There’s something a little magical about the unknown quantity. I don’t mean that in an arrogant, hipster, “knew it before it was cool” sort of way. If something is good, then it is still good regardless of how many people know it is good. The magic comes from the not knowing, and the subsequent surprise. If I go to see Kanye at the Air Canada Centre, I know exactly which songs he will perform and how they sound. It’s still a wonderful experience, but it lacks the freshness of the unknown, something everyone should try once in a while. These were my thoughts as I walked down the steps of the Cavern near Church and Adelaide last Friday night.
The show was free, the stage was small, and the lighting was dim. But the energy was bubbling, and the fifty-person capacity had largely been filled. Outside of any friends of the three acts, no one knew what they would sound like. A catchy hook or turn of phrase that had yet to become ubiquitous could very well infect my mind, and I had no idea.
The first was Jake Feeney, an acoustic singer-songwriter from Etobicoke. His songs were intimate, bereft of excess, and even though they dealt in tales of love and romance, they showed an unexpected maturity. He covered the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army” and Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice it’s Alright” where he was joined by Mark, the congo player for headliners I am the Mountain. It was an utterly unique and unexpected combination that is wholly singular to the Cavern, it is highly unlikely I will ever hear those songs in that context ever again. The former cover had an almost reggae feel to it. Such combos are a theme of both the night itself and these kinds of shows in general.
I am the Mountain was next, comprising the congo, the trumpet, plus the guitar and occasional keys, it was an interesting mix. That same adjective applied to the music itself, a nostalgic blend of soulful vocals and layered performances. Their original songs ran the range and straddled the line between raucous and personal. Going in completely blind like I did was a welcome surprise, especially after their rendition of Drake’s “Jungle.”
A big part of the appeal of these shows is the improvisation that is allowed along with the audience interaction. Both coalesced in their impromptu jazzy song in which they took an audience Q and A. It was a highly entertaining moment, and encapsulated the ethos of the unsigned band: Say yes to everything. Case in point, Mark the congo player. “He jammed with us at some open mics and asked if he could do this with us. It was a rare treat.” Said band member Colton O’Reilly.
Last was the Chats, another act from Etobicoke. A pop-rock band with a bit of Beach Boys, combined with jittery riffs and confident vocals, they were also a great way to end the night. The improvisational nature of the show was once again on display as they were joined by Mark and Keith the trumpet player to join in on their originals and covers. Their covers included Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” while they allowed their guitarist Arthur Podpora to take centre stage for a Howling Wolf-esque original and a cover of Mac DeMarco’s “Viceroy.” Later, their friend Katherine King stepped up for another original and a searing cover of Frank Ocean’s “Sweet Life.” They ended their set with an encore cover of “Scar Tissue,” a song they admittedly did not entirely know, but that only made the performance that much more fun.
“I love those kind of shows where it’s kind of eclectic, its low pressure, low stress, and people are talking but they’re also really intently listening. When it gets quiet in a bar, that’s a rare moment. It was a really special night.” Says Colton. There’s no way to have that banter with the artist in an arena, and the improvisational nature ensures the night is a wholly singular experience. It’s a theme that I now love and will continue to seek out at the Cavern and bars like it, not for my credibility but because of the sheer unexpectedness.
The moment many have been waiting for has finally arrived! Ultra Worldwide has released exciting news regarding a new location for the festival this upcoming fall. As many may know, Ultra has been held in many different countries and cities … Continue reading Ultra Music Festival to host in Mexico 2017
For many, the hype in Toronto for Kaskade’s Spring Fling was rightfully earned at Rebel Nightclub on May 21, 2017. The openers definitely did not disappoint and equipped the audience with the energy they needed for Kaskade’s set. The spring … Continue reading The Success of Kaskade’s Spring Fling 2017
I was born in 1996, which meant I missed the Seattle grunge explosion by a good five years. One of those bands, Soundgarden, would commence what was thought to be a permanent breakup on April 9th, 1997. As happens to … Continue reading Remembering the Dynamism of Chris Cornell and Soundgarden
Growing up in a social media based generation has always given us the capability to post and view our own, and others opinions. In this sense, the world of fashion has taken a turn, with a majority of its influencers … Continue reading Young Canadian Fashion Influencers are Coming Full Throttle
Back in January of 2017, rumours began to circulate about the collaboration of two of the most powerful brands – Louis Vuitton x Supreme. Many thought these rumours were far-fetched, recalling the Cease and Desist letter filed by Louis Vuitton … Continue reading The War on Sportswear: Louis Vuitton x Supreme
Kevin Pillar of the Toronto Blue Jays was suspended 2 games for his use of a homophobic slur towards Jason Motte of the Atlanta Braves. Kevin Pillar had lived up to his nickname of “superman” this season for the Toronto … Continue reading Thoughts on Pillar, Sport Culture, and Personal Anecdotes
Ultimate or Ultimate Frisbee is an exhilarating, non-contact team sport played by hundreds of thousands of teams across Canada and the rest of the world. The game demands its players to be incredibly fit and to develop a variety of … Continue reading Ultimate Frisbee: An Emerging Ultra Sport?
What started as a dream, clinching the #1 seed in the seed in the east, the Celtics were steamrolling. Stuck in the reverie of the IT4 show, everything appeared perfect in the land of Boston, or so it seemed. On … Continue reading A Month In Hell
In the wake of March Madness and in the heart of the NHL/NBA playoff season, a common thread weaving its way through the sport world this year is the story of the underdog. Underdog stories have been a part of … Continue reading The Underdog Effect