Review of the Back to Basics Show at the Bullring

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Written by Jessica Ferguson

The warm sounds and hot beats emanating from the Bullring last night were the perfect answer to the chill and wet outdoors. The coffee house's intimate setting was amplified by the disuse of the stage; all of the artists performed within the circle of antique sofas that give The Bullring its "living room" appeal.

As Dee Archer, Canadian Idol Top 20 finalist on keyboard, and Jason Fiele,
her guitarist warmed up, they teased the crowd before beginning their performance. Formally beginning at 11, Dee performed a few original songs from her upcoming 2007 album release as well as a few covers. She did a sultry rendition of Bob Marley's "Turn the Lights Down Low". Afterwards she joked, "I was going to rap but then decided not to, but if I had a drummer I'd do it." Dee seemed completely undiscouraged by the crowd of fewer than fifty but was rather encouraged by the intimate setting to interact with the audience. She took her lounging style of music one step further in her cover of Nora Jones before completely turning it around with one of her original singles. Her last song "Somebody Get Up and Dance" had the audience snapping, clapping, weaving their heads and in some cases, actually getting up and dancing.

The next artist was Carnell, who began his set by playing the keyboard and singing an original song from his 2007 upcoming R&B album. Afterwards, due to technical difficulties with the amps, he improvised the track with good humour, singing and creating the background music himself. He seemed delighted to be performing, and interacted well with the audience, posing for photographs. He then switched to acoustic guitar, and belted out heartfelt lyrics about love and lovemaking. Carnell ended with the hopeful single from his album and by the end large portion of The Bullring's occupants were dancing once again.

The night's final performance was by United Breakers, the breakdancing crew from Oakville, warming up as the crowd danced among them. As they began their routine, the crowd formed a circle around them and the group of four guys had the entire coffeehouse on its feet. DJ Wristpect spun for them as they showed off their flexibility, creativity and rhythm. The crew performed a wide variety of impressive moves, ranging from top rock (standing moves) to downrock (floor moves) and the complicated freezing as the audience encouraged them with cheering and clapping. As they finished their routine, they began pulling people from the crowd to resume dancing until all were swinging to the beats of DJ Wristpect. The party continued into the early hours of the morning.

Editor's Note: Check out Jessica's photo gallery of the show here

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