Hannah Georgas @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : February 11th, 2012 : : .

After missing the first half of Hannah Georgas‘ set on Friday in Hamilton, I wasn’t about to make the same mistake twice. I erred on the side of overly cautious, and headed out to The Phoenix Concert Theatre and arrived some 50-minutes before doors opened. You’d think, being so over-zealous, I’d be first in line and left out to freeze in the cold for another twenty or so minutes before anyone joined me. Surprisingly, there were already half a dozen die-hards in line. It wasn’t long until we all got chatting, and discovered we all got along famously.

Unsurprisingly, I was far-and-away the Kathleen Edwards veteran. For a couple of them, this would be their first show. A handful more, their second. Me? Well, this show was my eleventh. … Yup. I think I probably also took the lead on the Hannah Georgas’ front, too. She is working hard to catch up; this would be an impressive fifth time seeing her in 14-months.

The camaraderie was amazing, and helped the time pass quickly. It didn’t seem as long as it was before we were inside, where we all took different corners of the room; some to sit comfortably at the back, some to stand front-and-centre in front of Kathleen. Me? I took my usual spot off to the side, aligning myself with the speakers. I tried to get in a position that was good and close without being UNDERNEATH the floating speaker stacks, and by the time the room filled up, only two or so rows of people managed to squeeze in front of me. I was blessed with a good line of sight (ie. no tall people in front of me) the whole night.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. The waiting game wasn’t over — it was just in a warmer environment. Hannah eventually took the stage, again as a duo with Andrew Braun, about 75-minutes after doors opened. Seeing how many new songs were played in the back-half of her set list last night, I was fully expecting the set to be front-loaded with favourites from her excellent debut LP, This Is Good. A bit surprisingly, only one other familiar song was performed: The Deep End. Hannah seems to be more interested in road-testing new material than with winning over Kathleen’s audience and selling copies of her still-currant-but-aging album.

The new material seemed fairly well-received by the ever-growing audience, though. I suspect I am more familiar with her material than most in the room that night, so I was probably in the vast minority in being left wanting of that driving rhythm section that makes her sets so fun, and forces her to push her voice a little harder.

Regardless, casual, laid-back Hannah Georgas performances are better than no Hannah Georgas performances, and it was exciting to have a taste of the new material. There’s still no word of when we can expect the new songs to be on store shelves, but as she’s scheduled to tour with Kathleen Edwards until the end of April, it’s safe to say Hannah won’t be embarking on her own promotional tour until the summer, at the earliest.

If you need a fix to hold you over until then, this is a superior recording to the previous night. Although The Phoenix can’t hold a candle to Hamilton’s The Studio, it has never sounded better. As I had more than enough time to set up, this evening’s recording is void of the flaws of it’s predecessor (ie. incomplete recording, mics rubbing against shirt). Again, this recording is not the best place to start for those unfamiliar with Hannah Georgas (check out my recording of her pre-Junos performance at The Drake Underground, instead), but is a fine tape for fans.

01. Elephant
02. Somebody
03. [banter]
04. The Deep End
05. Enemies
06. Hey Moon [John Maus]
07. Chit Chat
08. [banter]
09. Millions
10. Fantasize

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Chit Chat (Live In Toronto) [MP3 sample]

Thanks again to Hannah Georgas and Andrew Braun, The Phoenix, Doug and Cathy and the early arrivers.

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