Mother Nature was angry on that Thursday night in Toronto. Her late winter hissy fit, however, didn’t keep the faithful from packing the lower bowl and floor of Scotiabank Arena for a quasi-hometown show with Kingston’s The Glorious Sons. The Sons are in the middle of a 44-city North American tour which is seeing them hitting rooms ranging from about 500 to about 10,000 for the Toronto show. It’s quite a span of sizes which fits well with the wide span of musical flavours they seem to be able to pull off with great success.
As the lights went down frontman Brett Emmons took the stage solo with a newly minted hairstyle, a snappy suit, shoes, and an acoustic guitar to belt out the soulful “One Church Town.” It’s not what we are used to seeing for a TGS show opener, but a welcome one to be sure. TGS are proving to be more than just another rock band. Listening to their albums, the tracks are not just carbon copies of each other filling time in a playlist. And hitting one of their shows you won’t find any filler either. Even south of the border their work isn’t going unnoticed as is the usual fate for most Canadian bands.
The band seems equally at home on the giant arena stage as they are tearing the roof off a creaky 80-year-old wooden venue like The Kee to Bala. The 21-song set had all of their albums well represented, with newest songs from their latest 2019 release A War on Everything quickly becoming as goosebump-inducing as their older favourites. Having covered the band for nearly ten years in all manner of venues and set timeslots the guys are as compelling to watch as ever. Even if Emmons has needed to tone down his “tear the stage apart” ways of old, to something more sustainable in long tour schedule cycles, the songs can speak for themselves with a little less of the crazy stage dude vibe.
The band is as solid as it gets and can nail the recording studio nuances of their work onstage with power and consistency. The stage was sparsely appointed, with a large drum/keyboard riser and their giant cross circle logo hanging behind them. What more do you really need if you’ve got heartfelt lyrics, toe-tapping melodies, and oozing charisma? The crowd hung on every note even while they were dancing up a storm throughout the entire venue.
Standouts for the show included “Panic Attack,” the unreleased “La Cosa Nostra” duet with Emmons and guitarist Chris Koster on keyboards, “Closer to the Sky,” and the late added to the setlist “Ruby” to end the five-song encore. Clearly, the band wanted their biggest show to last just a bit longer. The group is touring through April 11th. In a year where it seems every band, old and new, are touring, The Glorious Sons is a must-see show!
The Glorious Sons’ Toronto Setlist:
01. One Church Town
02. S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)
03. Panic Attack
04. The Ongoing Speculation Into the Death of Rock and Roll
05. The Contender
06. Wild Eyes
08. A War on Everything
10. La Cosa Nostra
11. A Funny Thing Happened
12. White Noise
14. My Poor Heart
15. Everything Is Alright
16. Pink Motel
17. Kingdom in My Heart
18. The Union
19. Kick Them Wicked Things
20. Closer to the Sky
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