Somehow it has been two years since I last saw Bahamas play live. The last time, it was at the Biltmore Cabaret, so to take a jump from there to a sold out Vogue Theatre was pretty indicative of how big he's become, and how well his latest album, Bahamas is Afie is doing.
Opening the night was Toronto's The Weather Station, and much like Bahamas is Afie, The Weather Station is Tamara Lindeman. She took the stage alone armed only with her guitar and breathy but powerful vocals as she wooed the packed theatre with her folky, alt-country sound.
She had a good stage presence -- not shy, but hushed, as if to urge you closer -- and she joking with the crowd, even a few times even answering single questions yelled in the direction of the stage, and was pretty captivating while playing.
Near the end of her set, she invited Afie -- who produced her upcoming album -- on stage to play the drums for the last couple songs, switching to an electric guitar.
I enjoyed her set, but I get the feeling that her live shows are the kind that are exponentially better when you know the music, and so I'll definitely have to check out her new album before she's back.
Soon after that, Bahamas himself, Afie Jurvanen, came out joined by Felicity Williams, Christine Bougie, and Jason Tait as his backing band. As they kicked off with "Never Again", Afie looked visibly glad to be there, to be playing for a packed house. He played and strut around the stage with an effortless cool and charisma, even bantering with the crowd, with his dry sense of humour.
The set began with some older songs, including the ridiculously catchy "Caught Me Thinking" before he delved into his new album. Highlights from included the gorgeous and heartbreaking "Can't Take You With Me", and the pairing of "I Had It All" and "Nothing To Me" as Afie pointed out the juxtaposition of the two song titles.
Part way through the set the band took a break as Bahamas pulled out the guitar his first album was named after, his pink strat, for "Lonely Loves" off that album, as Afie showed off his considerable talent on guitar. The band came back to end off the main set, as they were joined by Tamara Lindeman to help out on vocals for the beautiful "Lost In The Light" before leaving.
But of course, they would be back, with Jason Tait utilizing the vibraphone for the first and only time throughout the set on "Montreal" and Lindeman returning to help out with vocals. After a cover of a Bobby Womack song and newly fan-favourite "All The Time" off the new album, the crowd took to their feet for the third standing ovation of the night, and Bahamas ended things off with another beautiful song,"Snow Plow", and Afie one more time showing how grateful he was to be there.
From even the very first time seeing Bahamas, as an opening act at the Biltmore (five years ago this month, actually), I could tell he had ridiculous amounts of charisma and charm. Even in a sold out theatre venue, he still managed to make it seem small and intimate, and is such a good performer. It's no wonder, after many years of backing up bands like Feist, Jason Collet, Zeus, and more, that he went out on his own, and no wonder that he can sell out venues like the Vogue.
Never Again, I Got You Babe, Caught Me Thinking, Already Yours, Like A Wind, Can't Take You With Me, Waves, I Had It All, Nothing To Me Now, Lonely Loves, Sobering Love, Overjoyed, Okay Alright I'm Alive, Your Sweet Touch, Lost In The Light.
(encore) Montreal, Bitter Memories, Please Forgive My Heart (Bobby Womack cover), All The Time, Snow Plow.