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Live Review: Homeshake (The Phoenix Concert Theatre / Toronto, ON)

Homeshake, the solo project of Peter Sagar, swung by Toronto with his band Sunday night to a surprisingly large crowd at the Phoenix Concert Theatre. Once a former guitarist for Mac Demarco’s touring outfit, Sagar deploys rich, dreamy synths with a dash of R&B tones to create quite an interesting experience. Coming through on the last date of his small tour across sections of the East Coast, I was genuinely surprised to see the sizable crowd that showed up to catch Sagar perform. Not due to a lack of originality or talent, mainly because of how Sagar went from playing a small bar last time he hit Toronto to now a large venue with a cap of over 2,000. It was great to see how Sagar had built up his credibility and fan base over the years to be able to display his talents for a larger audience.

Sagar and his band opened the night with “Early”, the first track off his recently released LP titled Helium. Homeshake’s 2019 album is somewhat polarizing, due to Sagar experimenting with his sound a lot more than some would have liked; however, I think it is a definite step in the right and direction. The crowd seemed to agree as well, seeing as many were either singing quietly along or swaying to the spacey ballads. Sagar’s carefree, goofy persona fits quite well with his music, which was shown clearly throughout much of his performance. Whether it be utilizing vocal synths to shift the range of his voice, or just bumming around the stage ripping guitar notes, I admired Sagar for the fact that he did not seem to take himself too seriously and was just there to play some tunes all in the name of having a good time.

Sagar’s setlist seemed to be a solid mix of his work in its entirety. Whether from his debut EP from back in 2013 or his more recent work, Sagar seemed to be pulling out track after track. I especially found Sagar’s closing of “Every Single Thing” to be the perfect way to wrap up a relaxing night ethereal tones. Adding some flavor to his voice by pitching it above his normal octaves and extending out the track to be more of a jam session, Sagar’s performance was about what I expected of him. Although it was not a photographer friendly set, Sugar was shrouded in low light for most of his performance, it was nice to put the camera down and just vibe along with the music. Homeshake truly is the ultimate Sunday night soundtrack, perfect for just chilling out and forgetting the outside world for a time.

   

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