Casbah Lounge 306 King Street West

Time for us to rock the Casbah once again! This time around, Avishka and I hit up the venue’s smaller and more intimate performance space, Casbah Lounge. Tonight’s show was the EP release party for upcoming acoustic duo, Xo.Ex.Oh’s. Also on the bill were Trevor Howard, Lost Astronaut, and AdRock Acoustic.

Trevor Howard was up first. We’ve been in studio with Trevor a couple of times now to check out the making of his new album. We were happy to get the chance to hear him perform some of the songs he has been working on. With his strong vocals and an acoustic guitar, Trevor commanded the room with his emotionally charged songs, performing with ease. In perfect unison (as we tend to do) Avi and I let out a very audible “Awwww” when he introduced his song “Water,” a favourite track of ours. Trevor’s set was the perfect way to kick-off the show.

Next up was Lost Astronaut. Bringing a different sound to the night, Darren Marranca has a vocal style that reminded us of singers in bands of the pop-punk variety, like Blink 182. With just an acoustic guitar, Darren performed with a lot of power and passion behind his lyrics.

AdRock Acoustic rounded out the opening acts, switching up the sound yet again. We were pleasantly surprised by his smooth reggae-acoustic sounds. Accompanied by another guitarist/singer, together they played some real toe-tappers, and we couldn’t quite sit still during their set, bobbing along to the music. Even a broken string toward the end of the set couldn’t stop him and, most importantly, you could tell they were having a blast while performing. They got the crowd in just the right mood for the main event.

What I love about the Hamilton music scene, judging by friends I have who are musicians, is that there is a real sense of community and camaraderie as fellow musicians and friends support each other. Avi and I sat with Max Wray and Amberley B, who were in the audience showing their love for the acts (we’ve also featured these two on the blog before). There is always a great vibe at shows like this.

Then it was time for Xo.Ex.Oh’s to hit the stage! Although members Kenda Legaspi and Danielle Vann have been making music individually since they were very young, they haven’t been a band for very long. I caught one of their first shows, back in May, when they were an unlikely opening act for local rock/metal band Mercy. They completely held their own, though, and it was clear the duo were ones to watch out for in the coming months. In the span of those few months, they have been writing songs, playing as many shows as possible and, in between, managed to record their very first EP – Kiss and Tell (which was generously given out for free at the show). Even in that short amount of time, they have come a long way and they sounded stronger than ever at this show. The girls played the four songs off their EP, as well as debuting some brand new tracks. It’s an exciting time for Kenda and Danielle; the new material sounds amazing and at the pace they’ve been going, there is no stopping them! The two best friends are a perfect match with their smooth harmonies, guitar playing, and loveable banter in between. You can feel the sincerity in every song they sing; their lyrics are relatable and they are engaging to watch. A surprise guest, guitarist Timothy Busa of Mercy joined the duo for a few songs and complemented their sound quite well. The show had an amazing turnout and everyone loved their set. Check them out on Facebook and follow them @xoexohs for info on how you can get your hands on their EP and to stay in the loop for upcoming shows.

It was a fun night of music, friends, hugs, and kisses!

– Kristin

Kristin Archer is the creator of I Heart Hamilton (, where she has blogged about experiences around her hometown since 2011, growing a social media presence along the way. Encouraging locals to “be a tourist in your own city,” she promotes arts and culture across her various social media platforms, blog, and weekly radio show on 93.3 CFMU.

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