The Baltimore House 43 King William Street
To continue from Maya Amoah’s eloquent account of the recent sold-out TOPS show at Baltimore House, nostalgia was the theme for the night, both in sounds and vibe. Aron D’Alesio and TOPS bookended the night with their dreamy, retro vibes, and Tasseomancy was placed nicely in the middle. Then, of course, this was New Hands’ last show, which brought about its own wave of memories and emotions.
No local band has tugged at my heartstrings like New Hands. I’ve known them now for almost three full years, exactly. I love having many of those memories chronicled here. I remember that first show in April 2012 so well. I clicked with them right away and was struck by their chemistry as musicians and as friends. I always thought what a special thing it was for these five to have come together and to create what they did in that short time.
More highlights for me with New Hands include my interview with them at their house in July 2012 (look how little and cute they are!), having them play the first show I ever booked (The Playlist 1.0) and having them back for The Playlist 2.0 the following year, seeing them play Supercrawl 2012, the insane Family Day show with Arkells in February 2013, and my hour with them on CFMU in December 2013 to get the exclusive spin of their new songs. And of course, their residency at Baltimore House this past November.
On this night, I was really happy to be front row with fellow original fans, Steph and Roslyn. We were still in part disbelief that it was the last time we would be seeing New Hands play but it was fun to recall memories of past shows. There was so much love and support in the room. Singer Spence Newell humbly gave a few shout outs from the stage – to Baltimore House’s Grant Winestock, Mark Furukawa of Dr. Disc, producer Michael Keire, recent manager Noah Fralick, and myself. It has meant a lot to have been part of the New Hands run. Huge shout outs to Mr. and Mrs. Bond, as well!
I have seen variations of New Hands’ set so many times and, knowing that this was the last, Spence’s lyrics struck me even harder. “Dreamer,” “Tulips,” “Swimming,” and the eponymous “Leave With The Night” all seemed to hold even more meaning.
But do you want that
Or did you think it through
I really doubt it
When you’re a different you – “Strange Attractor”
Change isn’t easy; I’ve always had a particularly hard time with it, but being at the foot of the stage that night and letting the music flow into me just reinforced the ephemeral nature of everything. Try as we might, we can’t hold onto anything. Being in the present moment is all we should ever strive to do, and I can say, in that moment, I truly was. It’s also so incredible that music has the ability to get us there and I reflected on the fleeting nature of any live performance. My own existential crisis aside, here, what an amazing moment it was and I’m so grateful for all of New Hands’ performances over the years.
Of course, “Whichever Way You’ll Have It” was the one I knew would get me misty-eyed. I’ve said before that this is a song that I will hear years from now, and feel so nostalgic. It already gives me that feeling and is still the most special piece of local music I’ve heard. Belting out the “I’m alive and can’t say no” during this last show – it rang truer than ever before.
I’ve watched these guys grow up, as musicians and as men, and couldn’t be prouder. So to Spence Newell, Ben Muñoz, Pat O’Brien, Evan Bond, and Gordy Bond – thank you for everything! You’ve been integral to my I Heart Hamilton journey and I am happy to have been a part of yours.