Indie Week is upon us, a great way to discover new bands at intimate venues. The Edge’s Showcase at Adelaide Hall on Thursday night was both an opportunity to do that, as well as revisit some finalists from The Edge’s Next Big Thing, such as Midday Swim, Thrifty Kids, The Honest Heart Collective, and Spells of Vertigo. In addition, Proud Sons, Auckland, and Dan Daly rounded off the line-up and contributed to a great night of live music.
Midday Swim started off the night with their easy going, summery take on indie rock. Their stage presence was mellow but matched their sound, with all four band members contributing equally, making for a cohesive unit, both musically and performance-wise. They were happy to see familiar faces and got people dancing and singing along to their single “Summer Eyes”. Their last song, “No Matter What,” packed quite the punch and became my new favourite.
Next up were Winnipeg natives Proud Sons who had a busy night with two performances scheduled a few hours apart. Once they started playing, it became clear why: country-rock with heavy riffs and an engaging stage presence got feet stomping and couples dancing to their softer ballads. The Sons got everybody clapping and entertained with stage theatrics such as raising their guitar necks in unison or playing the guitar behind their heads. Their energy and rock’n’roll warmed up the atmosphere of the chilly venue and put smiles on every one’s faces.
Thrifty Kids were the perfect follow-up, bringing retro summer vibes with a tight musical performance. Sarah Cogan’s elegant and crystal clear voice enchanted the audience and their take on No Doubt’s “Cool” fit perfectly into their set. They created an endearing atmosphere of a 50s-themed prom which the crowd didn’t want to end as they cheered and asked for an encore.
The most energetic stage presence goes to NBT finalists The Honest Heart Collective, who rocked out from beginning to end. They proved that even a smaller stage than at The Phoenix Concert Theatre can’t contain them, as they took up every inch with their jumping and dancing. Their folk-infused rock made it impossible to stand still as lead singer Ryan MacDonald worked part of the Foo’s “Best of You” into their last song.
The trio Spells of Vertigo impressed with heavy prog-rock and made the audience wonder how a few people could make so much quality noise. Their set had smooth transitions from one song to the next, reminiscent of the flow of a conceptual album. Nevertheless, they stopped to address audience concerns: “Someone here said it was too loud. Come ooooon!” as they launched into their next heavy, solid riffs.
Missisauga band Aukland had the funniest stage banter in between their engaging rock songs. Bass player Andrew Thomas thanked us for “rocking in the free world. I think I heard that in a song lyric,” while lead vocalist Sean Sroka quipped “Oh Andrew, leave the jokes to me.” Even their songs were funny, such as “Liver and Lungs”, title that also doubled as song lyrics, making for easy sing-along, if you could stop laughing, that is. During their last song they were spontaneously joined on stage by The Hones Heart Collective’s Ryan MacDonald and Kevin Heerema, with the latter proceeding to plant a kiss on Andrew Tomas’ lips, eliciting further cheers from the entertained crowd.
Dan Daly’s lead singer, Josh Fumo, flew all the way from Newfoundland especially for this show and thanked fans numerous times for staying for their one o’clock time slot: “Argh, we got a lot of songs and little time ‘cos everyone has work in the morning.” His genuine stage presence and marvelous voice complemented their indie dance rock perfectly and created an intimate yet upbeat wrap-up of the night. Rushing to catch the last subway I left a few coins on the merch table as I happily grabbed their PWYC EP.
Although it can be hard to get into the vibe of the night with so many different genres, each band contributed quirks and jokes to what turned out to be a fun and intimate concert and a great way to discover new favourite bands. Check them out, as they’re sure to be playing again sometime soon. Their approachable demeanor both on and off stage makes it easy to walk up to them and chat. A truly amazing Edge Showcase!