INXS - Sound Academy - March 2, 2011

Review and Photos by Darren Eagles

The intimate space of Toronto’s Sound Academy was the chosen venue for a single Canadian show this past Wednesday evening featuring rock icons, INXS. It’s not everyday one gets to witness a group of musicians who have been playing together for 34 years and are still as vibrant and relevant as ever. INXS falls into that category quite nicely.

The show began with the letters “INXS” in red splashed across an array of video light panels at the back of the stage. Then the three founding brothers of the band - Andrew Farriss (keyboards, guitar), Jon Farriss (drums, keyboards) and Tim Farriss (lead guitar) hit the stage to play an unusual but compelling show-opening piece called “Drum Opera”, where Jon played his regular drum kit while Tim and Andrew played single snare drums at centre stage, adorned with various percussion elements hanging off the drums. From there, the rest of the band took the stage with the crowd already fired up, and let loose with “Suicide Blonde”. Each of the band mates were well dressed in black 2-piece suits, with Andrew and JD Fortune showing us that the evening wouldn’t be complete without a myriad of kooky hat changes.

Coming off a short Australian tour and a couple of dates in South America, recently re-minted lead singer of the band, JD Fortune, thanked Sony Music Canada for putting the show together. Fortune, with his come-hither moves and bad-boy good looks was sporting a black top hat and had the female fans complete attention from the start. Reaching out and singing to the ladies in the front row was received with screams and fist pumps.

After original lead singer Michael Hutchence's death in 1997, INXS took a hiatus for a year and did not immediately set out to find a replacement. They performed sporadically with a few different singers for a couple of years. Then in 2005, the band began the reality show RockStar: INXS in order to secure their next frontman in an effort to continue their musical journey. J. D. Fortune of Salt Springs, Nova Scotia won the competition, to become the new lead singer of INXS, whereupon the band and Fortune recorded their 2005 album, Switch, and went on a world tour in 2006. Fortune continued until 2009 when he and the band parted ways, only to find himself asked to rejoin for a special show at the Vancouver Olympic Games in 2010. On again, off again, and in the news over most of 2010, it looks like Fortune is back in the band to stay.

Drummer Jon Farriss made a point after a stripped down acoustic version of “Don’t Change” where only Jon Farriss, Andrew Farriss and guitarist/saxophone Kirk Pengilly were onstage. Jon Farriss asked told the crowd, “Let’s welcome back to the stage not only a great singer, but a great friend, JD Fortune” It seemed like they were going out of their way to show everyone that they were a unified band and that Fortune was indeed their singer. It was great to watch Fortune take hits that Hutchence made familiar to the world so many years ago, and put his own signature on them, all without trying to mimic Hutchence. If anything, Fortune seemed to be channeling “The Doors” singer Jim Morrison in many of his moves throughout the night.

Fans were treated to a 2-hour show, packed to the brim with almost every hit the band had…… and then some. Standout songs, “The Stairs”, “What You Need” and “Never Tear Us Apart” got the fans into the swing of things. In fact, every song played had punch, emotion, and a renewed energy, which seems to be why fans still flock to see their shows after so many years. Seeing expert musicians working their craft in such a polished way made the night even more special. Newer tracks off their 2006 release “Switch” included “Pretty Vegas” and “Afterglow”.

Halfway through the set, during a prerecorded video show featuring “Mediate”, the band left the stage, returning after a few minutes in a completely new wardrobe. This time the fashion was decidedly more casual with jeans and ripped shirts all around. Tim Farriss was sporting a white fighter pilot helmet while Andrew Farris moved about the stage in a large cowboy hat. “Bitter Tears” and “New Sensation” both had a large, in-your-face sound that got the crowd dancing and waving.

After a short break the band returned for a 3-song encore that included a rousing version of “Kick”, the mega hit “By My Side”, and they finished off the evening with “Don’t Change” It was a successful and nostalgic trip back in time with songs that have been bouncing around our brains for years.

www.inxs.com

Great Show !!

INXS rocks...they always have, first with Michael and now with JD..

INXS SHOW IN TORONTO

Thank you Darren for that great review. It's totally true. I was there! I flew in from Winnipeg to see this show. Guess what, on the plane to Toronto I was sitting beside two strangers and guess why they were on that plane? To see the INXS show!

The show was exactly how you described it. I was expecting the best and that's what I got. This concert was so great, and the musicianship at such a high level of professionalism. THEY ROCKED!

JD has a voice and energy that pulls people in like the Pied Piper. It's beautiful and warm and perfect for INXS. It's also beautiful singing his own songs. I can hardly wait for the future now.

It was a great show!

Flew in from Winnipeg for the show - well worth it! JD Fortune owned the stage. The drum opera reached a crescendo and then the harmonica... and out came JD to start suicide blonde... he had the audience from the first note he sang. I could see alot of audience and men and women alike were cheering, singing along and yup lots of fist pumps too! This was classic INXS made fresh by JD Fortune. No need for comparisions or reflection on past - just a focus on the moment - and the moment was great... and the future - it is bright for JD Fortune and the band!

pjo

INXS at Sound Academy

I flew in from Calgary to see JD Fortune and INXS for the fifth time and I was so glad I did not miss this concert. Thanks for a great review! It is so great to see the band back together again and having fun. I never get tired of INXS music and I believe that JD is the best frontman for this band. He was fantastic!

Great review

Thanks for such a great review of the show! I was there (flew in all the way from NJ), and I can't remember a concert I danced, sang and cheered more at. JD Fortune and INXS set the stage on fire with their fantastic music and their amazing showmanship. JD had the crowd in the palm of his hand all night with his amazing voice and his incredible dance moves.....and we loved every second of it. I can't wait to see them live again.

-- Nancy

Great review

Thanks for such a great review of the show! I was there (flew in all the way from NJ), and I can't remember a concert I danced, sang and cheered more at. JD Fortune and INXS set the stage on fire with their fantastic music and their amazing showmanship. JD had the crowd in the palm of his hand all night with his amazing voice and his incredible dance moves.....and we loved every second of it. I can't wait to see them live again.

-- Nancy

Legends!

Fantastic review Darren, thank you! Best live band in the world!!

Amazing Performance!!!

JD rocked the Sound Academy!! It's unfortunate there weren't other North American dates. I came in from Montreal for the show and loved every minute of it!! JD is the ultimate performer he never disappoints when he is on a stage!! Looking forward to other North American dates! Thanks for your wonderful review!

Nat

JD & INXS

Two fantastic performances! March 1 on Breakfast Television and March 2 at Sound Academy. Friends flew in from Thunder Bay, and we had a blast! Great to see such talent together again where they belong. Looking forward to the next ride with the guys. Cheers to many more wonderful years of making great music! My passport is ready...

FYI: Great review, finally someone who truly gets it.