Photos and Words by Shakil Hossain
The co-headlining Never Ending Summer tour led by the Offspring and 311 hit the Budweiser Stage in Toronto. The band rocked the audience with a mixture of both older hits from their album Smash and Americana along with songs from their anticipated upcoming album - expected to be released this year. Their music matured over the last 20 years and Offspring’s live performance showed the band has perfected live music performance with their experience and love for music.
311 closed the show with songs from their latest album Mosaic and their previous hits, upholding their reputation for one of the most entertaining and dynamic live bands around. Guitarist Tim Mahoney and bassist P-Nut head banged, danced through almost every song, and the band kept the audience on their toes throughout. Martinez’s freestyle complemented Nick Hexum’s vocal perfectly as they both took the role of the front man in almost every song.
Throughout the night, the audience was taken up and down with heavier music from Offspring and lighter, harmonious music from 311. The audience responded with dancing and singing as one more perfect, Toronto summer concert ended leaving everyone on a high note.
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 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.
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
by Fernando Lara
Annie Clark (a.k.a. St. Vincent) took Toronto by storm last night with the Fear the Future Tour in support for her new studio album Masseduction, released last October.
Masseduction is her fifth studio album - it peaked at number 10 on the Billboard 200, becoming her first top ten album in the United States. The album also received global acclaim and was the fourth-most mentioned in critics’ year-end lists for 2017 according to Metacritic.
St. Vincent’s sound is harmonious, melodic, elegant, and hypnotizing - her live performances are a real party of colour and light. The performance at Sony Centre was no exception. Since the first sequence of rhythms and sound loops as Sugarboy was about to kick start the show, the audience stood up to not sit down again until the end of the night. Annie stood at the far left letting everyone know that she was part of the band but at the same time making a strong statement with her bright orange dress and, of course, her very particular line of guitars ranging from blue to pink.
During the concert, she was focused on the quality of her voice and guitar but she also shared some words with everyone, including a little acapella singing of New York, changing the lyrics to fit with Toronto’s very own culture with references to Church St. and the 6ix. “Thank you for trying!” someone screamed to her, “Oh, Wow! Canadians are so nice!” she replied after smiling.
With a 12-year history as a solo artist and over 15 hits in her career, St. Vincent knows how to make her audience explode to almost every song in her set list. The rhythm in songs such as Los Angeless made everyone shake their body as if it was not a Tuesday night.
Her guitar solos were simple but energetic, and the harmony generated with the keyboard and the synthesizer created different shapes and colours with the structure of every melody. The most touching song of the set was Severed Crossed Fingers - Annie played it on her electric guitar sensibly and softly after 19 other songs and a 4 minute encore.
St. Vincent’s fans enjoyed the show by watching a vivid, colourful and energetic version of her new and all-time hits. The experience of attending one of her shows brings a lot of emotions that can be traced from her whole career and the growth as an artist that can be seen on stage, especially when the point of music is to feel it, not just listen to it.
After Toronto, St. Vincent will be presenting the same show at Montreal’s Osheaga festival and Chicago’s famous Lollapalooza.
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 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 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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