Last Friday night, I chased a Shore Club high into the Marquee Ballroom. After having experienced Daniel Romano’s Outfit for the first time last summer, I desperately needed to revisit that performance. Partly to find out if what I had heard was for real; or to see if that was purely a chance encounter, never to be experienced again.
I understand that opening acts can be a point of contention for some. That time can be seen as an opportunity to grab a beer before settling in for the headliner. For others, the opening act is an integral piece of the live music experience, which allows a chance to discover a new favourite band. Plenty of opening acts come and go without leaving nary a memory, but in seeing Daniel Romano’s Outfit last year open for Matt Mays, the band left an indelible mark on this listener.
The Outfit returns East
Fast forward to May of 2023 when the band finally made their way back East and announced a headlining show at the Marquee Ballroom. On that first encounter, expectations were non-existent, but after a 45-minute performance, the room was left agog, both at what was just experienced and the breakneck pace at which the Outfit ripped through their set. The other major takeaway from that night was the revelation of the magnetic force of Julianna Riolino.
Riolino and the Outfit played double duty, with Julianna and Daniel serving as the two leads. Talented singer-songwriter Riolino was the opening act for the band’s East Coast tour dates, showcasing the material from her recently released album All Blue. Her sun-drenched fusion of vintage country music and pure Americana is infectious and a perfect compliment to Daniel Romano’s Outfit’s vintage rock n’ roll sound. Playing lead guitar for Riolino was none other than Daniel Romano himself (he also plays on Riolino’s album).
It was the moment of Truth
There wasn’t much needed in the way of a change-over, as it consisted of little more than swapping a couple of mic stands. Then it was time for the lanky, wild-haired frontman, and for his wildly talented bandmates to join him back on stage. Over the next 70ish minutes, Romano, his brother Ian, Riolino, Carson McHone, and Roddy Rosetti ripped through a set of vintage rock n’ roll tunes with little in the way of banter and song breaks. It was pure and unabashed, a product of friendship and harmony.
Romano is something of a chameleon in the music scene, as he is not hindered by labels or genres, nor does ego seem to have a part to play in his stage presence. While The Outfit might be putting on one of the most electric and engaging stage shows in recent memory, the shows always provide ample opportunity to showcase his fellow bandmates with both Julianna and Carson McHone taking lead vocal duties during the show. Some have likened this dynamic to that of Fleetwood Mac, and those folks wouldn’t be wrong. I might even say that it’s similar to the way that Sloan operates, with both Daniel Romano and Sloan’s Chris Murphy taking their spot behind the drums at points in the evening.
All in all, that high I was chasing into the room on this evening was certainly achieved, and I would say exceeded. The band was everything I had heard in the Shore Club, and has solidified a spot on my list of can’t-miss acts. For a venue that has played host to some big-time acts, this was another of those special nights that won’t soon be forgotten.
Daniel Romano’s Outfit