Skeleton Park-based band The Gertrudes electrified The Journal house last month with a dynamic live performance, marking the debut of the Arts section’s newest column, “Live from The Journal.”
The Gertrudes took the stage in The Journal’s living room on Sept. 23. The group performed three songs off their newest album, Just to Please You, followed by a discussion of Kingston WritersFest, and why they believe live performances to be so important.
The conversation complimented the aim of this fresh new column, which will showcase performances by Queen’s students and Kingston musicians live in house.
Following The Gertrudes’ performance, the band spoke about their performance at WritersFest.
WritersFest is an annual festival that offers a lineup of authors and events for the broader Kingston community. This year, WritersFest 2023 Artistic Director Aara Macauley themed the festival “Unbounded,” which reflected the diversity of written art, showing that written art isn’t confined to one style.
In showcasing this theme, Macauley reached out to the Skeleton Park collective to write a song with poet Sadiqa de Meijer, which was then performed at the festival on Sept. 30.
“[de Meijer] wanted to explore lyrics and words in the music context,” Tilson said. “It will be a discussion about that experience [written art in different mediums] which is really interesting.”
Despite losing money hand over fist, Gertrudes vocalist Annie Clifford said performing is fun and a nice way to meet people and to learn about one’s neighbors in the Kingston community.
Another member of the collective, vocalist Mariah (Mo) Horner, added that playing live shows allows for experimenting with performance and dynamic sounds.
“It’s nice to do sets in different places to challenge us to look different, sound different, and try new things. I think it’s a testament to how creative this band is when we play,” Horner said.
Jason Mercer, producer of Just To Please You, said doing live shows is intrinsically tied to the human experience and formulating connections.
“It’s human connection, which goes back millenniums. Playing around people, whether it’s on a porch or venue or house or whatever, is an important part of human nature,” Mercer said.
Drummer Pete Bowers added live shows allow for a better understanding of what goes into every song and why they sound the way they do.
“[When] kids get to see live music, they connect in a way they don’t when you hear it on a speaker. It’s like ‘oh, that’s what’s happening out there [how the musicians play the song on stage],’” Bowers said.
“I remember the first time I saw a live band […] I didn’t know what it looked like to play music and felt like playing music and then you get that bug.”
The Gertrudes, the first of many artists to be showcased at The Queen’s Journal house, heralded the launch of the “Live from The Journal” column.
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