Nov. 5, 2009
By David Chiu
It was roots-rock night Canada style last Thursday at the Mercury Lounge where two pretty good acts were on the bill: an established artist from Montreal who is associated with the bands Stars and Broken Social Scene; the other an up-and-comer from Toronto.
Amy Millan headlined the bill and delivered a warm and intimate evening of folk and country music. Though I wasn’t able to stay for the entire set, it appeared that Millan and her four-piece band were really in the zone that evening. They played tunes from Millan’s latest album, the exquisite Masters of the Burial, as well as her previous album Honey From the Tombs. The band first launched into a capella singing of the gospel-ish “Some Day” (a song originally by Blue Highway) before going into the ballad “Low Sail.” Those tunes were followed by other songs in the folk-country vein. As for her own performance Millan sang wonderfully with a lovely and breathy voice that is reminiscent of Suzanne Vega.
The opening act was Bahamas, which is essentially singer/guitarist Afie Jurvanen, who has played with Feist and the aforementioned Amy Millan. At first glance one might have thought Jurvanen looked more like a truck driver than a rock and roller thanks to his flannel shirt, jeans and cap. That perception changed the moment he played his guitar and he showcased his impressive prowess as both instrumentalist and singer. Accompanied by just a drummer, Jurvanen delivered tuneful old-school rock (his debut album is called Pink Strat). Jurvanen was also an entertaining performer on stage whether he was moving his body as he played guitar or joking with the audience.
Photos: David Chiu