July Talk returned to Victoria’s Royal Theatre for the second time in a year Tuesday night. It was the launch of the Canadian leg of their Remember Never Before Tour.
Peter Dreimanis walked on stage in his signature white shirt and black pants while Leah Fay had a lime green blazer and pants with a white crop top. A new addition to the band this year is Dani Nash on percussion and backup vocals turning July Talk into a six-piece.
The band kicked off their set with ‘After This’, the opening track of their ‘Never Remember Before’ album. 8 songs of their 20 song set were off their new record.
The fourth song of the night was ‘Certain Father’ a song they collaborated with Victoria’s Spencer Krug of Wolf Parade. Unfortunately, Krug was not in town to perform with the band and bassist Josh Warburton sang his part. Later in the set, Peter mentioned he was looking forward to being in Victoria to possibly performing the song live with Krug but he was in Somerville, Massachusetts on tour for his solo project.
Lighting was darker for this year’s show, likely due to the large square screen at the back of the stage showing video projected on it at different points of the set
An ongoing downside of having a rock concert in a seated theatre like The Royal Theatre is the lack of standing by the audience for significant portions of shows. It took about six songs before much of the audience got to their feet. Some people could periodically be seen taking sitting breaks during other slower portions of the set.
Fans were back on their feet for the final two songs of the main set ‘I Am Water’ and ‘Push + Pull’. Before ‘I Am Water’, Leah Fay encouraged people to sign the e-4268 petition asking the federal government to allow transgender and non-binary people to claim asylum in Canada.
Peter walked back on stage alone to kick off the three-song encore putting his finger to his mouth to shush the crowd before starting to sing ‘Raw’ completely acapella. Some in the audience couldn’t help themselves interjecting with random screams of “woo!” and “yeah!” Then a feeble attempt to clap the beat kind made things awkward as half the audience’s timing was completely off and drowned out Dremanis’ unamplfied vocals. Leah and Dani Nash would then join Dreimanis to provide backup vocals as he performed the rest of the song with mics and playing the keyboard.
During ‘The Garden’, the final song of the show, Leah burst out into a verse of Willie Nelson’s ‘On The Road Again’ to which percussionist Dani Nash would show off her singing chops completing the verse. At some point a bra was thrown on stage. Leah picked it up and waved it around the stage before going behind Peter and wrapping it around his chest.
Oshawa Ontario rock duo Crown Lands opened the night. Winners of Breathrough Group of The year at the 2021 Juno Awards, their opening set came two days before the release of their new album ‘Fearless’ on March 31. Their first song ‘Starlifter: Fearless Pt. 2’ lasted 20 minutes of their 40 minute set showing off their progressive rock influences.
Feedback overheard from audience members about Crown Lands was off the charts positive. People were comparing their sound to Rush and Led Zeppelin and saying they’re better than Greta Van Fleet. Victoria concert goers have another chance to see Crown Lands when they’re part of a day of Canadian rock with Jesse Roper, The Blue Stones, Little Destroyer and Acres of Lions at Phillips Reverb on August 11, 2023.
July Talk performs two dates in Vancouver Wednesday and Thursday followed by 10 more shows across the country ending in Moncton, New Brunswick April 15 before heading to the U.S.
1. After This
2. Now I Know
3. Human Side
4. Certain Father
5. Pay For It
6. Beck + Call
7. Picturing Love
8. Good Enough
9. Identical Love
10. Guns + Ammunition
11. Johnny + Mary
13. Summer Dress
14. G-d Mother Fire
15. When You Stop
16. I Am Water
17. Push + Pull
19. Lola + Joseph
20. The Garden