Concert Review + Photos: TIFF Opening Party @ The Drake Hotel

Brendan Philip
The annual Collection of the Beautiful People, also known as TIFF, has come once again to the city of Toronto, and the Drake Hotel threw the event a bash so incredible that it included free tattoos, and yes they were real…

Brendan Philip played the lounge at Rock Steady at 10pm, providing amazing live hip hop to a crush-crowd who were way over capacity. The music was high, fun, and ultimately danceable, with influences of earlier k-os and reggae creating this futuristic ska beat that could transcend city streets and place the audience on the beach. Palm trees and coconuts abound. The three piece made the most of bass, drums and vocals, while adding background electronics to enrich the overall sound of handmade beats and lyrics.

There’s a never ending stream of new music and most of it is shit, but that does not include Prince Innocence, whose electronic moodiness combined with excellent, powerful vocals was a treat to watch. With a very simple and easy set-up, the band was fun and inviting, and reminded me of a modern day Annie Lennox.

X Ambassadors
X Ambassadors’ lead singer reminded one of that “Jewish kid in high school who sold everyone drugs, but with the dance moves of a black man” to quote an observer. And with an excellent keyboardist (who is actually blind), and smashing bassist, the band brought another level of energy to the celebrations.

Finally, TOPS reminded me of a poppy, breathy Blondie. Very eccentric and very raw. Their synthpop roots certainly shone through even in the dingy underground that is the Drake. The celebration ended with most patrons on the rooftop, and there was a thrum of energy for hours afterwards that could only come from listening to some fantastic, and local, music.

Review and Photos by Emily Fox |

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