If you’re just like me and discovered the talented Michael Grubbs on One Tree Hill and have never been to one of his shows, then you’d also probably expect his concerts to be full of ballads accompanied by his piano. But little did I know, the intimate night was way beyond what I had in mind.
The show kicked off with one of Wakey!Wakey!’s band members, Casey Shea, playing a one-man performance with his guitar. Even though the crowd didn’t know the lyrics to his sweet folky songs, he still thanked the audience for being so kind. The guitarist then got the crowd to sing along to one of my favourites of the night: “Chelsea.” Humouring everyone through his act, he successfully warmed the fans up for what was to come.
Then, Jillette Johnson and her extremely powerful vocals took over the stage (even with her not-so-obvious sore throat). As soon as she started singing the first few words to her song “Peter Pan,” the energy level of the room went way up. After a couple of upbeat tunes, she slowed it down with a song about one of her friends being an outcast, entitled “Cameron,” which captivated the audience’s full attention. Although this was most likely the first time most of the crowd heard of the singer, she won everyone over with some stories of her little tour mishaps, quirky anecdotes and a cover of Radiohead’s “Creep.” Lastly, the starlet ended her performance with “True North” and left the audience wanting for more, yet eager for the man of the night.
Finally, after a long (and agonizing) wait, the anticipated star showed up and got the crowd howling as the first notes of “Almost Everything” reached the end of the room. Grubbs and his band mixed the night up with some new tracks that not too many people were familiar with and some older ones that people gladly sang along to. The frontman then melted all the girls’ hearts with a story about how he proposed to his now-fiancée in Paris. Halfway through “Brooklyn,” he and the band screwed up and stopped, but managed to pick it up again and acted like it wasn’t something of a surprise. When it came time to play “Got It All Wrong,” the drummer didn’t start off with the right track. So, while the band took the time to fix it up, the vocalist recounted the first time he played in Montreal, where he said the crowd was so wild that the sound guy had to cover his ears. He finished his story and the rest of the night went on smoothly after that. For his “encore,” he invited Jillette Johnson to join him on stage to sing “Irresistible” and then finished the night off on a sweet note with “Light Outside.”
Filled with irresistible and overwhelming moments, the night was definitely one to remember. (By Karmin Yu)