Although Santigold was playing on a festival stage, this was far more than a band playing a gig, this was a brilliant artist making a statement. Her performance was some sort of amazing metaphorical critique of modern corporate greed and authoritarianism via burlesque spectacle and a super high energy pop soundtrack. Not only were there several costume changes throughout the set, but the entire band was coordinated in these changes. Santigold’s dancers also added an element of dramatic facetiousness that was really jaw dropping to watch. In fact the dancers started the show in blow up chairs eating giant bags of Cheetos and sipping blue sports drank. At one point after their costume change the dancers actually pretended to be products on a shelf, slowly rotating on a lazy susan.
Santigold plays R&B based hip hop with a little rock mixed in. She is a hilarious performer, bouncing around the stage and pumping her fists for the whole set, except for when she stopped to do a few coordinated dance moves with her amazing backup performers. Not to drone on about the wardrobe, but she entered the stage in an oversized jacket. When she later took it off, after her business related single, revealed her dress showing, “Cash For Gold” the crowd freaked right out! Her next costume change was into a frilly dress bearing fake Santigold logos. Her dancers wore matching outfits. It’s a totally over-the-top and all encompassing experience, so if you have an opportunity to see her live, I would definitely make time. Check her out here: www.santigold.com
Everything about music is ethereal, and in more than the totally obvious ways. Sometimes an artist will invent a new style completely and transcend the lines so finely drawn between existing genres. Ensh does so unabashedly and with a certain raw tenacity, as I discussed with him after his set at The Drake Underground. At this stage his music seems to be between two worlds, almost too commercial for European audiences, yet somehow a little too far out for Canadians.
The native Serbian and former Torontonian will be moving back to Toronto in September 2016 and although on this night the Drake was sparsely populated, I foresee Ensh playing some epic sold out club gigs. I will say that those who were there enjoyed themselves immensely. Ensh plays his own form of soulful electronica mixed with live beats and live vocals. He is a joyous performer, dancing around for the whole set and screaming into the microphone with his eyes closed, all while manipulating his beats with a foot pedal.
As you may have noticed he also happened to paint his face for the show, kind of like a slightly slow Ziggy Stardust. Is that ok? Can I say that? On top of this, Ensh’s ensemble for the evening was completed so that he resembled a hobo Hugh Hefner. He did this even though it was a wednesday night and there was a small crowd. He did it just because it felt right. This is the mark of an artist who gives it their all every time and an attitude the Toronto music scene needs more of. I look forward to seeing more of Ensh very soon. Check him out here if you like: http://www.enshmusic.com/
Pictures and Article by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Edited by: Jesse Kline
The first time I saw Tiny Danza they were pulling up to College and Bathurst in a giant truck. They had been playing out of the back of a truck and pirating the streets of Toronto with music because their gig got cancelled during a local festival. It was one of the most punk rock things I had ever seen and I instantly knew that these guys were the real deal. The music industry can be tough these days and a big factor can be professional persistence. The fact is these guys do not give up.
Although they sport one of the silliest names in music, the guys in Tiny Danza take their jobs very seriously. I also know for a fact that the name was picked with the use of a dartboard. Additionally, the name always seems to elicit the same response from people upon learning it, “Hold me closer Tony Danza!” The funny thing is that Tiny Danza’s amalgam of a name is actually quite apropos, fusing and seamlessly melding two disparate influences as with their unique fusion of musical styles. They happen to be one of Toronto’s best Hip-Hop, R&B and Rock bands rolled into one, with each member of the band bringing something special to the mix.
Vocalist Andrew Cameron and Emcee Galen Hogg are the front men for Tiny Danza. Always well dressed, Cameron is inspired by artists like Usher and Michael Jackson. His vocal lines are smooth as honey and just a little playful with a drop of crazy. Hogg is a smooth Emcee and constant source of positivity on stage. He beamed and he bounced his way through the set. Andrew Santaguida provides an ethereal foundation on keys, while drummer Nick Shao is very possibly a robot. Guitarist, Matt Russo is always humble and appropriate but also an insane soloist. These three guys are epically funky and airtight. Highly trained Jazz musicians, these boys walk that fine line between constant perfection and the edge of control. Watching Cameron and Hogg play around onstage is also very fun all on its own. This was a special night a Cherry Cola’s Rock N Roll and Cabaret Lounge, in no small part due to Tiny Danza and Souldisciplez discovering each other as artists for the first time. This is such a natural pairing of brilliant Toronto acts that I expect to see them share a stage again before long.
This show was put together less than a week in advance, yet TD brought some serious passion to the stage, and a huge crowd to the room. In fact, for the last song, ‘Beat Fly’ much of the audience was dancing on stage with them, along with cherry’s gorgeous go-go dancer. So if you happen to be looking for some amazing Hip-Hop and R&B I suggest you check out Tiny Danza right here:
Review and Pictures by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Edited by: Jesse Kline
These guys take their name very seriously, drawing from classic influences of the later 20th century and using all analog gear to create a very modern interpretation of classic music genres. This is all undoubtedly funneled through the guise of a hip-hop band, but in truth, Grand Analog is careening with influences that go far beyond rap music.
They are pretty much everything live instrumental Hip Hop should be, a true amalgam of musical genre’s resulting in boundary crossing Rock-Hop or Rap N Roll. They consist of Bass, Sax, Drums, Two turntables and a microphone, all the band members are all exceedingly versatile, as is demonstrated through their fluid performances from song to song, using rock, funk, reggae grooves, dub lines and some pretty sweet jazz breakdowns to their MC’s benefit.
Not often does one encounter both a parka and fedora incorporated into a hip hop MC’s ensemble. Odario Williams is an exception to this rule. He literally had command over the audience as a maestro does his orchestra. My favorite moment was when they played the song ‘I Play My Kazoo’, without a kazoo, because why the hell not?
Grand Analog has been hitting the stage since 2006 and has been growing ever since. I first discovered them because of their track ‘The Great Rhyme Dropper’. They will be playing SXSW in the coming weeks, so stay alert. Grand Analog has the scent of greatness on them. This is how live rap is and should be done. Plus their recordings ain’t bad neither.
Review & Photograph's by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Toronto Music Reviews
You can't always make it out to see the amazing live music of Toronto, so live vicariously through our writers and photographers.