It’s been an amazing year this year for Vernon, BC artist SonReal, coming off the release of The Closers, a collaborative project between SonReal and Rich Kidd; Their video for “Hometown” reaching number one on the Much Music count down, SonReal’s song “Everywhere We Go” reaching top five with his newest installment “Believe” premiering on Much Music just last week.
With a whole new year in sight of him, there is no telling what we can expect in 2014. With so many accolades gained in one year alone, we can only expect more great things to come in the near future. Heading out on his first ever headlining tour by himself, SonReal toured across Canada making his way to London last Friday, December 6th to perform at Rum Runners as the second last show of his tour before closing it off in Burlington, Ontario.
As the doors opened and fans of all ages came inside from the bitter cold winds, everyone got together to find their spot for the night, hitting the bar for that warm up drink, peering at the merch table filled with We Go hoodies, t-shirts, hats of all different styles. As more people poured in, The Heavy Heavies, a band originally from Burlington residing in London set up their gear to start the show off. Consisting of Michael Messore, Scott Samuel and Luc Toews, they hit the stage and instantly grabbed the attention of the room with songs off their latest project Big Wave. Them having a whole band set up, Michael and Scott on the guitar, Luc Toews on rhythm, it was a great way to start off the show, people who were coming late walked in with that feeling inside that reassured that it was going to be a good night.
After a brief pause, another local group The Nicest,who just recently opened for Shad not more than two weeks before, which was a sold out show; were on a high that couldn’t be brought down. Seeing them perform there, almost every time I see them live they impress me even more. KyleKanevil just dropping his solo project 28 Grams Later, it was only right they got in to some tracks off there. Joined by A-Fos the producer of the whole project, The Nicest were bombarded with cheers after every song, especially after getting into “Mind Of A Menace”, which features Moore, Exit Only, A-Fos and Shanktooh. Moore and Exit Only being up next, they had the stage packed with everyone in attendance from the lower level to the top pushed to the front to get a better glimpse. After a few more songs from their self titled project, The Nicest; they left the stage and joined the crowd, interacting with people who were just hearing the music for the first time as Moore and Exit Only made their way up next.
Being the first time I myself have ever seen Moore and Exit Only bless the stage, I had to sit back and really pay attention and I must say they really know how to capture an audience and their stage presence is phenomenal, flowing back and forth, lots of movement, even dropping a super lyrical acapella near the end. There wasn’t one person not rocking out with them the whole time. The show had a great mix of different blends of hip-hop which catered to everyone in the building that night, it was nice because you were just as stoked to see the next act as the one before, though everyone was there to watch one man perform, he hasn’t been to town since January opening for Mac Miller so a lot of people were excited to get to witness him on stage again, as Moore and Exit Only finished their set and everyone rushed to do what they had to do during the brief intermission, the excitement rose exponentially as the headlining act, SonReal made his way to the front.
As he climbed on to the stage, SonReal thanked everyone for coming out and interacted with the crowd for a second. Breaking into a new track off his upcoming project, he quickly then got to his newest single “Believe”. Even doing a freestyle over Dr.Dre and Snoop Dogg’s “The Next Episode”. Performing singles like “Already There” had the energy in Rum Runners to the max, everybody was singing along, especially as SonReal started rocking out to “Everywhere We Go”.
The whole time a few people kept buying drinks for SonReal, at one point he had almost ten on the table behind him. London definitely showed a lot of appreciation. It was a fun night and certainly a more intimate show where everyone in attendance was mingling amongst the different crowds all night. SonReal even sat there and spoke to almost everyone afterwards, signing merch people had bought, cigarette packs and more. You could tell SonReal had a blast, and so did everyone there that night.
After a long haul across Canada, SonReal closed out his second last show of the tour in London leaving the memory of an amazing concert. Being the third time I’ve seen SonReal in just over twelve months, his shows are always live and full of energy. No matter how big the crowd is he’s always giving a hundred and twenty percent and is without a doubt one of the best shows I’ve seen all year. He was in town with Mac Miller and Rich Kidd in January, his forthcoming show with Down With Webster and D Pryde is this coming January; I’m excited to see what that show brings after last Friday night’s show at Rum Runners.
Review written by Colton B for The Come Up Show.
Photography by Eddy Rissling for The Come Up Show.