For those who know me it’s no small secret my favourite music venue slash night club in Waterloo is Starlight. I usually try and catch every band that plays here that I’m even slightly interested in, and a surprising number of great Canadian indie acts do come through. On my last visit there I caught Toronto local Jonas Bonnetta’s musical persona Evening Hymns along with Ottawa indie rockers The Acorn. Before the show I hadn’t listened to either bands records, I think I looked up a video of each on Youtube, listened for about thirty seconds and decided it was decent and I’d wait to see them live before I listen to any more.
First up on the night was Evening Hymns. They played as a three piece with Bonnetta and his amazing beard fronting on guitar/vocals/occasional keyboard and an additional keyboardist and bass player to round out the sound. I was seriously impressed with these guys. The music was slow and delicate folk, full of soul and emotion and just so typically “Canadian” to my Australian ears. Bonnetta was an endearing frontman, and had the audience hanging on his every verse.
The highlight of the set though was the closing number, Mountain Song. A request for this song was shouted form the crowd early in the set, Bonnetta replied “Later, that way it will be more cathartic when I play it”. He was right, it was a perfect set closer; a loop pedal number which built form a simple percussive keyboard backdrop behind delicate guitar, to a grand crescendo of ambient drum beats, guitar riffs and looped vocal cries of “You know that the world is a mountain”. Since I’m a looper myself when I play live, I really appreciate these things. Check out a live recording of it from another gig here:
The Acorn followed Evening Hymns and took the energy up a couple of notches shifting gears from ethereal to folk rock. These guys were great entertainers too, the crowd really digged them and their front man Rolf Klausener provided some pretty amusing banter. He kept joking about how long it’s been since they were last in Waterloo (six years) and kept asking the audience to talk to him, and so someone shouted out “Please don’t hate us!”, to which he replied “that’s probably the strangest thing I’ve ever had shouted at me”.
If indie-folk is your thing I would recommend catching both these bands if you get a chance. Check out a song from The Acorns latest album No Ghost here: