Who: Emma Hewson, Kenisha Humber, Birds of Bellwoods, Rory Taillon with Current Sessions Productions
When: Friday, January 24th, 2014
Where: The Central, Toronto
In One Word: Variety
Toronto-based production company, Current Sessions (spearheaded by Marco Carboni and Nicholas Posthumus), kicked off their first concert of the year at The Central with friends – and then some.
The line-up featured local acts of varying musical styles to keep things fresh keeping the audience wall to wall and on their feet. And boy, did they deliver.
Emma Hewson started the night off with a soulful, jazzy piano set, giving off just the right amount of energy to flow through the tightly packed venue. During a relatively short set, Hewson set up the vibe that would be the catalyst for the rest of the night.
After her set, Hewson got back onstage to perform in the backup vocal quartet for Kenisha Humber. Humber is the definition of a “good time”, whether it be through her powerful vocals, songs you can groove to, or her general onstage presence, she doesn’t just get up and sing – Humber performs. Even in between songs, Humber engages in banter with everyone around her before sliding into her next tune. Just a comment on the raw talent Humber and her group has is their ability to improvise a song at the drop of a hat. While not being prepared for an encore performance, the group flawlessly pulls off an awe-inspiring improvisation that sounds like it’d been rehearsed – the only indicator of it not being rehearsed is Humber’s perfectly in-tune vocals crooning “I don’t know what to sing here”. Overall, she makes for a wildly interesting and intriguing performance.
Once Birds of Bellwoods took the stage, the floor in front of them was flooded with people. The sheer juxtaposition of the laid-back folk quartet posed with a rowdy and raucous crowd was funny, but not at all unwarranted. The energy was through the roof, literally speaking – there were people actually attempting to crowdsurf, grazing The Central’s low ceiling. Birds of Bellwoods are a band to keep an eye on – their music is eclectic and charming with Stevie Joffe’s raspy vocals and taking full advantage of the rich sounds each string can make (there is a banjo, a guitar, a mandolin and an upright bass…enough said).
A man and his guitar, Rory Taillon was a force to be reckoned with when he got onstage for his set. A bluesy, low-key way to end the night, it was the perfect way to wrap up the show. It could be argued that the microphone was rendered useless when Taillon took to it, his booming voice filled the room to make up for those who left after Birds of Bellwoods’ set. A highlight of his performance was his laid-back yet captivating rendition of Tom Waits’ “Christmas Card from a Hooker in Minneapolis”, an intimate moment where most of the people left in the bar sang along.
Overall, the night had some of the prime moments you could hope for in a show. There was dancing, swaying, grooving, and a cacophony of support for each of these local artists, making the show an ultimate success.
Current Sessions is featuring a whole new lineup at The Central on March 7th, 2014. But for now, check out any or all four of these artists fit for any mood.
© Megan Rach, Music Vice
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