Buble in Toronto

May 25th, 2005

Clare and I went to the Michael Buble concert tonight at the Hummingbird Centre in Toronto.

Michael is a terriffic showman – fabulous voice, charismatic presence. He gave a great performance. Highly recommended.

His band was great too, in every respect except the drums (caveat: I’m a drummer of sorts). I’ve seen his band on DVD with another drummer and it was fantastically tight and crisp – working with the brass accents on the big band showcase tunes and swinging to set your foot tapping. I was really looking forward to hearing a really tight Jazz groove.

Unfortunately, they brought a blues shuffle drummer to a Jazz gig. That’s not to say he was bad. He shone brilliantly on shuffle hits “How Sweet It Is” and “This Thing Called Love” as well as any straight time stuff, but he swung like a sack of concrete – I never once felt the urge to tap my foot and that’s rare for me – and hardly a rimshot to be heard in support of the brass accents. Yes there were some good fills and standalone accents, but not a lot of accents coincidental to a running groove. Also, the kit was tuned and miked for rock/blues – you can’t play jazz standards how I expect to hear them without a recognisable crisp ride cymbal. I couldn’t hear the bell of the ride cymbal on the latin tunes either, even though he was using it. It’s too bad because it distracted me from the rest of the show.

I still recommend that you see the show. Unless you’re a pedantic wannabe Jazz drummer you’ll never notice, and Michael Buble’s remarkable talent is worth the price of entry.

8 comments to “Buble in Toronto”

  1. I like Michael Buble very much…too bad about the sub drummer….a very informative and astute critique regarding the drummers style, and what sounds like lack of proper microphone technique and mixing on the part of the sound engineer. It appears the drummer was not a “big band” drummer and not used to phrasing with the brass section.
    The regular drummer may catch hell for sending in that sub! Give Michael my number next time you see him….I can send him my Ronn Metcalfe demo.

  2. Heh, “next time you see him”, the chance would be a fine thing!

    Dunno if the drummer was a substitute or the regular guy on this tour. He was technically very accurate and as I say excellent at the rock/blues parts but seemed to be playing rote rather than feeling it on the big band parts.

    I might not have noticed so much if it hadn’t been compounded by the mixing. I can’t knock the tuning so much – hard to retune your kit during a show.

  3. Is this an ongoing show, or was it a one time deal Brent?

  4. Three sold out nights this week at the Hummingbird as part of his current North American tour. If you have major buckaroos for the scalpers you could get there tonight or tomorrow, but it’ll be as expensive as the NHL playoffs. Well, what used to be the NHL playoffs.

  5. Damn. Your post gave me some hope for a moment.

    I heard he was in town this morning, otherwise i would have tried to get advance tix.

    Next time I suppose.

  6. Actually I’ve heard of this guy. His name is Rob Perkins and he’s a pretty serious jazz drummer. His resume includes years of touring with The Clayton Brothers quintet, (if he’s good enough for John Clayton he’s good enough for me) and lots of other great jazz artists. You can check out his web site at http://www.robertperkinsmusic.com. There is a big band record that I know of by a guy named Jason Goldman, that he plays on and it’s super swingin’. I’ve seen Buble shows and think that the sound really sucks despite the bands best efforts, I can imagine it’s really difficult to swing a big band with the drums miked for a rock concert.

  7. Thanks for the input and the link. I felt at the time that surely someone playing at that level had it in him, so perhaps he was new to the tour, still playing rote for safety’s sake and not feeling loose with it yet. I can see by his site that he’s pretty versatile.

    Absolutely, the drums were mis-miked for the part of the show that I came to see, which I would contend is Buble’s bread and butter.

  8. hmmm, compared to bill wysaske, the old drummer, he doesn’t really swing it as much…although, at the melbourne show which i saw, rob perkins was introduced by bublé himself as ‘the best drummer i’ve played under’…make of that what you will!!