Who: Christina Perri and Birdy
What: Feel-good pop with a hint of young genius
Where: The Danforth Music Hall, 147 Danforth Avenue
Bonus: The impressive age range of attendees, from middle-aged dudes to 8-year-old girls
I met Mink after work for her early birthday surprise – but intrepid detective that she is, she figured out who we were going to see before I gave her the tickets. Strangely enough, we’d both been scouring the internet for these tickets, since they had been sold out for ages. I don’t know how the Ticketmaster gods heard my prayers for this one, but Mink loves Christina Perri and I knew this would be the perfect gift to usher her into the dreaded late-20s phase of her life (spoiler: it’s not that bad so far, really).
There was already a line forming to get into The Danforth Music Hall, for the keeners who wanted to get to the front. However, knowing our slither-into-the-front-rows style has never been defeated by mere mortals at a concert, we weren’t too worried about showing up right when the doors opened for the show.
We ended up at Allen’s for dinner, which happens to be a hot spot with the locals and has awesome burgers. Not such a great selection for the vegetarians in your life, unfortunately, but the wine list made up for that shortcoming. Also, our very attentive waiter (whom I imagine is named Allen, as are all waiters who work at Allen’s) was wonderful. I mentioned I was taking my friend out for her birthday and Allen gave us a free eclair with a single birthday candle in it for dessert!
Birdy is a 17-year-old from Hampshire, UK who made waves with her covers of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Love,” The xx’s “Shelter,” The Postal Service’s “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight,” and Phoenix’s “1901,” which are all amazing songs in their own right, by incredible artists. But Birdy’s voice and piano-playing are things that are inarguably pure and good and worth seeing live, as Mink and I affirmed on Monday night.
She kept her set short, switching adeptly between piano and guitar while singing in her soulful way. Two songs that stuck out for me were “People Help The People,” from her first album, Birdy (2011) and “Wings,” off of her second album, Fire Within (released September 2013). My favourite song was “Skinny Love,” because this cover introduced me to the magic of Birdy, and then I learned she was only 15 when she recorded it. It blew me away the first time I listened to it, but seeing her sing it live, with all of that graceful awkwardness of teenagehood on stage, was simply beautiful.
When an enthusiastic dude in the back passionately called out, “Marry me!”, she responded with an adorable protest, “But I’m only seventeen!”
Check Birdy out if you like your young talent modest but well-executed, rather than over-confident and kinda douchy, like most 17-year-olds would become in her situation.
Christina Perri is a tiny, amazing ball of energy from the States in her late 20s (so, a non-musical-teen-prodigy here). I admit I didn’t know Christina Perri very well prior to this night, but Mink loves her and she puts on an awesome show. This is probably her most famous song, “Jar of Hearts”:
Perri just released a new album called Head or Heart (April 2014), and she was so, so excited to be in Toronto with a bunch of people who adore her music. There’s something about watching performers who genuinely look stoked to be on stage – makes you feel like you’re making their night complete, just like they’re making yours. Perri warned us that she enjoys the chit-chat on stage, and she did tell us a few charming background stories about her songs.
She also switched from piano, to guitar, to jumping around the stage with a microphone, rhinestone-encrusted tights flashing in the lights. Her bandmates were just as snazzily dressed, and just as talented. I loved the keyboardist, who sang awesome backup vocals for Perri. The drummer’s red-suspenders-on-black-dress-shirt combination wasn’t bad, either.
You can listen to Christina Perri ici!
Monday concerts: based on my last two weeks’ experience with them, actually pretty great. They do make you wonder if the next weekend will ever arrive though. And if you’re wondering whether we got the set list from that night as a final birthday present memento: naturally.