Tag Archives: concert review


Concert Review: King Crimson @ Theatre St-Denis



There was an air of the unreal about my being at a King Crimson concert at all. Everything about the show was big … it was a big venue, it had big publicity, and it had very big ticket prices (starting at $73 – hard to call them the ‘cheap seats’!) … I’d asked the CKUT music coordinator to try to get me on the guest list almost as a joke, and she’d confessed it seemed highly unlikely. In fact the request had been turned down, but then the publicist had called back and offered a pass after all! Faith for the faithless.

My own relationship with King Crimson had been via the late 70s, stripped-down ‘new wave’ Robert Fripp, when he’d shaved off his hippie locks and shed the flares and the fringed jackets, and reinvented himself as a solo performer. He’d disbanded King Crimson in 1974. As he wrote in the liner notes of his 1980 solo LP God Save The Queen / Under Heavy Manners, “on a professional level this was largely a result of the decreasing possibility for any real contact between audience and performers. This seemed to me to be caused by three main factors: firstly, the escalation in the size of rock events; secondly, the general acceptance of rock music as spectator sport; thirdly, the vampiric relationship between audience and performer.” Continue reading

Young Fathers perform during the first day of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 31st, 2015.

Concert Review: Young Fathers – Osheaga 2015

Osheaga Music & Arts Festival celebrated its 10th anniversary this past weekend, and if you were one of the estimated 135,000 music fans to descend on Parc Jean Drapeau for even one of those three days your ears are probably still ringing. Since about 120 different bands played it was impossible to see everything at Osheaga, but one of the great things about music festivals is not only catching the bands you know and love, but making new musical discoveries as well.

I knew very little about Young Fathers before deciding to catch their set at Osheaga Friday night, but their upbeat, danceable track “Shame” (think: Outkast), from their latest album White Men Are Black Men Too had been in my head all week.

Young Fathers perform during the first day of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 31st, 2015. CREDIT MANDATORY PHOTO BY TIM SNOW/evenko

Young Fathers perform during the first day of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 31st, 2015. PHOTO BY TIM SNOW/evenko

Moments after FKA Twigs finished her last song on the opposing stage, drummer Steven Morrison, AKA soonbe, caught the whole crowd off guard with one resounding drum beat. When the opening of “Queen is Dead” began, the crowd cheered, and we were off. This first song was not exactly the straight up pop & hip-hop mix I was expecting, and for a moment I wondered if I was at the right stage after all. The song blends old school hip-hop elements with vocals that could be mistaken for Tricky, and… something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on. (Turns out their bio counts dancehall, krautrock, and post-punk as some of their influences, as well as hip-hop, R&B and pop.) Honestly though, what does genre even matter when you’re dancing?

For the next 50 minutes the crowd swelled as the sounds varied between the almost-beatbox vocals of “Old Rock n Roll”, to tinges of gospel and soul in “Just Another Bullet” and “Dare Me”, to the epic, Teenage Wasteland, arena rock vibe of “Low”. It didn’t take very long for it to become clear to me that Young Fathers are the rare kind of act who can jam all kinds of elements, influences and sounds into one song. The result is a pretty amazing musical mashup that appeals to someone like me, who generally finds genres just plain silly anyway. Breaking out of boxes and blurring the boundaries between different types of music is where great stuff happens, and Young Fathers sounded pretty great from where I was standing.

Young Fathers perform during the first day of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 31st, 2015. CREDIT MANDATORY PHOTO BY TIM SNOW/evenko

Young Fathers perform during the first day of the Osheaga Music and Arts Festival in Montreal on Friday, July 31st, 2015.

To describe their stage presence as merely intense would be an understatement. Frontmen Alloysious Massaquoi, Kayus Bankole, and ‘G’ Hastings stared intently at the crowd between songs, their faces blank. No jovial stage banter here, no smiles or encouragements of crowd participation like one has come to expect at festival shows, no matter what genre the music happens to fall under. The festival game can be a predictable one when each act competes with the next to make the most noise. It’s obviously not always easy to establish a real connection in a short amount of time with an audience who may never have even heard of you. However, before finally coming to a close with the danceable poppiness of “Shame”, Young Fathers put the competition to bed when ‘G’ Hastings addressed the crowd to say: “I’m not going to tell you to put your hands in the air, I’m not going to tell you to bounce, I’m not going to tell you to do anything. You do whatever it is you want to do.” The crowd wholeheartedly, and shamelessly, obliged.

– Amanda Z


Concert Review: Rhye @ Corona Theatre, June 8


Corona Theatre was full to the brim with eager Montrealers awaiting Rhye’s show on June 8th. I sadly missed the opening act, HAERTS, an 80s-reminiscent synth pop band whose sound falls somewhere between Haim and Young Galaxy. The vocalist of HAERTS, Nina Fabi, has a singular, almost Stevie Nicks-esque quality to her voice, adding an edgy tone to their sound. Their self-titled 2014 LP is definitely worth a listen.

Rhye kicked off their set with their 2012 single “The Fall”, a crowd favorite for its sensual R&B-inspired smooth soul-pop. The band, which originally started as a collaboration between producers Robin Braun and Mike Milosh, performed as a six-piece act for their Montreal show. The keyboardist’s synth progressions had the passion of someone savoring their last moments on the Space Odyssey. The bassist was jiving to a funk beat and the lead guitarist dabbled with some post-rock solos. Even though the first couple songs were muddled by some minor technical difficulties, Rhye kept the audience happily enthralled with their stage presence.

What really impressed me was how the band members were almost all multi-instrumentalist. Milosh sang and played some drums, the keyboardist played synths and vocals, the lead guitarist also rocked the trombone and viola, accompanying the violin player next to her. And despite all this musical juxtaposition, they transitioned well from one track to the next. Not many bands sound better in person, but they did!

Towards the end of their set, Rhye asked the audience to try to be as quiet as possible to be able to play an acoustic song for them with no mics or amps. They were able to and succeeded in making Corona feel like an intimate venue of soulful music. Finally, their show came full circle with the much-anticipated single “Open,” and the crowd was left craving more of Milosh’s sultry voice.

Rhye’s energy and obvious love for what they do just confirmed why I love to go see live music — and always will.

– Review and photo by Jess Newfield

Concert Review: Hand Cream, Family Video, Joint Custody @ Brasserie Beaubien

AH! Un festival inattendu is a mini-festival that took place this spring, from April 2 to April 12. The festival, which is the brainchild of James Goddard, ran on a pay-what-you-can basis and  included artists of all types from across Canada, the US, and even acts hailing from as far away as China.

The Joint Custody/Family Video/Hand Cream show was hosted at Brasserie Beaubien, a casual, dimly lit bar with a mishmash of activities, including slot machines in the back, a pool table, and a piano partially covered by a sheet. With the doors opening at 9:30 pm, and the music actually starting around 10:45, the crowd slowly trickled in, but the bar was pretty packed by the end.

The first band to perform was Joint Custody, a local Montreal group made up of three stylish women. After a quick introduction they launched into their first song, establishing their brooding and dreamy sound from the outset. Their instrumentals were strong and anchored by heavy, attention-grabbing bass riffs while forceful, up-tempo drums provided a striking juxtaposition to the softer vocals. While the guitar player sang the first song, the bass player took over for the rest of the set with her soft, wistful voice. Although their set was pretty one-note, each song flowed nicely into the next one.

Taking the stage after Joint Custody was a group called Family Video that hails from St. John’s, Newfoundland. Comprised of Jam King (who also writes the bands songs and lyrics) on guitar and vocals, Jake Nicoll on drums, and Noah Bender on bass, the group had an eclectic sound rooted in pop and alt-rock. You could tell that growing up in St. John’s heavily influenced their music, with many of the lyrics revolving around themes of loneliness, growing up in the middle of nowhere, and the boredom of small-town life. The group was comfortable with each other on stage and interacted with the crowd throughout their set. Between songs, Nicoll bantered with the crowd, discussing their tour schedule and the fact that the previous night they had possibly slept in a haunted basement and were all running on low sleep. Regardless of their states of rest, Family Video gave a great performance and the members are all seriously talented musicians. The instrumentals were incredible, each adding different layers to the sound, and Jam’s voice was buoyed by the instrumentals. Nicoll’s intensity also stood out—he didn’t stop wailing on the kit for one second of the set.

Soon after Family Video finished up, Hand Cream popped on stage. Hand Cream is another local Montreal band, comprised of Meghan Merrigan on vocals and guitar, Markus Lake on bass, Jef Barbara on keys and vox, Greg Napier on the drums, and Christian Simmons on everything else. The group had an easy-going, fun vibe about them. Meghan interacted a lot with the crowd, telling jokes and even calling for a round of drinks to celebrate Markus’s birthday. Hand Cream has a super interesting sound, self-described as ‘psychedelic post-punk’. Meghan’s voice was powerful, a bit raspy and cracking at the end of some words, adding a really unique texture to their sound. The crowd, which had been relatively mellow all night, began to get into the set, bobbing along to the beat. The guitar sounded similar to Mac Demarco’s with a beachy sound; while the cords were dreamy, they definitely had a distinct punk edge to them. Meghan’s voice and impressive guitar playing also added a bit of punk to the mix, with the drums banging out a strong beat and the keyboard adding a retro vibe to the sound. The mixture of genres and sounds helped elevate each band member, and allowed the listener to interpret the sound in their own way.

AH! did a great job putting together a show with all different types of music that would appeal to a wide range of listeners. Although some acts were less experienced than others, all the groups were clearly passionate about their music and seemed to be having a great time both on stage and off of it, as they all stuck around to hang out in the crowd and watch the other performances. The relaxed environment kept the interactions easy, and I hope that AH! continues in the following years.

Review by Natalie Abemayor

Concert Review: Taking Back Sunday at Metropolis

By: Chris Teti

This winter has been a long one; halfway through March, and we are still seeing snowfall. After a promising week filled with warm weather and sunshine, a few hundred Montrealers piled into Metropolis this past weekend, as yet another snow storm covered the streets with a fresh coat of the fluffy white stuff. Inside the venue’s doors were high spirits and an unmistakable sense of excitement, as the much anticipated performance of alternative rockers Taking Back Sunday was only a few short hours away.

Opening the show was letlive, a post hardcore band reigning from Los Angeles, California. Following their performance was Pennsylvania’s own The Menzingers, whose musical style is much more reminiscent to that of early Taking Back Sunday, consisting mostly of emotionally charged, gang vocal style lyrical melodies and pop punk driven power chords. By the end of their performance, it was obvious that the crowd, a variety of young and old, was having a great time and was genuinely enjoying the acts leading up to the main performance. Despite the balcony being occupied by an older crowd, including myself, the area closest to the stage was filled with young (or the young at heart) fans who set the tone early by starting a mosh pit,  however tamed.

Eventually, the lights went out, and the main attraction took the stage, opening up their set with “Flicker, Fade“, one of the title tracks of their newest album “Happiness Is”, followed by one of their biggest mainstream hits, “What’s it Feel Like to be a Ghost?” The stage allowed plenty of space for lead singer, Adam Lazzara, to perform his signature move; throwing and spinning his microphone through the air while holding onto the XLR cable, although he might have misjudged the size of the venue early on in the show, as I’m pretty sure he hit the ceiling with the microphone. Drummer Mark O’Connell was set up at center stage on top of a huge television screen, surrounded by another two large screens, which displayed video clips and colorful montages throughout the show. Rounding out the remainder of the band’s lineup was John Nolan at front stage right on lead guitar, backup vocals and keyboards as well as Eddie Reyes at front stage left on rhythm guitar. Rocking out behind Eddie Reyes was bassist Shaun Cooper and keeping things interesting was touring group member Nathan Cogen, providing additional guitar, keyboards and back up vocals.

The audience showed their enthusiasm and appreciation for Taking Back Sunday throughout the evening, chanting and cheering at any given opportunity. The best example of this was when Adam Lazzara described the upcoming song on their set list as an homage to a difficult and troubling time in his life and the crowd roared in affirmation. Adam Lazzara even jokingly passed a comment on how ridiculous it was to have people cheering for such an odd reason, but who could blame us? TBS has been a fan favorite of emo kids and alternative pop rock enthusiasts since the early 2000’s. I’m sure many of us never thought that we would still be seeing them in concert over ten years after their inception. The audience was more than willing to show their love for the band that provided the soundtrack of their youth whenever the opportunity presented itself. It was such a nostalgic atmosphere for me personally, running into old friends from high school whom I haven’t seen since Taking Back Sunday had just released their album Where You Want to Be. The lyrics to their songs were still on the tip of our tongues, as it felt like just yesterday that I’ve listened to their music, when it reality, it has been years.

After an hour or so of a whirlwind of classic songs mixed lightly with newer music, Taking Back Sunday walked off the stage, only to come back a few short minutes later in order to finish their show off in style. They did not disappoint, as they closed out the show with a performance of Make Damn Sure, but not without first playing an all-time fan favorite song, Cute Without the “E”, which was the ultimate crowd pleaser. In the midst of a surprisingly large mosh pit and array of crowd surfers, it seemed as though everyone in the audience was singing along to the lyrics “why can’t I feel anything for anyone other than you?,” putting a smile on Adam Lazzara’s face so big that I could see it all the way from the top of the balcony. At this point in time, it was clear that the audience had gotten their money’s worth, and that the members of Taking Back Sunday had been reminded of how much their music has touched the hearts of so many people.

When the show ended, the crowd dispersed and made their way out onto the cold Montreal streets, but maybe this time, feeling a little bit warmer.


Concert Review: Homeshake at La Vitrola 02/07


By: Olivia Maccioni

On Saturday February 7th, Monomyth, Brazilian Money, and Homeshake took the stage at La Vitrola. Although I was only able to make the end of the show, getting in just before Homeshake began, the room was already beginning to quiet down and the crowd dispersing, some even heading out. It felt like a quickly deserting space, creating a strange ambiance of confused post-show concert goers. Nonetheless, Peter Sagar, former guitarist for Mac DeMarco and the man behind Homeshake, unassumingly walked on stage around 12:30 with no addressing of the crowd, setting up a small table at the very edge of the stage filled with a handful of pedals, a sampler, and two dimly lit, bronze radiating light bulbs. I could hear mumbling in the crowd, let alone my own conversations, confused, expecting a full band set-up playing the newest hits of Homeshake. His first full album The Homeshake Tape was released in 2013 and his newest album, In the Shower this past August [2014]. Both albums create the feel of lazy, late mornings eating a greasy homemade breakfasts. In these albums, slow percussion and part surfer-rock, part jazz/r&b guitar riffs over smooth lyrics and samples of fuzzy voice recordings bring you straight into Sagar’s living room. However, the show took this intimate sound even further, taking parts of Homeshake’s usual sound—jazzy, sway-worthy guitar and synthy whispered lyrics—into a one-man performance with Sagar shadowed by the two bulbs. It was an atmosphere similar to that of a James Blake show—a quiet, dim, large unassuming silenced room layered with each individual sound; voice, guitar, drumbeat. Coming through the air, the new sound married simple, funky ambient feels to the likes of Toro Y Moi to the sort of soul revival vocals of D’Angelo. However, Sagar still kept to his roots; this performance easily reminiscent of classic Homeshake sounds of quick intersperses of strange voice recordings and jazzy guitar riffs, bringing out the same warm, liquid vibes of actually being in a shower like on his latest album — In the Shower. Yet, at the same time, he also created a sound that I personally think is quite fresh and unique; blending many popular genres in music today by intersecting one-man, slow and steamy chillwave DJ sets with the dancy guitar of classic indie rock and the vocals of synthesized, slacker rock. The show was quick, lasting about 30 minutes. However, at the end of the show, I was lucky enough to be able to chat with and congratulate Peter Sagar (Homeshake), on this new sound, and to those of you who missed it or, like me, are searching the depths of the interwebs to find any remnants of these new feels, no worries, Sagar assured me that this was part of his new album to be expected in June.

tv on the radio - seeds

Concert Review: TV On The Radio at Theatre Corona

tv on the radio - seeds

By Natasha Michaeloff

Although TV on the Radio has been playing together since 2001, judging by the packed concert they played at the Théâtre Corona on November 13th, they show no clear signs of slowing down any time soon.

The band is currently on a worldwide tour to promote the November 18th release of Seeds, their fifth studio album and their first album since the untimely passing of their bassist Gerard Smith. Having now listened to Seeds in its glorious entirety, I can safely say that their unique sound, described as “art rock” and influenced by the band’s self-proclaimed appreciation for a wide variety of musicians ranging from Nancy Sinatra to the Pixies, truly takes on a new form during a live set. Naturally, they played a handful of songs from Seeds (including the catchy single “Happy Idiot” and the foot-stomping “Lazerray”) as well as some old hits. “Province” (recorded in collaboration with David Bowie on 2006’s critical darling Return to Cookie Mountain) was one of the highlights, with members of the audience swaying in time to front man Tunde Adebimpe’s tender crooning, his silhouette illuminated only by violet stage lights. The show eventually culminated with the rollicking “Wolf Like Me”, perhaps the band’s most well known song and my own personal favourite, which got an already enthusiastic crowd buzzing with unrestrained energy, and “Staring at the Sun” (from their debut Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes), following impassioned chants for an encore.

Think what you like of their work, but you can’t say the seasoned performers of TV on the Radio don’t know how to appeal to the senses. As for me, I’ll keep Seeds on repeat to tide me over until their next (inevitable) musical venture.


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Concert Review: Generationals + Lowell

By: Michelle Shi

On December 6th (in the midst of finals), Generationals took the humble stage of Bar Le Ritz. The venue, although intimate, was well decorated and inviting. After the show, in a private interview, Generationals talked about musical influences, life on tour, future plans and more.

Lowell, a Canadian singer-songwriter, opened the set. She came out in a huge fluffy jacket and a sheer dress with her name “Lowell” spelled out across her chest. Backed by only a synth, looping machine, and her guitarist, Lowell delivered a variety of fun melodies with bold, quirky lyrics. After her first song, she introduced herself to the audience and busted out a bit of French. However, the looping machine was still going, so everything kept repeating itself. It was a mistake that made the audience laugh; after all, performers are human too. Those tiny moments are what make live performances so special!

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Lowell starts off with a slow song to get the audience warmed up, and then quickly dives into her energetic tunes. Some songs to note are “Palm Trees,” “Cloud 69,” and the ever so catchy, “I Love You Money.” She finished off the night with “The Bells.” Lowell’s songs were filled with layers of shimmering synths topped with memorable, almost primitive lyrics. Her guitarist was always quick to follow her lead and take over on the synth when she stepped out.

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Lowell was a laid-back, easy-going performer that often interacted with the audience. Her favourite dance move was this hybrid jumping-jack/fist pump move. At one point she grabbed an audience member’s head and moved it along with the music. Then, she jumped into the audience and sang her song while dancing with a group of girls. She ended off her performance singing passionately on the floor.

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After a quick turnover, Generationals (comprised of Ted Joyner and Grant Widmer along with their bassist and drummer) took the stage. Their groovy dream-pop soundscapes were synchronized with a distorted lightshow that got the audience raving to the amazing tunes.

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Most of the songs they played were off their newest album, such as “Black Lemon” and “Gold Silver Diamond.” But they satisfied their older fans with songs from earlier albums such as “Yours Forever” and “Greenleaf.” Grant and Ted alternated seamlessly between vocals, guitar, and synth.gen 5

Besides their characteristic bouncy melodies and catchy hooks, Generationals is known for being percussively driven. When one of the songs called for a maraca, the drummer had drumstick in one hand, and shook the maraca in the other. When the use of the maraca was over, he innovatively used the handle of the maraca as his other drumstick.

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Near the end of the show, Ted split the audience down the center and finished his guitar solo from the center of the floor. Generationals ended the night with a highly demanded encore. Although the audience yelled for “When They Fight They Fight,” Generationals played other well-known songs such as “Spinoza” and “Trust.”

I got the chance to talk to Ted Joyner, vocalist/guitarist of Generationals, after the show. On stage he was an amazing musician and offstage he was a super down-to-earth guy. He mentioned his favourite album he recorded so far was the “Trust EP” which they recorded while staying in Texas. Some of his musical influences include: Talking Heads, Billy Ocean, and New Pornographers. What’s the best thing about going on tour? “Playing shows, meeting new people, and going to sleep after the show,” Ted said, “and partying,” he added. A lot of the fans were disappointed that they didn’t play “When They Fight They Fight.” Ted explained that they normally have horns playing with them on tour, but unfortunately they weren’t able to find any in time for this show. I asked him about New Orleans (because he’s from there – and because I’m visiting this winter break). Ted told me to check out Frenchmen Street (so if you go to New Orleans, you should too). For the future, Generationals will be continuing their tour throughout the New Year into March. They are also “secretly writing” some new songs and filming new music videos, but that is under the wraps for now!

¡FLIST! — Fuck You Im Dead & ANL Showcase @ Brasserie Beaubien (Dec 6th)

By Nicole Ebert

Featured in M for Montreal, ¡FLIST! Played a few Fridays back in Montreal’s most notable venue dedicated strictly to the creation and diffusion of multi-sensory performances. The 360° artistic experience was in the Satosphére Dome, of the SAT, la Société des arts technologiques. 

By the 2nd beat of the 1st song, the performance was a savage assault.  Charlie Twitch moves like the music is being shook and wrung out of his whole body. Dressed to kill in a stunning golden necklace, a nearly revealing robe, barely their leggings and dashingly smart dress shoes, the knee jerk-gyrating shadow of Composer/Sound-Designer & Front-man Charlie Twitch were cast 25-feet high on the dome walls.

Newly released Fuck You Im Dead from newly created Art Not Love (ANL) is not for the faint of heart. It’s the type of music to dance too, let loose too. The album is layered with syncopated dissonances and crosses genres. Each song has lyrics that are heart-achingly honest and creepily intimate. Like looking into the window of somebody else’s bedroom, or the love letters we all write to our exes but never give. The best I can ascribe it is likened to Burns/Eno churned in a sound-blender with a dash of Birthday Party sass.

Although Fuck You Im Dead is the brain-child of Charlie Twitch, ¡FLIST! plays live with ANL co-founder Peggy Hogan on synth/keys, Nick Schofield on percussion/electric drum set and bassist Marc-Andre Roy .  The chemistry is ¡DYNAMITE!

After the show was over, I asked ‘who is Charlie Twitch’ the response Charlie gave only further blurred the distinction:

“(being..) an artist is the creation of a mythology.
     It’s a way to own everything I am doing..

Those that appreciate more experimental forms of music and performances can expect a lot more from Art Not Love in the new year. The label itself manifested out of the Montreal music community. “We’re all very critical of each other but no one will say it. The label is to push each other, and to be more open about it.” ­

The mad hatter and company can be caught tonight (Saturday, Dec 6th) at the first ANL Showcase. Performances by ¡FLIST!, SAXSYNDRUM, HUA LI & DIRTY ORGANS. Visuals all-night  by  Tyler Reekie.  Brasserie Beaubien. (73 Beaubien Est.)


Concert Review: Busty and the Bass at Corona Theatre

by: Michelle Shi

McGill’s very own nine-piece electrofunk band, Busty and the Bass won the Rock Your Campus contest by CBC and TD. The top bands were determined by public voting and from that, the winner was chosen by a panel of celebrity judges. Busty and the Bass received a $10 000 cash prize, a concert performance for McGill Universty students, and the opportunity for a one-year contract to join a YouTube multi-channel network for management. In addition, Busty’s big win made McGill students and the city of Montreal extremely proud! Also shout-out to Maja and Devona for some of the pictures below!


Members of the band include: Scott Bevins and Mike McCann on trumpet; Chris Vincent on trombone; Nick Ferraro on alto saxophone and vocals; Lous Stein on guitar; Milo Johnson on bass; Julian Trivers on drums; Eric Haynes on piano and keyboard; Evan Crofton on keyboard, synths, and vocals. The members met at McGill University and have since developed into a tight funk/soul band playing original songs and innovative covers. Their newest music video “Tryna Find Myself” even features Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University.

On Monday November 24th, Busty and the Bass had the unique opportunity to open for Arkells at Corona Theatre. This was a FREE concert for all McGill students, thanks to the “Rock Your Campus” contest. Weeks earlier, a secret location was announced half an hour before the tickets were being given away. Hundreds of students lined up from McTavish gates to Leacock building just to grab a free Busty ticket. The line up was long, but it was well worth the wait!  Continue reading