I hit the Drake Hotel Thursday night in hopes of a chilled out dance party and to review Chad Valley, but while he was great live, he was overshadowed by the energy his openers Ghost Beach exhibited, who have quickly become one of the most interesting bands I’ve come across as of late.
Originally a duo, (now trio, or at least with a touring drummer), from Brooklyn, Ghost Beach has one full length album and I believe played their first Toronto show (don’t quote me on that), on Thursday. Their music is pop music at its best, and while I liked the album just fine, watching it live with the singer so full of positive energy and stage presence you couldn’t help but immediately throw down your coat and dance. The crowd was pretty sparse during their set but fully immersed as this small band created their big, extremely tight and well put together set. Their songs are a blend of power pop and synth, mixed with what the young kids are now calling “tropical pop” ; to me they sound like an early Passion Pit. Either way, these guys were super nice, walking around to each group in the crowd immediately after their set, handing out stickers and chatting everyone up. Digging further into this band I found that they launched an incredibly interesting ad campaign with the Artists vs. Artists project, in Times Square. If you haven’t heard of this you should check it out, along the same lines as Radiohead when they released In Rainbows in a ‘pay what you can’ format independently on their website, Ghost Beach put a giant billboard in Times Square which asks all readers, are you for or against music piracy. The ad asks you to hashtag your thoughts in social media and also gives you two links, one to their album on iTunes where you can purchase it or to their website where they were offering a free song a month. Again, I cannot stress how tight and professional these guys were, and I heard numerous people in the audience commenting on the “awesomeness” of their drummer (he was pretty damn awesome).
Almost a complete 180 from the infectious dance pop that we had just heard, Chad Valley came out with a small set up of himself, his keys, a flashing light set up that almost gave me a seizure, and his female counterpart whose name I forget. It was as sensual as baby-making chill-wave can get, a nice mix of R&B jams and electro. His voice is incredible live, a livelier James Blake in a way, and was well met by his female singer’s beautiful voice. My friend commented on Chad Valley’s innate “getting laid” ability, because of his sexy music, which I would agree is probably an accurate assumption if the guy’s not married. The crowd either completely changed out between the two bands, or everyone was too tired by 10:30, because short of five people in the front row, everyone just stood there with minimal swaying. He opened with Now That I’m Real (How Does It Feel) from his Equatorial Ultravox EP, in the middle of the set he hit on his danciest tune Up and Down from October’s release Young Hunger, to which one more person picked up their feet, and finished off on a high note (sans encore) with My Girl, which to me is almost like the Spice Girl hit “Wannabe” hit with lines like “if you wanna be my girl, you gotta get with my friends”.