Wednesday night, Halifax singer-songwriter Mo Kenney took to the back room stage for an intimate look into the corners of her mind. The Rivoli was decked out with low strung Christmas lights and set up with tables and chairs throughout the entire room, not the typical concert scene but for the delicate intimacy of Mo’s sleepy, emotive first album, the scene seemed fitting.
Ashley first saw Mo during NXNE. This somewhat bashful east coast girl took the stage in the ridiculously small back room on the Free Times Cafe and blew everyone away with her powerful voice and raw talent. It’s no wonder Joel Plaskett has kind of taken her under his wing, producing her first self titled album released last September and taking her around the country to open for him on tour.
Her debut album is a solid piece of art, spinning wisdom and confidence that seem far beyond her 22 years. While Plaskett did produce the record, Mo was alone up there Wednesday night, just her and her guitar, and she radiated a certain unique form of energy that will push her far out of Plaskett’s shadow to really shine brightly on her own.
Mo has a number of cross country shows over the next few months, including opening for Ron Sexsmith at the Randolph Theatre in Toronto on March 22 as part of Canadian Music Week.
Thursday night, while most people are planning romantic dinners and escapades with their loved ones, Ashley was once again at the Rivoli spending her night with three women who know what it is to rock.
Magneta Lane has been a part of the Toronto music scene for years, playing clubs around the city when singer/guitarist Lexi Valentine and bassist French were only 17, drummer Nadia King a mere 15. And while they knew how to rock from the start, their young and eager passion was never taken seriously and they quickly found themselves tangled up in a sticky web of corporate label bullshit that stifled their energy and creativity, limited their hand in things and ultimately lead to a band hiatus around 2009.
But the girls are back and stronger than ever. With new management and their new EP Witchrock, produced by Rick Jackett and James Black of Finger Eleven, Magneta Lane clearly had lots to celebrate during their CD release party at the Rivoli.
Showcasing new songs from the EP, as well as old favourites and a punk-inspired rendition of Paul Anka’s Put your Head on my Shoulder dedicated to Lexi and Nadia’s father, Magneta Lane once again proved that they deserve to be taken seriously, because they seriously rock.
Witchrock is now available.
Photos by Jeremy Spanton