The Baltimore House 43 King William Street
You know that anti-climactic, let down feeling you get after something really great is over? I’ve often felt that the strongest after concerts – witnessing a live performance that meant a lot to me. There was no time for that feeling to settle in after the first installment of New Hands’ residency at The Baltimore House, because I knew there were three more weeks ahead!
New Hands hadn’t played a show in over a year – they took an extended break last year as Ben Muñoz went to England for school and Spence Newell to France. When this residency was announced, I couldn’t believe that New Hands’ big return would be so perfect. They played every Thursday in November at The Baltimore House, joined by a different band each week, plus a guest DJ.
There was a lot of excitement that first week. Lobby started things off nicely and Michael Keire of Threshold Studio got the party moving with his selection of songs before and in between acts. It was fitting to have Keire be the first guest DJ. A close friend of the band, he produced their yet-to-be-released debut album. Throughout the month, the other guests included Etiquette for the second week, Ken Park and Illitry for the third week, HIGHS for the fourth week.
Once that moment came, and New Hands took the stage, it blew my mind to hear these songs sounding so great. They were the same, but elevated to greater heights. I’ve seen variations of their set so many times now that I really appreciated hearing all of the tweaks and nuanced additions. The songs sounded better than ever. The transitions between them were so tight and creative. They didn’t stick to one set, either. Each week, the songs were played in a different order and there were new aspects to note.
It didn’t seem like New Hands had been separated for a year. It was like no time had passed; or rather, it seemed like during their hiatus, the five guys were actually together this whole time, honing this live show. To think that they had only regrouped for a couple of months prior, it was unreal; I can’t say enough. It gave me so much joy to see them play together again.
Adding an extra dynamic to these shows, New Hands’ drummer Gord Bond created visuals that were projected onto the band while they played. It looked awesome and complimented their sound so well.
Being such a big fan, I was honoured to be one of the guest DJs. Following DJ Mark of Dr. Disc during the second week, it was my turn for the third. I had so much fun putting together my set list [check it out here!]. I tried to curate many of the songs specifically for New Hands. It worked out perfectly that one of my picks, “Paranoid” by Kanye West came on right as New Hands were setting up to play. New Hands has covered that song before, and Spence even sung a little of it into the mic! For the final week, Kyle Fisher of The Dirty Nil took to the decks. It was awesome – each DJ was so different and brought something fresh.
I really didn’t know that to do with myself the following Thursday when the residency was over! It was such a treat getting to see them all month – it was long overdue! New Hands are officially back in action and I can’t wait to see what’s next for them.
In the meantime, check out their new video for “Strange Attractor” – the GIF-based video is the first of its kind and no two viewings are the same.
Welcome back, boys!