written by Chris Familton
Chris Taylor is a seasoned Sydney Festival performer with appearances as a member of Grizzly Bear. This though was the first of his Sydney shows in his solo guise CANT. With so many shows selling out at The Famous Spiegeltent it was a bit worrying when the venue was only half full just ahead of show time. A few more punters trickled in but it was still a decidedly thin crowd. That mattered little to both those in attendance and the band themselves. They immediately locked into a loud, tight and infinitely rhythmic groove, drew the audience in and were met with rousing cheers and whistles at the end of the first song.
With only one album under their belt the setlist was predetermined yet there was an overwhelming element of new appeal to the songs with the live band Taylor has put together. They gave the songs both the required punch and subtleties that are at times lacking from the recorded versions. They also allowed Taylor to focus mainly on his vocals which were note perfect and unashamedly soaked in pop-soul inflections. His use of vocal effects enhanced the dreamy R&B mood on many of the songs and the amount of precision and emotion Taylor invests in his live delivery was the key to the additional warmth and depth of the music.
Particular highlights were the the low slung and bittersweet Prince-like groove of The Edge, the stark and moving BANG that recalled some of Grizzly Bear’s quieter moments and the tripped beats and electronic pulse and clatter of both Answer and Dreams Come True. CANT were the perfect example of a band exceeding expectations and breathing new life into their music in a magical setting.
this review was first published in The Drum Media