Kiwi Jr + Laughing @ Casa Del Popolo

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There’s something extra exciting about the first gig of the year. For at least a month, the live circuit shuts down, forcing us into hibernation. Then, around mid-January, things come back to life and before long, we’re back at it. The fact that tonight’s show is at my favourite venue in the city adds an extra layer of excitement as I head out the door.

Casa Del Popolo is sold out by the time local band Laughing takes the stage, and for 30 minutes or so, it’s easy to forget that we’re in the dead of winter, battling snowstorms and shovelling driveways. Instead, we’re transported to summer terraces and cold beers as the four-piece band plays Real Estate-esque harmonies playing La’s songs (not really, but hopefully you get the idea), rotating positions and instruments throughout. Even guitarist Josh’s losing battle with a slipping G-string towards the end doesn’t detract (ahem, on his guitar, not his waist).  Ones to watch in 2023 for sure!

After a previous show planned for November was cancelled due to inclement weather, it’s impressive how quickly Toronto’s Kiwi Jr were able to rearrange and play the makeup show. The size of the crowd is equally impressive; frontman Jeremy Gaudet remarks, “We last played here with Nap Eyes; there were about six people here, all on the guest list… so it’s nice to see so many here!”

The 50-minute, 13-song set draws from their albums Football Money, Cooler Returns, and Chopper, bringing energy from the opening bar of “Unspeakable Things.” “Salary Man” is a welcome, summery slap to my face before things take a turn into Parquet Courts territory with “Cooler Returns.” New song “Downtown Area Blues” has a similar feel. “Parasite II” sounds way more synth-y live than its recorded counterpart, perhaps hinting at a new direction for their fourth record. Who knows, but if tonight’s show is anything to go by, it promises to be quite the ride!


  1. Unspeakable Things
  2. Guilty Party
  3. Salary Man
  4. Nothing Changes
  5. Maid Marian’s Toast
  6. Murder in the Cathedral
  7. Parasite II
  8. The Sound of Music
  9. Cooler Returns
  10. Waiting in Line
  11. Night Vision
  12. Downtown Area Blues
  13. Wicked Witches

Review & photos – Simon Williams

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