Despite the soaring vocals and…

…the uniquely captivating stage manner of their leader,  opener Canasta outdid headliners Elsinore at Lincoln Hall last night.     The 9-member Canasta put on a tight, high-energy show complete with a big-bandesque lead vocalist, electric violinist, 3-member horn section and dual keyboards– one of them played by Angie.     Elsinore too repped the bowed strings,  bringing a full string quartet on for the show.   The intricate string work provided an interesting and at times amusing counterpoint to Elsinore’s pop-metal/rock guitars.  Although the harmonies were beautiful, Elsinore’s scoring didn’t have the spot-on perfection and punchy delivery of the clearly older and more confident Canasta horn section.    While I realize that 9 people on a stage (including horns) is a pretty fool-proof formula for a good show,  I’m rarely so impressed by a live act.  Definitely check out Canasta’s next Chicago shows Aug. 27 at transistor and October 3rd at Beat Kitchen.

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