Concert Review: Converse Rubber Tracks Live w/ Kevin Drew and Comet Control – Toronto

Kevin Drew for Converse Rubber Tracks Live 1
On September 19th Kevin Drew played a free show at Adelaide Hall presented by Converse Rubber Tracks Live. When I arrived I was buzzing with anticipation– the venue was almost at its capacity and there was talk of some big surprise — of course Kevin always has something up his sleeve, he never travels alone.

The evening began with Toronto natives Comet Control. They had this standard driving rock sound but the bass lines are what really gripped me. It was a new experience but I can’t imagine the rush they felt. This 4-piece rock band are certainly on their way to bigger and better things. What was distinctive about them was near the end of their set, one song just really let go into a chaotic soundstorm. There was unwavering solos and organically they came back together to deep wailing vocals and a smooth finish to their set. Comet Control is a band I certainly want to hear more of in the future.

When Kevin Drew went on stage, he welcomed us as if we were there to join in on a sing-along with him. The evening was organic, emotional, filled with many layers of sound, stories, and friends. Playing alongside him were founding members of Broken Social Scene Charles Spearin, Jimmy Shaw, Leslie Feist, Brendan Canning, and members of Do Make Say Think, The Years, Apostle of Hustle, and The Stills (far too many names to drop!) It felt like a high school reunion. There were moments that were perfect and imperfect, but not unlike this beautiful city of ours, the grace and fluidity that Kevin had through it all is what made it extra special. At some moments there were so many people on stage I was certain something was going to tip over and fall. Fans were bending over each other, leaning on the monitors, having a really bad-ass dance party and loving it. Kevin didn’t just perform his solo material from his album Darlings, he presented an array of music from his interesting career. BSS songs, KC Accidental songs, and personal stories to weave through the silences.

The set began with Kevin and Charles Spearin performing a song that Kevin said they wrote in his parents’ basement. He was emotional about it because his parents just gave away that home. “They always say songs are about your past, but sometimes they’re a premonition” he says. The emotion got thick and we all just listened and reveled in the detailed passionate instrumentation that was written nearly 15 years ago. One of the things that Kevin’s set inspired me to write down was that life is so intangible, elusive, yet we keep on making excuses for the right moment, finding the right words to say, waiting for the ideal weather – people are so focused on perfection, but what are we truly waiting for? Is anything actually meeting our standards of perfection when we’re holding them so high? The perfect moments are when you throw together a set list based on audience requests, or because your buddies are in town, or because you want to try a song you haven’t played in a while. Perfection is the unknown, forward-moving syncopation of our community, it’s trusting that whatever will happen is good.

My favorite moments included Leslie Feist joining in on You And Your Were and a solo performance of Lover’s Spit to end the night.

Kevin Drew for Converse Rubber Tracks Live 2

Was it a big corporate event, you ask? NO. There was no subliminal advertising or contest to win branded merchandise. The reps for the event were extremely cool and I loved chatting with them. Converse is committed to providing emerging artists with an opportunity to record in a state-of the art studio at no cost. Since its Brooklyn opening in July 2011, Converse Rubber Tracks has provided thousands of emerging artists the opportunity to record in a state-of-the-art studio at no cost. In 2012, Converse Rubber Tracks brought its “pop-up” studio to Toronto during NXNE, marking the first time the studio was brought to a major city outside of the U.S.  This time, Kevin Drew hand-picked Comet Control to open the show for him at Adelaide Hall. Comet Control was one of the hundreds of bands that applied for free studio time, and along with local artists Waterbodies, PKEW PKEW PKEW, Levar Allen and Pursue The Empire, The Airplane Boys, RLMDL, Muneshine and Deadbroke had an opportunity to collaborate with experienced engineers.

Converse Rubber Tracks supports artistic expression by allowing musicians across all genres an opportunity to record for free and retain all rights to their music.

Since that time, Converse Rubber Tracks “pop-up” studios have been established in support of vibrant music communities around the globe including Montreal, Brazil, Beijing, Amsterdam and Mexico City as well as in Austin, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston to name a few.

In November, CRT will be back at Noble Works studio and musicians are invited to visit www.converse.com/rubbertracks for more information about Converse Rubber Tracks studio and instructions on the registration process to apply for Toronto, Canada.

Review by Stefanie Romano | @stefaloves

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