Photographs by Janine Van Oostrom.
Malaysian pop icon, Yuna, took the stage at the MOD club on a heated Thursday night and I’m glad to say I had the pleasure of experiencing something worthwhile. The young 29 year old had gained recognition after her debut international album Yuna (2012) had received great reviews. Produced by Pharrell Williams, Yuna’s self titled album had made its mark on the US music charts. Now back with her latest album that is soon to be released, Chapters (2016), she is definitely taking the world by storm. Getting everyone into the mood was Atlanta’s Bosco.
Yuna began her set covering “Sorry” by, the Queen, Beyonce. It was a pleasant surprise to see she was opening the show with a cover, extremely refreshing. I was a bit sad to see that she only covered the first half of the song, however, this sadness quickly trickled away because the show was ready to begin. The cover was a fantastic way to kick off the show because it got a lot of the crowd on their feet.
After hearing the first few notes and cheering behind me, I knew the next song she was going to play was “Mountains.” The song itself is ambient and recognizable because of its distinct sound and repetitive guitar riff. Lyrically, the song is very raw and genuine and you can tell she’s speaking from a specific experience. Listening to this song live felt incredibly cathartic because of how much it resonated with me.
The only slight disappointment was that she did not play many of her well known older songs such as “Rescue” off her previous album, Nocturnal (2013). Instead, she played some of the newer songs off her album that is yet to be released; especially because it has been two years since she had performed in Toronto. Chapters (2016) is set to drop at the end of this month, May 20th, 2016, so letting the album drop before playing the newer songs would have been a better route. This would’ve also allowed the audience to connect with her and the songs a bit more. I stress this because nobody knew what the new material would sound like and this made people begin to dose off and not pay attention. The conversations in the room had begun to get louder than her voice. Although, among many dedicate fans, the faces around me were just happy enough to see the long awaited star. Teasing the crowd about how she was going to play her last show, she ended off her show with an encore performance of “Live Your Life” off of the album, Yuna (2012).
I would love to see her live again especially after her new album drops so I, as a fan, could get a better experience by singing along.