The Pull of Planets – [Live @ Handlebar 2023-4-30] Concert Review

On April 30th 2023, I wandered into Kensington Market. Past the various restaurants and clothing stalls lies a local hotspot for emerging artists: Handlebar. This small bar littered with bicycle paraphernalia had been a venue to many of my friends’ bands. That night I walked in and was greeted to the bluesy sounds of “The Howlin’ Gales”; an old acquaintance who had filled in at the last minute because the opener (Cold Weather Captains) had to pull out.

Sitting at the bar happened to be my friend and lead singer/guitarist of The Pull of Planets; Marcelino DaCosta. After brief pleasantries, he told me that they were going on at 10pm because the Mute Sounds wanted the 9pm slot. I grabbed a small booth near the stage and relaxed as I waited for The Pull of Planets (TPXPS).

The Pull of Planets is a relatively new project. I caught them at their debut on 2022-12-09 at The Dakota Tavern in Toronto. Where that previous show was more of a feeling out process, tonight would be my first major exposure to them. 

Amongst the roster of this 5 piece group contained 3 members of Mississauga Funk/Jam Band: Fives and Tens. Sean Billy Jackson played bass, Nicky Vidal was on the drums, and Ray “Cascade” Vidal on Lead Guitar. Nicky was the only member who I have yet to speak with, but both Ray and Sean were laid back and open to let me talk their ear off. Also amongst the roster was Pedro “Odisea” Quintanilla who played guitar as well as co-wrote many of the songs. Originally he knew Marcelino through break dancing and wound up eventually playing in TPXPS. 

If you were just listening to the audio, TPXPS wouldn’t sound like the type of group that has 3 guitarists in it. The easiest way to describe their sound is a melding of experimental and shoegaze elements. Creating this modern bohemian dream-pop vibe where the feeling of the songs matter more than the clarity of the vocals. Don’t get me wrong, TPXPS is a group that takes themselves seriously. Their songs and onstage subject matter dealt with the oppression of indigenous peoples by the RCMP. What somewhat hinders TPXPS as a group is tied with how they’re still experimenting with their identity. 

When asked about how TPXPS views their music, I was told they consider their headspace to be one of punk rock with a heavy soul focus. Personally, I have yet to hear TPXPS play a song that matches the energy of punk rock, however they do have a very spiritual approach to their liveshows. 

Before the concert, Marcelino was talking about getting used to the business elements involved in performing music. Going from break dancing to music is a massive shift of perspective. One that can take a while to fully develop. TPXPS as a result has some growing pains as they evolve their sound, play more shows, and figure out their identity.

While it was odd seeing Marcelino in a dark bar wearing sunglasses, a leather jacket, and a toque; There is an earnestness that makes TPXPS endearing despite the fact their frontman dressed like a Hare Krishna who got way too into the Matrix movies.

When I spoke to Ray he mentioned how originally Marcelino came to the rest of the band with riffs and the songs grew from there. As TPXPS grows, their songwriting will evolve as other members will come forth with new ideas. Since their debut, TPXPS sounds significantly stronger. This setlist contained two newer tracks: “Nightmares” and “I Remember” being the ones that resonated with me more. There’s a good chance TPXPS can do bigger venues so long as they attract an audience. All in all it’s a good start, let’s see where they go from here.

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