Said the Whale echoed in the Opera House
Said The Whale just released their fourth studio album Hawaii in September. As a gift to fans over the holidays, the band announced their EPs Let’s Have Sound and West Coast Christmas are available to download for free on their website.
Their set list featured songs from across all their albums old and new. The flow was really well organized, they played upbeat songs to get the crowd dancing like “The Light Is You,” and they played more alternative rock ballads like “Government Heart” to get the crowd swaying and singing along.
If you haven’t had the chance to hit the Opera House, it truly is a great venue. It has a charming early 1900’s classic Vaudeville theater feel, equipped with an elevated stage and two-tier balcony. It holds just shy of 900 people, and the acoustics are profound anywhere in the building, even for a sold out crowd like this night witnessed.
102.1 The Edge hosted the event and had a tent outside the building with free swag, and they were also accepting cash and canned food donations for Daily Bread Food Bank.
The first band up was The Kopecky Family Band. They’re a six-piece American indie rock band from Nashville, Tenn. They just released their debut album Kids Raising Kids in October last year.
The band had a great stage presence and was very involved with the crowd, encouraging everyone to dance, sing and clap along with the songs. The band members frequently switched up instruments and had songs featuring a trombone, cello, bongos and plenty of tambourines.After Kopecky cleared out, the Mowgli’s took over. As the crowd really started to pile in, the band’s high spirited dancing and stage banter got everyone pumped up.
The eight-piece blend of indie, gospel, folk, love, and rock from San Fran took to the stage with a lot of charisma, and had everyone in the audience riled up to share this moment of auditory unity with them.
In 2010 a group of artists, musicians and friends formed the group the Mowgli’s. Their intention was to change the world for the greater good by spreading a message of joy and love in their music.
Mid performance the Mowgli’s took a moment to thank Toronto for having them. Confessing that they have been cold in the city and joking about the irony of how even though our mayor is an alcoholic and smokes crack, we’re still better off than the majority of the States. With the crowd laughing, they followed up with their hit song “San Fransisco,” which hit #13 on Billboard’s alternative charts this year.
The crowd went wild and sang and at one point, the band held the microphones to the crowd for an entire verse as the audience clearly sang back the lyrics.
This show had quite a turnout for all the bands on the program, but they all definitely came out to see one band from their own land. Said the Whale was up next, and with a thanks to the openers, they started off with tracks off their new album Hawaii. The crowd was chanting out the band members as they came on stage the young cries of blossoming girls filled the auditorium.
As the set started nearing its end, the band started to bring the mood to a more sentimentally mellow aura. The vibrant yellow and red lights were traded for soft blue and white spotlights, and guitarist Tyler Bancroft sang a song dedicated to his mother. Drummer Spencer Schoening came off the drums and sang a serene song to the crowd, and then lead singer Ben Worcester followed up and shared his hauntingly beautiful song “Curse the Currents.”
The night ended on a peacefully somber note, and as the lights came up the crowd filed out smiling and laughing and generally feeling good about life. Said the Whale started with Worcester and Bancroft in 2007. The group released a debut EP Taking Abalonia, which they re-released in June 2008 with 7 addtional songs, under the title Howe Sounds/ Taking Abalonia.
In 2010, they came in second place in Vancouver’s CKPK-FM Peak Performance Project, winning them $75,000. 2011 was a big year as well for Said the Whale, as they toured across the U.S. for the first time, were the subject of CBC documentary Winning America directed by Brent Hodge and Thomas Buchanan, and won a Juno award for New Group of the Year.
Story by Madysun Ball, Photos by ftfphotography