|25-Oct-2006 11:05 PM||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
Kyle Riabko says he moved from Saskatoon to Toronto only 5 months ago, and so far he's found Toronto an accommodating city. It doesn't take long watching him on stage for it to become obvious why Toronto has been good to him. After playing two gigs at The Rivoli this past weekend, he opened for Five For Fighting at The Mod Club on Monday night. Playing on an acoustic guitar for the entire set, Kyle's energetic solo performance wasn't just incredibly soulful, it showcased his expressive and charismatic personality that includes a well-timed sense of humour. When Kyle was on stage, he really put himself out there, and the crowd's response was extremely positive.
Riabko's songs are a kind rock-based bluesy funk, and his vocals are accompanied by his own sharp and skillful fingers on the guitar. As a genre, it's not normally the kind of music that I get excited over, but Kyle puts it all together really well. Although I haven't heard his studio work yet, his live show has really sparked my interest in hearing more. As an opening act, it is amazing that he managed to own the crowd - there wasn't just the usual obligatory clapping after his songs, there were bursts of cheering and whistling. An amazing reaction to pull from an audience that was there to see someone else.
Although Kyle's voice is fairly unique, it does share some similarities with Adam Levine (of Maroon 5) blended with a strange hint of Michael Jackson - an observation that he quipped about between songs, ensuring that we all knew he'd "never been to Neverland Ranch " because he "no longer qualifies". During one song he commented on how quiet the room was and so he started playing quieter and quieter until he stopped playing altogether, but informed us he was still playing in his head. And clearly he was, proven by the fact that he picked up exactly on beat about two measures later. There were more than a few other times he got the crowd laughing and cheering; this young musician really knows how to get an audience on his side.
With so much charm, a strong voice, and the ability to put on passionate performance laced with humour, it seems obvious that it's just a matter of time before Kyle will draw a large following of fans. He says he often plays with a band, and I am definitely interested to see him work with other musicians. Not that he can't hold his own on stage, quite the contrary, just that I would like to hear his style with a little more backing. Next time he plays in Toronto, I will be there. The day will surely come when I can say "I remember meeting Kyle back when he was playing as the opening act, now look at him".
Find out what Kyle is up to on the Kyle Riabko site or on MySpace.
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