Concert Review: Orla Gartland and Regina Zaremba @ The Drake Underground – Toronto

Orla Gartland
In many coming of age tales, the hero/heroine must leave the confines of their home and go on a journey testing their limits. Well, Orla Gartland was just planning on flying across the pond to do some shows. The loveable Irish singer/songwriter made her North American debut at The Drake this past Monday.

Seemed to be an evening of firsts, as Regina Zaremba impressed in her Toronto debut. The NY based singer gushed over the warm crowd reception over songs from her EP, Eclipse. With a voice bearing similarities to Gabrielle Aplin, the curly brunette songstress wowed with a chilly cover of Radiohead’s ‘Creep’. After finishing the set with her single ‘Where you Want Me to Be’, the few gathered genuinely yearned for more. Remarkable feat for a debut eh?

Naïve is usually synonymous with being unsophisticated or immature. Yet, it also could be used to describe innocence and transparency. Orla fits in more with the later definition of the word. The self-described ‘music-making nutcase’ had no inhibitions. She played on with the same youthful exuberance as the world had become familiar from her YouTube cover videos. But, Gartland is a lot more than the covers. With 2 EPs of original material to her credit, she showed off her knack of crafting delightfully contagious pop songs such as ‘Roots’, ‘Whisper’, and ‘Lonely People’. Shows at Drake are often plagued by apathetic chatty walk-ins. But, the crowd on Monday night, sparse as it was, were all Orla fanatics equally thrilled to be there as the artist herself. The evening had the intimacy of a living room show.

Orla Gartland is no overnight sensation. The growth has been steady and organic. In a span of 5 years, she has evolved from covers in her bedroom to sold-out gigs in UK and upcoming SXSW appearance. Not too bad for someone who just turned 20.

Follow updates from Orla Gartland here.

Review by Nilabjo Banerjee |

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