. : : June 19th, 2012 : : .
I have developed this weird, reverse way of discovering bands through their various side projects.
I didn’t get into Cursive, for example, until after falling in love with front man Tim Kasher‘s lighter, popper band, and The Good Life.
Similarly, I’d never heard of Bahamas before accidentally stumbling across Afie Jurvanen‘s alter ego, “Country Superstar” Tex Message. Then, I couldn’t stop hearing of him. Shortly after, he made a guest appearance in Kathleen Edwards‘ live CBC performance to launch her album, Voyageur. Then, he was featured on Q With Jian Ghomeshi, which served as my first taste on his Bahamas material. The songs were charming, and I was intrigued, but his headlining Toronto show sold out post haste.
And so it went. For months, I continued to read blog posts and album reviews, see videos and interviews. If you’re a Canadian music fan, you couldn’t have done more than hibernate through the winter and spring and not hear of Bahamas.
As the tour wrapped up, I was notified via Facebook that Bahamas would be opening for Michael Kiwanuka at the Phoenix Concert Theatre the next night, and surprisingly, tickets were still available, so I grabbed one and headed out to the show less than 24 hours later.
Afie kept the show fairly minimal, joined on stage by only a drummer and two female back-up singers. Without neither pomp nor circumstance, Afie greeted the crowd with a quick “Good evening,” before the band quickly slipped into any otherwise banter-less, breezy groove that lasted almost fifteen minutes and stretched some four songs long. I immediately recognized a couple of the tracks from the CBC session, putting me at comfortable ease.
After the initial stretch of banter-less performance, Afie broke the ice by remarking how nice it was to be home in Toronto before being interrupted by a heckler that, for whatever reason, wanted to know why he was wearing pants. Was it a reference to the recent heat wave plaguing the city? An obscure, inside joke? “I don’t even know what that means, young man,” Afie retorted. “Did you pay extra to say that?”
This playfulness wasn’t limited to only the between song banter, though. Take What’s Worse, for example, during which Afie teased the crowd with snippets of Paint It Black by the Rolling Stones, what MIGHT be Thunderstruck by AC/DC and then Black and White by Michael Jackson (really? … yup).
It’s hard to say whether Afie’s opening slot was scheduled to be super-sized for the hometown crowd, or whether he just refused to leave the stage after the allotted time, but the audience was treated to a fairly full-sized-feeling hour long performance spanning both of his solo albums. The breezy songs, perhaps aided along by the aforementioned unbearable heat, definitely felt suitably island-esque.
The live show was a great overview of the band and their sound, of which I now count myself a fan of. If you’re not on the bandwagon yet, you should probably stop lollygagging. Check out the sample before, and if you like, download away! Lots of great stuff here.
One last post-script, though. There appears to have been a loose connection somewhere in my rig, and there’s some diginoise and drop outs for about a minute towards the end of track 12 through the first 30 or so seconds of track 13. There may be more similar flaws, but those are the only I’ve caught so far. Otherwise, it shouldn’t be difficult to enjoy this tape.
01. Lost In The Light
02. I Got You Babe
03. I’m Already Yours
04. For Good Reason
06. OK, Alright, I’m Alive
08. Hockey Teeth
09. Lonely Loves
11. Southern Drawl
12. What’s Worse
> Paint It Black [the Rolling Stones] [tease]
> [unknown tease]
> Black or White [Michael Jackson] [tease]
15. Caught Me Thinking
17. Your Sweet Touch
19. Never Again
21. No Love’s For Sure
23. Whole Wide World [Wreckless Eric]
Big thank you to Bahamas and the Phoenix Concert Theatre.