MAYLEE TODD’S MUSICAL PLANETARIUM as part of SUMMERWORKS MUSIC SERIES at the Great Hall, Saturday, August 17. Rating: NNNN
Maylee Todd is best known as a flamboyant disco pixie, but she also has a quieter facet to her music that's often overshadowed by her larger-than-life stage charisma. Pairing up with filmmaker Tess Girard for Summerworks Music Series let her explore her soft side, and took some of the focus off Todd herself.
Instead, the audience was encouraged to curl up on the floor of the Great Hall and gaze upward, where a kaleidoscopic display of hearts, hands and constellations intertwined with live footage of the Toronto singer projected onto the venue's ceiling. That suited Todd's music, which replaced her usual massive funk with mellow beats processed through her LED Tenori-on MIDI controller (itself a visual spectacle) and softly plucked Peruvian harp to create a gorgeously dreamy lullaby/lounge hybrid that perfectly soundtracked the "planetarium" visuals.
Still, it's hard for Todd not to be the centre of attention, even at this show, where, in fact, her stage sat literally in the centre of the room. There was plenty to watch for those who gazed slightly downward, with Todd's glitter-filled hair and neon-pink costume surrounded by balloons, which were also given their own individual, shifting light show. A pair of backup singers also stood on each side of the balcony, creating an elegant stage setup that both maximized the space and surrounded the audience with sound.