Photos by Dawn Hamilton
Fans entered The Mod Club on Saturday evening to chairs lining the usual standing-room only area in front of the stage. It was definitely different but in the end would aid in one of the most chill and intimate concerts to date.
When the lights dimmed, an angelic Allie Moss took the stage with her guitar. From the moment she opened her mouth the audience was captivated. The singer-songwriter sang songs from her 2016 EP The Other Side, each song telling it’s own story about moving on and starting over. Allie talked about how she wasn’t used to singing without her right hand woman Ingrid Michaelson, and that she was a little nervous. However, the roar of the crowd silenced her nerves pretty quickly after the first song. Near the end of her set Allie sang, “Bet My Life”, which called for the crowd to sing along with her. Everyone was prepared to use their voices to sing with Allie, and you could see her face instantly light up. It left me with chills. Moss was such an incredible talent, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for her.
With a pretty quick turn around, A Great Big World took the stage with “This is the New Year”. What’s amazing about intimate shows is everyone around you shares the same amount of passion, and aren’t afraid to show it. As soon as Ian hit the first key on the keyboard every single fan in The Mod Club was singing at the top of their lungs. From the get-go you could see the pure joy on Ian Axel and Chad King’s faces. Ian was suffering from a sore throat during the show that night and pleaded for everyone to sing along which would prove to be no problem.
The guys gave a little bit of a life update in between songs, letting fans know that they were so happy to be in Toronto… they even talked about moving to the Six. They were so thankful that everyone was being patient with them as they recorded new music and wrote a musical. Hearing that Ian and Chad were writing a musical was probably the greatest thing I had heard in quite a long time. Listening to their album Is Anybody Out There? I always felt that songs like: Everyone Is Gay, Land of Opportunity and Cheer Up had musical theatre undertones. So to say I’ll be first in line for tickets to their musical wouldn’t be a stretch to say the least.
Even though Chad was suffering from a sore throat, he still sounded incredible but the band was very smart in how they handled it. Chad sang, “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” acoustically and it was incredible. King’s voice is truly unique, and sick or not he sounded great. The crowd sang along attempting the high notes and “oooooohs”. After his acoustic solo he went to rest his voice, which allowed for Ian to come back out and sing, “Say Something”. If you weren’t someone who latched on to A Great Big World when their album came out, you definitely did when Say Something was released. In 2014 you could not listen to Top 40 radio or watch shows on television without hearing this song. Ian talked about how Say Something was for the fans, and without them, the song would not have made it as far as it did (#1 in Canada, USA and Australia).
After a trip down memory lane with a few songs from Ian Axel’s This Is The New Year 2011 EP. Chad returned, bringing Allie Moss back out to sing, “When I Was a Boy” which the band released a couple weeks ago. Allie stuck around for a couple more songs, much to the crowds delight.
One song that I was really excited to hear was “Hold Each Other” from their second album entitled When The Morning Comes. The song was quickly latched onto by fans and became a coming out song. I loved the original arrangement on the studio version, but I know now that nothing will ever compare to the live acoustic version. The message in the song alone is powerful but hearing the acoustics from the piano then Chad singing “Something happens when I hold him” was a whole other level. If there was one performance I could replay for the weeks to come it would be this one.
With time for just two more songs, the guys gave the audience a choice to hear Already Home or Everyone is Gay. The crowd was so eager to hear both but it was ultimately Everyone is Gay that won the vote. The song remains important and relevant as ever in 2017 when it comes to acceptance and respect of an individuals’ sexuality. The crowd rose to their feet for a standing ovation, but A Great Big World wasn’t ready to go just yet. They decided one more song was in order… a cover of You’ve Got A Friend in Me from Disney’s Toy Story.
It was an incredible end to such a magical night. If you have not seen A Great Big World perform live yet, the next time they are in town, don’t walk, run to see them. They know how to put on a cool intimate show and you can feel the passion and admiration radiating off of them.