If the Hidden Cameras have been described as “gay church folk” how should we describe The Singing Saw Shadow Show? The group is made up of musicians from over half-a-dozen Toronto bands and play saw, guitar, banjo and a few other instruments while projecting images on a sheet. It sounds silly, but the mournful saw and often haunting mixture of shadow and light makes for a unique musical experience.
Local musician James Anderson started the tool-based ensemble a couple of years back and the Saws have slowly been gaining a cult following around the city and have even played at this fall’s much talked about show at the abandoned brickworks.
How did you come up with the idea of the Singing Saw Shadow Show?
Walking down college street in a snow storm, wondering what to do for a pending wavelength show and wanted to make something special – that was the thought – a dadaist shadow show of giants and halfcut’s.
You play with a number of other bands around town. Who are they and what do you do with them?
The Singing Saw Shadow Show shares many members with friend and family bands and have appeared on recordings including (past and present but not limited to) – Lenin I Shumov, Jon Rae and the River, Fembots, Phonemes, Ghostlight, Tradition, The Creeping Nobodies, Drummer, Transistor Sister, Bob Wiseman, Random Order, All-Slavic Pessimists Chorus and Do Make Say Think. There are also several solo projects – James Anderson, Anna-Linda Sidal and Jay Baird.
What kind of audiences have you been getting to these shows, how have people received it?
We play to fairly diverse crowds, most people enjoy the novelty, some people resent the sound, some are frightened by the shadows. the only person to tell me it was boring was a bandmate, but they didn’t try to make it anymore exciting either, so they lose.
You’ve played in some pretty non-traditional places, what’s your favourite show?
Brickworks Demolition Music Night – daniel villa is a beautiful monster.
You’re pretty plugged in to the music scene in Toronto, where do you think it’ll go from here?
To make new and interesting show that are musically and artistically challenging but mostly not practical or financially rewarding.
What are your three favourite things about the city?
Allan Gardens Conservatory, Kensington Market, Summers on Centre Island
Two things you would change?
The apparent disrespect of architecture and neighborhood history and the demolition/conversion of churches, theatres, factories and historic properties into condominiums.
The Singing Saw Shadow Show plays with the Glass Orchestra at Glass Vs. Metal, a Music Gallery Fundraiser on Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets start at $10. The Music Gallery is located at St. George the Martyr Church (Stephanie and John streets).