CMW Review: Balconies, Head of the Heard12 May 2014 / by Jacqueline Tucci (author)
Although the headlining act at the Horseshoe Tavern on Friday night was the legendary King Khan and the BBQ Show, it was the two bands that played before the masked garage rockers that really stole the night.
The Balconies, a four-piece Toronto-based rock band, began their set with the band playing a building introduction to their song "Boys and Girls." When the music eventually built to the song, the band was joined by their frontwoman, Jacquie O Neville. They proceeded to bang out song after song, captivating the packed Horseshoe Tavern with their crushing guitar and drum sounds.
The Balconies may be a young band but they entertained like seasoned veterans. Jacquie is an engaging presence on stage and enticed the crowd to clap, sing, and head bang along. She gives off Alison Mosshart vibes on stage, but even more in your face and engaging. She has a very distinctive performance face, a look in her eyes that appears to be the intersection of passion and craziness.
A particular highlight was a stripped down performance of "Let Me Go" where Jacquie ditched her guitar to get close to the crowd with just a microphone. Steve O Neville ditched his bass to bust out the organ sounds on the keys. The band transitioned from this emotional performance into their final song, an ass-kicking, high-energy performance of their single, "The Slo."
Following The Balconies, Vancouver blues-rockers Head of the Herd took the stage. Starting with their hit, "We Get Together," the band did not tone down the energy from the first song to the last of their 45-minute set.
The crowd went wild as Clayton Frank, one of the band’s two original members, busted out the harmonica, a signature part of the band’s bluesy sound.
The band’s frontman, Neu Mannas, kept the crowd engaged throughout the whole show, and had everybody on their feet for the whole show, except for when he wanted everybody crouched on the floor with him; and that did happen, and everybody did comply.
A highlight of the band’s set was a bone-crushing drum solo from the band’s drummer, Matty Carolei, which happened in the middle of a song, while the other members of the band stood, frozen in position, before launching back into the song.
The band closed off their set with the song that launched them onto the scene, "By This Time Tomorrow;" but not before Mannas gave a heartfelt speech about how with this song, the fans and Canadian radio got them to where they are now, and without the fans they are “nothing.”
With their set last night, Head of the Herd proved that they certainly are something, and something really, really good.