Although I am not usually one for sitting still at a show (or anywhere for that matter), if there is any band that will keep you completely entranced regardless of the audience arrangement, it is Northern Ontario natives Timber Timbre. While you can generally find the five-piece band packed into ornate churches across the province, on Friday May 23rd they arrived in Toronto to join the ranks of Canadian greats such as Neil Young as musical alumni of the historic Massey Hall. The night’s show, part of the documentary series “Live at Massey Hall” that aims to showcase up-and-coming Canadian musicians, began with an appropriate air of timelessness that can only be procured by genuine, lasting talent.
Driven by the creative force and beautiful simplicity of front man Taylor Kirk, whose distinct lyrical style is comparable to that of Leonard Cohen, Timber Timbre hit the stage immediately, hypnotizing a sold-out audience totally unprepared for what was about to come their way. Stepping out into sultry red lighting and wasting no time, Kirk, backed by Simon Trottier, Mika Posen, Mathieu Charbonneau and Olivier Fairfield, effortlessly swung into a captivating set that kept fans in favour of all five of their albums entirely satisfied.
In a venue like Massey Hall where every note reverberates throughout the building and the percussion carries a much heavier presence, the live experience of the eclectic sounds that make Timber Timbre is completely different from that which you will get through their recorded material. The band flowed through both lesser known songs as well as album anchors including “Bad Ritual” and title track “Hot Dreams”. However, the majority of the songs were almost unrecognizable to even the most accustomed ear, becoming slightly more experimental than the usual melodies. That got me hooked, as listening to their challenging improvisation you can’t help but become enchanted by their stripped down rendition of 1960’s psychedelia. While the old-school surf-rock-esque riffs are slightly more prevalent, the set remains interwoven around the synthesizer that defines much of their infectiously soothing sound.
Often being described as “eerie” and “haunting,” the sounds of Timber Timbre remain for me, uniquely indescribable. Low-fi, yet very far from boring, and as foreboding as it is enticing, Timber Timbre’s set at Massey Hall is refreshing by means of a serious commitment to unwavering unpredictability.
Author: Jordan Hodgins