Gig Review: An afternoon of live music with Kennedy Station

live music with Kennedy Station

Spent a sunny afternoon down in Kensington Market today with Sam Willison taking in some live music by local quartet Kennedy Station at Supermarket (268 Augusta Ave, Toronto).

IMG_20160724_170557572Friends with most of us in the Bony Fiddle group, while we didn’t sponsor their event, we gave Kennedy Station some facetime on our Facebook feed and, of course, went to support their show.  We’re always up for some live music and they didn’t disappoint.

Kennedy Station LogoMembers Wendy Koslow, Isabel Matwawana, Richard Bacon and Martin Mitchell haven’t been together long, making their debut in March of 2015 at Sgt Peppers Pub & Grill (115 First Commerce Dr, Aurora), but they’ve already come a long way.  With everyone working a full-time job, Kennedy Station is more about the simple love of music than being driven by anything as banal as a burning need for fame.  Their show today reflected a very genuine and heartfelt approach to their arrangements, a playfulness with the audience and just generally having a great time themselves where we were all invited along for the ride.

Just because they do this in their spare time doesn’t mean they skimped on the length of show, either.  They came well-practiced and prepared.  For only a $5 cover, over a three-hour span, they played three full sets and in some pretty high temperatures, too, while still managing to keep their energy up.

Kennedy Station live music - Richard Bacon, Wendy Koslow, Isabel Matwawana, Marty Mitchell

The crowd was small, but engaged and were treated to a variety of genres that spanned an eclectic selection of folk, rock, pop and blues.  The first set included some Canadian staples and a short, but playful medley of t.v. themes (WKRP in Cincinnati, Greatest American Hero, The Jeffersons) and we even saw Isabel bust out a ukulele along with Marty and Rich on guitar.

Richard Bacon (left) and Wendy Koslow (right)Into the second set, we were treated to some a capella work from Wendy and Isabel on the Buffalo Springfield hit For What It’s Worth and a sultry smooth Isabel on lead vocals for Nobody Does It Better.  An interesting mash-up arrangement of Bowie’s Let’s Dance and Jefferson Airplane’s Somebody to Love worked extremely well and the set ended on a strong note with Wendy on lead vocals for her personal best performance of the day (at least from where we were sitting), Jefferson Airplane’s White Rabbit.

The third set opened with an original ballad written by Marty, Driving Back From Nowhere, where he took the lead on vocals and guitar.  The low-key continued through a Kennedy Station arrangement of Bowie’s Major Tom with Wendy and Marty taking turns to play the ground control/Major Tom portions that even engaged the audience enough for them to spontaneously do the claps through the bridge.  From there it was Proud Mary, Simon and Garfunkle’s Sounds of Silence and the afternoon ended on a high with Isabel belting out a killer version of Joplin’s Piece of my Heart.

Isabel Matwawana and Marty MitchellRich was quietly awesome for the whole afternoon, changing guitars from bass to acoustic to electric and gave a nice a variety to the sound while Marty played a solid and consistent lead acoustic through all the sets.  Isabel supported the variety with some cowbell percussion, rhythm sticks and shaker and both Wendy and Isabel took turns keeping time on tambourine.

Will they be bigger than the Beatles?  Probably not.  Do they care about that?  Doubtful – pretty sure their main focus is more about a continuing celebration of music, singing whatever moves them, and sharing it with others.  Can’t argue with that.

Interested?  They’re getting together again September 24th, 2016 at Free Times Cafe (320 College St, Toronto).  Keep an eye on the Kennedy Station Facebook feed for info about this upcoming event here in Toronto.

Want more info?  Check out Kennedy Station online.

/JD Stanley


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JD Stanley

JD Stanley - Executive Producer/Owner, Writer, Script Doctor, Corporate Bullshit-Wrangler at Bony Fiddle

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