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Photo retrieved from vergecampus.com

On Saturday night, a bald and gangly young man inside Bambi’s said something about Teen Daze before any of the music started. “He doesn’t play any ass-shaking music.”

Two hours later Teen Daze, the stage name of solo musician Jamison Isaak, stood on the street corner of Bambi’s on Dundas Street West. His set and Mozart’s Sister’s set were over.

“I don’t know, for some reason I never play upbeat music in Toronto,” said Isaak, who recently released his fifth LP, Themes for Dying Earth (2017). “I know it’s a Saturday night and people want to dance and all that. But Mozart’s Sister is pretty hype. I kind of wanted to ease people into her set.” 

The bald and gangly young man nodded. “True. You have a beautiful voice by the way." 

A lofty voice—wading in the overcrowded basement nook that is Bambi’s, and sometimes drowned out by the noise of voices and clinking glasses. Teen Daze’s set alternated between lucid and distant. People cordoned him off at the front of the room, cheek-to-cheek, a little tipsy, blocking the music from travelling.

Aside from that, Teen Daze rang true to his signature sound—gentle long synths and wistful tones hailing from the great outdoors of British Columbia, where Isaak works in isolation. The artwork on his latest album is a picture of cherry blossoms against a pale blue sky.

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Photo retrieved from vergecampus.com

“They’re amazing and in full bloom for two weeks max. And then they’re gone,” said Isaak, referring to the cherry blossoms that grow in his hometown of Abbotsford, BC (in the Fraser Valley). “That’s a perfect symbol of things coming and going and something being really amazing for a short amount of time and then the change that happens—and it’s not a bad thing, it’s just this natural way that life ebbs and flows.”

Inside Bambi’s everyone stood around like a terracotta army. The place needed a pulse. Mozart’s Sister, the solo project of Montrealer Caila Thompson-Hannant, entered from the crowd and took over the worktable, blowing a kiss. She picked up the mic. “Is this thing on? Hi, guys.”

Her voice was ghostlike and laid over a frenetic beat, which together created a perfect disharmony to dance to, sometimes awkward and inconclusive, but grabbing. Hannant, in a crop top, swayed her hips, breaking a sweat while inducing the crowd into a reverberating trance under a sickly green light. I heard later that a man had fainted. 

mozarts_sister.jpgPhoto retrieved from mozartssister.bandcamp.com

Mozart’s Sister’s “Moment 2 Moment” was the takeaway song of the night. It was the second to last song of her set and was impossible not to dance to (listen to it on her bandcamp). It appears as the third track on the artist’s album Field of Love (2017).

Before departing, the bald and gangly young man asked Teen Daze if he remembered him from one of his shows in Toronto. “It was at the Drake, and I stole some of your gummy bears from your table, and you thought I was stealing your merch.”

“Kind of,” said Teen Daze, smiling. “I was touring in Europe and I discovered this brand of gummy bears, Haribo, and I ate them for the entire tour. So yeah, I can see that happening.”

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