It’s been a long time coming for fans of The Dear Hunter. The last time the band descended upon Toronto was in support of their album fifth full-length album, Migrant, almost exactly 3 years ago. Last Tuesday, they graced the stage at the Velvet Underground after great sets by supporting acts O’Brother and Rare Futures. Once onstage, Casey and the gang wasted no time in getting their performance underway, opening the night with “The Old Haunt,” a track off their newest album, Act IV.
For fans of the band, the new record was something that everyone had been waiting for. When Casey first started the band in 2005, he demoed tracks that would eventually be released as The Dear Hunter’s first full-length album, Act I. These albums would come to serve as the foundation, and ultimately become the reason that so many people have gravitated towards their music.
“This is going to hurt” Casey grinned before their performance of “The Church and The Dime,” a track known for his blood-curdling yowl. Despite the challenging vocal work necessary for the song, Casey belted it out, hitting every last note with ease. Clearly veterans of the stage, they powered through the song, twisting and turning to the sound of Casey’s vocals. As one audience member quietly remarked, it’s clear that they’ve “still got it.”
For their encore, Casey returned to the stage and announced that he would be playing a new track called “Light.” The song was reminiscent of those written for the Green EP, light and tender guitar picking accompanied by strong vocal passages that highlight Casey’s witty and clever songwriting. In typical Dear Hunter fashion, they played two additional tracks to round out the night.
After all was said and done, the show clocked in at a lengthy 2 hours. This comes as no surprise for a band that’s been known to play 3 hour sets without falter, maintaining a consistent level of energy and intensity throughout their set. Effortlessly transitioning from track to track, it seemed the band has not lost its allure from years past. If it does take the band another 3 years to make their way back, I’ll be there, like an old friend patiently awaiting their arrival.