From time to time, we here at Live in Limbo get invites to cover shows ranging from local performers and international acts that are coming to Toronto for the first time. We love it, and while we can’t make it to every show we make an effort for most of them. Back in early April, Brooklyn Doran invited me to her show that she was doing with Jessica Speziale and Iliya Vee. I listened to her music and really enjoyed it, so it was a no brainer that I would go and catch the show, except I was running late and missed her set entirely, only seeing her back up her tour mates. I felt guilty as she had taken the time to invite me and I didn’t even see her play. When I saw her name on the CMW schedule, I knew I had to go and see the show.
The show was supposed to feature her full backing band, but due to unforeseen circumstances her bass player had a family emergency and could not make the performance, which is understandable. So Doran was left with just an acoustic guitar player and a drummer, making it for a semi-acoustic performance. That didn’t matter as Doran and her band was able to play a fun and intimate set at The Piston (a venue I need to go back to as they are a BBQ joint as well).
Doran told the audience about how her debut album will be coming out later this year entitled These Paper Wings as she played the almost title track Paper Wings, one inspired by the story of Icarus who flew too close to the sun and burned his wings causing him to fall to his death due to his hubris. While Doran’s style of writing and vocals are folk and country based, her backing band (sans bassist) suggest a more soulful and RnB influence, giving her a fun upbeat sound that sets her apart from other alt-folk acts.
On Villain Doran showcased how powerful her vocals can get as she belted out the song like a true diva, a very pleasant surprise considering her small stature. Throughout the night it was evident that Doran’s focus was on songwriting allowing her to create vivid and clear stories but with an air of mystery allowing listeners to keep guessing on some of the inspirations behind the music. Doran thanked the crowd for being so attentive and making eye contact with her. She performed a few songs sitting on the edge of the stage as she told the story behind such songs like Lansdowne (kissing a few too many boys from the Bloor and Lansdowne area) and an ode to her hometown of Kenora, by the Manitoba border.
The numerous songs from her upcoming release suggest a fuller sound, with great production from her band. It’s an album I’m looking forward to hearing, and getting a chance to see Doran perform again.