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
Every so often you are fortunate enough to see a performer who changes your life. Charles Bradley is, quite frankly, my new hero. The man plays music that I genuinely thought was a vestige of a time long past. He has attained a level of ability parallel to the absolute pinnacle of big band soul music, something which I expected to only ever hear on vinyl. Not only that, but he isn’t even an artist from that era. He was just discovered a mere decade ago and only put out his first album in 2011. Not that you could ever tell, he has lived and breathed soul for most of his 67 years.
He is the equal to any R&B soul star of the 1960’s. Watching Charles Bradley is akin watching a beautiful echo of Otis Redding. His voice is otherworldly. That is, I have seen Solomon Burke and Wilson Pickett live and Charles Bradley is in every way their equal. He brings a level of passion to his music that is only heard in truly world-class soul music. His energy is transcendent and his voice is perfection. If you need proof, listen to his Changes album; in it, he completely takes ownership of the Black Sabbath classic. For context The Alabama Shakes’ first album is worth checking out too, it borrows heavily from Bradley’s vocal style.
Over all he was my favorite act at Field Trip by a landslide. It was a fantastic festival, even though we almost got rained out on this second day. As the festival tried to regain its footing from a couple hours of weather delay, Bradley’s music and endless message of love brightened moods as the sky did its best to follow suit. After the show, Charles came out and hugged literally everybody who had waited around to meet him. It actually came to the point where he seemed unable to help himself, so much so that his manager had to repeat asking the crowd around him to dissipate, because that would be the only way he would agree to walk away from the adoration of his admirers. The man clearly lives for his fans even more than his music, no small feat considering musical poetry and passion ooze from this shiny golden god every minute he is on the stage.
Check out the incredible Charles Bradley here: www.thecharlesbradley.com
Article and Pictures by: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Edited by: Jesse Kline
Toronto has many different artists who in one way or another emulate legendary ones, but I think of the bunch who do it the best, Julian Taylor is my favourite. In my eyes he is Toronto’s Stevie Wonder. His music is rock-based soul-driven and heavily influenced by R&B. His sound could be described as a very rocking funky Motown. From his melodic keys player to his emphatic horn section, Julian Taylor is not short on compositional aptitude. His voice is passionate but verging on technical perfection, ultimately earning him the Stevie comparison.
Lee’s Palace was packed to the brim on a Wednesday night. Not an easy feat and a testament to how much this city can support it’s own talent. Julian took the stage with a humble smile. Throughout the show the crowd was singing along to every other tune. JT spent a lot of the set either smiling or with his eyes closed. He clearly values his time on stage, it is almost as though he is doing some sort of energetic version of meditating. The crowd clearly had a lot of love for him, reflecting back the same kind of blissful energy on him.
Taylor is another true Toronto talent, so it was great to see him on the same bill as Sate. By the time the set was over I had forgotten that it was only Wednesday. The band had transported me to that euphoric placeone gets to at festival or a Saturday night where you don’t care about what time it is or what you might have to do tomorrow. Check out Julian Taylor here: http://juliantaylorband.com/
Article and Pictures 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
Throbbing keys, screaming guitar solos, dirty funk bass and snug rock drumming. The vocals are some sort of funk rock power roaring. This band is the full package. The night ended with me covered in sweat, beer and rock n roll.
This was the maiden show of Toronto’s newest gem, Sate. The two sets were intimate, dirty and invigorating. The Dakota Tavern is known mainly in the bluegrass, country and roots music scene, but much like our site’s philosophy they are fully and simply about good music. I have never had anything but an amazing musical experience there, even when I just happen by.
The crowd was an eclectic mix. Ian Blurton was spinning vinyl and Steve Marriner, of the multiple Juno award winning band Monkey Junk, came in from Ottawa to play the second set, while Sate played the first and third, the place was chockfull, not bad for a Thursday night. The song ‘Revolution’ was a highlight, their vocalist did a full, head high kick after spending a full five minutes on top of the monitors. She also spent the preamble to the song whipping the crowd into a frenzy with a passionate monologue. She also heckled an audience member who hadn’t smiled yet, until he smiled. It was beautiful.
Sate, like the Dakota, has a very simple goal, ‘… to satisfy earholes’. Their sound is difficult to describe, as it appears to be have been funneled in from so many musical genres. Their sonic signature is akin to the band that would result if the Dead Weather and Tina Turner found Stevie Ray Vaughan’s secret stash of songs. Sate brings dirty break-neck blues rock with occasional punk-metal tones and an r & b based rhythm section.
If I may take off my reviewing hat and pull my photographer stalking over my head, Sate is so photogenic that my work was more play than anything. This band is proof of the power of passion. Their live show is both beautiful and scary like watching the birth of something new. These guys are sincerely worth checking out and one of the tightest freshman bands I have encountered.
Review and Photograph's By: Gideon Greenbaum-Shinder
Toronto Music Reviews
There are often times when I feel I am being bombarded with music, that there is too much of it to sort through and that I should simply accept that. Then a band like The Soul Motivators comes lumbering into the misty mine fields of your musical perception.
It is always a distinct moment when one is reminded of the reasons we got into this industry, passion. I think it is fair to say that the way ‘soul’ music earned its moniker is fairly obvious, as it is impossible to accomplish properly without it. The Soul Motivators are carrying on the grand tradition of the passionate orchestral style soul band that still keeps a professional attitude and is always well-dressed. Majorly upping the class in the Toronto scene.
Toronto’s Lee’s Palace was positively brimming. When the place is packed it is one of the best rooms in Toronto and an appropriate place for such a celebration, as The Soul Motivators were just signed to Do Right Music, the niche soul label they deserve. This nine piece funk machine has been serving up soul for over 3 years now and will be releasing its hugely anticipated debut album in May 2015 with Do Right. Although they have appearance and stereotypical ensemble of a simple retro soul band their influences are plentiful, Jazz, reggae and psychedelic rock can be found laced within their oceanic grooves.
Lead singer Lydia Persaud’s vocals are profoundly powerful, coming right from the center of her being and washing over you. Her lyrics speak of self-reliance and, of course, to party while you can. Yet there is playfulness, stemming from her towering confidence, this is all quite obviously imparted through her hypnotic stage presence.
Their three headed horn section is punchy emphatic bringing the bass line out to shine, but in their heroic, screaming solos, it is clear that these guys have some serious jazz based training. Instrumental portion was actually electrifying, it is always sad to see Lydia leave the stage, but the boys traded solos on three different grooves for a solid ten minute jam. It was frankly, epic. The rhythm section is rock solid funk driven thumping, resulting in the perfect high-energy backdrop for the patter of lead guitar, keys or occasionally a nice spastic horn solo.
Surely one of the finest funk acts that this city has ever produced, they are clearly poised for bigger things. This act is a credit to their name. So if the mood strikes you, let this be the band to motivate your soul. http://soulmotivators.com/
Review and Photography 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.