by Michael Thomas
After releasing a split EP a few months ago, I naturally assumed that the Whitehorse, Yukon-based bands Old Cabin and Old Time Machine were inextricably linked. Each band went on to release their own full-length, and unsurprisingly the two bands decided to hit the road together.
Fast-forward to last night at the Toronto hangout the Supermarket, and the Old bands took to the stage, followed by rising stars Kalle Mattson.
But first, Old Cabin. Jona Barr is the main man behind this act, and plays some very powerful folk songs. It was Barr’s first time ever playing in Toronto, and he definitely seemed a little surprised at the very warm (even raucous!) reaction the crowd gave to his songs.
He explained that Old Cabin is actually a five-piece band, but his other four band members couldn’t travel cross-country with him, so Old Time Machine actually acted as his backup band. Perhaps the two should just fuse into one mega-band called Old Time Cabin. But anyways, the three worked really well together. Barr started off his first song solo but was eventually joined by his two colleagues. The three of them together made for a very powerful performance.
Naturally, the next band to take the stage was Old Time Machine. I have heard both of their 2012 recordings, but I was still pretty amazed at the setup. I knew the band had a “two one-man band” setup, but it was hard for me to imagine it while simply listening to their songs. Watching it was almost a mystical experience.
I realized part of what made it so mystical was that this band was sitting down the whole time. This made for a much more intimate experience than I’ve seen in a while. Ryan McNally switched between banjo (which he played a lot of) and guitar, as well as ukulele and another small instrument (pardon my ignorance) with relative ease. Kyle Cashen provided a lot of killer background vocals along with some pretty awesome drumming.
The band, given a small amount of time to perform, did their best to play as many songs as possible, and they did a pretty good job at it. My favourite numbers were the two songs from their split EP, “Sun Burns Out” and “Tearing Me Down” but I was also quite enthralled with songs like “Pouring Rain” and “Feel So Cold” from their self-titled debut.
In what was perhaps the quickest changeover I have seen in a very long time (and Old Time Machine had a lot of equipment to put away, let me tell you), Kalle Mattson came onto the stage. The Supermarket’s back room is smaller than some other venues I’ve been to, so the band made a hell of a lot of noise and it was pretty sweet.
My co-admin Laura would probably have a lot more to say about the performance, but even my unfamiliarity with all of Mattson’s material I still found a lot to enjoy. I most certainly loved the rousing performance of “Thick as Thieves,” and the song “Water Falls” from their recent Lives in Between EP was stellar as well. My favourite number was the song “Pick Me Up,” but for a different reason. The band elected to step away from the microphones and play the song right at the front of the stage. It was a really cool move, and it allowed me to appreciate the awesome vocal harmonies even more.
The show was overall a very different experience- it was the first time I had ever seen a band from the Yukon play in Toronto, let alone two bands, and Kalle Mattson confirmed that they are indeed a band to watch out for.