Lights, actions and charisma were radiating centripetally from local soul rep Chloé Watkinson at Toronto's Opera House on a mild-to-wild January night last weekend
A crucially tight staging with choreography, costume changes and the concentrated energy of a charged-up seven-piece ensemble showcased her spectrum of sinewy and nuanced original tunes.
A Universe was the event's concept, based on the title of her most recent single release. Her mission statement for the night:
I want to fill this room with people, colour, contrast, and most of all emotion. I want to reach through the audience, and see who you are, by showing you who I am. All the late nights in Toronto bars, when I gave so much that I could hardly get myself home afterwards. They were a glimpse into a universe.
Having built a following across the GTA over the past ten years with her commitment to powerful and consistent songcraft, she now has enough popular backing to fill a medium-sized venue with friends, fans and extended family. Black t-shirts reading Chloe Loves Me were evident throughout the night on audience members, singers and prominently at the merch table, which seemed to be doing great business. The packed house was embedded with musicians, bookers and such uber-vocal next-of-kin as Laura Hubert, Denielle Bassels, Tia Brazda, and Lily Frost.
After a crunchy opening set by pop-rock avatars Mip Power Trio, (above) Chloe, in sparkles, came on backlit and a capella with the Roberts Sisters.
The band amped up smoothly throughout the next hour with Giordan Posterino's far-flung guitar solo, a song from her dad Terry and a ferocious and medal-worthy performance by broken-ankled drummer Lowell Whitty, until a three-song power acceleration on the straightaway roared through everyone's winterware into a primal rock climax and a two-song encore....
Wholesale slaughter prevailed throughout the evening, and left everyone wanting more. Rumours of an upcoming Montreal date for this all-dressed and overproof show persist. If a homecoming night materializes afterwards, don't miss out next time.
It IS an expanding Universe. And the future is orange.