There’s no better way to end a great tour than to play on home turf, and that is exactly what Aaron Marshall’s Intervals did with The Shape of Colour tour, featuring Plini, Save Us From the Archon, and Earth’s Yellow Sun. First of all, for anyone who has been to Adelaide Hall in Toronto, you’ll know that once you find the seemingly hidden entrance, it’s a cosy little basement of a venue with low-hanging speakers that are poorly placed from certain angles. However, the sound was quite decent, and the room was packed with both people and energy.
Hometown boys Earth’s Yellow Sun were first to take the stage, and they did a marvellous job – especially considering that they were a last-minute addition to the bill, replacing the great Angel Vivaldi. Also impressive was the fact that their usual lineup of sax players was absent, and they were forced to find a replacement in the form of Shanna Hanko, who learned all of the required arrangements within 48 hours. They performed a few tracks from their first EP, as well as parts two and three of ‘The Infernal Machine’. I said it the last time I saw them: these guys are going places.
Next up was Pennsylvania’s Save Us From the Archon. While the crowd seemed to dig what they were doing, I wasn’t a fan. Having never heard them before, I went in with an open mind, but they had a very muddled sound (which wasn’t the venue’s fault, as the other bands sounded crisp). The jumble of notes being played at high speeds would have been intense if they sounded at all rehearsed. Their drummer had some good accents but the whole outfit was too messy for me to get into. One of the guitarists had a ridiculous amount of energy, though, and clearly enjoys what he does so I’ll give him that.
Australia’s Plini took the stage to excited applause, with his fantastic lineup of Troy Wright, Simon Grove, and Jake Howsam Lowe. You didn’t even have to be a Plini fan going into this performance to be impressed with how tight these guys are together. They opened their set with “Heart”, from 2013’s ‘Other Things’. Also off of that album, they played “Selenium Forest”, which included an extended solo between Plini and Lowe. The two guitarists traded lead parts a lot actually, which meant that no one stole the spotlight away from anyone else’s talent. The setlist was pretty varied, from the newest single, “Every Piece Matters”, to an older track like “Moonflower”. If the music itself wasn’t enough, Plini also regaled the audience with amusing tales from the road, the band playing some smooth jazz in the background.
If you didn’t get your fill of Plini after that set, you were in luck, as he and bassist Grove were back to support Marshall as part of the new and improved Intervals, along with drummer Nathan Bulla. They performed ‘The Shape of Colour’ in its entirety, interspersed with more jazz story time – including the tale of how the tour came to be. This was, needless to say, a very solid team of talent that Marshall put together, and the crowd of fans, family and friends surely made the final night of the tour even more special. Nick Johnston even jumped on stage for his solo during “Slight of Hand”, to which the crowd reacted with tumultuous cheers, and of course, Plini flawlessly played his solo on “Libra”. Following that, Marshall announced that they were going to skip the part where the band leaves and the crowd has to chant them back for an encore, and instead, they burst into a hilarious verse of “Smoke On the Water”, which quickly turned into a jazz fusion improv jam. Between the shots of whiskey being passed around the stage, Marshall and Plini tapping on each others guitars, and the generally awesome feel-good jam session, this was probably the best encore I’ve ever seen.
All in all, the bands that took the stage that night in Toronto had a blast, as did the fans, who were treated to a fun atmosphere and a whole lot of skillful musicianship. The combination of Intervals and Plini was a perfect match, and Simon Grove’s bass contribution to both bands was phenomenal. Instrumental fusion metal (yes, that’s what I’m calling it) is at an all-time high, and I hope for your sake that you were lucky enough to attend one of the shows on The Shape of Colour Tour.