There aren’t many bands with singers like July Talk’s. The Juno Award-winning band’s sophomore album Touch continues to highlight the contrast between Leah Fay’s angelic voice and guitarist Peter Dremanis’s gruff and gravelly voice. And their timing couldn’t have been better: they played at DC9 on the same day that Justin Trudeau made a stop by the White House AND on DC9’s 13th birthday. It was a momentous day made even more momentous by an stellar performance from the Toronto band.
The focal point of July Talk is undoubtedly the duo of Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis. While the rest of the band reliably chugged along with loud, pounding drums and guitar solos, the guitar-toting Dreimanis and the constantly kinetic Fay grabbed every eyeball by turning the on-stage chemistry up to 11. The back-and-forth between the two (like when one grabbed the other’s face or when they got face to face with one another) was impossible to turn away from. They don’t discuss their personal lives with the media, so maybe it’s all just an act. But even if it was, they’re damn good at making a connection not just with each other, but with the crowd.
Dreimanis effortlessly pumped up the crowd with a gravelly and haunting yell into the sky between songs. During another song, a fan was in mid-selfie mode when Fay went up close to her and kissed her on the cheek. Although the band teased a few bars from covers like ZZ Top’s “La Grange” between songs, it was their own songs that took the crowd on a trip. The blues-rock explosion “The Garden” and the disco/hard-rock-influenced “Push + Pull” had some of the strongest receptions.
With the performance they put on, it’s no surprise that July Talk can effortlessly turn heads wherever they go. The band put on a show that satisfied every rock n’ roll fan in the room and then some, but the on-stage give-and-take between Dreimanis and Fay will continue to be what truly makes a July Talk show so irresistible.