Hayden / Evening Hymns / Taylor Knox Commonwealth Bar & Stage, Calgary AB, September 24
Published Sep 25, 2015Indie veteran Hayden and his band graced the stage at Commonwealth last night in support of Hey Love, bringing Evening Hymns along with them. Hayden's own band member, Taylor Knox, began the night by performing some of his solo material.
Knox's set was but an introduction of what was to come from the multi-instrumentalist, as he stuck to melodic guitar pop featuring just a guitar and his voice. He soared during his final song, fingers plucking an acoustic guitar beneath sweet vocal lines.
Next up were Evening Hymns, a magnetic duo whose songs featured dark subject matter drawn from songwriter Jonas Bonnetta's personal experiences. His humorous stage banter kept the room engaged between songs built around vocal and guitar loops, along with contributions from his focused drummer, bass, and synth player, performed in tandem.
Excitement built in the room as Hayden's performance loomed, the crowd pushing towards the stage and filling the somewhat uncomfortable gap between audience and artist that there had been during the previous sets. Hayden and his band's sound was full, and their set list really showed the breadth of each musician's abilities, especially Hayden's stellar writing. Rotating amongst the instruments onstage, all band members proved their strength as multi-instrumentalists. Going from country-infused, to more downtempo and piano-based songs into searing alternative rock, the band crafted their performance as a grand introduction to Hayden's body of work.
Hayden's stage banter was equal parts lively and heartfelt. A beautiful point in the show occurred when he spoke about his daughter's gift for honest communication, followed by a song he wrote for her called, "No Happy Birthday." The upbeat "Rainy Saturday," instrumentally playful "Bass Song," and "Nowhere We Can't Go" proved further exploration of Hayden and his band's range.
Many humorous moments occurred throughout; before playing "Woody," Hayden told of a formal complaint that had been written by someone who didn't realize the song was about his cat, offending a waitress when he suggested she Google him, and having to change the lyrics to "Bad As They Seem" to be age-appropriate.
Perhaps the warmest moment of the night came when Hayden and his band all grabbed guitars and walked offstage to strum in a circle amongst the crowd, the whole room joining together in harmony. Hayden and his band elicit what may be one of the simplest, yet most important feelings: complete and utter gratitude.