Bahamas with Weather Station at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre, 3/1/18
Six years ago I stood in a grassy field with my bare feet covered in dirt, waiting for a small band from Toronto to come on stage at Hillside Festival in Guelph. A man named Afie (born Afie Jurvanen) quietly stepped on stage, mumbled a few words, then plugged in his pink strat and hypnotized the small crowd with the sound of Bahamas. On Thursday (March 1) a man named Afie quietly stepped on stage, mumbled a few words then plugged in the same pink start and hypnotized a large crowd at The Queen Elizabeth Theatre.
The evening began with another Toronto band, Weather Station who set the tone for a soulful, intimate show. The Bahamas are currently touring their new album, Earthtones which was released this January 2018. The new album is vastly different from the past three albums. A funky, R&B side of Bahamas emerges in Earthtones. Refusing to be married to one genre, Earthtones proves their diversity in style.
For some long time Bahamas fans, Earthtones at first was too much of change for stubborn traditionalists. But this show won over any Earthtones skeptics. The setting was simple and natural. The band all wore earth tone clothing and Afie repped his signature Adidas track suit that he wears in the video “No Wrong.” Standing out from the rest of the band, back up vocalist Felicity Williams wore all white and in combination her ethereal voice she looked like a true angel.
Jurvanen wears his heart on his sleeve and bares his soul on stage. He spoke honestly about his past and what it was like growing up without a father, “There’s a lot of bad men out there, fathers that leave their children, men who hurt women and men who are in power who really should not be, but you know what, hate gets you nowhere so sometimes bad boys need love too” Jurvanen said, he then played one of his grooviest tracks, “Bad Boys Need Love Too.”
Jurvanen played a good mix of his new stuff and the oldies. One of the most beautiful moments was when he played “Lost in the Light,” a warm hum buzzed through the crowd and made the theatre feel more like a tiny wood cabin than a gargantuan auditorium.
Jurvanen plays no games and told the crowd “I am going to do this thing where I leave, stand backstage for a minute and then come back on stage, so don’t worry there will be an encore.” And he certainly did not disappoint, he came back on stage solo, just him and his guitar. The lights were dim and he spoke about his own struggle with depression and how we all have to be a little kinder to ourselves, he then played “No Depression.” It was so powerful to have such a strong man share his deep secrets and showed that strength comes from exposing your naked, crude and true emotions.
The show was a soft reminder to go back to basics; to be honest, vulnerable and raw.