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Sunday, 3 March 2013

A Powerful Force: The Indigo Girls at Corona Theatre

The Indigo Girls at Corona Theatre 

A Powerful Force | Jessica Dahn
            Photos | Mira Dahn

With 25 years of touring under their belt, the Indigo Girls took over the Corona Theatre last Thursday and showed no signs of tire. For their tour, the folk-rock duo Amy Ray and Emily Saliers, were joined by Atlanta’s The Shadowboxers. 

Funky and fun the all-male trio The Shadowboxers started out the night strong. I was a bit surprised to hear them announce that they’ve only just released their first album, titled “Red Room”. For such a young band they’ve got quite the gig with their double-duty act on tour with the Indigo Girls. Their opening was catchy and immediately had my full attention.  Their vibe on stage was hard to miss; they were up there having a soulful jam. 

What’s important to note is how refined and polished their sound was, their live performance was strong with great rhythm and harmony - it’s no wonder the Indigo Girls invited them to play as their backing band. Their accompaniment added a great texture to the whole show. 

The energetic members of The Shadowboxers include: vocalist and pianist Matt Lipkins, and vocalist and guitarists Scott Schwartz and Adam Hoffman. Followers on Kickstarter supported their debut album; their project not only raised its funding goal of $18,000, but surpassed it with a total of $32,000 from 298 backers. Not bad at all! 

The energy in the theater continued to build once The Shadowboxers made their first exit from the stage. The balcony section of the Theater was full, an older crowd seated waiting patiently for the duo to commence. Down in front of the stage was a different story, a far more diverse crowd waited, hooting and hollering, clearly not as patient as those on the upper deck. The applause amplified as Ray and Saliers made their entrance, inviting The Shadowboxers out to join them. 

Saliers announced “Nous sommes heureux d’être içi en Montréal!”  The crowd, clearly filled with dedicated followers, immediately started shouting out requests. The ladies stuck to their set-list for the first few songs, including “Tried to Be True” from their second studio album released in 1989, and “Get Out The Map” with Saliers leading the vocals and Ray adding to the rhythm on her mandolin. They included some songs from their most recent studio album “Beauty Queen Sister”, released in 2011. 

Sending The Shadowboxers off for a break, the pair dove into requests being shot out from the onlookers. It was a nice change to see them alone on stage, with their voices complimenting each other’s perfectly. Their musical chemistry is undeniable, singing in perfect harmony with open, heart-felt songwriting; after fourteen studio albums and 25 years of touring, Amy and Emily are still in their element. 

They both switched out instruments throughout the night, selecting acoustic and electric guitars. Ray’s mandolin and Saliers’ electric banjo occasionally emerged from behind stage. A surge of excitement came from the crowd during the catchy fan favorites, such as “Shame on You” and “Closer to Fine”. They played many of their older tracks, their enthusiasm sparking the audience to sing along, song after song. 

“We weren’t expecting this blizzard y’all!” Emily shouted from the stage before jumping into another set with The Shadowboxers. Since emerging musically, Amy and Emily have always been active politically and environmentally. They have created organizations, raised money for non-profits, been accompanied by Greenpeace on tour, and have participated in various rallies and protests. This passion shines through in their songwriting, which covers a range of social issues, and combines their social and musical power as a means for influence and enlightenment. 

The fact that the Indigo Girls are still touring after all this time is a testament to their talent. They have the audience and dynamic stage presence required to put on a powerful performance.


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