It was a fine Monday night for a kick-ass band to have their album release show at a kick-ass live venue in downtown Toronto. The legendary El Mocambo was host to The Glorious Sons to celebrate the release of their fourth full-length album Glory. It was a win-to-get-in scenario, where 375 lucky fans from across the country and a few from further abroad packed the small but storied room upstairs at the El Mo.
The stair risers leading up to the venue were splashed with the names of monsters in the music business that have left their mark on the venue. Most notably The Rolling Stones played back in the late ’70s along with other heavyweights like U2, Blondie, The Ramones, Cheap Trick, Duran Duran, Elvis Costello, and countless others. With some just starting out, and others getting back to their roots in a small intimate room. A multimillion-dollar significant renovation to the venue was completed recently, and now the El Mo is ready for the world.
The Glorious Son’s new album Glory has ten stellar tracks on it, and one might think that the band would play most of the album, throw a few hits in and call it a night. Not this band! The set list was a solid 25 songs long, and the show went for over 2 hours. This as the band had just come off the 23-city US leg of their “Glory” tour two days earlier.
The band was fired up to be back on home soil and hit the stage with their new single “Mercy, Mercy” to open the show. They touched on all their studio albums as well as their first EP Shapeless Art with “Ruby.” The new material was very well received by the fans, with many singing along throughout. Standouts from the set were “Mercy, Mercy,” “Josie,” “Kill the Lights,” “S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun),” “Cellular,” and “You Stay Young.” But honestly, the entire set was a powerhouse of energy, and the fans hung on every note.
The band has sold out the cavernous Scotiabank Arena a couple of different times, and the material works very well in the big rooms as well as in the tiny ones like our show here.
Frontman Brett Emmons was a barefoot hurricane onstage, wrestling with his mic stand as if it owed him money, punishing his acoustic guitar, using every square inch of the stage and leaning out over the outstretched hands of the crowd, for the entire show. All the while crooning, wailing, and willing every bit of air that his lungs could muster to get the relatable and timely lyrics out to the fans.
Just before the start of the US tour in September, guitarist Chris Koster announced his departure from the band. Hamilton area Guitarist/Producer/Engineer Steve Kirstein, who worked on the Glory album, had been tapped to take over the vacant guitarist/vocalist spot. And he’s settled in very well on the tour alongside guitarist Jay Emmons. Adam Paquette on drums and Peter Van Helvoort on bass were their rock-solid selves. And Josh Hewson’s keyboards filled in the tapestry of moods and sounds that make TGS music so compelling.
The band has made it a custom to perform album release shows in small Toronto venues and has done so for the last two as well. This one was broadcast worldwide live on the band’s TGS Union app, so a much wider audience could be a part of it.
The band embarks on the coast-to-coast 28-city Canadian leg of the “Glory” tour on November 9, 2023. Catch them if you can.
The Glorious Sons Toronto Setlist:
My Poor Heart
Speed of Light
A Funny Thing Happened
Kill the Lights
Time Will Reign Down On Me
Hide My Love
The Ongoing Speculation Into the Death of Rock and Roll
S.O.S. (Sawed Off Shotgun)
Everything Is Alright
You Stay Young
Godless, Graceless and Young
Lean On Me Love