Written by Clarissa Fraser.
Today’s review starts with an important lesson: always check the venue for the concert you’re going to – or you may end up at the wrong venue during Kardinal Offishal’s set. Luckily, I still managed to get to the Molson Ampitheatre the other night right in time to catch Magic! prior to Hedley’s headlining set.
Magic! are and up and coming act from Toronto who have been garnering tons of radio play – but watching their set will solidify the fact that they aren’t headlining material just quite yet. The band looked a bit lost on stage, not making the most of their space and feeling a bit awkward. To their credit, after a few songs they seemed to find their place, bringing their reggae/rock sound to the crowd and showing that they’re not your typical opening act. Pumping out songs with tons of groove and increasing energy, their set ended on a high note with everyone on their feet singing along to their hit single “Rude” – something that most opening acts aren’t able to accomplish.
Following Magic!, came another Canadian staple – Hedley. Despite what seemed to be technical difficulties at the beginning of their set, they launched into Cha-Ching to the excitement of fans, and was a great indicator of the night ahead. The band played through a setlist riddled with old and new – to my surprise – even playing songs like On My Own, 3, 2, 1, and Gunnin’. At first it seemed like the young fans were only singing along to songs from their new album Wild Life – but song after song proved that these kids were hardcore, belting out lyrics after lyrics. That’s not to say that wasn’t playing attention to the band – these guys are practised musicians and entertainers, bringing a great show to anyone looking to have fun. There couldn’t have been a single person not watching the antics of frontman Jacob Hoggard, from his dramatic hip thrusting, dance moves, and general flailing. One of the highlights of the night included a sudden Hawaiian themed bar appearing onstage, complete with tiki torches and scantily clad bartender. It made for a great backdrop throughout the rainy show, making it feel like just like a summer concert at the Ampitheatre should.
As Hedley seamlessly made their way back and forth between new and old songs, breaking out a piano for songs like Invincible accompanied by the heartfelt singing of the audience, to more electropop songs complete with synthesizers and keyboards, all the way to acoustic guitars for Gunnin’ (in which I thought the audience couldn’t sing along any louder and I was proven wrong) – the show felt like it was never going to end. Coming to and end with the encore coming around with songs like Never Too Late, Crazy For You, and Kiss You Inside Out, it felt like the show was never going to end (but in the best kind of way).
Hedley are a must see live act – you’re guaranteed to spend the whole night dancing and singing along at the top of your lungs.