Half Alive + Sure Sure @ L’Astral – October 4 2019

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Before I went to this show, I was not familiar with either of the bands. My friends, who were going, reassured me that Half Alive would impress me, whether I listened to their music beforehand or not. Let me tell you, I am really glad that I went, because it proved to be an amazing show from start to finish.

Sure Sure

A four-piece band dressed all in white make their way onto the extremely cluttered stage, and prepare themselves to show Montreal just what they’re made of. Personality just oozed out of each one of their many instruments, including the small hammer that held down one note during the entirety of a song.

They had an instant connection with the venues population. They proved to be a groovy bunch of cute boys, here to show how much they feel their music.

The perk of such a small venue is the interaction between band members and audience members. Both parties can enjoy a conversation or two without struggle. Before one of their songs, the lead guitarist explained the meaning behind it. “falling in love with a stranger in a grocery store”. The very short story helped the crowd to deeply feel every note played.

Not only did they verbally interact with everyone, they also taught the crowd simple dances for certain songs. They encouraged everyone to dance with them, and no one was left out. Once that lyrical que came up, it was like clockwork.

They were for sure one of the top openers that I’ve ever seen, despite the fact that I knew absolutely nothing about them beforehand. I could’ve gone home with a satisfied heart after their set. But I know better, and Sure Sure was just the appetizer to the main course that all these people were waiting in line for.

Half Alive

After a refreshingly funky set delivered by the opening band, we all thought that we were prepared for what was to come next. At least, I thought I was ready. Couldn’t be more wrong though. As the lights shut off, three figures appear on stage, standing amongst each other in uniform. Lead singer Josh Taylor introduced the beginning of their set, singing “Ok Ok?” with a soft voice.

The light show was incredible. There was so much to pay attention to during the entire night. It is clear to see that, although Half Alive is a small band, they have a substantial vision of who they are as musicians. It’s very rare that you see artists performing in a small venue, like L’Astral, as if they were putting on a show on a much bigger stage. There were incredible lights, three interpretive dancers, one of which was a Canadian performer that was cast in their music video for “RUNAWAY”, along with props such as flashlights and large orbs that produced soft lighting.

All of this tied beautifully with the tunes that were booming from the speakers. With Brett Kramer producing enticing rhythms on his drum kit, and J Tyler Johnson tying every note together with his bass, nothing could go wrong. Everyone danced and watched as their two male interpretive dancers beautifully moved in sync, complimenting each other and the band’s music.

Their set was powerfully emotional. From playing uplifting and flowy tunes like “The Fall” and “Still Feel.”, to calmer and swaying songs such as “Pure Gold” and “Rest”. All had raw lyrics, sung by Josh’s graceful and high voice.

Shows at L’Astral are always special. They’re homey, personal, and unforgettable. Half Alive added more to the plate. Their show was full of surprises, incredibly colourful and inspiring. If this is the type of show they put off when they’re on a small stage, I can only imagine what Half Alive would be capable of when they step foot in one of Montreal’s larger venues. You’ll definitely find me in the crowd, and you shouldn’t miss out

Review – Jamie Siddall

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