Words by: Laura Stanley | Photos by: Stephen McGill –
Respectively releasing two stellar records last year, west coasters Aidan Knight and Hannah Georgas have teamed up for a slew of tour dates this month. Marking the first show of their tour together, Knight and Georgas knew how to get the audience enthralled at Toronto’s MOD Club last night.
As the opener for Georgas, Aidan Knight was able to beautifully, and surprisingly, transfer the big lush sounds of his new record Small Reveal to his live performance, definitely earning some new fans along the way. Playing to a great turnout for an opening act, Knight and his band of Friendly Friends, Colin Nealis on guitar/bass/violin, Olivier Clements and Julia Wakal on horns/keys, and David Barry on percussion, brought some fantastic energy to their arrangements and making some serious noise while they were at it.
Playing roughly the first half of Small Reveal, Knight began his set with the album’s big time opener “Dream Team.” Beginning quietly with some soft guitar picking and the nice touch of Nealis’ violin, “Dream Team,” like a lot of the songs from the record, built to a whole other entity thanks to the instrumental arrangements. While the audience’s attention might have strayed through the song’s opening notes, the audience was all ears as Barry’s mighty percussion work took over towards the latter half of the song.
Quickly moving through new songs like the lush and poppy first single, “A Mirror,” the sombre “Singer-Songwriter,” and “You Will See The Good In Everyone,” a song which like “Dream Team” had a big instrumental build-up and the same audience-capturing effect, Knight gave further proof that his dreamy baroque-folk-pop sound is a brilliant one.
For a quiet and tender moment of the evening, Knight took his energetic set down a notch with the heartbreaking track “Margaret Downe.” Momentarily leaving behind his Friends, the MOD Club became inexpressibly silent, if only for a few minutes, as Knight’s warm vocals conveyed the song’s tale of lost love.
Slightly reworking songs from his first record, Versicolour, like “Knitting Something Nice,” yup, a song about knitting, and his catchy folk hit “Jasper,” to fit with the bigger band sound, Knight and the Friendly Friends ended (and started) their set on a high note.
With synth beats overtaking the room, Hannah Georgas and her burst onto the stage for their headlining set. Signing to Dine Alone Records last year, Georgas’ new self-titled record is a bit of a departure from her previous record This is Good, as dance-worthy synth pop beats make up the majority of the songs, a seemingly big draw for her new fans. Launching into the pulsating “Elephant” and continuing with her that relied heavily on her new album, Georgas turned Knight’s instrumental soundscape into a dance ready club with ease.
Newer songs like “Somebody,” “Shortie,” and, “Millions” made for some light-hearted energetic dance numbers to which the audience thrived on while a new Georgas song, “Robotic” featured even more sweetness than the album version.
Georgas performed a solid selection of songs from her back catalogue including tracks like, “The Deep End,” “Thick Skin,” “The Beat Stuff,” and “Dancefloor,” and rarely missed a beat as she explored her eclectic discography. As her set wound down, Georgas played one of her first big hits “All I Need.” Starting off as a quieter folky number, “All I Need” grew into an energetic dance number, very fitting to the rest of her set, but was particularly highlighted by Georgas’ dynamic vocals soaring above the instrumentation.
Through two pretty distinct sounding musicians, Aidan Knight and Hannah Georgas transcended the energy and raw emotions of their new records and provided an engaging look into two of Canada’s most gifted up-and-coming musicians.