The Orwells stopped in Toronto last night while touring their latest album, Terrible Human Beings, which was released earlier this year in February by Atlantic Records. The indie rockers hail from Chicago, which has become a hotbed for indie rock bands over the recent years, also churning out associated acts like Twin Peaks, Post Animal, and The Walters, the last of which served as the night’s opening act.
The Orwells commenced the night with a single from Terrible Human Beings, “Black Francis,” which is also an ode to the Pixies’ lead singer and guitarist. The crowd was immediately engaged, as the opening track got the night off on a loud note. It’s impossible to not notice the similarities between the punching voices of Black Francis and Mario Cuomo, lead vocalist of the Orwells. In fact, it seems as if the real Black Francis has been listening, as they’ve enlisted The Orwells to open for them during a brief four-date stint in the northwest, starting in Portland on November 30th.
The band continued their set with “Heavy Head,” another track from their new album, which highlights the band’s ability to hit you hard with heavy, biting guitar riffs, hence the track’s name. The group then played fan-favorite, “They Put A Body In A Bayou,” which had the crowd singing along. The Orwells followed up with “Let It Burn,” another fan-favorite, this one from their 2014 breakthrough album, Disgraceland. It was the first performance of one of the band’s older tracks, and the crowd seemed to be appreciative, indicated by the song serving as a turning point in the night where people started to get real rambunctious. Multiple girls climbed to the stage to be either pushed off by Cuomo or carried off by a bouncer. The Orwell’s reputation for being rowdy was definitely on display.
The band played “Creature,” followed by “Vacation,” as the night continued to increase in incident. Cuomo roamed around the stage and fans relentlessly crowd surfed, attempting to share the stage with the indie rockers. The night proceeded as expected, and the Orwells offered a great show. Alternating between playing tracks from their two most recent projects, including “Who Needs You” and “The Righteous One,” the last of which featured a long, intense guitar solo and jam.
To close out the night, The Orwells, as part of their encore, treated the audience to a cover of The Dead Weather’s, “Steady As She Goes,” then playing “Double Feature,” the last track from their new album. The Chicago rockers put on a great show that was true to their punching sound, highlighted by their strong, driving guitar. In short, the Orwells know how to put on a rock show.
Live Review by Max Asper