When Witch Mountain first came to town in June, playing on a killer bill with Castle and Blood Ceremony, it went down as one of, if not the best gig I’ve seen in Toronto this year. At the time, Rob Wrong had said something about them coming back in the fall, and thus I was pleased, if not entirely surprised, when I found out they’d be making a return trip in October. But, truth be told, the excitement of seeing them the first time wasn’t equaled by the return visit–and neither was the turnout at the second gig, for that matter.
Now, there was quite a bit going down in Toronto on October 25th. It wasn’t quite November 20, 2006, when Guns ‘n Roses, Primus and Cannibal Corpse all hit town on the same night, but you did have Swans playing Lee’s Palace and the Misfits at the Opera House, so this was hardly the biggest gig in town. Couple that Swans gig with the Toronto After Dark film fest, and the vicinity of Bloor and Bathurst was a pretty happening place–just not necessarily at the Wreckroom, where there were far fewer people in attendance than were drawn to the June gig. I don’t think the difference could entirely be explained by the lack of Blood Ceremony on the bill, either. It seems Witch Mountain simply over-saturated the Toronto market this year, and not everyone was as stoked to see them a second time as I was.
That said, the band didn’t seem to be deterred by the smaller turnout, putting on a performance that was even better than their initial foray into the T-Dot. People may knock the Wreckroom’s sound system, but the vocals were clearer and louder this time around, and I could practically hear every nuance of every instrument. Uta Plotkin also seemed more confident and assertive on stage, and it probably helped that their bassist, who had just joined prior to the previous tour, had more time to gel with the collective outfit.
Once again offering us several tracks from their latest album, Cauldron of the Wild, which has had some time to sink in now, along with the tunes on their new two-song EP, they’ve only elevated the album’s status on my year-end list with a second scintillating live performance. The band returned for a two-song encore solely at the urging of one rather loud fan, and even gave us “End Game,” a number from South of Salem that wasn’t in the set last time. (They also included “Wing of the Lord” once again, though I’d still like to hear them play more from that record!) Those that were in attendance came away thoroughly impressed, judging by the reactions on social media. But hey, I heard Swans were pretty sweet, too…
In any case, I certainly hope to see Witch Mountain again, sooner rather than later, though I’d be willing to wait at least a year for their next visit. To relive the evening through the lens of my Canon PowerShot, click here.