On Saturday July 7th Colin Munroe and K. Flay brought their distinct display of musical production to WrongBar, for their Toronto leg of their North American tour. For Munroe, this was a homecoming show after a lengthy absence from his native town and he brought along with him Katherine Flaherty, or better known by her moniker, K. Flay.
At the beginning of June I attended Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee. The 4-day music festival had an eclectic variety of musical talent ranging from Radiohead to Danny Brown to Skrillex. The first act to open the festival was the San Francisco based MC K. Flay. On the road trip to the festival we had listened to some of her music and my friend suggested we take in her set; but our collective laziness overwhelmed the idea of walking 10 minutes to the stage she was performing on. Going into her Toronto show I wanted to know if my decision to miss her Bonnaroo performance would spawn a little regret.
In a surprise twist K. Flay, who is normally the headliner, opted to open up for Colin Munroe seeing as this was his homecoming show. She opened her set by playing a slow rhythm on a floor tom set up. Joined by her drummer Nick on the other side of the stage, they slowly thumped away at their drums together, which crescendoed into a remix of “10th Avenue”; the opening track off the newest EP. As the verse started, she immediately captivated everyone’s attention with her bouncing dances and her signature flow. Her energy built across her first few songs, including fan favorites, “CRAZYtown” and with a remix of “Party”. Then, she absolutely erupted with a quick drop of the Venga Boys “We Like to Party”. The set was highlighted by synchronized rim shot drumming on her track “Easy Fix” which also included a live mix on the MPC by K. Flay herself. At first, it was a small-uninterested crowd, but her spitfire rhymes and distorted indie-electro production won over the crowd. Watching her music videos she comes across as a gimmicky white-girl rapper, but onstage she shines and proves my decision to not see her at Bonnaroo was a mistake.
My awareness of Colin Munroe’s music career had been limited to a couple features with prominent MC’s Pusha T, Drake, and Kendrick Lamar. It seemed to me as if his solo work had been overlooked by his songwriting and production skills. Nevertheless, his current tour provided a stage for him to showcase his talents. For the next 15 minutes the stage crew continuously brought out an assortment of musical equipment, eventually transforming the stage into a quasi studio. Distorted guitar riffs and drumming overcame the speakers as Munroe began his set.
He stood behind what looked like an MPC, hitting notes that created a sound that was crossbreed between indie-rock and hip-hop. After finishing his opener he jumped into “Cannonball” which features Drake. He had two mics, one of which had the reverb amped up adding to his hazy sound. “Most of my music is new stuff of my new Unsung Hero mix tape,” he told the crowd. A majority of his set list was spent performing unreleased tracks until he got to “Her Eyes,” which was released a month ago. His unique voice really excelled on this song; it was incredible to watch. For his next song he shouted out Boi-1da, who attended the WrongBar show, for his help with producing the record. It was another unknown track that had an overpowering hip-hop influence. He quickly switched into “Fucking Amazing” which had a sound that fused genres. Echo screams stemming from Colin’s reverb mic started the last song. I was, and still am, unsure of the title, but I absolutely loved this track. He had a MPC breakdown that trumped K. Flays attempt earlier on in the night. “Goodnight Toronto” he told the crowd. A stunned hush shocked the crowd, as 6 songs into his set it was over. As he left the stage encore chants started, but members of the crew started tearing down the equipment signifying the end of his homecoming performance.
Colin Munroe may be known for his production work and his unique voice that is featured on several tracks, but it would be foolish to overlook his work as a solo performer. Be sure to lookout for his Unsung Hero mixtape set to be released sometime in mid-July.