July Talk’s performance at the Gateway was, for some, a long awaited return to Calgary since Sled Island became “Flood Island,” while to others it was an unexpected, sexually charged scene.

As the room filled with an abundance of college students, Thomas D’Arcy began to play. The former frontman of Toronto indie pop group, Small Sins, took the stage with a backing band, cleverly named the Dick Moves, which primed the crowd nicely.

July Talk’s Peter Dreimanis walked centre stage with the cool confidence of a seasoned vet while fellow singer Leah Fay followed, wearing a shirt that read “Crack Is Wack.” Opening with “The Garden,” July Talk immediately commanded the attention of everyone in the venue.

It was easy to tell who knew the reputation of July Talk’s performances and who didn’t when the pushing, slapping and biting began. Three songs in, halfway through “Guns + Ammunition,” Dreimanis walks over to Fay and bites her on the ear, to which Fay responds with a slap across the face. Looking around, it was interesting to see the crowd’s response. At first, people were confused, unsure if they were witnessing a legitimate onstage fight. Further into the set, Dreimanis and Fay grew more aggressive, lustful and utterly convincing as two sort-of torn ex-lovers. You could cut the sexual tension in the room with a knife and the crowd went crazy for it.

July Talk played every song they’ve recorded in their short career, including the four tracks recently added to their debut album. The new songs fit in well to the set though sadly none stood out. The night was complete with an impromptu rendition of “Happy Birthday” to Karen, the sound engineer, a floor-shaking “Paper Girl” encore and an intoxicated woman climbing onstage to inform the band, “My roommate loves you!” Furious and in-your-face, July Talk stayed true to their juxtaposed sound, winning over fans, old and new.

By Shilo Delani
Photos by Sebastian Buzzalino

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