Club scene: Big Sugar plays the London Music Hall Thursday
January 21, 2015


By Lori Mastronardi, Special to QMI Agency

If you can’t take an island getaway, a Big Sugar acoustic set is your next best bet.

The seasoned band released Yard Style last April, and it’s filled with rolling, relaxing, percussion-heavy reggae.

The 13-track all-acoustic collection includes the gem Go Tell the World, which is the album’s final track and definitely worth the wait.

This refreshing, stripped-down sound comes from Gordie Johnson, Garry Lowe, Kelly “Mr. Chill” Hoppe, DJ Friendlyness and Stephane “Bodean” Beaudin — who, for this release, also brought on Willi Williams, a Jamaican-born artist who helped influence the album’s sound and has become a semi-permanent fixture of Big Sugar.

Another major inspiration for the album, aside from the sound of the ocean and the “tree frogs whistling away in the distance,” was the omnipresent nyabingi drum. “It’s the first great acoustic instrument,” Johnson says, “that’s the heartbeat sound, you know?”

Big Sugar performs at the London Music Hall Thursday. This is an acoustic show, with seating. Tickets are $35, the show starts at 8 p.m., and this event is reserved for those 19 and over.

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“You’ll find me when you’re older and you’ve lost someone.”

So sings the Wilderness of Manitoba, on Leave Someone, the first single off their fourth album, Between Colours.

The accompanying video has also been picking up steam, having been celebrated on Vimeo as a Vimeo Staff Pick, and named one of the best new music videos by CBC Music.

For the past five years, this three-piece Toronto band has created soothing, resonating and altogether infectious folk rock. On Between Colours, Will Whitwham (guitar, keyboards) and Amanda Balsys (guitar, violin) share and trade off on lead vocal duties, creating rich harmonies, and are joined by bassist Wes McClintock.

For Between Colours, the follow-up to 2012’s Island of Echoes, the band worked with producer Joe Dunphy, and brought in Tom Bona, Marito Marques and Howie Beck, among others, to help fill out the sound. To hear their charming folk-pop hooks live, head to Call the Office Thursday. The Wilderness of Manitoba will open for Elliott Brood, who’s taking his newest album Work and Love on the road.

Broomsticks & Hammers will kick off the night at 9 p.m.

Get advance tickets for $1.