I walked into the Sanctuary Centre for the Arts in a precarious position on Friday, March 22.
I didn’t know who Michael Glabicki was, nor was I really all that familiar with Rusted Root. It wasn’t really until the end, at Glabicki’s encore, where he went into an acoustic rendition of the international hit “Send Me On My Way,” which I instantly recognized, that I really wondered if I’d missed something.
After a deeper dive into Rusted Root afterward and the massive international hit that I’d just heard did it dawn on me that I had really finally discovered something great.
On the other hand, I felt a little privileged to be able to hear many of the songs that Glabicki performed for the first time and really appreciate them.
Nostalgia is funny like that. Without its cloud, I noticed things that I really appreciated about the performance, the music, and Glabicki’s style authentically and
I really became a fan overnight of music that’s been known to people for three decades. That’s enough of the gushing for now, though.
Glabicki put on a great performance at the Sanctuary. His vocal range allowed him to really stretch his musical style outside of any single genre. His originals and Rusted Roots hits tangoed with pop-rock – “Send Me On My Way” is a genre staple – but acoustic ballads sat alongside new songs experimenting greatly within pop and rock and folk. Moments of funk rock – calling to mind Marvin Gaye – or desert stoner rock of early Queens of the Stone Age or Kyuss emerged throughout the evening.
Glabicki’s music is wildly progressive and fluid; he and guitarist Dirk Miller (also of Rusted Root) owned the stage at the Sanctuary.
The Sanctuary has a great way of opening itself up to musical walls of sound with even minimal instrumentation, so Glabicki and Miller can fill the room with their music as effectively as a nine-piece rock-funk fusion band like My Son The Hurricane can.
It’s their inventive style and talent that does the real work here. Glabicki is a vocal powerhouse as much as he’s an inventive guitarist and songwriter. Unbound by the rules of pop music (or any genre, really) the duo shined.
Opening group PA Line, from Buffalo, New York (and featuring Fort Erie native Lucas Honig fantastically on bass guitar – I’ll always give a shout out to a stellar bass guitarist), is another guitar and bass duo, had the same wall-of-sound impact as well, and made for a great pairing with Glablicki.
Though reminiscent of Mumford and Sons, the folk-rock duo had a keener sense for melody than their influence and wrote originals that were even superior, as well.
While it would be very interesting to hear songs like “Ecstasy” with full band accompaniment – Rusted Roots’ “Ecstasy” recording features a fast-paced rhythm section – this didn’t hinder Glabicki or Miller from delivering the full impact of the song.
Their assured renditions of these stripped down hits worked despite the missing sections.
With interesting tonal and key shifts, a diverse library of music and a tried and true persona in Glabicki, he and Miller made me a fan with their music’s timeless quality by the time the first song had ended.