(Review) Johnny Flynn at Lee’s Palace

When I first saw that Johnny Flynn was playing in Toronto it was only about a week before the gig. I was still adjusting to the city at this point but couldn’t resist buying a ticket. Lee’s Palace, situated on Bloor Street West, meant that I had to face going on the Subway for the first time so it was all a bit of an adventure before I’d even got to there. When I got there I found a large and slightly empty venue that didn’t seem at all resemblance of the music that was about to be played but still I bought myself an over priced drink, remembered why you shouldn’t by a drink at a gig and then found a place to stand for the evening.

The supporting act, The Melodic, played first and although it started off with a bit of a minimal crowd that soon changed as their set went on. Their diverse sound, a familiar idiosyncratic folk feeling, and their eclectic use of instruments instantly changed the mood of the room.

By the time they had finished their set Lee’s Palace was packed. Surprisingly I didn’t know how popular Johnny was in Toronto. As we all intently waited for him to walk on stage I found myself, funnily enough stood by a couple of British girls, and when he did the crowd were more than ecstatic to welcome the Englishman.

The whole place went silent as he began to sing. His solo set works just as well his more instrumental album. With his shy persona, soft voice and his colourful mesmerizing guitar playing, he won over everyone in the room that was hesitant about going to the gig, and when he finished his set the buzz in the room was still there a good while after he left.

It is probably a bit cliché to say that when I left the venue I became inspired to write more songs, but I must admit that if I didn’t I would be lying. His lyrical genius in The Bottom of the Sea Blues makes you want to write your own heart fulfilled song full of wonder, innocence, wit and love. If you haven’t already heard or bought his latest album I suggest you put it on your bucket list.

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