by Tiana Feng
St. George the Martyr Church on 197 John Street transforms itself occasionally into The Music Gallery hosting nights of eclectic music for those who yearn to listen. On Thursday night, Evening Hymns and Neil Haverty played to a sold crowd of family friends and fans.
Neil Haverty of Bruce Peninsula performed a solo set singing his own tunes accompanied only by his guitar. He humbly thanked the Music Gallery and his friends for raising money to support his leukemia fight that happened earlier this year.
The church pews were silent as the audience eagerly awaited to be serenaded by Jonas Bonnetta and the rest of his crew. From what I remember, there were less people on stage than when I saw them at Summerworks previously. Still, I felt guilty taking photos and disturbing the quiet listeners who were being captured by Jonas’ vocals that echoed beautifully in the church. The venue was perfect for the sound and the way the night unfolded.
Every song was introduced with a story which paid tribute to Jonas’ father who passed away 3 years ago due to a rare blood disease. Their latest album Spectral Dusk was written after his passing. I splurged and picked up the limited edition double vinyl where the 4th side is a hand painted map of “The Burn” reflected in the song Cabin in the Burn. The songs were delivered with delicate backup singing by Tim Bruton and Sylvie Smith. Mika Posen joined on the keys. Goosebumps popped from my arms as the group swelled in dynamic for each emotional tune.
In the holiday spirit, Jonas invited some of his friends to play during half-time in the Evening Hymns set. This included Casey Mecija from Ohbijou performing Metal Meets, Mika’s solo project The Mik and Lisa Bosikovic. It was a night to celebrate friends and family in the light of Christmas spirit. While most of the songs came off this year’s Spectral Dusk, they brought back a few tunes from Spirit Guides including the title track. As an encore, the group played a “relatively” happier song, an adorable cover of Big Star’s “Thirteen”. With over 3 hours of beautiful music it didn’t matter if the world actually ended because everyone in the room that night was at peace.