It was a modest evening in downtown Toronto and Bella Clava took over the stage at Yonge&Dundas square for the final installment for Indie Fridays – a weekly summer spotlight for local bands to shine. If Torontonians who opted to stay in town for the long weekend, they were either found at the CNE, the Arcade Fire concert at Molson Amphitheatre, or here – with Bella Clava– at the luxe open space of the city’s center.
Thunder Bay natives that have called Toronto their home for the past 8 years offer this city the true grit of say-anything, make-yourself, dirty rock and roll. Caitlin Dacey (keys, vocals), Steve Suttie (guitars, vocals), Scott Hannigan (bass, vocals) and Jody Brumell (drums) have curated their third release – a full length album called Medicine for Melancholy. I was taken by Caitlin’s vocal prowess; her sound resembled something I loved about female-fronted bands of the 90s – think Veruca Salt – and with a killer band backing her up, I was taken back by their unparalleled energy on stage –succinct guitar solos, hard-hitting basslines with a razor edged harmonic vocal composition. The formula for their majik cannot be perfected any further.
I had the opportunity to work in their merch tent that night and they had just received a batch of freshly pressed RED Vinyl – which sold like hotcakes! It’s a hot product for an even hotter band – I met all kinds of people that night—those who purchased black or white tees, and CDs were dancing along with me in the tent. Even the newcomers to the city were dancing up a storm right before my eyes – we were singing along to lyrics only heard for the first time. Songs like A Face Only A Mother Could Love, Brokn Spirit,and title track Medicine For Melancholy drove the fans wild. I participated in several toasts to the band with our beers all night – people who were talking to each other simply because of the mutual love and respect for good rock and roll. Caitlin’s luscious brown locks and black leather pants created this alchemy between sound and image. We were under her spell for an uninterrupted 90 minute set. Kicking off the last long weekend of the summer, Bella Clava certainly was the Medicine for Melancholy we all needed.
Review by Stefanie Romano |