WAYHOME_1.jpegImage Courtesy of Chantel Ouellet

It’s official. I think Phoenix Theatre is my new favourite concert venue in Toronto (although the venue has been in business since 1991). The space where the Phoenix Concert Theater holds its concerts is spacious and has a wonderful balcony for those who can’t stand for three hours or just don’t want to be in all the craziness. It was also much more appropriate for the season, as Wayhome For the Holidays had this place decked out. Balconies were covered in wrapping paper; there were not one, but two massive christmas trees inside the venue; Santa wove through the crowd to give concert goers high fives. It was truly a merry time. Despite being an all-ages show, the crowd was generally people in their mid-to-late twenties drinking beer and having a good time.

Beaches, a four-piece, all-girl indie rock band named after their Toronto neighborhood, rocked out their rootsy garage jams with passion and gusto. Lyrically and in terms of stage presence, there seemed to be a great emphasis on forgetting your troubles and having a good time. Lead singer and bassist Jordan Miller would occasionally slam into her fellow band mates, and played back to back with the lead guitarist Kylie Miller. Most of the songs they played had to do with togetherness and female solidarity. It was a great opener for two bands who were ready to rock out, like Bear Mountain, the dance-rock band who followed them.

With Bear Mountain, every song had a heavy kick snare, and it was common for the drums to drop in with full force in the chorus, making everyone in the crowd lose their minds. Bear Mountain played songs from their second album Badu (2016), which came out this September, such as “Give it Up” and the title track, which in particular drove the crowd into a frenzy. Their frontman, Ian Bevis, was charismatic and tall -- like, really tall. I’m saying this as someone has to duck their head to walk through the subway.

Toronto mainstays The Darcys were headlining this festive event. For their song selection they played many songs off their latest release, the “beautiful, glamorous and glossy” Centrefold (2016), including their second single, the synth heavy “San Diego, 1988.” However, they did not limit themselves to their new sound, playing a song off their 2011 self-titled album. A highlight of the show was when they explained their Steely Dan cover album AJA (2012). Basically, Wes Marskell explained that he was drunk watching a show at the very theatre everyone was currently standing in. He was talking to someone at the bar and he drunkenly said something about a Steely Dan cover album referencing the Steely Dan shirt he was sporting. They got a call the next week from a record representative who was interested in the album, so they were set (or stuck, depending on how you look at it.) Another highlight was when they briefly covered Prince’s “Purple Rain.” They ended the night with their breakout single “Miracle.”

Wayhome put on a great holiday party and kicked off the holiday season in style.

Check out pictures from the show below.

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Beaches

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Bear Mountain
 
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The Darcys
All Images Courtesy of Chantel Ouellet
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