Just 24 hours after The Fugitives officially released their new album “The Promise Of Strangers,” Team GDW returned to the Sanderson Centre in Brantford, ON to spend an evening with the band during one of the stops on their January promotional tour.  Billed as part of the Sanderson Centre’s ‘Lobby Series,’ we arrived at this historic venue in plenty of time to secure front row seats for this intimate show.  Having spent the week leading up to this show enjoying the new material, we were naturally very excited to have the opportunity to not only catch up with The Fugitives, but to see how the new material sounded in the live environment.

With a four-microphone stage set-up, we were certainly happy to see that Adrian Glynn and Brendan McLeod were being joined on this tour by accomplished violinist Carly Frey (The Coal Porters) and banjo player Rob McLaren (Union Duke).  And while plenty of new tunes would form part of the set list for the evening, the most pleasant surprise was witnessing the chemistry of all four musicians with some of The Fugitives’ previous material too.  As an added bonus, both Carly and Rob would be given a solo spotlight during the evening to share tracks of an individual and personal nature.

Even as an intimate gathering, the band would perform 18 tracks across two sets, and from across their entire back catalog.  Indeed, there would be a half dozen songs performed before any reference was made to the latest album, although six of the new songs would be ultimately shared with this particular audience.  After opening the show with “Blue Belle Lament,” both Adrian and Brendan would split the lead vocal duties (“Love Affairs” and “Highway Three” respectively), before handing the spotlight to Rob for a solo performance of the John Hartford penned (and Glen Campbell recorded) “Gentle On My Mind.”  With an identical opportunity offered to her during the second set, Carly would take her solo segment to duet with Rob on her Coal Porters tune “Wide Open Spaces.”

Ever curious to find out which songs would be selected from “The Promises Of Strangers,” I was very happy to see them not shy away from the two powerhouse tracks from the album, notably “Lights Out” and the Leonard Cohen tribute tune, “No Words.”  Add in the diversity of how such songs were delivered (some by all at the individual microphones, others as a collective around one shared microphone), and those amazing harmonies and joint instrumentation skills dazzled all.  Both the new song, “Northern Lights,” and the always popular “Haunted” were given the collective one-mike treatment, which worked beautifully with both the smaller crowd and the great acoustics on offer in this part of the building.

I happened to notice that quite a few people seated around us were familiar with some of the older material, singing along and foot-tapping in time to some well known choruses.  The Fugitives kept the mix pretty even, offering up cuts from “Everything Will Happen” (“Sturdy” & “Old Mistakes”), “Eccentrically We Love” (“Start A War” & “All This Trouble”) and “In Streetlight Communion” (“Highway Three” & “Haunted”).  Brendan would provide tuition during “Bigger Than Luck” for maximum audience participation, while Adrian would merrily trade anecdotes with Carly about the ages and significance of their instruments.  If I had to select one particular highlight, it would be during “Breaking Promises,” with Brendan’s tale of ‘Lobby Joe,’ an incarcerated lobster rescued from imminent death by a vegan crusader, and promptly shipped to a friend in Halifax and returned to the ocean.  This ensemble proved to be much more than just a folk band; they displayed genuine chemistry and endearing personalities to build an instant rapport with those in attendance.

Having closed with their perfect harmonies on “Haunted,” the well-deserved applause brought all four musicians back to the stage for one final number.  Opting to huddle around the solo microphone for one last time, the aptly titled new track “Goodnight Everyone” was the perfect choice to bid their farewells and send the audience home after a wonderful evening of live music.  We are incredibly grateful for the chance to meet with the band, and especially to both Carly and Brendan with whom we conversed several times throughout the night.  We once again encourage everybody to pick up a copy of the new album, and attend one of their upcoming shows should they happen to be in a town near you.  Team GDW definitely look forward to experiencing The Fugitives in concert again when they are back in our part of the world.

The Fugitives Set List:

  1. Blue Belle Lament
  2. Love Affairs
  3. Start A War
  4. Highway Three
  5. Breaking Promises
  6. Gentle On My Mind (Glen Campbell cover)
  7. Lights Out
  8. No Words
  9. Sturdy
  10. See This Winter Out
  11. Till It Feels Like Home
  12. Bigger Than Luck
  13. Wide Open Spaces (Coal Porters cover)
  14. Northern Lights
  15. Old Mistakes
  16. All This Trouble
  17. Haunted

Encore:

  1. Goodnight Everyone

~ M

Visit the Fugitives’ website.

Listen to “The Promise of Strangers” on Spotify.