Whenever Dragonette makes their tour stops in Toronto or Hamilton, I make sure I’m standing in front of the stage, ready to dance until my feet are sore. I have seen them before, at both Hamilton Place’s studio theatre, and Toronto’s Mod Club, but truthfully, I would travel as far as my bank account would allow me to see them perform. They are a sure-fire source of entertainment, and the perfect soundtrack to a night full of joviality and hair whipping. In fact, in the days before ‘Hello’ graced the airwaves, and they were of smaller distinction, I dragged a friend along with me, despite his protests. After one night, he was a devout worshipper at the altar of Dragonette, and my faithful companion to all of their appearances. He might even love them more than me, which is saying something. The powers of their musical persuasion are that strong.
This time, they were back at Hamilton Place, a venue they haven’t played at for over two years. Another testament to the universal awesomeness of this electro-dance group is the crowd itself. Every type of concert-goer is standing around me, and in every age range, sexual orientation, shape, size and colour. I spot teeny-boppers in their trendy outfits, a drag queen, and even some older couples, who are slightly more reserved but still excited to be there. Dragonette’s catchy beats unite us under one roof and make for wonderful displays of some very interesting dance moves.
Finally, after standing there in delightful anticipation, the three members of the band appear on stage. As a lover of fashion as well as of music, one thing I always look forward to is the wicked wardrobe of frontwoman Martina Sorbara. And I was not disappointed: she is a mixture of fringe and tight denim. Cool and edgy, but still flexible enough to perform her acrobatic stage manoeuvers. The other parts of her trio, bassist Dan Kurtz and drummer Joel Stouffer, affably contribute to her quirkiness, producing the music that has us hooked from the first note.
They open with ‘I Get Around’, which is fitting, since it was the first single off of their debut album Galore, and it gets the audience buzzing. They then introduce their new songs off of Bodyparts, which was released in September, as well as some favourites from Fixin’ To Thrill, released in 2009. They expertly weave a few slower, ballad-type songs between the addictive and beguiling thumps of poppy goodness, allowing us to sway mindlessly, a welcome respite from the rigorous fitness routine their songs induce. My only complaint is that their repertoire is so spectacular, I feel disappointed that there isn’t enough time for them to sing it all.
At least we got to hear a few notable gems from their newest creation, and they sound just as good live as on the album. ‘My Legs’ and ‘Right Woman’ (a side note: this song was featured on Diane von Furstenberg’s collaborative CD Proud to be Woman Vol. 3, which makes it all the more fabulous) were my favourites of the evening, since the combination of their sassy lyrics and noise appeal make it impossible to stand still.
For the encore, Martina re-emerged alone, citing voice exhaustion as the reason why the finale would not be an extensive one. However, she is so adorable; it is hard to feel any bitterness. Instead, her avid fans yell words of encouragement and adoration. Luckily, she did treat us to an acoustic version of the Bodyparts bonus track, ‘Cuckoo’, which embodies her individual charm perfectly with its sweet, tongue-in-cheek lyrics. It also allowed us a glimpse back to Martina’s folk roots, in the days before Dragonette appeared on the scene (in case you were wondering, her earlier stuff is great, too). This alone was worth the ticket price, because even when she is down for the count, she still manages to make her audience smile.
After her final performance, the night ended on an even higher note. For us stragglers, who like children on Christmas, refuse to accept that the moment that caused us weeks of waiting in eager expectation is now finished, the band members came out to sign autographs and take pictures with their loyal fans, generating more appreciation for what they do, and making it a night to remember. I can definitely say I will be back for more, hopefully sooner rather than later, and I encourage everyone else to join me. As Dragonette would say: “Get on the floor, / Don’t make a fuss, / Just do it.” And you should. You really should.