Concert Review: Tokimonsta and Made In Heights @ The Drake Underground – Toronto

Canada’s own Borealis, a.k.a. Jesse Somfay, kicked off Thursday night at the Drake Underground with his set of well-crafted, atmospheric rhythms. The show was also his first PA and he did a great job. As a first-time listener, I thought his mixes were interesting and dynamic. Sadly, he came and went without an introduction, so few in the audience got to know him better.

The crowd revved up enthusiastically for Made In Heights, whose wonderfully produced “Murakami” blew up the music blogosphere earlier this year. The duo, consisting of Kelsey Bulkin and Alexei Saba Mohajerjasbi (Sabzi), put on a winsome show with coordinated dance moves and a surprise vaporizer-made puff of smoke to accompany their dreamy, electronic trip hop. The duo explained their struggle to come up with an appropriate genre to classify their music. “Mystical filth” was a suggestion from an online fan and is currently the top contender. Sabzi’s expert layering of synths and beats provides a perfect counterbalance to Kelsey Bulkin’s silvery voice, and the combination comes together just as well live as it does on their record.

The Californian DJ and headliner TOKiMONSTA (a.k.a. Jennifer Lee) amped-up the crowd even more. Just before she arrived, “NO FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY” was projected Doge-style in Comic Sans along with  “WOW”, “STAP”, and “MUCH SAD”. This rule was well justified, considering the wonderful screensaver-like geometric visuals accompanying her set. During her entire set, TOKiMONSTA was energetic and all smiles. She played a diverse collection of infectious vibes like “Drive” and “Realla” off of her latest release, Desideratum and of course, her hit single “Go With It”. She also sampled from Lupe, Missy, and Drake. The clear audience favourite, however, judging by the eruption of cheers, was Ol Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya”. All-in-all a fresh way to kick off the weekend early.

Follow updates from Tokimonsta here.

Review by Katrina Hui |

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