Twilight Hotel CD Release Party

Venue: West End Cultural Centre
Where: Winnipeg, MB
When: February 4, 2011
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

Back in 2009, Winnipeggers Brandy Zdan and Dave Quanbury relocated to Austin, Texas, so it was nice to get re-acquainted with the duo as they made their way across Canada promoting the band’s third release, When The Wolves Go Blind.

Having such strong roots in Winnipeg, allowed the band to call this show a “CD Release Party” (even though the album came out weeks ago) but the band was clearly in high spirits from the start and happy to be playing in front of such a receptive crowd.

Backing Zdan and Quanbury tonight was touring drummer Pat Philips, bassist Gilles Fournier, banjo-ist Jaxon Haldane and horn player Johnny Pancreas. With the exception of Pancreas, the band was comfortable and laid-back enough to just let things happen. I’m happy to report that after hearing the record, these hired guns perfectly captured the nuances and vibe of Wolves Go Blind.

Covering material mostly from their third release, Twilight Hotel took you on a journey of moody Americana; From the ghostly waltz of the title track, “What Do I Know About Love” could have come off Tom Waits’ iconic release Mule Variations, while “Mahogany Vaneer” was a touching moment about the spirit of the road that is wholly unique to Twilight Hotel’s sound.

Unfortunately, by the midway mark the band were doing far too many ballads and the energy was sucked out of the room as people began to reposition themselves in their seats. But, they made up for this little misstep by laying out a touching homage to Winnipeg in “Frozen Town”, the injection of some old-school rockabilly “Ham Radio Blues” and my personal favourite, “Golden Eagle” (which was so full of emotion it rocked like an 80’s stadium anthem from Springsteen’s “Born In The U.S.A.” tour).

Ending the night with fan favourite, “Viva La Vinyl” the band turned the Highway Prayer track into a rousing, jam session featuring the nights guests including Flying Foxes Paul Schmidt, who showed the crowd what a trombone could do.

On that note, opening band Flying Fox and The Hunter/Gatherers where the perfect match for Twilight Hotel. The 6-piece ensemble pulled off their unique blend of rock, jazz and swing into a dramatic display of showmanship that Winnipeg crowds have come to know and love. Playing a selection of tracks from their upcoming release, Hans My Lion, the band is gearing up for a Western Canadian tour and if this show is any indication we are up for a killer full-length.

Overall, this night was about Twilight Hotel proudly showing off their journey into America’s dusty back-roads finding and losing the spirit of love; sure there were some glitches set list wise but the performance was spot on and it left the crowd anticipating their return home.

Twilight Hotel – Official Site
Flying Fox and The Hunter/Gatherers – Official Site

Posted on February 6, 2011, in Live Reviews and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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