The lovely Ali Milner was started off the night, with just herself behind the keys for "According to the New York Times", before the rest of the band kicked in half way through the song. Her upbeat, jazzy sound was driven by her incredible & soulful voice, and Ali was a natural performing, with an effortless charm and great stage presence.
Highlights included "Don't Forget To Call Me" and "I Want To Be Loved By You", as well as a few brand new songs, one of which, the high energy "Waiting", was my favourite of the set, and a couple covers; Shania Twain's "Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under" and the final song, a fantastic version of the Rolling Stones' "Gimmer Shelter", which ending with each member leaving the stage one by one until only drummer Richard Brown was left.
Next up was The Never Surprise, the duo of David Gaudet and Nick Eakins joined by a few familiar faces; Niko Friesen on drums, Robbie Driscoll on bass and Andrew Braun on keys. Starting off with the catchy "Sun Goes Down", the set was full of their smooth, indie-folk sound. I have seen them a few times before, but this was the first time where they added keys to the mix, and it helped flesh out their sound exponentially. The band also had a great presence, though there wasn't much between songs -- though David did joke at one point they were working on their banter.
And finally, The Mocking Bird hit the stage, a little after midnight. Joining Bob Kemmis -- all in matching shirts -- was a great assembly of talent, including Erik P.H. Nielsen on bass (who also played with Ali earlier), Pat Steward on drums and Shaun Verreault on guitar. There was also a small horn section on a few songs, packing the small stage at the Media Club with nearly a dozen musicians.
The set started off with "Grace", the first song off of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished, which immediately set the tone for the ridiculously catchy, roots-rock, with great and clever lyrics. Other highlights were the insanely catchy "Where's Your Get Up?" and the dark "Love You Hated Him" which built to a huge ending.
Once again, Kemmis was a great stage presence, with a charm and sense of humour that was evident in both the songs and banter, and the combined talent and experience on stage came together for a fantastic band.
Unfortunately, due to the set starting after midnight and transit cutting off at 1, I had to run and miss the tail end of the set, which I hate, but aside from my pet peeve of shows where the headliner ends up going on at almost 12:30, it was a pretty great show; a night full of excellent local musicians.