by Nilabjo Banerjee

November 30 was a good night for concert-aholics in the city with plenty of acts (Pink, The Strumbellas, Hayden) to choose from. A good number chose to celebrate the homecoming of Megan Bonnell at The Drake last night.

Delayed by Saturday traffic on Queen St, I caught the last few songs ofDonovan Woods. The Toronto singer & songwriter, whose songs have appeared in Degrassi: The Next Generation and Felicity, was in the middle of an anthem that he wrote for the City of Toronto. Playing songs from a discography of three albums, including early 2013 release Don’t Get Too Grand, Woods has the relatable voice and sharply honest words that sets him apart. Topped with a maroon toque, he had the jovial banter in between songs that made the set seem more like a conversation with the packed house minus the awkwardness that plagues a lot of solo acts.

Elegantly dressed Megan Bonnell graced the Xmas-lights lit stage around 9.  Having seen her last perform a solo set at The Magpie a year ago, I was excited about the full band set tonight. Celebrating the release of the sonically gorgeous debut Hunt and Chase, Bonnell was grateful throughout the night for such a great homecoming after returning from shows in Europe. The crowd was returning the gratitude with undivided attention (never had The Drake been so quiet during a set). Bonnell is both grace and fierce, and that comes across in the emotive voice and facial expressions. The voice, that has the jazzy undertones of Diana Krall yet could be angry Dido, resonated especially well in her quiet numbers like “We Are Strangers Now” and “I am Not Your Woman”. The band was a perfect support throughout the night, never overpowering the star of the evening. In a few years, I can envision Megan Bonnell’s voice resonating to sold-out theaters and concert halls. Don’t be surprised if that vision comes true.