Who: Kodie Rollan, Gabi Evans, Alanna Matty and Band
Where: Drake Underground
When: Friday August 9, 2013
One Word: Soothing
This was my first time attending a show at the Drake Underground – a venue located in The Drake Hotel. Clever. I wasn’t aware that this boutique hotel served as a top-rated restaurant, bar, lounge, and dining experience. The route to this multi-purpose landmark was definitely one that I wouldn’t want to revisit again at night. Located in the downtown core of Queen St. West and swaying along construction, it is assuring to say that you will encounter some unusual individuals in a “sketchy” environment. However, it didn’t take out the adrenaline inside of me to see three incredibly talented budding musicians in Toronto.
Arriving at The Drake Hotel (after being informed that they were running late and to kindly relax on the couch at the very back – which was extremely comfy – for about half an hour) we were directed downstairs to the Drake Underground. I didn’t expect to see what I witnessed when entering the venue. It was a cool and soothing open-area lounge – couches aligned at the sides, a couple of tall tables in the middle and a spacious stage upfront comfortably fitting a large band. The only downside I’d say was that it was extremely dark. Perhaps that was the intention inorder to set the mood however, it was quite difficult being able to see the settings to my camera and by far – be able to eat. An O’Noir dining experience. When skimming through the venue to find an area to sit – I noticed that there were only about five individuals present. It’s always difficult getting a crowd to come out to a show your hosting and/or performing at so that didn’t really surprise me that much. Setting those flaws aside – I was there to enjoy some awesome music and that vibe was certainly portrayed throughout three musicians and a kick-ass band.
Opening Act: Kodie Rollan & Gabi Evans
I’ve previously seen both musicians perform separately, but never on-stage together as a duo act. I was curious to see what both Kodie and Gabi had planned as a setlist that both defines not only song choices as a solo artist but one that would succeed as a duo act as well. As a result they portrayed flawless original tracks together – it’s always difficult for solo musicians to collaborate on songs and be able to perform them together. It was great to see the connection between Kodie and Gabi both onstage and out – you really need a solid relationship with musicians you plan to perform events with. With a great amount of back-and-forth solo performances in the middle of their setlist (while the other performer stood back to the side) – it is without a doubt safe to say that these two aspiring artist have a great music talent that will only exceed here on end. Being only in their 20s, both Kodie and Gabi are able to jam out and have a great time on stage during upbeat songs while also presenting immense emotion through each lyric sung. It’s always important to connect with your audience no matter how large or small of a crowd it is – this is what I find many artists lack in their performances – I applaud both Kodie and Gabi for succeeding to engage me from the very beginning until the encore. I look forward to more duo-acts from these two – it’s a clever way to show what they are capable of not only as a solo performer but also as a featured artist. Keep on writing together!
Main Act: Alanna Matty and Band
I’m used to seeing Alanna perform as a solo artist and was shock when I saw that she also had a band. When talking to her – she mentioned that she enjoys playing both solo and with the band however, she finds that the band adds to the performance. I agree 100%! Alanna did a mix of originals and covers with the band and without it – needless to say the band killed it and her voice is impeccable. I did notice a difference in her performance and character once her band left the stage. As soon as the first song of hers played with the band I was ultimately rocking my head to the beat and fully engaged to her voice and lyrics – Alanna was moving to the beat and rocking that stage to bits. The shy, calm and smooth individual I had in my mind when previously watching her solo performances was ultimately transformed to a pure and outgoing front-woman with a vocal range I’ve never heard. It might be the vibe you get when you have other people on stage performing with you – but wow – it was epic. When listening to her you can quickly realize how incredibly talented she is as an instrumentalist (changing from guitar to piano to ukulele with no hesitation) and a songwriter. My favourite original song from her setlist was hands down “Distance” – where she encouraged us to watch her music video on YouTube, as what she claimed would “make us cry.” I did watch it, and Alanna being a film student herself, it’s no shocker to say that it was brilliant. Now is it that sad? You be the judge.
With my preference of Alanna keeping in close contact with her band and performing more with the band – it’s still a no-brainer that she is well on her way to a future within the arts. As many encourage her to leave film school and go further into music – I say why not do both? Gather up those networks in both fields and use it to your advantage. Keeping my eye closely on Alanna and seeing her evolve musically and in the film world.
Communist Mummies From Mars
When a musician like Alanna decides to excel in a different program in school rather than music – it’s always clever to find ways to have music help fundraise a project. As a film student at Humber College, Alanna has to produce a thesis film as a culminating project for her fourth and final year. As I did an article last year for Humber Et Cetera – I am aware that Humber doesn’t provide any money to help produce the films. It’s not free to create movies and students need to find other alternatives to raise money and be able to pay all the equipment and actors in order to make the film happen. Alanna used this very concert to raise money for her film. Some proceeds of the $5 entrance fee will be going towards her film; “Communist Mummies From Mars,” as well as the profit from merchandises sold at the event.
Even though you might not have been able to attend this event – bummer on your end – be sure to still help support this wily and vintage film by donating even as low as a dollar to their Indiegogo page. Trailer coming soon!
© Jessica Paiva, Music Vice
Photos by Jessica Paiva, Music Vice:
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