On January 14th at the Drake Underground the bass vibrated confetti from the ceiling. It fell kind of sadly, individually, like the last leaf of autumn. The intimate crowd was gathered around the stage to watch A Great Big World, a band wrapped up in a whirlwind of popular culture and media. Initially, the group came off as carefree, but regardless of their highly publicized path so far, they have a level of thoughtfulness behind their songwriting and are undoubtedly excellent musicians, essentially here to not only enjoy their music, but have fun while they do it.
Chad Vaccarino thrilled the crowd by mentioning this performance as their first in Canada, and stated the band would be playing songs from their new album, a compilation of mostly upbeat, optimistic songs which exist to offset the bands who produce metal, rock, and introspective indie. They are, in other words, not going to change anything drastically musically or lyrically, but will certainly garner a large following and succeed through pure attractive silliness alone. To even better describe this, I heard someone say “like the Wiggles,” after the band’s self-proclaimed “gay song.”
But then there were surprising shifts to soulful piano, and a guitar solo done by Vaccarino that was, in fact, quite poignant despite Vaccarino’s seeming nervousness. When playing with Ian Axel, Vaccarino’s confidence soars, and the two harmoniously support each other.
“Say Something” still evokes the level of melancholia that made it a hit in the first place; letting us know now that A Great Big World is capable of creating hard-hitting emotional singles.
The band capped off the night with a musical pow wow in the middle of the crowd (which is surprisingly done a lot in tight venues) with an uplifting, all-inclusive, crowd-incorporating song about friendship, done beautifully on acoustic and acapella.
As a band, A Great Big World has immense potential and capability, and will unquestionably stick around for a long time.
Emily Fox | @foxyfoxe