After five albums and numerous subsequent concert tours, one would think the Cowboy Junkies might have learned how to breathe some excitement into their show.
Instead, the Palace show supporting their most recent release, “Pale Sun, Crescent Moon” on RCA, was devoid of inflection in both music and dynamics. The band seemed lazy and bored.
The Canadian sibling-centered band plays tightly together and has created a distinctive identity with its unique, smooth, country-flavored pop style. But in a live setting, Junkies’ pleasantly constructed and melodically appealing songs blended together, with no clear distinctions.
This is due in part to lead singer Margo Timmins’ performance. Her cool, sensual voice was pleasing, pretty, but never changed from lukewarm — no real highs, lows or passion.
Band members hardly moved from their places; brothers Peter and Michael Timmins, on drums and guitar, respectively, remained seated throughout.
The high point of the show was the fine playing of Jeff Bird on harmonica and mandolin; he injected soul into the languid set.
It wasn’t until the end of the show, particularly the encore, that the band created more ambience and visuals with the light show. Naturally, the encore ended with the Junkies’ mellow version of Lou Reed’s “Sweet Jane,” which won the band its initial popularity.