For those of you who were also experiencing Canadian Music Week for the first time, did you happen to feel your brain stretching to contain all this new inspired information? Maybe that was just the result of pounding one too many free Monster energy drinks. TIP: Avoid the sugar-free ones. Sucralose is the same as Aspartame and they’re both NEUROTOXIC POISONS. NICE TRY, boys! You ain’t taking me down that easily! I have music to make!
Right, anyway. Zoe Keating. After a long day of music conferences and running into beautiful vagrant artists that I hadn’t seen in years, I jogged over to Toronto’s Time Square (who are you fooling guys?) and had to cut through the MALL to get to the Church of The Holy Trinity. Nobody should have to cut through a MALL to get to a church. (Guess I could have taken a back street…)
I took off my boots, crept across the creaking floors in my socks, slipped into a pew and DIED. Zoe Keating is one of those artists whose music is wholly transformative. When one talks of the evocative escape that music causes, I think of a handful of artists and Zoe Keating is in that handful.
The Church of the Holy Trinity was shockingly beautiful, and I could have sat there in silence for a long time, examining the organ pipes that touched a ceiling so far away it was barely there, except for an exquisite stained glass dome at the top. The space was the most amazing though for its possibility of sound. When Zoe began to play, the sound was so pure it went straight to my head like good wine.
In between songs she charmed us with her vulnerability, telling personal stories of her parents meeting right around the corner from where she now played, which added more serendipity to what was already a highly magical performance.
The way she plays is like a dance: when she percussively taps her cello then loops it, her hands flutter like birds. She sways and moves, adding in sharp protesting strains over heart-rending melodies, all of it ricocheting through the cavern of the cathedral.
The song that spoke to me the most was her track Escape Artist, off the album Into the Trees. To introduce it, she said it’s “…where you run to one thing, [only] to realize you don’t want to be there, so you go back. Many, many times.”
How many of us can relate to that? Zoe Keating, so angelically crazy and yet so very human.