Toronto’s own Van Khanh (left) and Masia One rocked Revival right Thursday night.
Thu, Sep 11
HUSBAND & KNIFE at the Boat Rating: NN
It could have had something to do with the fact that one band bailed. Or the depressingly small crowd that maybe rounded out to a dozen. Or the noticeably short duration of the show. But the brilliant-on-disc one-man Husband & Knife (aka KC Spidle) made the night feel like an anti-show.
Not that he was an abysmal performer. But perhaps because of the poor turnout, the eerily melancholic and frail qualities of his voice were absent, as was the emotional weight of his music. The rushed performance came off like a basement rehearsal.
The idea of seeing Spidle play in a near-empty room was kind of exciting, like we were going to see a guy channel the ghosts that haunt his recorded work, but what we got wasn't quite so special.
MASIA ONE AND FRIENDS Pulau CD release party at Revival Rating: NNNN
Business-tight Masia One was no joke, putting together an almost flawless lineup who delivered an assortment of entertaining highlights. Montreal's Sikh Knowledge came with high-energy hip-hop but was unkindly given the Screwface stonewall. They remained stoic before Japan's DJ Sarasa sliced up the between-set sections. Something was missing from San Diego duo Sabowtawj's show, a small step down before the headliner.
Masia One then stormed onstage with an army of gifted collaborators and live musicians and put on a heart-warming performance full of smooth vibrations and masterful melodies. An all-star three-part harmony consisting of Jessica Kaya, Tanika Charles and Zaki Ibrahim was simply phenomenal, while a razor-sharp Junia-T and Van Khanh also rocked the mic.
If Masia has an Achilles heel, it's the need to add more gravitas to her witty wordplay and oceanic flow. Apart from that, she performed at the top of her game.
Fri, Sep 12
WILL CURRIE AND THE COUNTRY FRENCH at the Drake Rating: NNN
When the dust settles, Will Currie might go down in music history as a Pete Best-like figure. Years ago he was a member of a Newmarket quintet called Suburbia, and he's the only one of the five who didn't go on to form Tokyo Police Club. However, his old bandmates did help him launch his solo career, sitting in as the Country French until Currie could conscript five fellow Wilfred Laurier music students to fill out his piano pop sound.
Taking the stage at 10 pm to a smattering of dancing fans at the Drake Underground, Currie launched into a track off his debut EP, A Great Stage. Unlike some piano-plunking frontmen, he doesn't hog the spotlight. Instead, he smiled while lead guitarist Dan Beacock rocked the integral hook to crowd-pleasing single Surprising Me. It's too soon to tell, but if the band lives up this show in the coming months (they've got the musicianship part down), Currie might be able to make a mark all his own.