Concert Reviews

Tori Kelly at Massey Hall

Young fans filled Massey Hall, located on Queen Street, in the heart of Toronto for this rising star. On a cloudy Tuesday night, they await for their much-loved R&B singer, Tori Kelly with supporting act Third Story. The young 26 year old had gained commercial success since the beginning of last year. At this year’s 58th Grammy Awards, Kelly was nominated for Best New Artist. Among other accomplishments, Tori’s debut album, Unbreakable Smile (2015) received great reviews and charted number 2 on Billboard’s 200. After gaining fame from her covers on Youtube, this Californian native was signed to Capitol Records in 2013 and is currently conducting her fifth tour, The Unbreakable Smile Tour.

Opener’s Third Story began with a beautiful melodic set, with a 3 part harmony, the band kept everyone on their toes. What I loved about seeing this band live was firstly, I had never heard of them before and there’s a certain feeling you get when you hear a song you’ve never heard before and it draws you in. Covering songs like “Hello” by British soul singer, Adele, the trio’s rendition to the charted billboard song, gave it a more stripped acoustic folk-esque feel. It was truly a compliment to the original piece. Among other covers, they also covered, Sam Smith’s 2014 hit, “I’m Not the Only One.” The New York based group’s covers were beyond doubt an angelic experience, their harmonies were spot on and they had passion and grid to their voices that made the whole cover sound more original than ever. Also something interesting was how musically talented they were, all three members were able to play something, from bass to piano, they showcased their diverse musical skills. A lil fun fact about Third Story, all members had met in school and graduated from music school!

Although, Third Story was the only openers of the night, it meant that intermission was going to be a long one. Giving people a half an hour to go to the bathroom, mingle with the band that just performed and grab some drinks before they headed back to their seats.

Tori Kelly took stage with an acoustic guitar singing the first few lines acapella of her song “Where I Belong” off her debut album, Unbreakable Smile (2015). The crowd was in sheer excitement and the hall lit up with red and blue lights, which ended up being the theme colours of the night. “Unbreakable Smile” was followed up, which got the crowd moving and standing from their seats. It was among one of my favorite songs she performed during the night, everything about the song sounded very early 2000’s R&B , heavily tapping into a Lauryn Hill-esqe type of sound. The lyrics were very inspiring especially considering her fan base were primarily female teenagers. Singing a line like “And maybe I can sell out shows without taking off my clothes” was something new and fresh from a pop singer especially in 2016. One of my favorite songs of the night she performed was, “Nobody Love” which is the third track off her latest album, Unbreakable Smile (2015), the song itself was very upbeat and had a carefree dance vibe to it. I saw a couple of her fans who were front row dancing and swaying along with her as she sang the words of the chorus , “ Ain’t nobody love, Ain’t nobody love like you do.”As the night continued she performed some covers which she was well known for before her fast paced fame, songs like “Suite and Tie” by pop legend, Justin Timberlake and her most famous cover that she was most known for, a rendition of Frank Ocean’s 2010 hit single “Thinkin ‘Bout You”, which on her Youtube Channel has more than 24, 000000+ views! Tori was hailed back to stage for an encore performance after the fact that the audience roared her name for 5 minutes straight, she performed her song “Hollow”. I thought that was the end her performance but on the left side of the stage was a covered drum kit, which happened to come in use when Tori began to have a drum solo with her touring drummer. The two engaged in various styles of drumming, ultimately ending it with Tori leaving the crowd in awe with her ability of being musically versatile. Officially ending the night , the young singer performed her 2015 summer hit single, “Shouldn’t Be Us”. It was definitely the song the audience had been waiting for her to perform since the beginning of her one hour and thirty minute set. She ended the night on a high note, hold on to the Canadian flag and giving the listeners a bow.

It was definitely a fun show and the venue has become one of my current favorite venues in Toronto!


About author

Maryam Said is freelance writer for two music blogs as well as a musician. Big fan of potatoes and Alternative rock. Follow Maryam on twitter : @mmmshadows