Austra is one of those bands with the innate ability to completely capture a crowd’s energy, and beyond that, to control it. From the second the Toronto band hit the stage at the Danforth Music Hall on March 23, they were in charge.
Playing a mix of fan favourites from their 2011 debut, Feel It Break,as well as some exciting new songs from their forthcoming sophomore album, Olympia (due out June 18), Austra commanded attention from the packed house, ebbing and flowing our experience with ease.
And the audience was instantly put under their spell; people began to dance whimsically, clearly trying to imitate the enchanting women on stage. Heck, I don’t blame them: backup vocalists Sari and Romy Lightman were equally as captivating as lead singer Katie Stelmanis, moving around in ways that felt almost otherworldly (hi hello can you teach me how, please?). The band’s powerful live sound was rounded out by drummer Maya Postepski, bassist Dorian Wolf, and keyboardist Ryan Wonsiak. Each band member was dressed in a unique and interesting way, highlighting his or her personality (Stelmanis, for example, was wearing a denim jumper—like I’m talking a onesie minus the feet—and she pulled it off).
The CMW show was also presented by Drambuie; the liqueur brand made specialty drinks for guests and gave away flasks (hay-o, my kind of people!).
My only complaint about the show was that it was too short! I wanted more Austra. But I kind of feel like I’ll always want more Austra.