November 11, 2015 – While The Bright Light Social Hour (TBLSH) isn’t new to T-Mak World, they were new to this reviewer as I wasn’t able to attend the previous shows. The buzz from fellow mates definitely left a great impression and they were oh so dead on. While TBLSH are from the Heart of Texas, specifically Austin, they have tapped into the Soul of Texas’s music scene. They are one of the most diverse and unique bands touring today. Their sound crosses generations and is a combination of modern energetic rock and hyper-trippy 60’s psychedelia done with a dash of 70s southern blues rock and finally a pinch of 70s funky sounds and energy from bands such as Earth Wind and Fire (sans horns) or the Average White Band.
That soul and the energy derive from bass player Jack O’Brien. Jack jumped around and sang all night to the point he worked up such a sweat that he had to strip down to his underwear on the last encore that can only be described as an “orgy of sights and epic sounds in the Garden of the Gods“. It is always great to see a band that is determined to ensure nothing was left in the reserve tank.
Guitarist Curtis Roush is another young savant who, at times, paints in ambient psychedelic soundscapes reminiscent of psychedelic Pink Floyd or Beatles and at times he switches to hard strokes that have the audience staring in amazement at the “bright light” on stage. The presence on stage had this reviewer imagining the wonderment that people had all those years back seeing David Gilmour hone his craft especially during Dreamlove, Sea of the Edge, Ouroboros and Escape Velocity. Curtis and Jack who share lead vocals are definitely on their way to being the next Roger and David. Lets hope in 35 years they’re doing a 40th year tour as the later are doing in 2015.
Ed Braillif on keyboards and guitars and Joe Mirasole on drums provide additional layering that give the illusion of a much bigger band. They are polished and their sound is extremely well suited to the big stage.
While it’s de rigueur for bands to say they love spending time in whatever city they happen to be in, O’Brien seems sincerely genuine when he expresses his love of Toronto and, if you follow the band on Twitter – which you should – a deep love of Canada. That said, The Bright Light Social Hour’s greatest talent is the way they connect with people and there is no doubt they connect with the fans in every other city the play just as much as Toronto. The full house at the Mod club were just a bunch of the bands’ friends coming to a house party especially as they sang along with fan favorites such as Back and Forth, Detroit as well as Garden of the Gods.
This was TBLSH’s second stop in Toronto in support of their latest album, “Space is Still the Place” with the last show at the Horseshoe back in April (See review here). You can read other TBLSH reviews in Austin, Danforth Music Hall and at Yonge/Dundas Square.
Verdict: 5 out of 5. The band played a 1.5hr set meaning they were more like “Bright Light Social Hour and a half” than Bright Light Social Hour and the extra half hour made all the difference. I can’t wait until they’re The Bright Light Social 2.5 Hours. One of the most diverse, unique and talented bands touring today with a very high energy show that will let one escape the trappings of modern life.
Se of the Edge
You Got My Feel
Back and Forth
Garden of the Gods
Review by Michael Litt
Photos by Steve Mallinson
Video by Steve Mallinson and Michael Litt