Having been to the Fairmount Theater before for different kinds of corporate events and parties, I was intrigued to see how they were going to set it up for a musical concert. Curiosity got the best of me, and I found myself outside the venue 45 minutes before the first act.
While I am the first to admit that I like to be early, this was a stretch even for me.
I was pleasantly surprised to see that I was not alone. There were people at the bar and people sitting on the corners of the stage hanging out. These, my friends, are SUPER FANS.
Upon asking them if they have heard of any of the opening acts, as I have not, shock rippled over their faces one by one. I stood there overtly embarrassed by their reaction while making them promises to download the artists’ respective music and shyly backed away. However, the set up for the concert was pleasantly intimate, making my “backing away” pretty futile. There was nowhere to hide from their disbelief.
My saving grace was when Goodbye Honolulu walked onto the stage. I was immediately forgotten and the attention of the super fans was on the four young men with matching burgundy bomber jackets. Not knowing what to expect I took to Google quickly and learned from their Bandcamp page that they classed themselves as “Rock ‘N’ Roll from Toronto, Canada” (Yay Canada!).
They started their set with “Bum Me Out” from their album Heavy Gold and truly rocked out, getting the crowd pumped. “Codeine” followed, a single released in 2016, another catchy melody that could be the opening song to a movie.
Goodbye Honolulu continued their set playing “Back To Me”, “Mother To A Brother”, “Where You Wanna Go”, and “Typical”, from their most current album “No Honey”. I enjoyed their set and currently have their song “Typical” stuck in my head as I write this, however, I feel as if a new genre of music needs be created for them as their music feels pop-indie-meets-rock’n’roll-alternative.
Next up was Miya Folick. Sporting a neon floral pattern skirt and matching jacket with a black crop top underneath, she walked onto the stage smiling. She was fixing her mic stand and in a soft sweet voice she says to the sparse crowd, “It’s nicer when people come closer, but maybe I have to inspire you first”.
She parted her lips and sang her very first note. I got closer, as the rest of the crowd did; we were all immediately inspired by her. Not the super fans though; they were front and center and singing along already having been inspired by her for years.
The best description I can give on her voice, as it was the first thought that came to my mind when I heard her, was that she sings like a mermaid. Or at least what a mermaid would sound like if they existed.
While I didn’t have a set list for her and try as I might, I still can’t find the names of a few of the songs that she played, her songs were different from one another; from sounds to beats and to her vocals. She reminds me of Tori Amos, Fiona Apple, Joni Mitchell and Ani DiFranco all rolled up in one. Her voice is so versatile and her range is incredible while her lyrics are simple but moving. “Oceans” was played from her first EP “Strange Darling” while the rest of the songs; “Trouble Adjusting”, “Give It To Me” and “Woodstock” (A Joni Mitchell cover! Ha!) came from her most current album “Give It To Me”, released in 2017. Miya Folick is definitely one we should keep our eyes on!
Kate Nash’s band got to the stage and I was personally so happy to see an all-female band. Couldn’t see Kate though until she popped up in the middle! Donning a full snakeskin jumpsuit with a pair of dangling red fuzzy earrings, a tiara in her hair, and that beautiful smile, the crowd took one look at her and simply went wild. While she changed the order of her setlist ever so slightly, she officially started with “Play” from her first album “Made of Bricks” released in 2007.
She then puts on white rimmed cat-eye glasses with pink tints and it was time for “Life in Pink”, the first song on her new album “Yesterday Was Forever”, released a few short weeks ago. Her energy was so infectious and those who weren’t dancing yet, certainly were at this point!
“Dickhead”, a cult favorite from her first album, begs the question “Why are you being a dickhead for?”. I didn’t know many of Kate Nash songs before this concert but was quickly becoming a fan. In the middle of the song she politely asked the crowd to “put your hands in the air, put your phone down and sing after me please” everyone obliged while she yelled the lyrics over and over. She thanked us for joining in; “Thanks, that was helpful. Still working through shit, you know?”. “Of course, we do!!!” answered a fan. Honestly, though, don’t we all?
“Agenda”, from her 2017 EP of the same name, took me by surprise; it’s as if there are three different songs in this one song. There is a charged spoken word, a soft hook and then an angry chorus, which I believe aptly embodies Kate Nash, the forever teenager; honest, angry, confused, happy, innocent, sweet and insecure. The honesty in her lyrics is sincerely one of my favorite features. She doesn’t create stories – she speaks her mind. She also giggles while she sings.
Next up was “We Get On” and “Mariella” both from her first album followed by “Twisted Up” and “Musical Theater” from her newest album. The latter, she explained, was a song on mental health and “to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength”.
I was surprised how many songs she sang from her first album, however, she truly appreciates her fans and gives them what they want; my superfan friends asked her to play a song that was not on the setlist for the evening. So, she did. The song is called “Free My Pussy”, from her 2013 album “Girl Talk”. What happened next was slightly unfortunate.
At the end of the song, in that 3-second window of silence as she is taking a sip of water, a man yells out from the crowd (standing pretty close to the super fans) “I’m cumming in pants right now”. All of our heads turned to the left. One of the super fans started berating him and Kate intervened;
“This is a safe space. It may be a question of him not knowing that statements like that can make a girl uncomfortable, even a girl on stage”. Us, the people in the back couldn’t hear him at this point as he was directly talking to Kate now. She genuinely responded, “I am not attacking you, this is a safe space for everyone”. The super fans had her back. He stormed off through the crowd and left.
She was visibly disappointed and her energy faltered a bit afterwards. She has great stage presence; jumping, covering every inch of that stage, and for the next song, “Nicest Thing” from her first album, she was demure. The super fans weren’t having any of it. They made sure to give a lot of love and the rest of the crowd followed suit; someone tossed a stuffed animal in Kate’s direction, which she caught and happily snuggled.
Back to her upbeat self for “Always Shining” and “Hate You” from the new 2018 album, she ended her set with “Foundations”, the first song that put her on the map. Never disappointing her fans, she came back for her encore while the crowd was chanting her name and stomping their feet.
As Kate and her bandmates were taking their final bows with linked arms and being their sweet silly selves, one of the super fans yelled “Please come back to Montreal” I assume in fear that the incident would deter her in the future. She smiled back and said she will. We will be waiting Kate!
Review – Leora Shammas
Photos – Arianne Bergeron