Last night Bryan and I headed to the very storied Dakota Tavern in downtown Toronto to see my friends and favorite Canadian band, Dustin Bentall & The Smokes. DB&S are starting the eastern leg of a short Canadian tour to support their new album “You Are An Island” that is being released on Aporia Records next week (2 July). Yes I have a copy of the CD and will do a review next week.
I am almost ashamed, as a self-proclaimed music geek, to admit that I have never been to the Dakota before. I have watched virtually every installment of the CMT’s Dakota Sessions (including the one by The Dustin Bentall Outfit from the early days of the Six Shooter album – check it out on Youtube). Being that I’m a big Canadiana-roots-rock fan I really should have made the trip to the every-so-lovely Bloor & Ossington area before. The Dakota itself is no prize but the acoustics and the atmosphere make it a great place to see a band.
But I digress, we went to see Dustin and the band. I have seen them countless times before and I always try to see them when their in town but I was particularly jazzed about this show because I was looking forward to hearing some of the new tunes and I wanted to snag the CD before the release. I liked the new tunes that they played but I’ll save that for a review of the album in the coming days. DB & The Smokes were great as they always are. They absolutely rocked it with “Six Shooter” at the close of the first set. “Draft Dodger”, my personal favourite tune, was awesome. Bryan and I sang our asses off during “Three Thousand Miles”. If I had one complaint is that I wish the set list would vary a little more. They have three and half albums of material to draw on. I have yet to hear “Railroad”, “Arizona”, “Deserts of Our Minds” or “Helplessly Hoping” to name a few. I get you have to play the big tunes that everyone knows. (Dustin if you read this, you know I love ya man, but please play me a deep cut or two next time.) That aside, I thoroughly enjoyed the show as usual. Regular bass play Del Cowsill was absent last night. His fill-in D’arcy (I can’t remember his last name) did an admirable job. If you get a chance to catch Dustin & The Smokes as the trek across Canada with the new album, do it!
One other quick note; the opening act was BC native Leeroy Stagger. They put on one hell of a show! The lead guitar player, Evan Ushenko was amazing! What a talent. The bass player looked like he was off in another world counting sheep or watching butterflies which we found rather amusing. Kendel joined LS for the last two numbers of the set and had a very entertaining back-and-forth with Evan. The unexpected bonus of the the night was that we enjoyed Leeroy so much so that we bought the two albums they were selling and now Bryan and I have some new music to explore.
Check out some photos I took of the evening’s festivities.