I spent my Saturday evening this weekend with an artist who sings from his heart and writes music about his previous and perhaps current endeavours with love, family and religious beliefs. This was my second time seeing Noah Gundersen, I had seen him a couple years ago at Wayhome. At that music festival, Noah had a band behind him, elevating his music to have fuller sound like on his records. His show on Saturday was the complete opposite. He did a stripped down, tell me how you really feel, type of performance. It was very raw and emphasized the incredible musician that he is. His voice is deep and pure with emotion. His lyrics were sung with such passion that he left a trace of silence around the room. The highlight of the night was when he integrated a mashup of Justin Bieber's "Sorry" and a Nickleback song into one of his songs. Noah had a great time making fun of us Canadians and all of our musical talents. I'm sure he made the long journey north of the border just so he could remind us of what incredible musicians our country has produced (it was quite funny).
He mentioned in the middle of his show that he had a conflict with Ryan Adams about his song "Ledges".I searched all over the internet to get all the gossip about this interaction, but I couldn't find anything. If anyone knows what happened, please send me a message ASAP.
If you've never heard Noah Gundersen and want to take a listen to, check out this video of one of his live sessions on youtube. You can also listen to my favourite song by him called "Cigarette" here!
Over the weekend I went to check out Phantom Atlantic for a second time at one of their hometown shows. The first time I saw them, I really loved their sound. Since that time, I've noticed a marked improvement in both their cohesiveness as a band and their overall confidence. They all looked much more comfortable on stage and they had an amazing presence. Phantom Atlantic just recently concluded a 'mini' tour which could help in explaining their beaming confidence. It was clear to me that these guys have a really supportive group of fans, especially coming from their family and friends in the audience. The night was essentially a big dance session from start to finish.
They recently put out a new song called "Lessons", which you can listen to here! They ended their show with this awesome, 'easy to sing along too in the car' type of song. My favourite song of the night is from their self titled EP, is called "Having it All", you can listen to it here. I'm really excited to hear some new songs that might be coming our way and of course seeing this band live again, and again, and again!
I'd also like to recommend listening to Rebelle! They are a band from Wakefield, Quebec. They had an awesome set, I was pleasently surprised about how much I liked them. They opened their set with a song called "Hide", you can listen to it here. I have been playing this song on repeat since Saturday because I am obsessed with their grunge rock sound with a hint of synth and the lead singers bad boy voice.
I had the pleasure of seeing Mattie Leon, a local folk artist on Saturday night. He played a show at the Drake Underground alongside a few other folk artists, namely Brooklyn Doran and Limestone Chorus, both from the GTA. It was truly refreshing to see that folk music is still alive and well in the city of Toronto.
The opening bands, Brooklyn Doran and Limestone Chorus, were both fantastic. I really enjoyed the set by Brooklyn Doran, as she had a rich and beautiful sound. She also took the time at the beginning of each song to describe to the audience what circumstances in her life compelled her to write each of her songs. I liked that she shared with the audience what she was going through in her life when she wrote those songs and it was refreshing for an artist to share those hardships openly with an audience of strangers. Limestone Chorus was made up of five men, who really harmonized well. I love that they incorporate the Cello into their music, it added a great classical flair to their folk music, which I absolutely enjoyed.
Mattie Leon opened his set with what is arguably my favourite song by him called "Boy", which to my surprise sounded even better live. It is one of the songs off his new record, Signal Hill, which was released last November. If you haven't heard it, I'd advise that you check it out on Apple Music or Spotify. Alongside Mattie's serene melodies, he has a voice that makes his music seem effortless. Mattie told me after the show that the drummer, his brother, was battling the flu that day and their bass player, Nelson, had surgery just two day's after to repair a torn bicep. I have to say, if he hadn't told us that info up front, I would never have known, as the show was still amazing.
Every one of the songs they played had such super catchy rifts that you couldn’t help but fall in love with. My favourite song of the night was "Bowery" which had a video projected behind him in the background, featuring a breakup scene. It was a great touch and really enhanced the overall mood of the song and conveyed the confusion, anger and emotion that a breakup song speaks to. You can listen and watch the video he played here.
Mattie has a few shows coming up that you should definitely check out!
March 3 - Orillia - The Brownstone
March 10 - Guelph - GAIN Music and Arts Festival - DSTRCT
March 11 - Hamilton - Collective Arts Brewing
March 23 - Thornbury - Bruce Wine Bar
March 30 - Windsor - Phog Lounge
March 31 - Sarnia - Refined Fool Brewing
April 21 - Collingwood - The Crow
Words cannot describe how I felt after listening to this man's set on Friday night, it was truly an amazing experience. Every note he played, whether it was on his piano or guitar, had such depth and emotion put into it. He was into his own music so much that his whole body moved with every note. His voice is sublime and made his music sound effortless. His voice has such a rich tone and was made even more enchanting by the occasional cracks in his voice.
Leif is an indie-folk singer from Ottawa who made is debut in 2010 with his first album "Inland". His third record released this year called "Twin Solitude", took my breath away with its calming rhythms and powerful vocals. However, his records don't do him any justice. I was taken aback by his intense performance and the connection that he had with his music. He would close his eyes and feel each beat and sound with his whole body, moving up, down and side to side with every note that he would play. In between songs, he was funny and quirky, he didn't just play a very heartfelt song that made the whole audience cry (one lady cried out at one point to Leif that she cried the whole concert). Overall, he put on one of the best shows I have seen in quite some time, there was nothing I would have changed...except maybe a longer set time because I couldn't get enough of him.
If you never heard Leif Vollebekk before, listen to my favourite song of his "Elegy" here (he also shows off his great dance moves in the video).
For those of you who don't know about Phantom Atlantic, they are an alternative indie rock band from Toronto! They have recently released a self titled EP over the past summer and played a show last night at Rivoli to show off their new tunes.
After listening to their EP, I was super excited to see this band live not only because they have a great sound, but also because they're local and those are my favourite types of bands. Seeing their set last night exceeded my expectations and I became an instant fan! The emotion they put in their music could be felt by the whole audience, who was dancing and singing along to every song (I might have been dancing as well, just don't tell anyone). I will definitely being seeing Phantom Atlantic in the near future, or whenever they have their next show in Toronto. They are playing a show on December 8th in Ottawa if anyone will in the area.
If you wanted to take a listen to their wonderful EP, click here to listen.
I went to go see The Drums and their touring buds Methyl Ethyl on Saturday at The Mod Club. Methyl Ethyl is an alternative band from Australia that I have never heard before but seem to have quite a big fan base. They are super quirky with their unique hairstyles and interesting sound. I really enjoyed their set and I will definitely be joining their group of fans.
You can listen to my favourite song by them here.
I saw The Drums in 2011 when they released their second album "Portamento". I very much enjoyed their high energy and Johnny's smooth dance moves on stage. Six years later, he still has the slick, seductive dance moves that gets the crowd dancing and jumping for joy. Although I very much enjoyed their music and Johnny's mesmerizing voice and beautiful dance moves, the best part about the show was experiencing the love for this band in the audience. The crowd was dancing like no one was watching, and it wasn't just a couple of people, it was everyone! You could feel the appreciation for the music that The Drums has created over the past few years and I was so happy to share the love be a part of this experience. The audience made my journey with The Drums so memorable and will forever be on my top 10 list of best concerts ever.
You can listen to couple of my favourite songs from The Drums below:
I Can't Pretend
Middle Kids are a band from Australia and I had the pleasure of seeing them last week at the historic Horseshoe Tavern.
I discovered this band over the summer while I was exploring some bands that I'd never heard before that were playing at Osheaga. I instantly fell in love with their sound, especially Hannah Joy's, the lead singers, voice. Her voice is so playful with the music as she hits lows and highs to enhance the bands sound. When I saw them at Osheaga, they really exceeded my expectations and sounded even better than their EP "Domino".
I was so excited to see their performance in a more intimate setting, given how small a venue the Horseshoe Tavern is. This time I noticed that Hannah actually plays her guitar upside down! This is something I've never seen anyone do before in all my years of concert going. I honestly wouldn't have noticed this detail, because she played it so gracefully, but the drunk guy behind me kept screaming "YOUR GUITAR IS UPSIDE DOWN...someone should tell her". Overall, their music was delightful and they have a great stage presence. They were joyous and were constantly joking in between songs. If a career in music doesn't work out, then I think they should become a comedic group instead.
If you want to hear them for yourself, check out their live session with KEXP here.
I saw Born Ruffians a couple of weeks ago and finally got around to posting some pictures I took. This was my 15th time seeing this band, so obviously, they put on an amazing show. They always have an amazing energy and you can't help but sing along to all their songs, especially " We Made It" off their new album Ruff Ruff Ruff. You can listen to it here.
Bear's Den played at the Mod Club last Tuesday night. They started off the show with a couple of songs off their new album, Red Earth and Pouring Rain. Their new album has a very different sound from their previous albums especially since the classic sound of the banjo, that can be found on their first album, is missing. They've replaced the banjo with an acoustic guitar and a synth keyboard. Although I wasn't a huge fan of this change at first, after seeing them live, it has definitely grown on me and I'm beginning to love their new album more and more. My favourite part of the concert was when they decided to unplug from all their equipment and essentially stripped down and played with nothing more than the natural acoustics of their guitars and their harmonic voices. The lead singer joked about how he usually has to tell everyone to be very quiet, but the room had already fallen silent. The first time they played for us without any electronics, they played on the stage but the second time, they came down into the audience and played in the middle of the floor. You could really hear their beautiful voices and felt totally immersed in the song. This was a very rare occurrence and I'm so happy I got to share that experience with the rest of Toronto. I will definitely be seeing them next time they come!
Indie88 turned 3 years old on Saturday night and all the indie loving fans were there to celebrate! The Birthday party included a VIP pre show with Dave Monks, a live painter from Sketch Toronto, an abundance of balloons, a giant baby and of course the main acts; Repartee, Hollerado and Tokyo Police Club.
Repartee owned the stage with their catchy electro pop tunes which included "All Lit Up" and my favourite "Dukes", you can listen to it here. Meg was a rock star and definitely looked the part with her gold fringe jacket and hair whipping. On Facebook, Repartee wrote in their about section that they "plan on spreading their fiery electro-pop dance party to sweaty crowds across the country and around the world". I think definitely accomplished that goal, at least in Toronto.
Tokyo Police Club is one of my all time favourite bands. I have seen them multiple times over the years, this was also my parents favourite band of the night. I actually believe that my Dad has seen them play more times than I have, he's clearly the bigger fan. They played a lot of songs off their 3rd album Champ as well of some of their newer songs like "Hot Tonight" and "Not my Girl". They recently released a song called 'My House" which you can listen to here, and this song will be off their new EP being release on September 23rd. I'm super excited to see them again in December when they come to The Mod Club.