Toronto band The Real recently played a show at Tranzac as part of Montreal band Alligator Baby’s album launch tour.  Lead singer Justin Idems commented that the name The Real was chosen because if they were going to get up and play, they wanted to keep it real, to be the real deal and deliver.  And deliver they do!  The five piece band features guitar, keyboards, bass and drums; a strong support system for Justin’s killer vocals.  Quiet and calm in “real life,” Justin’s whole persona shifts onstage and he becomes an animated character who moves around the stage and belts out intense and powerful vocal melodies.

The-RealThe whole band is made up of excellent musicians.  Bass player CK Armstrong particularly stood out, commanding a seven string bass and making it look easy (it’s not).   The keyboards add a nice dimension to the sound, at times adding a synth layer that is also prevalent on their album Another First Step.  The Real sound a little like Incubus in terms of the instrumentation and the way Justin sings.  In addition to their repertoire of original tunes, they played some awesome covers including a polished version of “Superstition” and “All Along the Watchtower.”  It was groovy.

The band is tight.  The songs are interesting and powerful.  Their stage presence rocked.  The Real play regularly in the Toronto area so check them out if you can!   the-real.ca

Songs off Another First Step are loaded on their You Tube channel.  Check out “Caught Up”

Christian Bridges is a young songwriter and performer in Toronto who played a show at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern on July 20th.  Included on a bill with many talented groups, Bridges and his band played an energetic set of songs mainly off his recently released debut EP album From Within.  His song “Caribbean Girl” was recently selected as CBC’s song of the week.  Bridges’s music is uplifting and socially aware.  It’s also fun to watch him play live; he’s a strong performer and very emotive.  His band is made up of great players as well, many of whom were students of Humber College’s illustrious music program.

In addition to playing under his own name, Bridges is part of Toronto band Down By Riverside.  The band has connected with charities, women’s shelters and the Occupy Toronto movement because of their vibrant songs about rising above challenges and being strong.

Bridges also co-wrote a song with Justin Nozuka, titled “Heartless,” which won them a Number 1 SOCAN award and was a chart-topping hit in France.

Bridges’s album From Within was produced live off the floor, a rare occurrence these days, by Thomas McKay (of Joydrop).  Watch “Caribbean Girl” performed live at the Supermarket in Toronto here, with special guest performers in tow to enhance the Caribbean flavour and check out the steel drum dude’s hat (wouldn’t want to mess with those dreads)!