Final Fantasy I + II: Advance Version
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Final Fantasy I + II: Advance Version

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Maybe Torontoist is getting old, but turning up at a gig at doors and waiting an hour and fifteen minutes for anything to happen at all seems an unfair punishment for an eagerness to see the first band to play. The first band at the Images Festival Fundraiser, of course, being Final Fantasy, one of the most hyped bands of the year, and it’s barely started. Despite being utterly captivated by The CN Tower Belongs to the Dead, infatuated to the point of periods of hours on which Torontoist will play nothing else except that one song on loop, no other song currently available online has particularly peaked Torontoist’s interest (nor our ire), so it was in greatly conflicting crashing waves of trepidation and anticipation that we sat for over an hour. When Owen Pallett finally emerged (we could see him fiddling with his violin in the back room for ages) His live act was revealed to be truly something to be seen. Solo on stage, his ability to keep aware of a continually increasing group of samples and loops, while creating yet more using his violin in a variety of strange ways, including yelling into the strings and playing it like a ukulele, all the while singing, is as remarkable to watch as seeing Duracell perform the theme of the first world of Space Harrier using only a drum kit.
Indeed, this videogame-themed comparison is apt – not only named after one, but in many ways Pallett often creates music that sounds like a game of Electroplankton (if Electroplankton worked, or was any good at all). Unfortunately for a solo performer, once the novelty wears off, something quickly appears to be missing. While the tunes remain busy enough, Pallett’s voice wobbles across the fine line between ‘emotively clumsy’ and ‘endearingly clumsy’,an important distinction, trust us, and the distinct lack of percussion is an obvious loss.
Which makes it a lucky thing that mid-way through the set a drummer joined the fray.
With the addition of drums, Final Fantasy’s sound is gloriously fattened – Pallett’s voice appears strengthened, and the peaks of the music feel all the greater. While the (not very) elaborate mime performed during the final song (“This one’s an epic”, Pallett quipped), This Lamb Sells Condos was gratuitous, Final Fantasy offered more than enough bang for Torontoist’s buck.

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