Photos and Words by Shakil Hossain
Us the Duo is an example of how independent music can shine through the power of democracy. Regardless of what big record labels say about independent artists, for Us The Duo it doesn't matter– people just love them. The line-up for the show at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto last night extended more than three blocks as fans eagerly waited to ensure they didn't miss a single minute of the performance.
Us the Duo is may be one of the first bands to be discovered through the online platform “Vine” but the couple has come a long way with four studio albums since then - every song they played was a hit and the crowd sang along.
Husband and wife, Michael and Carissa are natural performers. Throughout the show it felt like the couple absorbed the love from their audience and released it through their music.
The back and forth collaboration between the couple was naturally synchronized. The audience loved watching the couple's love for each other beautifully intertwined in their music. During the song “Make you Mine” Michael looked at Carissa before singing every part he wrote for her - the audience cheered in enjoyment. Us the Duo’s music connects with their audience in a naturally simplistic way because the music feels like it is a part of the couples journey through life as they grow with each other. The simple lyrics, the cute playful flirts and the love Michael and Carissa display for each other makes this live show unique and enjoyable for anyone looking for a great night of folk music.
Photos and words by Sami Jewer
Clairo made her Canadian tour debut last night in Toronto to a sold-out show at the Velvet Underground. The venue was full of eager fans chanting her name moments before she took the stage. The energy in the room could be felt by everyone in attendance.
Clairo is a young, 19-year-old, talent that got her start on Bandcamp, Soundcloud and YouTube. Her indie-electropop vibe kept the crowd going all night long. She made sure to take the time to engage with her fans during her performance; stepping away from the mic to get closer and dance with them whenever she had the chance.
Clairo put on an intimate and noteworthy show, pleasing her Canadian following that have been waiting for years to finally see her live. She is definitely an artist worth keeping your eyes on.
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
Lord Huron hit the stage in Toronto at the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts for what can only be described as an electrifying show. The LA-based band is currently on tour promoting their album "Vide Noir" released in April 2018. The band's lead, Ben Schneider, exclaimed to the crowd how happy he was to be back performing in Toronto. Although this venue is completely seated, it didn't stop fans from dancing and rocking out from their seats and down the aisles. "Meet Me in the Woods" sent the entire crowd on their feet and ready for a night to celebrate nostalgic hits and the excitement of hearing brand new songs live for the first time.
The light production during the band's set was a show in itself. Greens, purples, and yellows illuminated the stage making this one of the most entertaining shows I've had the pleasure of witnessing. There's clear evidence of the harmony between the band taking moments to rock out, smile and dance with one another.
Even if rock isn't your favourite genre, Lord Huron possesses a very unique sound which could definitely be appreciated by any music lovers.
Photos by Phil Araujo
Wiz Khalifa crossed the border and took Toronto by storm (quite literally) last night at the Budweiser Stage. A torrential downpour had fans completely soaked outside of the venue, but inside what could be seen was a crowd that was absolutely ready to have a good time.
With O.T. Genasis and Lil Skies to warm up the crowd, Rae Sremmurd stepped on the stage for the delirium of the fans. The duo made themselves at home and prepared the way for Wiz to take over.
Wiz Khalifa put on an amazingly engaging show, which had fans pumping their hands up and down the whole time. An unforgettable evening for Torontonians who appreciate the art of rap and hip hop.
Photos and Words by Shakil Hossain
Few singers have the audacity to perform a full concert with just one instrument to accompany them. Bebel Gilberto is one of them. This Brazilian bossa nova queen performed gracefully at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto last night and delighted a full house audience with just her voice and a guitar. The guitarist played a nylon six string in perfect harmony with Bebel's voice as she swayed along the stage. Dressed casually in jeans and a sweater she changed into to keep warm, Bebel’s beautiful voice captivated the audience as they moved and danced slowly with the singer under dimmed lights. Gilberto sang in both Portuguese and in English, including songs from her new album “Tudo”. She also sang her classic hits like “Momento” and “Aganju” and the enchanted crowd joined in for chorus for both songs.
Bebel’s sense of humour was apparent throughout the show as she worked funny lyrics into her songs like "It's too cold in Canada" and "Toronto is amazing". The crowd responded with cheers. As an ode to Canada, Bebel sang her cover of Neil Young's Harvest Moon which followed by her funny remarks about Neil Young never calling or emailing her to say thank you even though she has sung Harvest Moon many times. Bebel Gilberto’s confidence in her own bossa nova style and voice is probably a result of the singer’s rich musical family background. Bebel’s music differs slightly from the floating bossa nova rhythm style that her father João Gilberto was well known for. Anyone looking for an enchanting night out with bossa nova music will enjoy Bebel Gilberto live.
Photos and words by Roja Sri (@roja.sri)
Raveena’s first ever show in Toronto at the Velvet Underground brought soulful 90’s inspired beats into the city. The New York based singer-songwriter hit the stage and the crowd went wild. As she took off her slippers at the beginning of the concert, she set the mood and showed that she was very comfortable with being there - one of the most magical parts of the show was seeing her transition the energy and mood of the room from one feeling to another. The crowd felt how she felt as she performed each part of every song, and it was almost like a psychedelic experience.
With every song, back stories really hit home with the audience. Sharing these experiences which were really close to her heart helped set the mood and give her performance much more meaning. She also incorporated part of her culture on the set, and even her parents were there to support her in her career, something that's rare in South Asian culture.
For those who enjoy self-love, R&B and 90’s beats, Raveena’s music will satisfy your thirst for excellently crafted music.
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
Japanese Breakfast hit the stage with ferocity at The Phoenix Concert Theatre to a completely sold out crowd. During the show Michelle Zauner, the band's lead, briefly spoke about her anxieties with thinking that no one would come to their shows. She expressed her gratitude with the fact that there was a such a demand that the venue had to be changed for a larger capacity. Japanese Breakfast are no strangers to Toronto, having previously played many shows at The Silver Dollar in Kensington Market.
During another conversation with the crowd, Zauner described her dress as looking like "an Animorph background" which somehow got us talking about Scholastic bookfairs which made all the 90s babies in the crowd go crazy. The band had amazing chemistry and worked the stage with amazing confidence. "Road Head", one of their biggest singles, really amped up the energy in the room. Zauner also played some new material which excited their biggest fans.
Those who enjoy rock and/or experimental pop will have an amazing overload with Japanese Breakfast. Their music videos are filled with awesome visuals and they truly boast a unique and futuristic sound.
Text and photographs by Blake Bottrill (@blakebottrill)
Anthony Green’s Avalon Ten Year Tour hit it’s only Canadian stop last night as he and Good Old War rolled into Toronto’s Mod Club Theatre. The multi-talented musicians of Good Old War, Tim Arnold and Keith Goodwin, have also branched off as a duo known as Found Wild that open each show.
Found Wild bring a slight country charm to the indie and folk sounds for which Good Old War is already known. They brought out Anthony and the whole backing band early for one song before playing their only released single so far: Nothing Gold Can Last. Found Wild are set to release their first EP later this month that should resonate with Good Old War fans!
Good Old War showed up in full with Dan Schwartz after a brief break to play a setlist that spanned their entire discography. They had the crowd entranced by the time they got to their track We’ve Come A Long Way as they swayed shoulder to shoulder. Despite the encore chants Good Old War was done for the night, all three members are part of Anthony’s backing band so they’d be back.
Anthony and the band hit the stage just before 9:30 with a huge smile. It was a night full of sing-alongs for Anthony, “Thanks for singing so loud with me guys!” was heard multiple times during the set. It was a night of nostalgia and hilarious banter between the band. Anthony even brought the crowd into it as he noticed two people who happened to look like his cousins. As the tour continues for the rest of the month any fans of Anthony’s many projects should pick up tickets to see a fantastic show.
Photographer’s Note: My uncle David Bottrill produced one of Anthony’s albums in 2010 with Circa Survive called Blue Sky Noise.
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