Concert Review: Bebel Gilberto, Sound Academy, November 30

Bebel Gilberto at the Sound Academy

Toronto – Last night Bebel Gilberto brought her Bossa Nova influenced music to Toronto as part of a tour promoting her latest album, All In One. Opening for Miss Gilberto was Vancouver-based Alex Cuba, a Cuban-born musician. Together the two shows provided for a solid night of latin music that varied from laidback chill vibes to upbeat dance-friendly fun.

Alex Cuba is an afro-sporting musician that has fused elements of soul & funk with Cuban music into a style all his own. He plays electric guitar without a pick using the syncopated rhythm of traditional Cuban Son (think Buena Vista Social Club). However, he fuses elements of Cuban Son with 70’s funk. The result is infectious and extremely crowd pleasing. His collaborations with Nelly Furtado has definitely increased his visibility as an upcoming musician. I look forward to seeing Alex Cuba headline his own show.

Next up was Miss Gilberto herself, and you could tell there were a number of Brazillian expats in the audience just clamoring for the opportunity to see her live. She was accompanied by a competent 4-piece band that, while not digging in, certainly knew how to keep things together. The pianist seemed like he was bored to tears plodding through some of the Bossa Nova numbers. However, the young Brazillian saxophonist/flutist/guitarist was totally digging the spotlight and did a commendable job at that.

Now, If I named a place “The Sound Academy”, I would imagine that the place would have to be either A) an amazing sounding venue, or B) a school for sound engineers to learn their craft. Hopefully it would be a combination of the two. After hearing Alex Cuba play with very reasonable levels and sound, I was *almost* going to congratulate the Sound Academy for a job well done. I say almost.

Unfortunately during Bebel’s set there was clearly some level and monitor problems. The sax was barely heard for the first half of the show. It got so bad for the drummer that he actually walked off the stage in the middle of a song to physically pull a sound guy over to listen to his headphones. I’ve never seen that happen before and it had a jarring effect on musicians and crowd alike. I’ve mentioned this before, and I’ll probably mention it again, but the Sound Academy it is not.

Despite the technical issues, Bebel put on a solid show with material from her latest album mixed in with some hits from previous works. It was a night of feelgood music for the hardy souls willing to make the trek out to the Sound Academy on a Monday night.

Posted on by Mark in Concerts

One Response to Concert Review: Bebel Gilberto, Sound Academy, November 30

  1. Pingback: Preview: Hillside Music Festival 2010 | The Panic Manual

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