As a prominent musician and artist in the St. Catharines arts and culture community, Defne coordinated a night of music that featured a line-up of six artists this past Sunday. Settling into a back seat at the show, I was not prepared for the level of talent as well as the variety of the sets to follow.
To begin, Mountain Man Misty took the stage. Originally from British Columbia, the artist started the show with gritty, rumbling vocals. Soulful, he played a set filled mostly with songs of loss and mourning. Although sad, the artist ensnared the audience with his rolling vocals and guitar playing.
Next up was Le Stack, a legendary musician in the Niagara Region. Startlingly different from Mountain Man Misty, Le Stack began his set by rapping to an edgy, techno-beat on loop. His words were an interrogation of art, literature and politics; it became clear very quickly that the artist’s rap was absolute spoken-word poetry.
Third, Defne set up on stage – and stole the show. Welcoming the crowd with clever quips and many words of thanks, it was clear that this show was emblematic of the music community in St. Catharines and the Niagara region. Playing out a melodic, strumming folk vibe, it became clear that she is unique in her style.
Following Defne was Jane Baker. Formerly the vocalist in the band Ivy Coast, Baker won the Voice of Niagara two years ago; as soon as she hit the first vocal note, the room fell silent – it would come as no surprise to the crowd that she had been granted awards for her voice. Playing an acoustic guitar, her melodies were light but strong; Baker has a set of pipes and she knows exactly how to use them. Her vibrato perfect, Baker hit notes seamlessly throughout her set.
Next, DRFTR, also known as Oscar, became the centre of the crowd’s attention. Very quickly, DRFTR’s vocal ability became apparent. From Niagara on the Lake, DRFTR plays his brand of folk music as though it comes to him as easily as breathing, despite the high notes he hits flawlessly.
Finally, it was Eddie Sayers turn at the microphone. Toronto-based, Sayers’ voice was something to behold; last but certainly not least. Ending the night with a bang, Sayers played rock inspired by blues, country and folk, both instrumentally and culturally in that he was not only playing good music but telling well-crafted stories.
“Even if there isn’t a music venue, people will still have shows,” Defne expressed her faith in the music scene to me, moments before the show began. “People don’t want to let it die; St. Catharines is a special place and there’s always something going on.”