Photos by Ziyaad Haniff.
It’s October 18th 2016. We’ve just paid less for entry into a concert than we would to get on the TTC. Red Bull Sound Select – known for fantastic shows at affordable rates – has brought burgeoning R&B act, BJ the Chicago Kid, to the intimate Adelaide Hall. However, I’m not exactly attending for BJ. I’m more excited to see Allie (stylized as a l l i e); a songstress hailing from Toronto whose 4-track EP, Moonlust, had captivated my heart for the better part of a year. Throughout her set, we look on in awe as Allie graces us with angelic vocals and soothing melodies. The experience was spiritually moving, as if the young star’s dream-like, ethereal visuals weren’t indication enough.
A year later, Allie is the host of her own headlining show at the very same venue. Joined by her friends – some of whom shared the stage while others simply came out to show their support – the night was a welcome reminder of the talent that resides in Toronto.
Guests were treated to bouncy tunes courtesy of fan-favourite McCallaman as they entered the venue, and shortly after warming up the crowd with a fire mix, M.I.Blue unveiled her chilling vocals. When the artist first walked on stage, I was taken aback by the confidence she brought along with her. But despite a gaze that could (and did) pierce through the audience, there were distinct moments of vulnerability interspersed throughout her music. Accompanied by her friend, Kyle, who amplified the performance with his vocalizations, the two artists created a soundscape where no note felt out of their reach.
On the other hand, Allie’s entrance felt highly reminiscent of her performance a year prior. She quietly walked over to the mic before addressing her fans, who would soon notice that the past year had groomed a very powerful performer. With a sincere kindness that shined between songs, Allie began to engage the room unlike ever before. Introducing Yemi’s Song (my personal favourite), Allie shouted out the song’s namesake, Yemi, whom she described as the “opposite of a fuckboi,” and afterwards noted that fuckbois give her writing material.
The stage also served as a platform for the contributing minds of Allie’s debut album, Nightshade. Backed by 2nd Son and Dan Only, Allie was joined by Harrison, River Tiber, Charlotte Day Wilson, and Birthday Boy for their respective collaborations, including a special performance of Broken Telephone with a sample that couldn’t be cleared for the album: the Super Mario World “Game Over” tune. Towards the end of the show, Allie reached out to listeners who may have felt that they weren’t enough, reminding them that, in fact, “they are more than enough.” Her music continues to be empathetic, and resonates with listeners in a way that’s all too familiar.
We’ve had the luxury to see Allie blossom into an incredible talent, and she’s only getting started. Take this time to (re)introduce yourself to Nightshade. You can stream it below. Thank you to Dalton Higgins for having us at the show.
Were you at Nightshade Live? What was your favourite moment? What were your thoughts on the show? Reply to the tweet below and start the discussion: