Adelaide Hall has become home for Red Bull Sound Select nights, showcasing the best of Toronto’s new music. This Thursday, October 8, Toronto’s music fans gathered at the small venue for another RB selection, featuring Tennyson, Charlotte Day Wilson, and River Tiber.
The night started off with brother-sister duo Tennyson, her on the drums and him on the decks. Tennyson’s sound is similar to Ryan Hemsworth and Giraffage — it’s those low-key, downtempo electronic jams decorated with an occasional vocal sample that turns to vivid colour when performed live.
Next up was Charlotte Day Wilson, local alternative-soul musician. Wilson was joined on stage by a full band, who brought her DIY sound to an entirely new level.
“This is the first time I’ve played any of these songs,” she declared a couple tracks in. Well, none of us could tell. Wilson skillfully mixes jazz and electronic music, plays guitar and saxophone all while singing. Multitalented, check. Her saxophone tracks are reminiscent of early Sade but as she worked through the new songs, joined on stage by support singer Kaitlin (who, let’s be honest, killed it), the tracks progressed towards more R&B. Wrapping up the set with “Work”, a song about “working for the things you love,” Wilson and her “beautiful band” undoubtedly blew some minds in the crowd.
The evening’s headliner was River Tiber, the pseudonym of Toronto-based singer/songwriter/producer Tommy Paxton-Beesley, who also performs with a four-piece band. Some of you might know Paxton-Beesley for his appearance on Drake’s mixtape If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, but River Tiber is a lot more then the sample of “No Talk” Drake borrowed in “No Tellin’”.
Paxton-Beesley is known for his collaborations, and the ease with which he approaches work makes him an asset in the industry but attention must be paid to his solo work. When The Time Is Right dropped on September 16 and was the main focus of this showcase.
People clearly came out to see a River Tiber show. “Whose first River Tiber show is it?” asked Paxton-Beesley, and a small bunch of hands went up in the air. “How about second, second River Tiber show?” more hands went up and shouts started to come from the crowd. The Q&A quickly turned into River Tiber bingo: “Who’s seen all River Tiber shows!” with some of those same hands enthusiastically going back up in the air with joyful pride.
River Tiber plays dark, ambient electronic music that builds on live instruments. Paxton-Beesley told Noisey in February that his vocals are the most valuable to him — it’s a way to bring himself forward “in an honest format,” which definitely shows during live performances and on his record alike. His voice is nested in layers of ghost choruses, just one of the few things that makes When The Time Is Right a worthy listen and River Tiber’s show a must-see.