Words and photos by Codey Tanner
If you closed your eyes and just listened to the music, your ears would paint you a picture of a much older person. Mahalia’s voice and lyrics seem much beyond the years of someone still so young. At only 20 years old, she has the stage presence of a seasoned performer. As Mahalia told the crowd - “Every song has a story. I like to tell the stories- if you’ll indulge me…” Lyrics heavy with substance and emotion. Using her powerful voice and multiple instruments, Mahalia hit the stage of The Garrison in Toronto to a crowd of devoted fans.
“This is my first time in Canada!” the English singer revealed to a cheering crowd, with responses of “Welcome!” and “We love you!” from throughout the packed venue. No stranger to the spotlight, Mahalia was writing songs by the age of 8, and was later signed to a major record label by the age of 13. A multi-talented artist, she was cast in Noel Clarke’s 2016 film “Brotherhood.” Her musical career took a big step forward in 2017 with the success of her hit single “Sober.”
Mahalia’s tour continues this weekend at the Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn, NY, and then onward next week with two stops in California.
Words and photos by Phil Araujo
Alice Phoebe Lou came from South Africa to rock the Great Hall in Toronto on August 22nd. She brought her amazing energy and beautiful, powerful voice to make a show worth attending and remembering.
Opener Emma Beckett is a Toronto based artist with amazing potential and an incredible voice. She had the crowd going from the very beginning and warmed them up for the main act - it's amazing to see what our own city has to offer.
Photos and words by Codey Tanner
About an hour before Dean Brody's concert at theBudweiser Stage in Toronto, it was raining so much that streets of the city were flooding, and transit routes were being temporarily shut down. Getting anywhere within the downtown core of Toronto became extra difficult. Despite this, the venue was entirely packed. Seats filled to the brim and barely any spots were available in the standing section in front of the stage.
Alan Doyle (of Great Big Sea fame) was the chosen support act for the evening. Great Big Sea has been retired since 2013 after the band’s 20th Anniversary tour, but Alan is still going strong with continued solo touring. With a mix of Great Big Sea favourites and newer material from his 2017 solo album “A Week at the Warehouse”, Alan had the crowd absolutely roaring, singing along with every word.
There was a brief break between the end of Alan’s set and the start of Dean’s, however there was no break in the excitement for fans. It was hinted that Dean will have a big announcement coming sometime next week (Aug 20-24) and that fans should stay tuned to his social media for more details.
As expected, Dean took the stage with explosive energy - the only Canadian country artist to ever sell out the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. With fan favourites spanning his six studio album career, including “Canadian Girls” and his new single “Good Goodbye” from earlier this year, Dean followed up his sold out 2017 appearance at the Budweiser Stage with another fantastic show.
Photos and words by Anthony Smith.
Fresh into their Forever On Your Side tour, Needtobreathe reached one of the most scenic stages in Toronto, the RBC Echo Beach. Its easy to see why they have cemented a position as one of South Carolinas greatest rock exports. Bear with his snarly vocals and his brother Bo running around exploring the edges of the stage - the whole stage immediately screams confidence. Bear made sure everyone was having a Great Night by climbing into the audience and running a lap without losing his iconic hat.
The stage was set up with thin pillars of lights like a neon forest the band could run up and through for their more upbeat numbers – which was a generous chunk of the set! Covering the Elvis Presley hit Bossa Nova Baby the stage suddenly transformed into a psychedelic wonderland. Magically rising from the rear of the stage on a platform, Bear serenaded Toronto in a disco ball jacket with Difference Maker, while mimicking the CN Tower off in the distance behind him.
A short Sigur Ros interval and the forest stage became a campfire sitting under the stars for a few acoustic numbers. Joining them on stage for Forever On Your Side was the excellent tour support Johnnyswim who were greeted with a very warm welcome after winning over the crowd with their spectacular opening set.
Needtobreathe provided Toronto with a very memorable night and its clear they are always welcome to visit again.
Photos and words by Shakil Hossain.
Lovelytheband - known for their edgy pop-rock music style and stage presence - kicked off their “Broken like me tour” last night at the Velvet underground in Toronto. Their first studio album “Finding it hard to smile” was just released on August 3rd with a combination of alternative rock/pop, which when added to the band’s edgy presence, made for a wildly appealing show.
The simplicity of the band’s lyrics can fool people at first but the music gives a way to the depth of the band’s character. In the age of short attention span and social media’s hype about how happy and cool everyone is – the band’s music is a fresh reminder of life outside of social media.
The opener Rad Horror showed equal California style explosive energy on stage with their grungy 90s style rock music. Their music can easily bring nostalgia to anybody who grew up in the 90’s listening to Kurt Cobain and Pearl Jam. Both bands are young and have a very bright future ahead of them.
Photos and words by Queosha Walters.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees, Lynyrd Skynryd put on an explosive show at the Budweiser Stage in Toronto this past Sunday. Lakeshore Blvd was backed up for blocks as fans came together to experience their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour.
Moments before the band was set to hit the stage, the energy generated by fans created a palpable effect. Everyone was on their feet and ready to experience the rock legends do their thing one final time. The band opened up with Workin' for MCA, a very straightforward song about their beginnings with their first record label Music Corporation of America, now known as Universal Music Group.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's founder and guitarist, Gary Rossington set the stage ablaze with Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Roy Van Zant, and Mark Matejka. Rossington has opened up about his health and the struggle of going on tour at this stage in life. The concern over age, families and grandkids are shared amongst the band but they know that they want to end this chapter on a strong note. They want to ensure that Lynyrd Skynyrd is always remembered in the highest of regards and refused to do any small shows on this final leg.
We will forever be grateful to Lynyrd Skynyrd for giving us hits like Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird. It doesn't matter who you are or where you come from, songs like these will always unite us. If you get the chance to check out the band before the end of their farewell tour, definitely do so! The show is a wild ride, so buckle up!
Photos and words by Queosha Walters
After an almost three year hiatus, The Gaslight Anthem announced in January of 2018 that they would be reuniting for several shows to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of their album The 59' Sound, and Toronto was fortunate enough to be one of the chosen cities. Although the band has not worked on any new material since 2015, Torontos fans filled REBEL in anticipation of reminiscing and rocking out to nostalgic hits.
The band performed 28 songs altogether, opening up with Handwritten, which the crowd knew every single word to. Alex Levine, the band's bass player, was truly remarkable to watch as he unapologetically danced around the stage and even took the time to acknowledge some fans in the front row. Gaslight Anthem's lead, Brian Fallon, was full of smiles and looked really happy to be back on tour and reunited with the fans.
It's unclear at the moment whether or not The Gaslight Anthem will ever permanently reunite to create new music. Fallon expressed that he would likely move forward with a solo career as he doesn't have anything more to say with the band that hasn't already been written in the music across five albums. Art should never be forced and should come from an authentic place, so we appreciate Fallon's view for his future. We wish success and prosperity to each band member and the musical paths they'll embark upon!
By Fernando Lara
After an extended hiatus of 5 years, The Monkeys are back by presenting their 6th studio album - Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino - that shows a softer version of the band and a lot more of its multi talented frontman, Alex Turner. Toronto is the stadium show capital of Canada and could not be missed by the indie, neo-punk danceable UK’s band.
One could not believe that Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not was released only 12 years ago, becoming the fastest selling debut album in British history. Back in 2006, Arctic Monkeys was the band that was making fans jump in every show across the country with fast drum beats and aggressive guitar riffs, perfectly suited to Alex’s complex lyrics. With Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino people dance to the melodies that are mainly created with only a piano and a shorter but tastier selection of Turner’s sentences.
The performance at the Scotiabank Arena presented the new era of Arctic Monkeys, beginning with the new album’s first single Four Out of Five which is charged with class and elegance specifically on the bass line. Afterward, the hit song of 2013’s AM, Do I Wanna Know? made the whole arena immediately go crazy and without leaving space to any doubt, the band played Brianstorm followed by I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor just to let everyone know that the new Arctic Monkeys wear suits and sound classic, their music is wild, spectacular, endearing and refined, they are here again and they are giving everything on stage.
There is still a debate among fans that love the new material and fans that support older albums. The setlist was carefully crafted to please everyone with the best 5 songs of the new album and finishing with Snap Out of It and R U Mine?
Apparently, the only constant in Arctic Monkeys’ musical journey is that there is no constant. The only thing that has not changed is that they are still not attached to any ephemeral fashion, nor a given label
Photos and Words by Phil Araujo
If you think you know Taylor Swift, think again. Reputation comes like a punch at all the old Taylors - what we saw tonight was a brand new one. She's fierce, powerful, and couldn't care less about her reputation. She's got one and is not afraid to own it.
After guests Charli XCX and Camila Cabello had warmed up the audience, fans were absolutely beside themselves when Taylor glided onto the stage and proceeded to dance like there was no tomorrow. Ready for It? and I Did Something Bad kicked off an incredible show, which still had space for a few of the old hits, such as Style, Love Story, You Belong With Me and Shake It Off. An amazing mixture of music with smoke, fireworks, confetti, lights, and endless energy made this show a night to remember.
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