After torrential downpour warned tornado signs throughout Montreal, Charlotte Day Wilson calmed the storm as people ran to take cover inside Corona Theatre on a moody Thursday evening.
The Toronto native has built herself an impressive reputation over the years, officially releasing her debut album, ALPHA last summer in July of 2021 since her single “Work” put her on the map back in 2016. Wilson’s hustle and maturity shine through the way she is able to command the stage and capture an audience as an up-and-coming artist in the R&B world.
Fellow Torontonian Luna Li first showcased her songs from recently released Duality album. Every time she comes to Montreal she likes to mention her single semester spent at McGill before dropping out to start her band.
Despite her latest recognition from playing shows with Japanese Breakfast, beabadoobee, and July Talk, Li knows exactly what she is doing. In between new boppy tracks, she traded her electric butterfly guitar for a violin to play meditative instrumental arrays from 2019’s jams EP.
Luna Li’s bedroom pop sound is warm and fuzzy – perhaps straying from Charlotte Day Wilson’s R&B-leaning audience, but she still gained woo-s from the unfamiliar crowd as she impressed us with sliding guitar solos and feel-good vocals while looping sounds with a smile that never left her face.
After a mix of Daniel Caesar, SZA, and Muni Long played over the house speakers between sets, CDW floated on stage sporting an all-black tracksuit and her iconic slicked-back blonde ponytail. She immediately pulled up a seat on the piano bench and played the opening song of ALPHA, “Strangers” which set the tone.
There was minimal conversation or banter from Wilson in between songs. She moved from standing with an electric guitar to sitting at the piano all throughout the perfectly curated setlist. From powerful vocals on “Mountains” to jam-like groovers like “Let You Down” and “Keep Falling,” there was never a lull in the show. Luna Li came back out to sing Syd’s verse on “Take Care of You” before Wilson handed her a guitar to shred another guitar riff.
She ripped into the sax for “Changes” which was just a taste of the versatility she exhibits as a young artist. Although the music is at the forefront at a CDW show, watching her stage presence and confidence grow over the years has been incredible to witness.
It was nearing the end before we knew it and the crowd erupted into a solid 5-minute standing ovation. Wilson tried with many failed attempts to simply say thank you, but the cheering never stopped as tears in her eyes started to form. Finally, she was able to get out a few words before leaving the stage, “Thank you so much. You have no idea how much it means for people to be singing my songs back at me. This is everything.”
A bouquet of flowers sat at the piano’s feet the whole night. She eventually picked them up and gave them to the person in the crowd who stood out to be fully present, singing along and passionate about the music. She closed the show out with the heartbreaking lyrics of “Wish It Was Easy” before exiting the stage. When the audience called her back for an encore, things were left on an upbeat and positive note with “In Your Eyes” – a CDW feature off BADBADNOTGOOD’s 2016 album, IV.
From piano ballads about lost queer love to synthy guitar arrangements in the heavy hitters, you can feel the passion in her voice the whole way through. Not to mention the production was incredible. No visuals, no distracting light programs – it was all about the music. Backed by a full band – including three vocalists and a massive drum kit – her already powerful songs were taken to a whole new level. She sings with her whole body. And everyone could feel it.
The Canadian leg of the ALPHA tour finishes up this weekend in Charlotte Day Wilson’s hometown of Toronto.
- I Can Only Whisper
- Let You Down
- Stone Woman
- Falling Apart
- Take Care of You
- Keep Moving
- Find You
- If I Could
- Wish It Was Easy
- In Your Eyes
Review & photos – Ryley RemediosShare this :