2013, Music

Secret Chiefs 3 Live at the Drake Hotel, May 24, 2013

So I have been a fan of SC3 since sometime in the early 2000s, but I had never seen them live and – due to my music addiction making music money scarce – I had not kept up with their musical output past 2004’s Book of Horizons, where the satellite band “concept” first came to the fore. I was unaware that the band still tours as these satellite bands, so I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting into.

What I mean to say is that I should have booked tickets for both the May 24th concert and the May 25th concert: the band played two different sets on Friday night and the rumour was going around that they would play two completely different sets on Saturday night. So I must say I’m disappointed that I didn’t get my act together and get out the second night, because Friday night’s concert was one of the best I’ve seen.

Now, put that into context: it is only in the last half-decade or so that I have been seeking out bands I like when they come to the GTA. So I haven’t exactly seen a lot of great acts live. But that being said..

The band was awesome:

  • Spruance was a study in contrasts; sometimes he was content to let his band-members show off on guitar, violin, keyboards, and drums – the drummer was awesome! – but, especially in the second set, did he ever shred. Jesus tapdancing Christ he is an amazing guitar player. And just to show off (I’m kidding) he also played keys and did some electronic things we couldn’t see.
  • The other guys were good too:
    • the keyboardist was never particularly showy but appropriate I would say (he also played guitar at one point);
    • the second guitarist also played violin, trumpet and keys and appeared to have mastered all of them;
    • the bassist also played what look like one of those mini bass-keyboards;
    • and the drummer didn’t need to play anything else, because he was amazing.

I recognized only a few songs – which is not a surprise given that I haven’t listened to anything they put out in the last 9 years – but a couple of those songs were pretty fantastic covers: a cover of the theme from Halloween and something that was obviously a Morricone piece, though I couldn’t place the movie. (We also thought there might have been another movie theme song in there too, and the encore was a cover of a famous piece of music that I was by then too drunk to identify by name.)

Though I couldn’t tell you the set list, both sets were amazing, and different enough for us to suspend our disbelief about the silly satellite band thing. Of the four of us who attended together, one of us had never even heard of them, and he was converted, which I think says it all.

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