We had 30 minutes.
To say we were excited is an enormous understatement. Our live gig at the Opera House was by far our biggest show yet. Biggest in terms of crowd size, biggest in terms of stage size and biggest in terms of the aura associated with the venue. The Opera House has become a mainstay of the Toronto music scene. Some of the biggest names in music history have graced the stage at the legendary venue: Nirvana, Radiohead, Metallica, The Tragically Hip…the list goes on. Now, Madame Psychosis, a new Toronto indie band that just finished recording their debut album was going to be playing on the same hardwood floor stage as those icons. No pressure.
We had 30 minutes.
We were incredibly excited about the opportunity, even snapping a photo of the venue just hours before in anticipation.
We didn’t take it lightly. And we certainly didn’t take it for granted. For one half of an hour we wanted to make our musical mark on the friends and family who came to see us, the other great Canadian indie bands that were also being showcased, the sound engineer who makes everyone sound great, and heck, even the bartenders serving drinks to a thirsty crowd. We wanted everyone in that room to leave saying, “they have something special” or “that song was catchy” or “did you catch their name?” We wanted to show respect for the venue and those who have played it.
We spent 30 minutes on that stage; and countess more anticipating and practicing in the weeks leading up to the show.
It was a miserable, overcast Saturday. But we didn’t care. The night was going to be incredible, despite the nerves and anticipation. We had been rehearsing for several weeks, including the day of the show. We spent countless hours finalizing our set, getting tighter as a band, and working on the performance.
We only had 30 minutes so there was a lot of discussion around which songs make the cut and which songs will have to wait for another show. This is a tough process when you’re emotionally connected to the songs. It’s a good problem to have. We finally ended up with a crowd-friendly set of songs that we just finished recording for our debut album:
We got the gig after our performances at Revival Bar, where we won our first band competition. The promoter, Mike, from Kickstand Sound wanted to do a St. Patrick’s Day showcase of Canadian indie bands. He contacted us and we jumped at the opportunity when we learned about the location.
Now, things change when there’s a cover to get in. There’s a new expectation that didn’t exist before. People are paying hard-earned money to come see you perform. Sure it was only $15 ($20 at the door), and our friends and family certainly didn’t mind. But to us we just wanted them to see us rock that stage. Even steeper a price was the fact that the show was on a Saturday, and in that sense people giving up a precious weekend is priceless. The bottom line: we needed to deliver.
Loading in, the venue looked like any other rock venue in the city: a little grimy, a little worn out and a little sticky. But what makes this place special is the aura that’s captured with the artwork hanging on the surrounding walls, the incredible crown moulding around the stage itself, and of course the bands that have played the venue. It was perfect.
We played our 30-minute set. The crowd was into it, cheering and dancing to our songs. And we fed off of that. We were all jumping around on stage, especially Rene, who somehow managed to snap a selfie in the middle of a song.
“We just played fucking Opera House”, we all yelled after the show, huddling together for an after shot. The “after shot” of course carries a double meaning: a photo of us after our performance, and an actual whiskey shot with the band. This has become tradition.
We have 30 minutes. But who’s counting? It’s The Opera House. Just enjoy the moment.
We certainly did:
A special thanks goes out to our friends and family that came to the show to show their support, especially those who drove in from out of town. You made the night.
Also, thanks to Mike from Kickstand Sound for having us there and to Claudio Paola for your incredible photos.
p.s. we did manage to squeeze in a new song. Enjoy!