This past Friday night I made my way to Aeolian Hall, sadly for the first time in my seven years in London, and am so glad that I did. A friend suggested we check out the Bry Webb show, with opener Olenka and the Autumn Lovers, and I could not be happier that I took her advice. The building that is the home of the Aeolian, located on Dundas St. by Rectory, was previously a town hall and has the charm that can be found in so many of London’s heritage buildings. Before going to this show my familiarity with Webb centered on his work with the Constantines, and I have to admit I was completely unaware of what to expect of Olenka.
As the opening act Olenka and the Autumn Lovers proved to be worthy of a headliner, with the six-person band commanding the audience’s attention through both their lyrics and stage presence. While some might disagree with me I found Olenka’s voice reminiscent of Nancy Sinatra and became completely entranced by her song Odessa. I also personally really enjoy it when all bands, but local bands in particular, take the time to converse with their audience and share a little of their own history; both of which Olenka did in a very charming and witty way.
Continuing with the local connection Webb discussed his ties to London and dedicated the songs played to his family members, many of whom were in the audience. While I found Webb’s solo work tamer then his work with the Constantines there is still a similar musical style connecting the two (at least to my untrained ear). Similar to Olenka, Webb charmed the audience with his humble but demanding stage presence as well as through his poetic lyrics; of which one of my favourites is “I love this town like a hunter, in this town I am the undertaker”.
I find that so often listening to a truly good song can result in a feeling that cannot be described by words, and for this reason I find myself at a loss of how to adequately describe the overwhelming emotion I felt and the appreciation I now feel for the performances of that evening. I wish you could all have experienced the genuine talent and humbleness that is embodied by Olenka, Webb and their bandmates.