When I got home from the Drake last night to post a quick tweet before I shuffled off to bed, I have to admit, I was at a loss for words (and those of y’all who know me know that this happens only very rarely). In the end, I came up with “amazing, soulful sounds” – but that doesn’t come nearly close enough to describing Angela Saini and her music.
Was out with my pal Kat Leonard again last night, this time meeting at the Drake Underground for Saini’s Cakes and Callouses EP release gig. I caught the end of Jessica Bundy’s set – lovely, lyrical acoustic sounds. Jessica was followed by the driving beat of Mushy Callahan. Then, there was Angela Saini and the Residence.
First, loved their look – all the gals (three-quarters of the band) were in dresses, each wearing feathery fuchsia earrings (which, I learned later from Angela, was a total coincidence – they had a colour scheme of black and pink and that was it) and J.B. the drummer was looking very dapper in a navy v-neck sweater with white shirt and tie. Kat said it best when she said their look reminded her of Josie and the Pussycats – except with a dude on drums. Bottom line – these folks were stylin’. And, jitters aside, their presentation was confident, professional – and they were having fun together.
Angela Saini and the Residence served up an amazing set of kicky pop (like Keeping Score) and soulful ballads (my fave: Close to You – makes me so wanna slow dance with someone special, as yet to be determined), all Saini originals on the Cakes and Callouses EP, with the added treat of new song Stay Here with Me (another fave of mine, which you can find on Saini’s website). Saini, who also plays guitar, has incredible vocal range, easily tackling both punchy pop and heartfelt ballads, with an amazing stage presence – adorably charming, fun, and including her band and the audience on her journey. The Residence is the perfect musician team for Saini: J.B. keeping the beat, Vanessa James-Locke on keys and back-up vocals, Sarah Giles on bass (she even got a stand-up out for a tune) and special guest Neil Cameron on fiddle for the latter part of the set.
Saini is off on Saturday for a Toronto to Vancouver VIA train gig, with some dates out west before she returns to Toronto – and to the Residence – and a May 15 gig at the Horseshoe Tavern at 10 p.m. If you live in B.C. or Alberta, check out her upcoming April dates on her website.
Give Angela Saini and the Residence a listen. You won’t be sorry, I promise: http://www.angelasaini.com/fr_home.cfm
Here are some pics I took at the Drake last night: