Sarah Slean made her return to Kingston on Friday night as she took to the stage at L’Octatve Theatre.
As I found rather quickly you can listen to her albums and be blown away by her vocal capabilities but watching and listening to her play live takes her music to an entire new level. Listening to her live just blew me away as I realized there was practically no need for any engineering in any of her recordings.
Opening up the night was Ian Kelly, whose set seemed to be rather short only playing around six songs. Ian jumped around in tempo throughout his short set going from a slow to a medium tempo for being a solo acoustic act. I imagine the room may have been tough to break open for Ian as there was only a mediocre applause for his first couple of songs. He took to talking to the audience a couple of times during the break in between songs. He ran into a little bit of trouble going into his third song as he forgot the opening lyrics to the song. It took him to mumble and try starting the songs over a couple of times before he was able to pull the songs off. The audience didn’t seem to mind as they playfully laughed along with Ian as he was trying to remember the lyrics to the song. A couple of Ian’s songs seemed rather interesting especially the last song that he played “I Would Have You”. The lyrics in the song I found rather funny and interesting and I’m pretty sure most of the audience didn’t seem to find the same humour or insight as I did in the lyrics as it looked as if I was one of the younger members of the audience.
After a very short break Sarah Slean sleeked onto the stage and sat behind her Keyboard. Joining her onstage was Karen Kosowski on guitar and “Steve”. “Steve” being the portable drum machine which added quite a bit to the set. There were a few songs where the drum machine filled the room and benefited the songs then there was a time when I found the drum machine took away from Sarah’s Vocals. Heading into the night I was hoping to hear quite a few songs from Day One which a couple of songs did appear in the set list. Sarah was out promoting her latest album Land and Sea. During my interview with Sarah she gave an exceptional explanation of the meaning behind Land and Sea and the reason behind the double album which she explained in shorter form onstage. This was not going to be the only time which Sarah gave the captivated audience an explanation let alone a lead into a mental visual effect to lead into the next song. As Sarah was finishing her set she began to go back to the beginning of her set and at that point I realized that not only was she there to play us songs from her career thus far she also took us on an adventure throughout each of her albums.
One The one story I enjoyed the most was her long stemmed story of her trip to Paris and how she wrote her experiences of a Kiss into one of her songs. Throughout each story the audience was hanging onto each word which Sarah was speaking. Many of the stories and songs came from the Land side of her newly released album, although Sarah did play us a song from Sea but we were asked to just imagine the Orchestra. About halfway through the night Sarah asked the audience if there were any songs which we wanted to here, it seemed by her facial expressions that she was taken away a little bit by a couple of the obscure requests she was receiving. She did settle on a couple of requests which were called out.
Sarah didn’t stay behind her keyboard for her entire set as she did take to the front of the stage along side of Karen to sing us a song. She received a few laughs with her acting throughout the duration of the song due to her facial expressions and quick acting. This was also not going to be the last time that she stand up and leave her keyboard behind as she closed the night off while also encouraging the audience to sing along side of her which one male member sang loud and proud almost blocking Sarah’s vocals off completely. It was then when you could realize the antiquity of Sarah’s vocals the most as she filled the Theatre with her soft yet brazen voice.