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Gig review: Miss Quincy at the Green Note, London

February 8, 2011 Comments: 0
Miss Quincy and Tyler Toews

Bringing a Canadian offbeatness to proceedings, as well as a set of outspoken, unclassifiable songs, Miss Quincy  and her “left-hand man”, guitarist/banjoist Tyler Toews have no problem keeping a roomful of people unfamiliar with her music entertained and tapping their toes. Straight off the plane, with a radio session already behind them, a drive to Glasgow in front of them, and taking to the stage some time after 10 p.m., the pair could have been forgiven for a little weariness. But if it was there, they kept it well-hidden.
The set was short at the end of triple bill, and the duo format lacks the intensity provided by fiddle and mandolin on the studio album, but Miss Quincy’s stories of Canadian weather and Canadian driving distances, as well as the interaction with Toews and the singalong moments, kept the audience engaged. Not to mention that she has a very strong set of songs – “Sweet Jesus Cafe” in particular is made for playing live and was the perfect song to finish on, although her attempts to get the reserved English audience to stand up and dance were met with only limited success.
Hatted and booted on every appearance, Miss Quincy brings more than just music to her performances. And she has a unique way of moving her head as she dances that rather puts one in mind of an ostrich – but is actually more appealing than that description would suggest.
Toews, already almost too tall for the stage, makes himself look even taller by wearing a pinstripe suit. But his left-handed playing – actually he plays a right-handed guitar upside down – gives the performance a visual balance, and mentions of his own album leave one wanting to hear more of him.
Though Miss Quincy would probably benefit from performing with a full band, she and Toews are more than worth seeing during the current UK tour, which runs until Feb. 20. Details in the gig guide.
Naomi Koppel

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