Photo: Morgan Hotson/Aesthetic Magazine
Photo: Morgan Hotson/Aesthetic Magazine
A Great Big World bring a storm every time they come to Toronto. No joke. After their show at the Mod club on March 3rd was cancelled due to the biggest snowstorm of the entire year, A Great Big World brought the storm back to the Opera House on April 4th. Thankfully, this time the storm was inside, and a lot less dangerous.
It’s hard to find something truly unique and exciting in this world of live music, but from the moment you enter a Robert DeLong concert it’s obvious that what you’ve found is delightfully one of a kind. As soon as you see Robert DeLong’s gear set up you know you’re in for a great time. With everything from Wii remotes, game pads, and joy sticks, to an assortment of percussion (including a full drum kit and a keyboard) it seems like too much to handle for a single person. However, for Robert DeLong there’s barely enough space on stage to contain his non-stop energy, bouncing around with the mesmerizing confidence of someone who has complete control of the situation.
If you are planning to see Twenty One Pilots live in concert you might be in for a few surprises. When my friends and I arrived at the Sound Academy in Toronto on September 13th, six hours before the gates opened, the first surprise was disappointing. Even with our early arrival (and 2 hour car ride to get there), the size of the line was astounding. There were four tents set up by the doors, and with at the very least a hundred people in front of us, it seemed as though every Twenty One Pilots fan was just as dedicated and passionate as the next in line.
Do you want to come home sore after a night of dancing and screaming along to a collection of incredible songs? Do you want a mind blowing light show and energy so high you don’t think a single room can contain it? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you want an Awolnation concert. If you answered no, you don’t know it yet, but you want an Awolnation concert. Two days after Awolnation rocked the Sound Academy in Toronto, my feet still hurt, my arms are bruised from fist pumping into the barrier at the front, and post concert depression (which is a real thing) is at an all time high. Here’s what went down:
Family of the Year may have just released the song of the year- Make you Mine. This group, best known for their song Hero which was on the soundtrack of the movie Boyhood, have just set high standards for their third album out later this summer.
A chill and infectious summer jam, this song took everything that makes Family of the Year sound like Family of the Year and somehow made it better. If you don’t know their sound, think indie folk rock with a lot of fun and a sprinkle of that indefinable magic that lets you know you’ve stumbled upon something special. Make You Mine has a chorus that will not let you escape its joyful clutches. You have been warned- you will be singing “Summertime I’m going to make you mine” long after the track as stopped playing.
If you want to hear some of these new tunes live you can catch Family of the Year on tour with Awolnation – see all the dates here!
It’s been a while since we heard from them, but Twenty One Pilots are out again with their new single “Fairly Local”, which is more than fairly good. It’s amazing and I have been listening to it constantly since it was released on the 13th of March. Twenty One Pilots have found the perfect balance between evolving their unique sound while still staying true to their past.
Kongos in Toronto on 2/20/15 (photo by Jonny Marlow)
Yesterday, the Kongos Lunatic tour came to an end. Travelling with the amazing Sir Sly and Colony House, they made their way across North America thankfully stopping at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. I had the pleasure of being there for a sold out night of great music and people. Since Kongos are one of my favorite bands, I treated myself to a VIP package which was definitely worth the extra money since it included cool merch, an intimate acoustic session, and a meet and greet with the band. During this time I was able to ask some questions to the Kongos brothers and learn more about their show! Here are ten things I learned about them:
- They are the nicest people ever. The amount of time and attention they gave to
Meet and Greet with Kongos
each and every person who came to meet them made it clear that they truly appreciate their fans. They took time to answer questions, give hugs, and take as many photos as everyone wanted. Them and their entire crew were really genuine and did their best to give everyone the best experience possible.
- They are amazing live. They sound exactly the same as they do on the album (or better), have great energy, and really connected with the crowd. They also threw in a few cool covers like Blue Monday, Tokoloshe Man, and Eleanor Rigby! Also the VIP acoustic session was very special and totally worth the extra money. In such an intimate setting their talent wasespecially evident.
- Mo Gordon is a boss. Not only was he the nicest VIP host, he is also Kongos’ manager, and a talented musician himself. One of the shows highlights was when he came on stage to rap a verse on their cover of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby”.
Kongos Acoustic Session (photo by Jonny Marlow)
- Accordions are really expensive. During the acoustic session they allowed questions so I asked Johnny what the round buttons on the left side of his accordion were for. According to him they did “nothing at the moment” because they were broken on both the one he was using and his spare (the consequences of touring). I asked if they were planning on buying a new one but Johnny said they were really expensive and he would “have to win the lottery to buy a new one”. He’ll get it fixed when the tour is finished.
- Danny does most of the video that plays in the background during the concert which makes sense because he is also credited with the photography for their albums and does a lot of work on their music videos such as the filming and editing of their video for “Come with Me Now”. This was part of the remarkable production that they had the opportunity of including on their headlining tour.
- Tokoloshe Man is the best song on the drums. They covered this song by their father, John Kongos, during the encore and the drums (which were surprisingly set up at the front of the stage) were really entertaining to watch. They were so good that Jesse dropped his sticks twice and as a result I got one of them!
- Danny has started to sing “Kids These Days” live. Since I spend too much time listening to Kongos live shows on YouTube I know that Dylan usually sings “Kids These Days” live but for some reason in Toronto Danny sang it (he also sings it on the album). It was really good and I actually prefer when Danny sings it as I find this song really suits his voice. Finally hearing him sing was definitely one of the shows highlights for me!
- They pick the music that plays between sets. This was made obvious by the amount of Tinariwen played, an artist they often cite when asked about their musical influences. Since I always check out what music my favourite bands recommend I recognized a lot of the songs on the playlist (which was good because they have a great taste in music).
- They can see when you sing along to their songs in the crowd. During the meet and greet after the show I enthusiastically told the Kongos brothers how amazing they were to which Dylan responded that he saw me singing every word (which I was). This was the best part of the night and meant so much to me!
- The new Kongos album is going to be mind-blowing. If it’s anything like the two new songs they have been playing on tour the next Kongos album will definitely not disappoint! Both songs, “Take it From Me” and “I Don’t Mind” are both very upbeat and fresh sounding without losing the Kongos sound everyone already loves. Also, if anyone else was wondering why Dylan and Danny switch instruments during “I Don’t Mind” it’s just because Dylan wrote it on the guitar and it’s his song. Watch “Take it From Me” live here: