Long Weeknd: Concert Review by Kristin Marand
By Kristin Marand
Last night Toronto’s The Weeknd played the Burton Cummings Theatre. I was extended a last minute invite and had no idea what to expect since I only knew one song. I like to consider myself in the know musically speaking but I had no idea the show had sold out, so I decided I needed to check it out.
When I got to the Burt and went to take a seat, I looked around and realized I was waaaaay underdressed. Seriously, I might have been the only girl in the room wearing jeans –and they weren’t even skinnies! If I had known this was going to be a short shirt and high socks kind of affair, I would have at least teased my hair into some kind of poof.
The crowd of mostly pretty young things was whipped into a frothy teen frenzy when a Drake song came on pre-show and that’s when I started to get an idea of what I was in for. As Portishead played on the PA for the warm up, I started combining my assumptions of what I was about to see and hear. These adjectives came to mind: ethereal, mellow and loosely structured. Turns out I wasn’t that far off the mark.
The Weeknd sings soulful yet street-wise ballads. He hits the high notes like MJ and dances like Elvis. Though he played with a band and backup singers, they were obscured by darkness, making it seem like a one-man show despite a big sound. The beats were phat and his range is quite impressive. If you’re looking for some slow jamz, you should check this guy out. He is definitely from the Ginuwine school of song-writing.
The stage was set with half a dozen projector screens and lights that looked like giant photo flash bulbs. This had me expecting a multimedia spectacle. In this regard I was left wanting more. The underuse of the stage props made the show feel less artsy than I was hoping for. But I gotta say, the pin-up types in the videos did add a hint of burlesque to the feel of the evening.
The crowd ate it up. They certainly got what they came for and even though I didn’t know what I had come to see I could tell that The Weeknd has already established a loyal fan base here in the Peg. The question now becomes will The Weeknd end up lumped in with the Shawn Desman’s and Danny Fernandes’ or is there something more to his music? Maybe it’s the optimist in me but I had this feeling that I was experiencing what it might have been like to see an early K’Naan or K-os show (two Canadian artists that I <3).
The second album from The Weeknd ‘Trilogy’ will be available Nov.13. If you like Usher, Ne-Yo or Frank Ocean you’ll want every weekend to be a long Weeknd.