Due to endless set-hopping and the downpour last night, we weren't able to catch the first half of this showcase featuring Inventor and Michelle Treacy. However, we arrived just in time to find Adelaide Hall full of people seeking shelter from the rain, and what perhaps might have been one of the best CMW options of refuge during the evening.
As the set opened with an AI voice proclaiming an automated script about credit cards and identity, strobes flickered erratically against a rave-worthy neon backdrop as Toronto's Bad Child hit the stage with his DJ. Bad Child's entry was as bold as his demeanour - confident, clad in all black, with a voice that resonated against his electro-driven blend of poppy R&B, he made little to no contact with the audience. Although engagement was lacking, it's safe to say that the music speaks for itself and Bad Child's performance was on point. The dude has pipes, and attitude in his raspy inflections and James Dean-esque presence.
Entering with his anthem, "Bad Child," the rebellion continued through the divine "Picking Cherries," and the infectious "Desert Island Lover," as top selects from his FREE TRIAL project. With catchy tracks and a definite badass vibe, there is no doubt Bad Child is worthy of non-stop radio play and more opportunities to share his performances.
After all, he left the stage without saying goodbye - the beats went silent on the last note, he unplugged his mic, dropped it on the ground and exited stage right.
Headlining the showcase was local indie electro-pop band, Featurette. Hot on the heels of their new single, "Bang," they ended off the night with that and more - if not the loudest we've heard in a while. They had us completely engaged from opener to encore, jumping in the air and feeding off the energy dispersed from the stage.
Comprised of lead vocalist/ keyboardist / multi-disciplinary, Lexie Jay, and drummer, Jon Fedorsen, Featurette is a duo of strength; insane musicality, real talent and immense passion.
Jay consistently checked in on the audience, whether by asking them, getting the tech to change the lights to a more emotive colour, or as a force of nature via her relentless stage presence. Pitch and tone never wavered as Jay's pipes dominated each track, while Fedorsen's foundation of rhythm never faltered, multitasking with one drumstick on a cymbal, and a control of the beat laptop. Among numerous new songs shared, the band played work from their LP, CRAVE, which was released in October 2015. From poppy tunes like "Give A Little," and "Make Me," to the slower "Hardest Game," and vulnerable, "Broken," Featurette wove through various human emotions. Their blend of strong lyricism, paired with elements of catchy pop melodies, gritty industrial beats, and pulsing, key-laden electronica is a recipe of raw, honest, yet applicable-to-many, sounds.
But let's talk about the setup - Featurette made their big sound work in a small environment. Jay's loudspeaker added a fun element to mix, adjusting her tone and captivating the crowd. The band also had a giant 'F,' which lit up in different colours and characters, making for great audio-visual aesthetic.
You wouldn't have guessed this was the band's first headlining show, either. Featurette has been on lineups for numerous local festivals, including a recent post-secondary frosh tour (and a live collab with Alessia Cara). But their performance exceeds the square footage of small venues (sorry, Adelaide Hall), college campus auditoriums and community squares. This duo is ultra-dynamic, and by the reception of their gig last night, we hope the Osheaga and WayHome's of the world will be calling very soon.