The RAC (Recording Arts Canada) put on their seventh Concert Showcase at La Sala Rossa on October 27, 2014. The show featured five bands; Erik Lind & the Orchard, Soul Exception, Clay and Friends, Backyard Dreaming, and By The Glory. Unfortunately, the show began an hour late, therefore ending an hour late, so, it being a Monday night, I was obliged to leave before By the Glory took the stage.
Erik Lind & the Orchard opened up the show with their soft rock sound. Though the singer and bass player had impeccable stage presence, the rest of the band, particularly the keyboardist, stood on the stage awkwardly for a large portion of their set. Erik Lind had a soothing but powerful voice, and the back-up vocals, which I believe should should have been more present and at the forefront, were incredible. Lind and the bassist harmonized perfectly. The keyboard style was almost retro, and their overall sound was similar to that of Young the Giant. They played tracks off of their EP, Great White North, of which “War Outside” and “The Kick” were their strongest performances. Their songs were catchy and slightly repetitive, but in a good way. They did lack a bit of uniqueness, however. When it came to addressing the crowd, Lind mumbled a lot and seemed quite nervous, contrary to his flawless presence while he performed.
Soul Exception went on next, and was a dramatic change from the first act. Their band consists of two people, a brother and a sister, and they did a very short set of only three songs. The song they opened up with was a relaxing jazz track, with vocals that started off as strong but ended weak, almost whiny. They followed it up with a Jack Johnson cover with improved stage presence and stronger vocals. Finishing off the set, her voice was definitely in its element, and was by far their best performance of the night. The crowd demanded an encore from them, but they politely declined by saying, “Not tonight. Sorry, guys.”
Clay and Friends pleasantly shocked the masses with their hyper performance of songs of several genres; rap, hip hop, soul, blues and rock. They were the most unique band of the night, including all the above genres in every one of their songs. He had a killer voice, and the first song performed was absolutely mind-blowing. The beat-boxing added even more depth to the song and their stage presence was hyper, getting the entire crowd moving. When he spoke between sets, it was as though he never actually stopped singing, making his words melodic as he addressed the audience. Though this was entertaining for the first few words, it made it hard to understand what he was saying. Although the songs were fast and catchy, the other four they performed sounded very similar, exactly like the first song they had performed, making for a bit of a disappointing set.
After a long break, Backyard Dreaming performed the best set of the evening. The singer’s voice was incredibly strong and their first song was upbeat and lively. The voices flowed nicely together, and as their set went on the keyboardist played notes that ranged from fun to haunting, accompanied by a gorgeous and soothing guitar riff. His voice was multi-dimensional and when he addressed the audience, he was clear and engaging. They were a wonderful “family band”, and, though they weren’t technically the closing act, the perfect way to end the night.