Passionate. Engaging. Dramatic. Interesting. I could sit here all day using adjectives to describe Ben Caplan & The Casual Smokers' performance at Sugar Nightclub the other night and they'd all be true, but no justice would be done. This was a musical masterclass from Caplan, Canada's philosopher troubadour and owner of one of music's finest beards. Caplan & Co's music is ridiculously theatrical and had me captivated more than folk music has got ahold of me in some time.
First off, and most ridiculously impressive, was the band's punctuality! This may seem like an insane thing to bring up in a review, but when a headliner at a club show is on the stage at 10, as advertised, it is a thing of goddamned beauty, especially on a weeknight. It's a small thing that shows a respect for the audience and starts things off on a nice little note. From the get-go, the sound mixing was on-point. Volume distortion is a constant battle at smaller club shows, especially with a powerful (and important) lead singer, but this was crystal clear – the Casual Smokers loud, but Caplan's voice front and centre, like it needed to be. The crispness of the mixing allowed to crowd to focus on and bond with the songs. These magnificent songs deserve to be heard as clearly possible.Read More