Seeking to thrill
Despite the demands of touring and maintaining a sense of constant creativity, Toronto’s Dragonette has successfully kept the passion, positivity and energy that are instantly evident in their live performances.
In support of their latest release and second full-length album, Fixin To Thrill, the band has launched a massive world-wide tour that brought them to the Starlight Lounge last Wednesday night.
As the Canadian-based electro-pop band took to the Starlight stage, the audience was able to share in their creative spirit while dancing to the stories sang by lead singer-songwriter Martina Sorbara.
Their open attitude and carefree vibe was evident as die-hard and new fans danced and rocked out to a set list that showcased both new material and favourites from the last record.
Having already been energized by Dragonette’s supporting act, Ruby Jean and the Thoughtful Bees, the crowd packed the dance floor and reacted instantly to the likes of “Take It Like a Man,” “I Get Around,” “Pick Up the Phone,” “Easy” and Sorbara’s favourite, the dance-country tune “Gone Too Far”.
“I think there are distinctive stories to each song and, for the most part, they’re very personal stories,” Sorbara told The Cord in an interview before the show.
“Sometimes there’s more than one story going on at once, but a lot of the time it’s like I don’t even know what it is until after it’s kind of written and [it’s like] ‘Oh, that’s what this is about.’”
An extremely visual act – both through their lyrics and live performances – Sorbara donned an eye-catching ensemble that mimicked the 80s new-wave pop look the band embraces through their videos and album art.
“If a vision comes to mind and you have a visual, you just kind of grab onto it … and hopefully you’ll be working with somebody who can help you realize it,” Sorbara explained, referring to the video for the opening track on the album “Fixin to Thrill”.
“It just started with a flash of an image of me drawing my body on myself. And I made that one … [with my] best friend – she directed it – so we just kind of came up with all these crazy concepts.”
Though the new album has definite similarities to their previous release, 2007’s Galore, Fixin To Thrill offers a distinct presence and maintains the band’s love of music as opposed to a love of themselves.
“Every single song we write is a sort of surprise,” Sorbara elaborated.
“There’s not really a like, ‘This is the kind of music we play, these are the sounds we use,’ so I think … both albums take such crazy tangents all the time.”
Fixin To Thrill – the album, the live show and the title itself – not only reflects the intensity of Dragonette, but also their determination to perform with eagerness and integrity, whether to full houses or sparse crowds.
“When that line came out of me when I was writing that song, I thought, ‘Oh my God, I love it!’” recalled Sorbara.
“At first I was like ‘Fixing to Kill’, as in kill it, and I was like, ‘No, that’s not right.’ Then I was like, ‘Fixing to thrill – yes!’”
Regardless of their prominent presence in the Canadian music scene, Sorbara explains that the band’s increasing popularity in the United States is a big deal, reflecting the growing relevance of the Toronto act.
“The U.S. is just a big kind of scary black hole of question marks, you know?” said Sorbara.
“So just to have [the album] pick up by itself and have like, almost no roots there at all feels really good.
“Not that it doesn’t feel good in Canada, but in Canada we have all these kind of avenues that we’re used to going down … so having any kind of recognition in the U.S. – even the smallest little bit – is like, ‘Our music got there by itself.’”
For Dragonette, live performances create an incredible rush.
“I just wanna rock!” Sorbara exclaimed before the show last week.
“I just want to play live shows and I want people to dance, you know what I mean? I want people to sing along. I’m fixin’ to thrill.”