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Neverending White Lights, Emm Gryner

24-Dec-2006 05:11 pm Contributed by: pete Concert Reviews
Neverending White Lights
December 21, 2006
The Drake Hotel in Toronto, Ontario
Review and Photos by: Pete Nema

Full Photo Set (14 photos)

The Neverending White Lights played at the intimate venue of The Drake Underground for three sold out nights in a row this week. The place was decked out with chandeliers and stained glass lighting fixtures hanging from the ceiling, coloured sheets draped around, huge candlesticks adorned the stage on both sides, and white roses were positioned around and on the stage. Coupled with the rust coloured drapes that back the tiny stage, it produced a really warm feeling for the room. Opening for Neverending White Lights was Emm Gryner and Jack Gennaro, but I wasn't there in time to see Jack.

10:00PM - Emm Gryner

I believe there's an ancient Chinese proverb that says, roughly translated, "You can never have too many photos of Emm Gryner". Having just photographed Emm the night before as part of the Andy Kim Christmas Show, as well as just last month, I decided to test it out.

Emm was as charismatic on stage as usual, even though she admitted to not feeling herself due to excessive caffeine consumption. She may not have felt quite right, but she performed inline with the past two performances I've seen: passionately and beautifully. Emm usually draws at least a few adoring, and sometimes vocal, male fans to the front, but this night the audience was filled with young women, which was a noticeable change for Emm who commented on the fact.

Emm Gryner
Revolution on Bass
Emm Gryner
Beautiful on Piano
Emm Gryner
A Cappella

The audience clearly felt at one with the performers due to the intimacy of the room, which meant there was some back and forth between the musicians and some audience members. When Emm dedicated a song to "all your mothers and fathers that aren't here tonight" one audience member responded with "I brought my Mom!" Among other songs, Emm performed a bass-and-vocals-only version of Revolution (The Beatles) - it's a powerful version that may be a bit too svelte for an album, but is a real pleasure to see live.

10:50PM - Neverending White Lights

Daniel Victor comes across as a bit of a perfectionist as a songwriter, which results in Neverending White Lights' creative and well-thought out songs, even if the music is generally a little too mellow to be included in my daily listening playlists. On stage, though, the songs seem more energetic, more dynamic. Daniel is all about guest vocalists, and so it should be no surprise to learn that he had no less than four guest vocalists that night.

Neverending White Lights
An Intimate Venue
Neverending White Lights
Marco DeFelice
Neverending White Lights
Jason on Drums

Marco DeFelice of Supergarage joined the entire band on the tight stage for a few songs, testing out the limits of space. There were some farcical moments as they attempted to reposition themselves trying to get the right configuration, which just added to the intimate nature of the show. Eventually it all seemed to get worked out and Marco, with his fur hat on the whole time, was great to listen to and watch. The next guest to join Victor on stage was Daniel Greaves, formerly the lead vocalist of the bands The Watchmen and Doctor. He was sedate in his performance, but he sounded great. Emm Gryner came out once more, this time to perform a duet with Daniel, her on the keyboards and Daniel on guitar; it worked well (and no one seemed upset to see Emm again). Lastly, Lexi Valentine from Magnetta Lane came out to join Victor for one song.

Neverending White Lights
Daniel Greaves
Neverending White Lights
Emm and Daniel's Duet
Neverending White Lights
Lexi Valentine

Somewhere along the way, Daniel introduced the guitar player, Kevin Kennedy, who came out from his relatively dark corner and took centre stage to wail out a guitar-rock rendition of Vince Guaraldi's Christmas Time Is Here (from the Charlie Brown Christmas special) that would've made Steve Vai proud. The set was ended with a true version of The Grace, a song that was recorded with Dallas Green (from Alexisonfire) for the studio version and has been getting significant radio airplay. Dallas Green really does a great job on that recording, but Victor is able to equal the vocals for the live show. The band returned briefly to stage to play another instrumental version of a popular Christmas song.


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