Tall Tall Shadow
Paris or Amsterdam
Emma and I had the absolute delight of seeing Basia Bulat live at the Grad Club this past Saturday. My lack of planning had me scrambling last minute for a ticket. A stray star or two put in some overtime and found Emma and I two tickets to one of the most technically impressive and stunningly captivating shows I now have to add to my cache of musical memories.
Bulat’s first impression upon us was a grin- I would be surprised to find it was anything less than the most contagious out there. Chatting playfully with the crowd throughout the show, it was clear that she loved the stage. And playing her way through a host of mastered instruments, perhaps most notably her iconic auto harp, it was beyond clear that she’s put in well over her ten thousand hours. On more than one occasion I caught myself with a clichéd hand to my stunned face in sheer awe.
On Saturday, Bulat was 5 weeks into her 3-month tour, and 3 shows into her set with her 2-man band of drums/percussion and bass. The way she led the grade-A talent sharing her stage, nurturing a cohesive, full-bodied sound while showcasing full ownership over a sound that was entirely unique and gloriously Basia, had me thinking back to Kathleen Edwards at The Grand a couple falls ago. As Kathleen Edwards has long stood in my mind as the iconic Canadian female in music, this comparison is marvellously massive, and I do think that this is as much of a compliment to Ms. Edwards as it is to Ms. Bulat. In a field whose stages are dominated by males, I am always ecstatic to find a strong female at the forefront, taking well-deserved ownership over her sound, her stage, and her talent. I am not the first to say this, and my dotes of affection seem almost trivial when I think of the grandeur and talent I am trying to review, but this Saturday Basia Bulat landed herself steadfast in my mind as an iconic Canadian female in music.
The emotion that built this album was raw and genuine, the kind that may be hard and terrible to come by, but beautiful and cathartic when released. With this tour, Bulat has crafted a set that does justice to this monumental album, as well to the trials and triumphs of human emotion. While I’m sure she had each of us feeling those feels, I imagine it was a unique experience for each person in the audience that night. Even my own reflection of this powerful night was likely inspired by the state of my mind going into the show. However, the magical consequence of Bulat’s performance is that every person was celebrating and grooving the whole night.
Take a listen (You can stream it here on CBC), but make a note to see her live. This will stand to be one of the best live shows of 2014.