Sunday, August 09, 2009

Shout Out / Review: Bahamas @ The Dakota Tavern, 6 Aug.

Looking back at my weekly listings, I've been recommending an act called Bahamas ever since January of this year. At this point, the band/solo project had no MySpace, and I can't remember what I knew of the band in order to recommend it. (I don't just randomly star shows!) The next month, Bob saw them perform at Tranzac. If I didn't know it before, I knew once he posted his photos of the gig that Bahamas' Afie Jurvanen was playing live (at least occasionally) with one of my favourite drummers, Greg Millson from Great Lake Swimmers. That would certainly have piqued my interest. Plus, Bob liked what he heard. Come July Bahamas released his full-length album, Pink Strat, on Nevado Records to much acclaim. No doubt Jurvanen's experience backing Feist and other well-known artists played a part in him getting as much exposure as he did this early on.

I finally got around to seeing Bahamas perform last Thursday at the Dakota Tavern, a spot where I knew he'd performed a few other times this year. Before I did, I make sure to get myself a digital copy of the record, and proceeded to listen to it obsessively. It's a fantastic record that showcases his understated voice, great guitar work, and impressive song-writing chops. Folky love-songs and laments are just what I'm into most days, and I immediately fell in love with the record. That night Jurvanen, in a baseball cap, cut-off jeans shorts, and long-sleeve shirt over a dark tank top, was surprisingly nervous, he told us, but I couldn't tell. (I think nervous might fit his style pretty well.) Backed that evening by The Weakerthans' drummer Jason Tait, and performing for a whole lot of Arts & Crafts types---all friends, I assume---his set really hit the spot for me. At points during the set there were people shushing the talkers in the audience, and a handful of women at the front were busy chattering away, paying no attention to the man singing breezy, bluesy roots rock a few feet away. That's unfortunate, but Jurvanen didn't seem to mind too much.

Here are the first and last tracks of the album. If your tastes are anything like mine, you'll want the rest of the disk ASAP.

Download: "Lonely Loves" (Pink Strat, 2009).
Download: "Whole, Wide, World" (Pink Strat, 2009).

Bahamas is opening for Amy Millan this fall, with a stop in Toronto at the Mod Club on 15 October.

[Photo credit: Afie Jurvanen at Guelph's Hillside festival in July.]


Shawn William Clarke said...

Nice! We opened for Bahama's last year at the Tranzac. I was totally blown away. Fantastic performers!

Anonymous said...

I saw Bahamas at Hillside and was won over immediately.

He was the best thing I saw that weekend.

An amazing performer and musician.

Paterson said...

correction Shawn, he opened for us :)

Thierry said...

I saw Bahamas at Hillside - he was pretty good (esp. the Prince cover), but it was a little strange to see him under a third name, after having seen him over the years open for others as Afie or as Paso Mino's frontman/songwriter.

historyjen said...

I clearly came late to the party... :-)