A gong show for show-goers

Said the Whale officially played Kingston for the first time on Friday night

Said the Whale played to a sold out Grad Club audience.
Said the Whale played to a sold out Grad Club audience.
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Count yourself lucky if you managed to snap tickets to Said the Whale’s sold out show.

For those who did, I’m sure they’d agree when I say it was an utter “gong show”.

At least that’s how the band described their first official show in Kingston, which took place Friday night at the Grad Club.

The opening acts, Alvvays and the Koepecky Family Band, kept the crowd’s energy up with lively performances until around midnight when Said the Whale took to the stage.

The Vancouver-based band played at eye level with the crowd. There really wasn’t a stage and you literally could not move. I felt like a sardine.

I chatted with one of the band’s founding members, Ben Worcester, after the show who explained that the risers were taken down to accommodate the seven-piece opener.

This led to some obvious problems.

Let’s just say there was a whole lot of pushing and shoving - and 6-foot-tall guys clearing through the swarms of college kids, proclaiming they were “with the Whales.”

As if that justified blocking the views of everyone else behind them.

I even heard a few girls upsettingly mumbling how they wanted to leave before the band even started their set list.

As the band set up, one member - though I can’t identify which one due to my five foot three inch stature - addressed the issue.

“Everyone is super sweet, but please don’t push each other,” he said.

The mosh-pit problem quickly dissolved when the Juno-award winners sung the opening of “Mother”, the second track off their latest release hawaiii.

The upbeat track wowed the crowd and instigated instant head bobbing and grooving.

The much-loved band played nearly every tune off hawaiii, interspersed with Said the Whale classics like “Camino.”

As music filled the Grad Club, the mood shifted from a tad bit agitated to incredibly uplifting.

There were even groups of people dancing in circles - soc hop style.

The mood took a turn when Tyler Bancroft, the group’s lead singer, belted out “Helpless Son,” which he wrote for his mother, a cancer survivor.

She jokingly advised him not to sing it at house parties.

Their fans stood quietly, soaking in the reflective lyrics.

The hyped up show closed off with hawaiii’s first single “I Love You.”

With that, the crowd went wild.

Everyone in the audience belted out every single word to the catchy tune.

The band even gave a shout out to Corey, the guy with the “handle bar mustache,” who had the group play a house party in town a few years back.

Apparently, they’re still friends.

Once the band said their thank you’s and goodbyes, the horde of Said the Whale-lovers chanted out for an encore.

It was well-deserved.

The Kingston-newbies lived up to the hype surrounding the show and promised to be back in the Limestone City soon.

When that day comes, I’m sure we’ll all be on the edge of our seats waiting to score tickets.

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