Simple. Elegant. Beautiful. Those are all words that can be used to describe the music of Great Lake Swimmers.
Hardly a household name, Toronto's Great Lake Swimmers have built a steady following of fans with incredibly simple music. I stumbled upon the band by accident. I was surfing the Internet, when I read a review for their 2007 release Ongiara. I took one listen and I was hooked.
The band is in the midst of a world tour in support of Lost Channels, which was released earlier this year. Making their first appearance at the newly opened Lincoln Hall, it didn't take long for the band to get acclimated with their surroundings. Opening with "I Could Be Nothing", the band sounded like they were playing on a record from the 1920's. Violinist Miranda Mulholland and bassist Brett Higgins gave it an added dimension along with a vintage feel.
After "There is a Light", the band slipped behind the black curtain leaving Tony Dekker front and center. After "Concrete Heart", Dekker performed the hauntingly beautiful "Stealing Tomorrow". His voice echoed throughout Lincoln Hall as if nobody was in the room. The audience stood motionless and silent listening intently to every subtlety of Dekker's voice and guitar playing.
The band used "Your Rocky Spine" to show off the banjo chops of multi-instrumentalist Erik Arnesen. Playing everything from guitar to a hand pump organ, Arnesen proved to be up to the task by putting his stamp on each of the songs.The band cranked it up a bit with the R.E.M. inspired "She Comes To Me In Dreams". Drummer Greg Millson whaled away on his small kit, while Mulholland's sweet sounding violin soothed our ears in between Millson's mighty drum fills.
As quietly as the band rolled into town, they left in the same fashion. Dekker's humbleness and sincerity is something that I can appreciate. I'm still trying to figure out how a group as talented as Great Lake Swimmers is not more of a household name.