Following a number of tour dates in the United Kingdom and Ireland, one of Canada’s most endearing singer-songwriters Basia Bulat returned home to London, Ontario on November 25th, the city where she started writing music while attending Western University.
London Music Hall was jam-packed with first-timers and ardent followers, many of whom I spoke with expressing their adoration for Bulat and her raw talent. She put on a great show and her live band was no exception, sounding super tight together and experienced enough to segue into a vast instrumental section before her encore. Their new drummer sounded like he had been playing with them for years.
They played some of their biggest songs including ‘Infamous,’ ‘Tall Tall Shadow’ and ‘Heart My Own’ along with one of my personal favorites ‘The Garden.’ Every member seemed to have a lot of fun, especially Bulat and the lively bassist, who engaged in some playful antics that involved a tambourine.
Bulat came out for her encore in a dazzling gold garment, finishing her set with a cover of George Gershwin & Ira Gershwin’s standard ‘S Wonderful,’ the title track of her debut Oh, My Darling, and some others. She willfully took requests from the audience and handled hecklers with grace, proving she can most certainly hold her own on stage. The songwriter’s sense of gratitude was not lost on anyone and seems to encompass the overarching spirit of her music.
But let us not forget the two opening acts, The Marrieds and Lido Pimienta. The Marrieds’ onstage chemistry was brought to life in how the husband and wife duo looked at each other throughout the performance. They played several of their biggest country hits including ‘A Girl Said Yes,’ a song that was written for a young couple’s marriage proposal. The couple has been together ever since and also happened to be in the crowd that night – so I was told. Think this is out of a movie? I thought so too.
Lido Pimienta’s set burst with vivacious energy, cranking everything up a notch with heavy electronic beats, manipulated sounds and a vocal performance that showcased an outstanding level of strength and range. Never missing an opportunity to inject a little bit of humor between songs, it was fascinating to watch Pimienta bounce between her stage persona and regular, everyday self. She taps into a primordial essence when she sings that is not heard very often and dare I say she is Columbia’s answer to Björk.
All in all, another great night at London Music Hall.
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Upcoming Basia Bulat concert dates (tickets):
Jan 21 Wilmont United Church – Fredericton, Canada
Mar 10 National Arts Centre – Theatre Ottawa, Canada
Mar 16 Mills Hardware – Hamilton, ON
Mar 17 Bayfield Town Hall – Bayfield, Canada
Mar 18 The Grand Theatre – Kingston, Canada
Mar 24 Market Hall – Peterborough, Canada
Mar 25 Avening Community Centre – Creemore, Canada
May 13 Bragg Creek Perfoming Arts – Bragg Creek, Canada
May 29 Frannz – Berlin, Germany
May 30 Häkken – Hamburg, Germany
May 31 Falkendom – Bielefeld, Germany