Vancouver Meets Montreal: Shad @ The Corona Theatre

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The last time I went to see Shad, he performed for a packed house. This time around, the attending bodies hardly made a dent in the venue’s capacity. While this could be attributed to the fact that both openers– Hannah Georgas and We Are The City– are definitely not hip-hop acts, it nonetheless made for a wonderfully intimate show.

Opening first were Vancouver’s We Are The City, a post-rock-meets-pop outfit we interviewed earlier this week. Playing as if they were putting on a show for a packed stadium, the power trio launched into tracks off their sophomore album Violent with fervour, blowing the audience away with their loud, yet surprisingly delicate sound. Throughout their set, lead singer/keyboardist Cayne McKenzie hit high notes reminiscent of Portgual. The Man’s John Gourley, while guitarist David Menzel and drummer Andy Huculiak transitioned from jazz to post-rock to pop effortlessly, demonstrating the band’s musical range.

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Next up was Hannah Georgas, (also from Vancouver) accompanied by a band of talented men who helped add another layer to her already complex sound. With her token Feist-like, ethereal voice, Hannah and the band weaved their way through songs that were at moments dark and dance-y, and the next, rock ballad-y, demonstrating their versatility. At the end of the set, her voice seemed to be almost left in the air, like a lovely, musical aftertaste.

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And last but not least was our favourite Canadian hip-hop icon, Shadrach Kobango. Bouncing around the stage with a smile on his face, Shad let his raps flow to the beat of DJ TLO on deck and Ian Koiter on bass and keys. Noticing that the venue wasn’t as full as the last time he was here, he asked the crowd to move in closer, as he launched into a track off his latest release Flying Colours. The entire set was decidedly stripped-down. No light shows, no backdrop, just music. This feeling was heightened when DJ TLO’s laptop unexpectedly died and Shad set off into what felt like 20-straight minutes of pure, a capella poetry. For the crowd, which consisted mostly of fans who had been following Shad from the beginning, relished in this, especially when, for the second half of the show, he went almost entirely old-school, killing it with “The Old Prince Still Lives at Home” and “Rock With It,” to name a few. Finishing with a song whose lyrics go, “They don’t say ‘love you Shad’ they say ‘Fuck Drake,'” Shad made sure everyone left with a feeling of unadulterated, musical satisfaction.

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| All photos by Matt Coelho – All rights reserved. |