I’ve never been to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, and was a bit surprised to find out that it was at the summer tourist hub, Exhibition Place. I didn’t think much happened quite this far south once the temperature dips below freezing. Obviously, that just goes to show my ignorance of all things Toronto; I live in the suburbs, and these concert forays are my only real reason to visit The City. As such, there are still large pockets I am altogether unfamiliar with, and The Ex is one of those places. Now, I’ve been to the Ex — what kid hasn’t? But it was always from in the backseat of my parent’s car, so I never had to concern myself with how to get there. Until now.
So, I consulted the TTC.ca’s website for their new route planner. It told me to take the 29 bus south from Dufferin Station. Easy enough… that’s the same bus I got used to this summer, with all my trips to the Drake Underground. Hours later, the bus pulled up to the curb and announced the last stop. Were we even there yet? The automated voice that announced stops didn’t say anything about Exhibition Place, and the evening had grown so dark so quickly that not much was visible from the bus windows. Glad I wasn’t the only one a bit confused (after all, men hate to ask for directions!): the two women in front of me thankfully asked the driver how to get to the Queen Elizabeth Theatre from the stop. His directions, vague as they were, managed to get us there pretty easily. The walk only seemed as long as it was because of the biting frosty wind that had suddenly picked up, foreboding a cruel winter ahead.
The theatre, however, was comfortably warm, and was fancier than I expected. The ushers and ticket takers were done up in uniform tuxedos, and I suddenly felt way under dressed. But never one to let a small thing like social norms get to me for very long, I took to my seat and set up my gear. It was a good thing I did that when I did, because before I knew it, the theatre quickly filled up with people, and Hannah Georgas and band took the stage promptly at 8pm.
It was hard to say what the median age of the attendees was, but it’s probably safe to say that it was significantly higher than Hannah’s usual audience. It seemed, around me, at least, most people were mid-thirties to late-fifties, with small pockets of us twenty-somethings. But the crowd seemed to enjoy her set, and clapped and hollered appreciatively between each song. Barely a word of conversation could be heard during the set, and NO drunken yelling or clinking of beer bottles. I could get used to going to shows in theatres. Especially if all the seats are as comfy as the ones at the Queen Elizabeth. But I digress.
This set was my introduction to Hannah Georgas, and was a wonderful welcome. She has a voice and energy reminiscent of all the best things about Metric‘s spunky Emily Haines, but with a pop sensibility that’s just a tad more underground than mainstream. It worked, and it worked well, helping differentiate her from our great Canadian export. Songs such as Bang Bang You’re Dead, Chit Chat and All I Need have become instant favourites.
The venue’s sound, although improved throughout the night and much improved by Royal Wood’s set, left much to be desired. I’ve heard this may not necessarily have been the case towards the back of the venue, but up front? Hannah’s vocals were almost none existent throughout the first few songs, and only barely raised as the night went on. Much troubling, however, were the drums. Understandable was the slight but irksome echo caused by being able to hear the live drums followed immediate by the feed coming from the speakers — but more annoying (and luckily, it doesn’t show up too audibly on the tape) was the light burst of static that occurred with every harsh snap of the snare drum. It almost certainly was the sound clipping due to the levels being too hot or the mics placed too close. Either way, I noticed it and didn’t like it one bit. The tape will tell the tale: the sound was regrettably murky, only allowing the instruments to shine properly during the quieter parts.
However, Hannah’s clear talent and ability persevered, and won me over regardless. However, my favourite moment of the night wasn’t until Hannah left the stage and the gentleman next to me turned to his wife, obviously the Royal Wood fan of the two, and bluntly said, “I liked her more than I like Royal Wood.” There was a lot to like, sir, and I know you weren’t alone.
- Thick Skin
- This Is Good
- Bang Bang You’re Dead
- Lover’s Breakdown
- Chit Chat
- The Waiting Game
- The Beat Stuff
- Ode To Mom
- The Deep End
- All I Need
Thanks to Hannah Georgas, Royal Wood, The Queen Elizabeth Theatre and the bus driver.