illScarlett visits the Ghetto

Toronto band comes to Kingston to play backyard gig on Albert St.

The backyard illScarlett concert had 130 people out on Sunday afternoon.
Image by: Colin Tomchick
The backyard illScarlett concert had 130 people out on Sunday afternoon.

The housemates of 356 Albert St. are no ordinary music lovers — when they go to gigs, they bring their musical inspirations home with them.

When Juno award-winning band illScarlett played a show in Kingston in February, they had no idea that they would be sleeping on Student Ghetto couches.

“What’s the point of spending money on a hotel?” illScarlett drummer SwavPior said, adding that the band was in the mood for an after party.

“A bunch of their friends ended up showing up because it’s weird for them. It’s like ‘illScarlett’s at their house’ and people must have been like ‘hell yeah!’ ”

Pior said he’s excited to get back to the band’s roots playing living room and basement gigs.

“Even though this was a one-off, I’d love to do a cross-country tour of backyards.”

For any illScarlett fan in the Ghetto, Sunday afternoon’s backyard concert was not to be missed — even after a hasty rescheduling from Saturday night.

The familiar smell of beer traced along the cool breeze as the small concert got started with a crowd of 130.

The 15 people sitting on the roof of the house next door had a bird’s eye view of the concert, earning them a shoutout from the band’s lead singer for having the best seats in the house.

Capturing the excitement of the concert, one fan, Cyrus Symoom, Comm ’15 said his friends didn’t believe it when they heard there was a backyard illScarlett concert happening in the Ghetto.

“illScarlett is a band I grew up with. They’re the first band I saw live. They’re the ones that convinced me to become a musician,” he said, adding that the band inspired his drum playing.

The only audience members who were content to hang back and coolly nod along to the music as they kept an eye on security were the four guys responsible for making the concert happen.

Lucas McLaughlin, Sci ’14, is one of those guys.

He said illScarlett is the third Canadian band that has slept over at 356 Albert St, adding that his house has become a “band hotel.”

“It started last year with Dinosaur Bones. I knew one of the band members and they sent me a message looking for a place to crash and it went smoothly and we had a good time, so we thought we would keep doing things like this,” McLaughlin said.

Topanga also opted for their couches when they came to Kingston in March.

“We knew Topanga through Hollerado,” McLaughlin said. “I found out my aunt is actually the lead singer’s godmother. From then on, Hollerado’s been like family.”

The idea for a backyard concert came up when they were all hanging out after the gig in February, McLaughlin said.

“We were talking about campus life and the Student Ghetto and how parties seem to start up everywhere,” he said.

McLaughlin said the reason the guys wanted to hold the backyard concert event was because of their love of music.

“This just seemed like the best way to share that sense of entertainment that we get from seeing live music with as many of our friends as possible.”


Albert St., illScarlett, Student Ghetto

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