Photographs by Neil Van.
British pop duo, Oh Wonder performs their biggest show yet at the Danforth Music Hall this past weekend. Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West spent many months making music in their South-East London home, dreaming of the day when they could play onstage in-front of thousands. This year, the pair gets to live out that fantasy.
Since releasing their DIY debut album, Oh Wonder has seen international success with their mellow, slow-grooving, R&B-electro pop style tunes. Since September 2014, Vander Gucht and West wrote, record, and release one song per month till the release of their self-titled debut. This unorthodox approach created much buzz for the London duo making them the second most blogged band for 2015.
Their debut Toronto performance at the Danforth Music Hall was a success as the show was sold out months in advance including an upgrade to a bigger venue (the show was originally planned for Adelaide Hall). “This is absolutely insane” says Vander Gucht as she looks across the crowd in awe of the huge reception. ‘We haven’t even been here before. We started as a small project that took off after uploading our songs on SoundCloud’. These sentiments were echoed by West who was also amazed by the response.
Supported by their signature OW light structure and two additional band members, Oh Wonder opened up with “Livewire” – the lead track from their debut following by “Dazzle” and “Shark” which the crowd proudly danced and sang along too. Watching the live chemistry between Vander Gucht and West, you find yourself amused by their natural charm and humility. Josephine will flash an innocent smile while Anthony closes his eyes and gets lost in the moment. Both were basking in the success their music has brought them, a room full of dedicated fans.
At times, the crowd were treated to a piano interlude as Josephine and Anthony take turns talking to the audience. They usually took this time to show their appreciation to the fans who has welcomed them. “This is the biggest show we’ve ever played and the loudest crowd. Thank you” says West. Due to the snowstorm in Washington, the duo might have a day off to explore the city. ‘We wanna see what Toronto has to offer; apparently you guys have good pizza’.
Prior to playing “All We Do”, Vander Gucht reminds the crowd to not play it safe for 2016. “This song was written on New Year’s Eve” she says. ‘New Years are about encouraging everyone to make resolutions so Happy New Year! You are phenomenal, do not play it safe, and do what you got to do to show that you’re alive’. The moment was a highlight of the evening as the personal sentiment brought fans little closer to the pair.
Before bidding everyone adieu, West revealed Oh Wonder will be coming back to Toronto soon – encouraging everyone to keep checking online for dates. They ended with “Technicolor Beat”. If you didn’t get the chance to see Oh Wonder last weekend, I recommend that you catch them when they return because this talented duo is a must see for this year.