Danny Laj & the Looks / Duende / The Glamour Machine
Tue, Mar 21, 2017 @ 8:00 pm to 2:00am
Danny Laj & the Looks: Songwriter Laj (Lajeunesse), born and bred in Kirkland Lake, a rural gold-mining camp six hours north of Toronto, is no stranger to being a small town kid growing up in a secluded northern town. Having toured the country and playing any stage he can find, Laj is now in the position to work out his own musical vision, and so far the results have been very exciting. Laj’s heartfelt songs seamlessly meld together elements of rock, folk, and country, without straying too far from the power-pop roots that give the tunes a certain joie de vivre, with nods to tunesmiths like Nick Lowe and Paul Westerberg. The narrative weaved together by Laj’s powerful yet unpretentious lyrics tells the tale of the Northern Ontario kid trying to find his way south, ultimately to Montreal, by way of Sudbury, North Bay, Toronto, and everywhere in between, with stories of finding love, cross-country tours, and broken-down vehicles, but ultimately retaining a strong sense of humour and hope which lies within memorably catchy hooks and intertwining harmonies between Laj and bassist Jeanette Dowling. Dowling and drummer Lewis Handford as The Looks, Laj’s crack rhythm section, provide a rock-solid foundation and perfect complement to Laj’s quirky pop sensibilities, rendering Dany Laj and the Looks an unstoppable force just waiting to win your heart.
Over its first six years, DUENDE steadily morphed into a band built for anything/everything and some kinda other thing. Sensibilities for stately, suited up country rock got splashed with the tie-dyed hallucinogens of psychedeliaʼs surreal glee, but thatʼs just a coating atop their penchants for Delta and juke-joint blues, theatrical murder-ballad inclined folk and grimy psychobilly.
With Duende, you’re at a different kind of Crossroads – playing ring-around-the-rosy with R.L. Burnside, The Cramps, Link Wray and maybe even Screaming Jay Hawkins. And the Devil might be there, too, keeping time with his hoof stomps. Zesty, no? Just wait, their next jam might be a classically clangorous ol’ garage rock anthem.
This Detroit-based band formed out of a sublime and stormy jam session between longtime players and temporarily servied as the flagship for a modest music collective before endearingly taking on the role of bridge-builder and clique-clipper by curating ongoing monthly music showcases featuring bands of myriad genres and from all corners of town, howling and rocking inside a Pool Hall just north of Detroit that’s since blossomed into the veritable nerve-center and go-to performing spot for the entire scene. They’ve seen a lot and played a lot, to be sure, and that sound, the sound of those who are indeed on a journey (…or, trip, if you will), shines through.