Nestled adjacent to a small plaza on Essex Street in Guelph, Silence is a small-capacity venue that showcases anything artistically expressive: music, Spoken word, workshops, and improvisation. The venue might hold 100 people at capacity and has no stage, minimal lights, and (for this evening) no alcohol. When I arrived, their Kombucha dispenser was acting up, so I sipped a cinnamon tea as the opening acts got ready to rock.
Support this evening featured three bands; Express (a young Guelph hardcore 3-piece, fresh out of high school), Mac N Sleaze (a Folk-Punk band from Guelph, minus an Accordion player who bailed on the show last minute), and Among Legends (A recently re-jigged to 3-piece pop-punk band from Waterloo—featuring Mitchell Buchanan (vocals), Sara Fellin (drums), and Tyler Boles (guitar). The three lead bands performed for half an hour, mixing up primarily original material with a few covers. Their sounds all lifted from different genres but found common ground in each performer’s appreciation for the punk ethos. Mac N Sleaze told the room to follow them on Limewire if we liked what we heard. Mitchell from Among Legends asked the boys from Express if To Kill A Mockingbird was still a thing in high school. And “phat;” “do kids still say phat?” Apparently, it’s still a thing.
Just before Amy Gabba & The Almost Famous taking started performing, a chair was placed adjacent to the microphone, where Gabba had to sit for eight of the nine songs this evening; the outcome of a tensor bandaged right knee leading to what she thinks is a pinched nerve on that same side. She didn’t want to be confined to sitting for the show but never wavered on performing. Gabba’s powerful vocals came across just fine from a seated position.
Backed by five musicians (Paul Thompson – lead guitar, Dave Morris – rhythm guitar, Ryan Allen – bass, Dean Glover – drums, David Proc – keyboards), Gabba ran through nine original songs along with a tasty Paramore cover of “Still Into You.” One of her songs, “He’s All Yours,” features a bridge that reminded me of an old Toronto song, so it felt quite natural when Gabba started mixing in the lyrics to “Your Daddy Don’t Know” towards the song’s culmination. Her material sounded great, an incredibly full sound for a small venue.
Gabba is out doing live dates supporting her newly released album Screaming At The Top Of My Lungs, a 12-track ska-rock-punk album that features numerous sing-along moments. Catch her on the road this year and see for yourselves; the buzz around Amy Gabba & The Almost Famous is justified.
Amy Gabba & The Almost Famous Setlist Guelph:
Soulmates and Strangers
Still Into You (Paramore cover)
He’s All Yours
How Dare you
One Of My Mistakes