuns added a little extra percussion, backing vocals, and some guitar and effects to make the tracks off Cloak and Cipher sound just like they do on the studio versions. Land of Talk also beefed up a few older tracks to accommodate more musicians, most notably during the encore in which all seven musicians did an extended version of fan favorite “It’s Okay”.
But the band sounded better when it was just the original three members. The four Suuns left the stage to let Land of Talk perform some of their older songs: “Some Are Lakes”, “Yuppy Flu”, “Summer Special”, and “Magnetic Hill”. This was a direct reflection on how much better their old work is compared to their newer output. It’s the same live as on the record; the new sound is a little bit too big and a little too chaotic, which leaves you yearning for the earlier work of the band.
However, when all was said and done, Land of Talk came out hugely triumphant when they probably shouldn’t have. They were extremely well-received by the crowd, with shouts of approval strewn throughout the evening and a massive roar of appreciation after the set during a quick meet and greet. Suffice it to say, Land of Talk won the hearts of Salt Lake City last night with their cheery demeanor and their impressive musicianship.
Land of Talk setlist:
May You Never
Some Are Lakes
The Hate I Won’t Commit
Speak To Me Bones
Color Me Badd