Published Oct 17, 2014Warmth really was the word for last night's performances at Victoria's Alix Goolden Hall. Warmth, and intimacy. Out of some masochistic urge, I checked the temperature in the actual Bahamas yesterday. 31 degrees. a number Canadians can only dream about in mid-October.
The evening's opener, appropriately, was the Weather Station, a solo project of Toronto's Tamara Lindeman. In between gently strummed guitar and confident vocals, she breathed out some jokes as effortlessly as if she were speaking across a pillow and duvet. Something in her hushed and careful demeanour draws you in closer with every line, like she were reading her sombre lyrics from a book everyone was straining to read.
Afie Jurvanen (Bahamas) joined Tamara partway through her set to dabble with quiet and steady drums. As a headliner, his willingness to let another artist shine without infringing upon her set, even when invited onstage, was truly admirable.
Perhaps it comes from the deep confidence Bahamas exhibited, especially when he took the spotlight for himself. Acting suave as usual, the sassy twang he added to his opening track, "Never Again," entirely changed its feel, giving the night some extra "salt and pepper" no one seemed to expect. It's these little things that make Jurvanen the established performer he is: the occasional tip and cock of the head, a cheeky wagging finger, the goofy facial expressions and the Bambi-esque two-stepping all put the audience in stitches when placed in the middle of these slow, soothing songs.
However, even as a great soloist, Jurvanen wouldn't have shone with such luminescence without his band. His backup vocalist, especially, shone with her rich, dark voice during the Bobby Womack cover "Please Forgive My Heart," and the highly romantic "Lost In the Light."
Hearing all these memorable songs from across Bahamas' short career forces you to appreciate his development as a songwriter and musician. From his quiet and goofy solo work to his strong "full band" singles, nothing feels contrived or overly earnest. The joy, the pain and the soul in his music are all delivered with the same humour, enthusiasm and, yes, warmth.