One of my plans for this year was to go to more music concerts and we have indeed gone to several this year, and they’re all for Canadian artists. We even saw Hayden twice! I’ve been a Hayden fan even before I went to Canada but I didn’t get to see him live until earlier this year when he had a new album out and he started touring. We got to sit on the second row from the stage which was awesome. We saw Feist twice, too. We also saw Sarah Slean for the second time. The first time we saw her was three or four years ago in a small club in Waterloo. But I’m not going to talk about them in this post. Instead, I’m going to talk about the opening acts, the lesser-known artists who warm the stage for the main performers. So far, I’ve never been disappointed by an opening act.
Let’s start from the first Sarah Slean show in Waterloo. The opening act was a French-Canadian singer/songwriter named Jorane. She was funny and she had an adorable accent. She sang and played a cello, and she had a beautiful voice. She sounded almost like Tori Amos. One of her songs, Red Mountains, which is about growing old with someone you love, always makes me a bit teary-eyed. I don’t think she’s produced any more albums since, which is too bad because I think she’s very talented.
The second Sarah Slean show in Kitchener was opened by Royal Wood. Troy first heard one of his songs, Juliet, on the radio and really liked it. He mentioned it to me and I listened to it and I really liked it, too. I don’t think we knew he was going to be the opening act when we bought the tickets to see Sarah Slean. We learned about it later and were really looking forward to seeing his performance. And he was really good. His voice was deep and beautiful. I was hoping that he’d save Juliet for later just in case the rest of his songs sucked but instead, he started with it, and the rest of his songs were actually quite enjoyable. We like his performance enough to buy tickets to see him again in January.
The first Hayden show in Kitchener was opened by an artists we had never heard called Basia Bulat. She was really, really good. Her voice was really unique and beautiful and she played some interesting instruments while she was singing, also beautifully. It’s hard to pick one favourite song from her album because they’re all very good (it’s one of the most-played album in our household this year) but if I had to pick one, I would go with I Was a Daughter. The drumming, the violin, the handclaps, Basia’s voice, it’s a perfect tune.
The second Hayden show in London, Ontario was also the second Feist show we went to. Hayden was the opening act. He performed with a band this time (he performed practically solo in the first one). He was still really good, but I much prefer his solo performance in a smaller venue. The John Labatt Centre was too big and the band kind of took away the acoustic quality that I love about Hayden’s music.
The first Feist show in Kitchener was opened by the Great Lake Swimmers. Troy and I had been listening to their music for over a year and we had been wanting to see them live. We were thrilled to learn that they were going to open for Feist, and they didn’t disappoint. They were so much better live. They really took advantage of the acoustic of the hall and the way their music filled the room was amazing. They didn’t perform our favourite song, I Will Never See The Sun, but their performance of Moving Pictures, Silent Films more than made up for it.
Now you can listen to the songs I mentioned above in this mix:
I threw in a Martha Wainwright song because we’re going to see her show next month. I don’t remember who’s going to open for her. I’ve never heard his name before but hopefully he’ll be as awesome as the other opening acts I’ve seen.