Joel Plaskett, Cold Specks, Rich Aucoin @ Nathan Phillips Square #Panamania2015 7/14/2015

Last Tuesday, I hit up Nathan Phillips Square to get my first slice of anything to do with the Pan Am games. Honestly, I’ve been mostly trying to avoid it for the most part but I must say that all the free arts events look amazing. After having attended Tuesday, I found they were incredibly organized and the atmosphere was friendly and full of curious people (from Toronto and beyond).

When I arrived Reuben and the Dark were just finishing up their set of reverb filled alt-folk tunes. Then there was a winner’s celebration on the big stage to celebrate all the day’s winning medalists. Pachi the porcupine even made an appearance.

To continue the celebrations, the colourful Rich Aucoin took to the stage with his band. Whether he’s playing to 30 or 1000 people, Aucoin always finds a way to engage the crowd. I was impressed with his incredible endurance as he hoped on and off the stage, and over the barriers continuously. People of all ages (including small children) interacted with the singer as he involved the in sing-a-longs. There was confetti galore and I presume that they will be blowing all over Toronto.

Next Cold Specks mesmerized the crowd with her “doom soul” from her album Neuroplasticity. Shortly after Greta Hodgkinson in Venom performed some ballet in the Nathan Phillips Square fountain. Their performance was cut short when there was sudden rain pour.

Thankfully, it lasted about 10 minutes and let up right before Joel Plaskett & The Emergency. The singer-songwriter delighted the audience with favourites like “Through and Through and Through”, “Harbour Boys” and of course “The Park Avenue Sobriety Test”, the title track from his latest album. There was no better artist to give our Pan Am visitors a taste of Canadian music.

The night finished with fireworks, which are happening every night after the last musical act. Whether or not you are a fan of the games, it’s hard not to get swept up in the magic that it has brought to the city.