Things seem to be heating up pretty quickly for Cold Specks. Hot off a shortlist nomination for this year’s Polaris Prize for her critically acclaimed debut, I Predict a Graceful Expulsion, the soulful chanteuse played a sold-out show at The Great Hall last night.
Snowblink by Dustin Cordeiro
Opening for Cold Specks was Toronto-based duo, Snowblink, whose rhythmic guitar work complemented lead singer, Daniela’s Feisty (like Leslie Feist, and the adjective) voice on the band’s mellow songs. Their dreamy folk sound was perfect for a hot summer night and Daniela provided the crowd with some entertaining banter between playing her deer-antler guitar.
Cold Specks opened their set with Al Spx crooning an acapella cover of Jana Hunter’s “Restless” before leading directly into “The Mark,” the first track off her debut. Before beginning the third song of the set, Spx explained that the band had a hard time agreeing on a setlist and thus decided to play the songs in the order they appeared on the album. However, that didn’t stop Spx from throwing in a few more acapella covers, the most memorable of which was a soulful rendition of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song.
The most remarkable songs of the night were stomp-heavy tracks from her album like “Holland” and “Steady”, which Spx prefaced by saying “This’ll be a loud one.” Spx even decided to play her album closer “Lay Me Down,” a song she had sworn off playing ever again until she just recently brought it back. For the encore, Spx introduced a new track called “All Flesh Is Grass,” which may be one her most instantly memorable songs due in part to the repetition of the simple line, “Dirty water, dirty water, fill me up tonight” as the song’s chorus. Whether or not the rest of her new work will be this uplifting is still to be seen. But either way, this new direction seems promising and there’s no telling where it could take her.