Review: Said The Whale

Echo Beach, Toronto, 19 August.

‘How were Said The Whale?’

‘Solid. As. Fuck.’

‘Got anything else to say?’

‘Nope.’

That was the initial exchange after seeing the always-excellent Said The Whale at Echo Beach, Toronto on Sunday night. But there was a more pressing queston dominating my internal discourse at the time that prevented me from being more eloquent – why aren’t Said The Whale more famous?

The last few years has seen the Vancouverites release robust, refreshingly pretension-free albums, upbeat, dancy and folky tinged paens to growing up, growing down, changing, leaving, moving on, moving up, love, loss, life, the universe, everything. Even their more melancholic stuff has a joyful, rich sound that never stinks of indulgent self pity, as most modern indie bands are wont to do. Here at Spindle, we’re big fans.

Yesterday’s show had a wonderfully rich, wall-of-sound quality without sacrificing any clarity in the lead vocals; Said The Whale have mastered the art of giving an equally brilliant account of themselves live and in the studio, something many smaller up and coming bands have failed to reconcile. Their fairly short set concentrated on their more folksy songs, with the nostalgic innocence of B.C Orienteering and False Creek Change being particular highlights – perfect for the end-of-summer setting evoked by the fading late August sun and the sandy floor of the open air Echo Beach.

So why the bejesus are they playing second support on the smaller stage at Ontario Place? Don’t get me wrong, Said The Whale are huge fans of headliners Our Lady Peace and spoke of how humbled they were to be supporting them – there’s really no keeping them down. But soon I’ve no doubt they will be headlining at the much larger Molson Amphitheatre just across the park – their stadium sized wall-of-sound and impressive vocal abilities, remarkable on record and even more so in the flesh, is easily going to fill the massive arena and indeed deserves to do so.

Give them a listen, get them on the download, go out and spread the word. Same time, next year, guys; just across the park.

Thomas Dearnley-Davison is Spindle’s Canadian Correspondent. You can follow his insane trans-Atlantic ramblings on Twitter @such_doubts

Photo credit: Jonathan Taggart