Concert review – The Barr Brothers x Gabrielle Shonk

The mellow dynamic duo indie folk artist and band everyone wanted.

Gabrielle Shonk

We sat down in our seats and right on cue at 7:30 p.m., the announcer read out the lineup. He had barely finished speaking when out came Gabrielle Shonk with nothing but a guitar and her voice. She immediately started to sing her first song, “How We Used To Be.” 

Afterwards, before singing “Reminds Me Of You,” she spoke about how the song was about anxiety and her history of panic attacks, which was ironic because she was able to control her voice in an awe-inspiring manner. Her voice was honestly the driving force of her performance, as her guitar playing was minimalistic to complement it.    

Her song “Aftertaste” was a bit different than the rest of her setlist as it gave off a more bedroom pop vibe. Moreover, instead of using the drum kit sound that was used on the two other songs, she used the infamous 808 kit. I was a fan. 

The Barr Brothers

Where do I begin? They had the oddest stage setup for a band that I’ve ever seen (except for King Gizzard, they are second to none in that field). Singer Brad Barr had a mic stand that was covered in vintage light bulbs, and lead guitarist Brett Lanier was seated for the majority of the show since he was using his lap-steel guitar which had its own generously sized pedal board. The drummer, Andrew Barr, had various percussion instruments, and Éveline Grégoire-Rousseau, the harp player, had a silly horse head mask on her harp. The most sensible person was bass player Morgan Moore with his simple P bass directly plugged into the amp. 

The Barr Brothers are constantly trying to adapt and make new sounds while still sticking to the folk genre. The intro song “Burn Card” involved Andrew playing the guitar while his brother pulled a string against the guitar strings, making the instrument sound like a violin. 

For “Half Crazy,” the singer performed what felt like a five-minute-long intro of playing an Egyptian scale on his guitar with a slide. Grégoire-Rousseau had a distortion pedal which sounded spectacular. Having listened to this song every day on Chom 97.7 in 2014 on my way to school, it felt like I had finally come full circle to be able to witness it live. The song took a different, more jammy turn which involved the Barr brothers soloing off each other. 

Their encore songs were “Beggar In The Morning” and their single “It Came To Me,” which, while overplayed on a lot of radio stations (namely Chom), they performed them a lot differently compared to the studio version. It was overall a wonderful performance and the crowd gave standing ovations to both Shonk and The Barr Brothers. I would highly recommend going to see either act separately.

Graphic by James Fay @jamesfaydraws


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