Halloween with July Talk

Travis Persaud, Contributor Ω

“Let’s all band together and have a good Halloween,” Leah Fay, the lead female vocalist of Toronto-based July Talk, said to the crowd at Bailey’s Pub just as the band delved into its set.

Between the slamming guitars, blues riff, catchy hooks and off-mike howls, July Talk had no problem winning over the crowd. Despite the small audience and limited dance floor space, the ever energetic Fay and frontman Peter Dreimanis coaxed the crowd into letting loose in front of them. Pleased, Dreimanis thanked those dancing audience members, telling them, “it’s so much better when you dance.”

Fay and Dreimanis playfully established the tone for the set as Fay yanked on Dreimanis’ hair and coyly placed her scarf around his neck. In itself, Fay and Dreimanis’ on-stage interactions are a show. As the music consumes them, Fay and Dreimanis come to embody the tensions presented by Fay’s delightfully sweet voice contrasted with Dreimanis’ growls. In one motion Fay grabs Dreimanis luring him only to turn around and promptly reject him.

Regardless of a flu making its rounds in the band, July Talk delivered a lively show spry with commitment to the music they made. The band delivered a balance of confidence and vulnerability making them accessible as performers. Encouraging and feeding off the crowd’s energy, July Talk’s presence was captivating.

The Bailey’s Pub show was July Talk’s second time playing in Kamloops since the beginning of September.  Different from July Talk’s first Kamloops show, they returned with a new tour van and temporary replacement drummer in tow as the band’s stalwart had commitments abroad. After playing at TRU for Tunes Against Tuition, the band had a tight schedule of just more than two days to make it back to Toronto for a hometown show. Unfortunately the band’s van died forcing them to abandon it in Schreiber, Ont.  On their trek back westward Dreimanis explained they paid a visit to their recently deceased van, stopping to see if it would start for them to no avail.

The unlikely vocal pairing had an equally unlikely meeting in Toronto a few summers ago at a candlelit bar during the Ossington Avenue Blackout Party held as a commemorative anniversary to the 2003 blackout that left much of Ontario and the eastern United States without power. Fay caught Dreimanis’ attention as she sung a song about her ex-boyfriend. Before the night was through Dreimanis approached Fay, asking her to accompany him for some fries. Fay casually declined his offer describing how she was off-put by his deceivingly young appearance, his voice that she recounted to sound as if he’d been smoking cigarettes since he was eight and the bottles he broke during her impromptu performance. As luck would have it, Dreimanis was able to track Fay down later, ultimately uniting them to form July Talk.

July Talk released its self-titled debut album on White Girl Records on Oct. 16, 2012.  In the new year the band hopes to tour Australia. “When it happens I’ll believe it,” Fay said of the upcoming tours.