Notice to all music chasers in Toronto and/or bands who will be playing here one day: The Danforth Music Hall is the best venue in the city. With its wide floor sloping towards a seemingly hard carved stage; its red velvet balcony looking out onto the crowd and the massive pre-war chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. The room is stadium huge, and the acoustics are unparalleled. Only a venue such as this could do Wintersleep justice.
This was the last show of the festival for me, and the first show that I decided I wanted to see when I saw the lineup. ‘Weighty Ghost’ was a part of me for years, a song that I was dependent on for mood elevation on bad days, a song that I feel connected me to the Canadian music scene, a song that I had been waiting to hear live for so long. Paul Murphy keeps a bevy of tuned guitars at the front of the stage to choose from and when he picked up the acoustic, I knew my fantasy was about to turn into a reality.
Wintersleep is a band that deserves to be known for more than one song. Their catalogue is chalk full of music that fills the body with chords made of colour and impulse, of music that invokes in us the jingle-jangle of excitement. But none of the other songs were as important to me as hearing the drum kit wind up, as important as hearing Murphy ask if I’ve seen his ghost.
Seeing as how this was a post of a personal nature anyhow, I am willing to admit the following: I have never covered an entire festival before. I saw countless bands, talked to countless people, musicians and industry included. I rode the TTC to so many different bars in so many different neighbours in Toronto that I actually told somebody I felt like I was travelling foreign lands even though I live here. By the fourth night I was beginning to feel separated from the music; I had seen so much that I began to feel untethered. It’s hard to see the forest for the trees when you’re inspecting each tree extremely close up. (Think about it.) What an incredible feeling to be standing on the floor at The Danforth Music Hall and hear Wintersleep play. For a moment, and if only for a moment, I felt like the person I was when I feel in love with music in the first place. I remembered cranking the volume when their music came on the radio and thinking to myself that one day I would be able to hear it live. Wintersleep brought that back to me. Listening to them, I wasn’t a music journalist; I was just a girl who wanted to see about a band. (Even if there was an expectation that I would write about it after….)