What another great week of live music! This show marked three nights of shows in a row for me – which just goes to show, any night of the week you can venture out in the City and are bound to find a fantastic evening of live music.
We had heard about a new series of concerts, Folk’d Up Fridays, at the Molson Canadian Studio, from the people over at HECFI. There are 5 amazing lineups set in the series so far – check out the full schedule on their website. The first show was no exception – Bruce Peninsula, with supporting acts The Strumbellas and Robyn Dell’Unto. I had the opportunity to interview Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula for a Rendezvous the week before, and I was really excited to see the band live, having learned so much about them and becoming a fan of their sound. We also had the opportunity to give away a pair of tickets to the show – congrats to Honourary Tour Member Krystal and her friend Heather who also got to enjoy the show! Stay glued to our Twitter page – we’ll be giving away pairs of tickets to upcoming Folk’d Up Friday shows.
Avishka and I felt very nostalgic as we entered Hamilton Place to get our tickets at the box office. We hadn’t been back since our graduations (Avi’s in 2010, mine in 2011) and we were immediately flooded with memories of those exciting days for both of us. Wandering around to the Molson Canadian Studio’s lobby, we compared notes, remembering our respective ceremonies, and recalling our nerves and excitement. As we entered the Molson Canadian Studio, Avi immediately realized that it was the very room where we picked up our gowns before being shuffled over to a little holding area as we awaited our cue to enter our convocation in Hamilton Place. It was so crazy to think it has been a year for me, and two years for Avi; we couldn’t believe it! It was very much one of those full circle moments that we keep experiencing on this Tour.
Enough waxing nostalgic – on with the show! The lovely Robyn Dell’Unto opened up the evening, and I was very excited to finally see her play, being a big fan of her music. Her songs are so honest, sweet, and fun, and I always find myself connecting to her lyrics. I later tweeted that I have listened to “Astronaut” an unhealthy amount of times (and I featured it on my very first Playlist) so I was happy to hear her sing it live. Another highlight of her set for me was “Good Day,” which she wrote with Matt Montour, a friend to us at the Tour, so Avi and I were pleased to hear Robyn give our mutual friend a shout out. What also sets Robyn apart is her endearing onstage presence and how she keeps the audience entertained in between songs with her witty remarks. I love her whole album I’m Here Every Night – if you haven’t heard it yet, I recommend you do! Avi, Krystal, Heather, and I all picked up copies after her set and I’ve been spinning it ever since! We got to chat with Robyn after the show and she shared with us how much she misses Hamilton and how she loved her time here while in University. Robyn also recently launched an online campaign to help fund her second album – check out how you can contribute and get in on some exclusive goodies.
The Strumbellas were up next and really got the crowd amped with their fun, folk, country sound. They were a lot of fun to watch – I didn’t know where to look! Between lead singer Simon’s energetic performance (even jumping off the stage at one point), pianist David, who played that tambourine like nobody’s business, and Izzy holding it down on violin, all were having a blast up there! Their tune “Sheriff” was a highlight – an incredibly catchy song that you can’t help but stomp your feet and sing along to. Avi and I were picturing them playing a barn and having a real ho-down! They had a great energy about them and were a joy to watch.
It was then time for the main event – Bruce Peninsula! I was curious what the set up would be – how many members would be onstage (they were an 8-piece!) and what their set list would be. I had listened to their music so much while prepping for my Rendezvous interview with Neil, that all of their songs were swirling about in my head and I was excited to hear certain songs in particular as they came up throughout their set. Of course, getting to hear “In Your Light” live was such a highlight (I just included the track on my Playlist for the month) and the lyrics struck me even more when hearing and seeing it performed live. Speaking of my Playlist, the other song I was considering to include was “Crabapples,” off their debut album, A Mountain is a Mouth. Before coming back for a much-appreciated encore, they closed with the song and completely threw all of their energy into it; it was so powerful, and you could feel the audience respond to that energy.
Bruce Peninsula are such a solid collective of musicians and I loved what everyone brought to the performance. Neil held it down and had so much soul, Misha’s vocals were angelic, taking the lead on a few songs, and I loved the energy and how into it the three girls of the choir were; their vocals were so strong and they were also on duty with some shakers, bells, and a banjo! Their encore closed off with “Satisfied,” which was perfect; I was excited to hear that little interlude off A Mountain is a Mouth, which has that stomping energy and sound that they do so well.
What’s great about the band is their music works well with any venue. I can just imagine how beautiful they would sound in a church, like they did here at Christ’s Church Cathedral last Supercrawl, which I would’ve loved to have seen, to a more rowdy environment like a bar where the crowd is more vocal and right up in the action, to a more upscale venue like the Studio in Hamilton Place. It was a special night for Bruce Peninsula, being at this venue; it was a real homecoming for Neil and Steve in particular, with their families in attendance. Avi and I were happy to meet and chat with Neil after the show and share some memories of Hamilton.
It was an awesome show – we all thoroughly enjoyed it!