I love The Great Hall and I love Jane’s Party, seeing as to how it’s been a while since I’ve reviewed a show, I had no excuse to pass this amazing opportunity up. Starting strong with “Alone Together” was an exciting new development, but I’m sad to report that Devon’s mic was a tad distorted; an issue that the sound guy never bothered to fix and was left as such for the whole show. Regardless, these guys didn’t let it get them down. As always Zach brought the house down with his unbridled enthusiasm as he banged on his kit, while Devon and Tom played in the charismatic yet poised demeanor they have perfected and synced up so seamlessly. One thing that really took me out of the whole set was the somewhat awkward stage set-up; a piano on risers for Jeff smack dab in the middle of the stage, resulting in an obstructed view of at least 2-3 members depending on where you were standing. Eventually, I found out that that piano would be used by Tom Odell, the night’s headliner, later in the evening. In the middle of their set they brought out the big guns and rocked a cover of John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” led by Jeff on keys. I have always admired JP for their obvious Beatles influence, and it was an absolute pleasure to see them coat such a beautiful song with their strong harmonies and own jazz rock flair. Topped off with a solo from Tom, if the crowd didn’t love them before, they were putty in their hands by the end of it. On a strictly observational note, it was interesting and pleasing to see these guys play a new crowd (the place was obviously filled with Tom Odell fans) in their own city, and win them over, and clearly work hard to do so.
I’m not going to lie, I had no idea who Tom Odell was until tonight. And I purposefully didn’t do any prep work in the hopes of being pleasantly surprised once with British invader hit the stage. The venue was respectfully full for a Wednesday night, with a range of ages and types in its inhabitants. Then suddenly, blackout. As if on cue, the crowd erupted in a boisterous uproar as Odell took his place centre stage at the piano. And yes, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I always get excited when an artist’s primary instrument is a piano. Not a keyboard, or Korg, an actual piano. It provokes a whole other kind of energy and awakens something so poignant and wholesome for me. His tunes were so honest and beautiful and the power of his bare bones vocal style made his stage presence all the more captivating. This show was the perfect way to break up anyone’s week, making the next couple of work days all a tad more bearable.