“We play here a lot.” That’s the tone with which Andrew Whiteman, front man of Apostle of Hustle, decided to nonchalantly greet his Grad Club audience on Friday night—and it’s fitting.
Since their formation in 2001, Apostle of Hustle has frequently drawn full-capacity crowds to the cosy, intimate and, often, sweaty venue space of the Grad Club. This, along with the main stage at the Wolfe Island Music Festival, is likely where Whiteman, Julian Brown and Dean Stone have their fondest memories of Kingston, which is perhaps telling of why they’re so comfortable in front of their Kingston crowd, whether they’re dancing, drinking or testing out their latest Stephen Harper jokes.
New material, too, seems to be something that Andrew Whiteman deems appropriate to test in front of a Grad Club crowd. After opening with familiar tunes, the trio introduced their upcoming album—which Whiteman fondly referred to as Apostle of Hustle Eats Darkness—due out in March but “to be leaked in December.”
“Because really, recorded music should pretty much be free at this point anyway,” Whiteman told his cheering crowd.
Perhaps the most enduringly impressive aspect of Apostle of Hustle’s sound is their ability to transcend their three-man status and fill any venue with robust, well-layered tunes. Their instrumental arrangements are fresh, even when slow, and are conducive both to hip-swaying and appreciative head-bobbing. And the Friday night crowd, although uncomfortably squeezed into every corner of the main stage space, still found room to do both in an intimate and slightly intoxicated atmosphere that is so familiar to The Grad Club.
Even though Whiteman—now almost a 20-year veteran of the music business—and company now have more wrinkles and less hair than they used to, their sense of humour and young, indie sound have failed to falter.
Comedy, it seems, is the key component of their upcoming album; the group proceeded to play “How to defeat a more powerful enemy,” the story of invisible magic airplanes who drop leaflets with instructional images on how to defeat a variety of daily enemies (most notably, household appliances). Whiteman and company followed with the sentimental gangsta-ballad “Eazy speaks to me”—a whimsical tribute to Eazy-E, Whiteman’s “favourite West Coast poet.”
When performing live, Whiteman is, of course, notorious for political innuendo and his affinity for a hand-painted, pin striped, multi-coloured suit jacket reminiscent of a kindergarten arts and crafts project. Both character traits had their fair share of exposure at The Grad Club performance, although one—concerned with the mental and physical maintenance of the Prime Minister—took precedence.
After quipping about Mr. Harper’s hair, guzzling a couple beers, playing some tunes and swiveling around stage while soloing on his guitar, Whiteman made his political intent more lucid for the students in the audience. “I’m talking to you, young voters,” Whiteman said.
“Your parents may be paying for you to be here, and they may be voting for [Stephen Harper], but it’s your responsibility to get him out.”
Amidst drunken cheers of approval, Whiteman reconsidered and tried to make his political commentary a little less partisan. “Vote for anyone—anyone other than a big, dumb fuck.”
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