CMW Review: Odds & Ends, Greg McEvoy, Van Damsel11 May 2015 / by Sara Cristiano (author)
Though the three acts differ in style and genre, the combination of Odds & Ends, Greg McEvoy, and Van Damsel at The Dance Cave on May 8 nonetheless made for an unforgettable night.
I wasn't very familiar with the music of Odds & Ends before attending the show, but I was immediately blown away by how in sync the St. Catherines group's three members - Areilla Aburto, Patrick John Shea, and Jay Falone - were with one another. Shea's softer vocals complimented Aburto's stronger, more powerful ones, and their harmonies were always spot-on. The group's incorporation of call and response vocals into many of their songs - such as "Second Romance" - gave their music an added element of rawness. Falone's djembe playing also made Odds & Ends' performance sound that much more stripped down and emotionally authentic. Their performance of "The Exchange" gave the group a chance to further demonstrate their musical expertise, as their transitions from the upbeat verses to the slowed-down chorus was nearly flawless. This is a group that I definitely want to see perform again in the future.
Toronto musician Greg McEvoy was joined by a number of other performers at The Dance Cave, and the group's energy was undeniable. McEvoy, a self-described country-folk-rock artist, demonstrated that folk and rock really can coexist with one another by performing songs that prominently featured percussion and the electric guitar. Though McEvoy struggled to stay on key during some of the more vocally straining sections of his set, his enthusiastic and confident stage presence more than made up for his errors. Though slow songs such as "Someone Who's Around" added variety to his set, McEvoy's voice was much more suited to songs that allowed him to embrace his natural power and liveliness. McEvoy's last song, "Take Some Time", was the perfect finale, as he and his band injected a heaping dose of soul into the tune and left their audience feeling energized and satisfied.
Though Van Damsel's set was delayed, the four member band from Kamloops still managed to start off with a bang. Lead singer Sebastien Ste. Marie captured the attention of the group's large audience right away, and it was easy to see that every member of the crowd was loving it. Unlike the previous two acts, Vam Damsel immediately transitioned from one song into another and did so with incredible ease. Van Damsel also added more electronic elements to their music than the previous two acts; the electronic and traditional instruments complimented each other surprisingly well. Ste. Marie's vocal performance was strained at times, but I can definitely see this group coming into their own and eventually presenting themselves as an MGMT-esque act.