Capital Cities – Live at Siren Music Fest [Concert Review]

As part of the Public Mobile sponsored Siren Music Fest, Capital Cities landed in Yonge Dundas square to deliver an energetic 45 minute set.

As they might say: Like Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, like Farah Fawcett’s hair…it was good shit.

Let me say: these guys voices as incredible live as they are in studio. Ryan and Sebu’s voices were perfectly in tune with each other, switching to harmony at the exact right moments, and always pitch perfect. They played live as a five piece, with a guitarist, bassist, Sebu on drum programming and keyboard, Ryan on seemingly voice effects, and most importantly, with a trumpeter.

The trumpet was the key to bringing the songs to life.

Meandering on stage to an old-timey tune, they quickly set up their gear, and launched in to their cover of Sinhead O’Connor’s ‘Breathe’. After that, they slickly went into ‘Chartreuse’ (shown below) – perfect execution was the name of this game, where every track seamlessly was passed off to the next, with the band never missing a beat.

‘Farah Fawcett Hair’ was the next, and best performance of the set. The musical creativity on this one  piece alone showed why if you’re not listening to these pop geniuses, you should start. Now. Replacing Frank Tavares’ by trading off lines between them, and then switching out the line about ceviche in Peru with a shout out to the city around them. Then, just for fun, they dropped in to a dustup break down, then a chilllllllllllllled dub break. The transition was real nice. They completely reinvented and brought out a song they barely sing on on record in to the best song of their set. Introducing the song as being about ‘things to like’ they also said they liked dancing – and Ryan and Sebu broke out in choreographed dancing halfway through.

The dancing trend didn’t stop, as they introduced the ‘Capital Cities Shuffle’ for their performance of ‘Center Stage’. Shuffle right, clap, shuffle left, clap clap! Repeat. Seeing a moderately sized crowd of people in Dundas Square all doing this was pretty great. Their following bass heavy ‘Staying Alive’ cover aptly showed how both their voices, particularly Sebu’s, could reach ridiculously high pitches. Also of note was ‘Love Away’ which allowed the guitarist and bassist each to have solos, with the bassist slipping from smooth bass lines to a heavily distorted jam. A few energetic songs later, they arrived at the big moment: ‘Safe & Sound’, and crowd was pretty pleased when they recognized the beginning of the tune.

As the crowd asked for an encore, Sebu went “Well, since we’re a sometimes cover band, here’s a cover”, and the went right in to a cover of Madonna’s ‘Holiday’. As the song approached its end, they broke it down, (did you know you can break down ‘Holiday’ in to Mayhem? Now you know.) the trumpet started playing the notes of ‘Safe and Sound’, and they queued up the Cash Cash remix as their outro track. But that wasn’t enough, it was party time. They turned up the volume, and started a dance party on stage, and then coming in to the crowd to get their groove on. Did I mention they were all wearing matching Capital Cities bomber jackets? Too fly. Then they all took ’em off, and encouraged everyone to take some article of clothing off and wave it in the air. And then, all parties must end, so with a final goodbye and thank you to Public Mobile for hosting Siren Music Fest, they left, having put on a great show.

Breathe (Sinhead O’Connor Cover)
Farah Fawcett Hair
Patience Gets Us Nowhere Fast
Centre Stage
Staying Alive (Bee Gees Cover)
Kangaroo Court*
Love Away
I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo
Safe & Sound
Holiday (Madonna Cover)

Safe and Sound (Cash Cash Remix)

*The played this at some point in the set.


– Zayniac

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