CBC Toque Sessions have returned for another year with some pretty swell artists rounding out the lineup. It's been going on for a couple weeks now, but the first one I've been able to catch was last night, and I can't think of a better way to kick it off than with Yukon Blonde.
Joined by Matt Kelly on keys and guitar, the Kelowna quartet opened the set with a pair from their recent EP Fire//Water, first the mellow "Choices" before cranking up the energy with the undeniably catchy "Fire". From there they went on to play their entire new album, Tiger Talk, front to back. Not due out until March, it was a nice preview of the album which features the same high energy rock you'd expect, but definitely showed growth from the band. They still have incredibly energy and spot on harmonies, with a strong 60s and 70s influence -- but without making it sound contrived -- and have done nothing but get better. And they've always had a great stage presence while playing, but their banter is improving as well, with lead singer and guitarist Jeff Innes even hanging a lampshade on one awkward silence, joking about it with Brandon Scott.
The whole set was incredibly tight, and highlights included "Radio", which I am already calling to be on my best-songs-of-2012 list, "Sweet Dee", the dynamic ending to the album, and "School Kids", another from the recent EP which they hadn't played live before, that wrapped up the set.
While I liked their self titled first album, I've always thought it fell short of their amazing live show; hopefully Tiger Talk will capture that energy, and after hearing the album live, my anticipation for it has doubled.
Choices, Fire, My Girl, Radio, Stairway, Iron Fist, Oregon Shores, Six Dead Tigers, For LA, Breathing Tigers, Guns, Sweet Dee, School Kids.