Mark Seymour at the Mod Club

An interview with Mark Seymour for his late 2013 brief Canadian tour.

Author:  Julia Leconte, Toronto Now.

Date: 10 November 2013.

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Mark Seymour at the Mod Club
Aussie frontman puts on harmonious, cozy show
Mark Seymour and Mike Marlin at the Mod Club, Saturday, November 9.

Australia’s beloved rockstar Mark Seymour, frontman of Melbourne legends Hunters & Collectors, is used to playing gigantic stadiums. So Saturday’s Mod Club show (a matinée, no less) felt intimate and special. Actually, Seymour and fellow guitarist Cam McKenzie are doing a string of cozy warmup dates before a larger-venue tour with the rest of his band, the Undertow, comes around next spring.

The two played songs from Seymour’s covers album Seventh Heaven Club including The Pogues’ Lorelei, and even showed some Canadian love with his version of The Band’s It Makes No Difference – which he said he had the idea to cover while “in a little town I was staying in, a place called Mississauga” – during which, McKenzie shone on a beautiful solo.

The Mod Club’s flashing, at times literally blinding strobe-light show seemed super incongrous to the acoustic-guitarmonious heartland-y rock music, there wasn’t a clear rollicking highlight that pushed the loyal crowd over the edge, and the lyrics to One More Ride were cringe-worthy: “God knows you’re no girl guide, why don’t you kick my ass and give me one more ride.” (Granted that’s a criticism of the song, but live, the delivery borderlines creepy.)

But, all minor quibbles. It was a schooling in guitar chops and vocal harmonies, and Seymour’s decades of rockstardom make him an effortlessly confident and engaging performer with a constant, peppy shoulder shrug in his strumming and a voice that has a limit, but still carried each cover (and original) with Springsteen-esque aplomb.

Plus, he threw in some Hunters & Collectors classics for the diehards, including a very pretty encore rendition of Throw Your Arms Around Me.

At 57, Seymour is well into a storied career, while at 52, opener Mike Marlin, a late bloomer from London who entered the biz at 48, is just beginning. His sorrowful barritone songs are peppered with classic British self-deprecation, and he balanced quite literal ditties about things like slamming his coworker’s head in a photocopier with darker, more opaque heartbreak tunes. Definitely one who deserves more love on this side of the Atlantic.