Allstage Crawl Old East 765 Bar – October 13, 2018
This past Saturday, October 13th, 2018 I devoted one venue to my Allstage Crawl. Michael Lee and Jason Norwood were the local promoters of the event which featured only female artists with the headliner being Bree May from the GTA. The artists I was present for were as follows: Kelsey Rhiannon Walsh, Courtney Robinson, Dawn Gibson and Bree May.
Kelsey Rhiannon Walsh is a delightful ball of energy from Owen Sound that performed an array of rap songs to a backing track of her original material. This young Lady never stopped moving for her entire set and while I’m not a fan of rap, her rhythm of lyrics was in fact catchy to me. To be honest, how she can remember ALL those lyrics with no cheat sheets was amazing enough for me, but at the same time you can tell that this genre of music is a passion for her.
Courtney Robinson, I met Courtney at a backyard jam with some close friends of ours, and was taken with her throaty style of singing right out of the gates. Then the next time I caught her was at the London Bluesfest in The Market, where she got up onstage with Chris Trowell and Robbie Antone where she played her “fast-becoming-famous” cigar box guitar - don’t laugh, this thing sounds awesome. Courtney’s love can be traced to the blues with her guitar style and her Melissa Ethridge vocals, and she is very much in control of both her musical talents. She has a friendly energetic personality and knows how to carry herself onstage between songs which is important in itself, but its her talent that captures you in an instant. Courtney is going to become a favorite at local clubs in the months to come.
Dawn Gibson was next on the schedule and I’ll be honest here – I wasn’t sure what to expect. She started with a cover of a Stevie Nicks song which caught my ear immediately. I’m a huge Stevie fan so when someone covers her music I pay extra attention and Dawn nailed it. Sprinkled throughout her set was originals and covers, and regarding the covers she picked ones that suited her singing and playing style. Speaking of her guitar talents, Dawn has improved measurably since the last time I saw her on acoustic – this lady can play. Her voice is strong and carries the melody of a song which is important, and she stays in the confines of her range as opposed to tackling songs that don’t suit her. Her song-writing has again, gotten much better than when I last saw her – the songs are infectious and structured quite well. My knock would be that I would like to see Dawn get more sophisticated with her between-song chatting onstage and lose the street mentality discourse that is so prevalent in her stage chat.
Bree May is someone I saw last Spring when she came through London with an assortment of other highly talented artists. Bree also mixed covers and originals and she bridges several genres in one set but her main strength seems to be in the country vein. Bree has excellent range and her originals are life based from her personal experience yet still have a common thread to her audience in terms of everyday things we all have gone through. Bree also sang over top of her backing track material but having seen her live with an actual band behind her, that scenario is a marked improvement and more her comfort zone. Due to the limitations of bringing an act down from the GTA for just one set, the backing track situation made much more sense. Bree is a genuine warm and friendly person and it was an absolute delight for me to catch her again live.