There don’t appear to be any awards for playing a debut album on tour for what seems like an eternity. There’s award for the band who tours endlessly, heading from Cracker Barrel to Cracker Barrel on tour, seemingly never to make another album. There’s no award for the fan who’s seen the band in three countries and heard the same songs, each time.Django Django - pic by Mikala Taylor/

Or is there?

At the Opera House in Toronto, Django Django proved there should be some sort of reward – well, I did give them half a packet of Berocca vitamins – for a relaxed band, a watertight set and an energy and joyfulness that inspires a typically tight audience to lace up their dancing shoes.

“Hail Bop” kicked off the set with the lads in near-darkness swathed in shadowplay from the blinds backdrop, then lead into “Storm” and “Firewater” for the belly. “Default”, the band’s big hit, eventually goes by at breakneck speed.

But it’s “Waveforms” that highlights what’s become the norm at a Django show: extra drums, maracas, percussion, giant tambourines, drummer Dave Maclean even plays a box in the set.  The epic back beat sets feet dancing, and faces grinning. Singer Vinny Neff chit-chats, Jimmy Nixon bashes on Dave’s kit, and keyboardist/percussionist Tommy Grace bounces and beams behind his set.

But it’s the guitar that makes Django even more of a pleasure. Whether Neff’s supporting a middle-eastern loop in “Skies Over Cairo” or playing acoustically for “Hand of Man”, surfin’ out with “Life’s a Beach”, or wrapping up the party with “Wor”, it reminds you that Django released one of the best guitar pop albums of the past 2 years.

And to play all this without visible signs of insanity or boredom after a year of solid touring? *Opens envelope.* And the winner is? Django Django. Here’s your gold statuette, lads.

Meanwhile, there are certainly sod all awards for an opening act on their first big tour. There’s a van, not a bus, Cracker Barrel’s too expensive, and you’ve gotta play your smooth ‘70s easy listening over a half-filled room of chattery bar patrons. But perseverance pays off as Night Moves from Minneapolis strum through a mellow set, rockin’ their thrift-store chic with singer John Pelant doing his Jeff Buckley-Ron Sexsmith thing, and it all sounds perfectly decent. So yeah, no big awards for Night Moves, but I suppose it’s just nice to be nominated. \m/

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