Toronto – The holiday season is an interesting time of year, one in which one’s usual resitance to things that might be considered slightly corny or cheesy are in fact actually embraced. Christmas specials we’ve seen dozens of times over, albums by Mariah Carey, all of them are kind of OK at this time of the year. When this tendency to like Christmassy stuff is combined with a solid lineup of Canadian talent, it turns into something very much like the Andy Kim Christmas concert. The annual charity event, now in it’s seventh year, was raising funds this night for Julliette’s Place, a shelter for abused women and their children and the lineup included such notables as Ron Sexsmith, Sarah Harmer, Sam Roberts, Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning and of course, Andy Kim, famous for his hits “Rock Me Gently” and “Sugar Sugar.”
As I entered The Phoenix, Lights was just making her way to the stage. After delivering a solo acoustic song, she welcomed Kim’s band onto the stage to back her up for a pretty decent cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” You can’t really go too far wrong with that song. Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew came to the stage later in the evening to offer up some weird banter as they “killed time” before Honeymoon Suite came on. For a bunch of old guys, Honeymoon Suite rocked pretty hard, playing their classic hit “New Girl Now,” then following it up with a pretty sweet cover of Greg Lake’s “I Believe In Father Christmas.”
One of the stranger things (besides comedian Sean Cullen’s tribute to Bing Crosby)was when Steve Anthony and some other guy in a checked shirt who were doing mc duties introduced Jian Ghomeshi. For a moment, I was confused. The Arkells were setting up behind him and for a moment it seemed like Ghomeshi was going to sing. He then went on to talk for a while, shoehorning in an awkward reference to Justin Trudeau’s recent outburst of profanity in Parliament before he went on to introduce the Arkells, who went on to do a 3 song set that included a surprise cover of Hall And Oates’ “You Make My Dreams,” which sounded eerily close to the original. The question still remianed in my mind though: why do you need to introduce a guy who’ll just be doing more introduction? Do not get it.
The night ended as I imagine it always does, with Kim inviting a bunch of the night’s performers to join him for a performance of “Rock Me Gently” that had many in the crowd singing along. All in all, a good night of music for a good cause.