Toronto Police off in a Huff at 2011 el Mocambo concert (video highlights)
In concert with Tony McManus
el Mocambo Club
Toronto, May 21, 2011
The Grade 1 Toronto Police Pipe Band returned to the legendary el Mocambo Club in downtown Toronto for the second straight year to perform a two-hour concert before a sizable and energetic audience at the 200-person capacity main floor room. Throughout the evening the band was accompanied by Celtic guitarist Tony McManus, who provided a unique underlay of musical colour to the pipe music.
The band sported new bright red t-shirts, riffing on a comment made on a score sheet by a piping judge at the 2010 Cowal Championship that described the band’s music as “nothing but mumbo jumbo.”
Some 14 different selections populated the event, including a memorable performance by newcomer piper Bill Livingstone and McManus of “Lament for the Viscount of Dundee,” a tune that both musicians were well known for previously.
A new suite by piper Sean McKeown, another addition to the band for 2011, made its debut. “21 Days” challenged both rhythmical and melodic boundaries in a mainly minor-key manner. As an encore, the band unveiled its new medley by Pipe-Sergeant Michael Grey entitled “Huff,” which seemed to provide the creativity that people have come to expect from the band, while also recalling several classic and well-kent tunes, molded in interesting new musical ways.
The band played throughout the evening with a complement of 17 or 18 pipers and newly reconstructed drum section under new Leading-Drummer Ken Constable, and made considerable use of the band’s talent in the pipe corps, with Pipe-Major Ian K. MacDonald, Kyle Coughlin, Grey, Livingstone, McKeown and Thomas Munroe each taking solo turns in the spotlight.
The band had intended to broadcast the concert via live video streaming, but a technical glitch made it impossible.
Throughout the evening the el Mocambo’s bar provided a steady stream of refreshment, and by the end of the first very warm Toronto nigh, well after the concert finished, a large crowd of revelers remained, looking forward to a return in 2012.