I first learned about the Toronto Women in Music collective when I saw For Esme was doing a showcase featuring other female fronted acts at Adelaide Hall in April. I learned that if you are a female artist, or a female that fronts a band you can join this loose collection of other females who encourage, support and provide networking opportunities in the very much male dominated world of music creation and touring. From the few people I have spoken with about the group, it is not only vital, but also very much empowering. I was excited to learn that they were hosting a special showcase at the Supermarket in Kensington on May 5th. Unfortunately I was unable to stick around and see all the acts on the bill, but I did see Megan Bonnell an artist who Live in Limbo had the good fortune of premiering a new music video for her track Golden Boy. If it is any consolation I did go to three different clubs and saw three different amazingly talented females on that night.
Bonnell, all alone on stage, started the night behind her keyboard gently playing her beautiful melodies. Early on she told the crowd she would be playing a song called Say My Name, before laughing and saying, “it wasn’t the Beyonce version”, before launching into it. To continue the joke Bonnell did indeed play the opening lines of the famous Destiny’s Child version, before playing her own that is totally unrelated to the 2000 RnB hit. Bonnell who just released her third album Magnolia talked about how she just finished doing a lengthy tour behind the record and how she was happy to just be able to sleep in her own bed, something most musicians can easily agree with.
Half way through her set, Bonnell left her keyboard to play an acoustic guitar. She showcased some serious vocal skills by stepping away from the microphone to create a distant sound in her voice, but loud enough to still fill the intimate room as she forcefully strummed out her music in tandem. Bonnell’s music is based very much in an emotional state giving every song plenty of power. Listening to her record afterwards, she has quite lush and airy production, but that night on stage she was all alone giving her songs a more melancholy sound to them.
Can’t Have You changed up the pace a bit with a more upbeat vibe to it allowing for a nice groove to form. Bonnell bashfully admired how she was playing at such a beautiful venue like Supermarket is. Towards the end of her set, Bonnell, went back to the keyboard and a different side of her emerged. Shades of the quirkiness that makes Fiona Apple so popular came to light, as non-conventional piano riffs were played to go along some staccato vocals.
I enjoyed Bonnell’s set quite a bit, and I hope the next time I catch her, she has a full backing band so I can experience the songs of how they are heard on her album as well.