Stream Team: Reviews Week of May 14

“You Sing It, I Bring It” with Coco Love Alcorn
May 15

Alcorn delighted an intimate and engaged audience with a selection of improvisations pulled from requests. Part cyber acoustic concert, part game show—all mystery—Alcorn moved effortlessly between ukulele and hand drum, incorporating looped beats and harmonies to fashion whimsical and at times moving performances based on seemingly disparate items such as magazine articles, the marketing copy on a bag of party balloons, Dungeons and Dragons spell cards, a list of icing recipes from The Joy of Cooking, and at one point setting an entire poem to song with its powerful refrain, “I saw my mother on the other side.”

Opening the floor to the audience, people spoke about the appeal of brainstorming on the creative process, drawing the outside in to concoct serendipitous moments of inspiration. Describing her own joy for improvisation, Alcorn said that it releases her from having to worry about the next moment by asking her to be present, and that by sharing this experience with a live, virtual audience, we all get to share the full arc of the experience. The effect was a fun and funky, soulful jam session. Personal favourite: Turning an article about the wealth tax into an anthem for sharing: “Take my money/take my money/take money/somebody’s ready to give.” —Julie Wilson

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Duncan Ivany
May 15

Before a brick wall, Duncan Ivany held a mix of originals and covers in hand, ready to take an intimate audience through a country-rock tinged Saturday night. Weaving stageless stage banter between songs by himself, Ed Sheeran, The Glorious Sons, and Alan Doyle, Ivany had the audience stamping and singing all night. A cameo from bandmate Connor Ivany—covering Taylor Swift—completed the sing-along feel. Ivany’s melodic guitar work was captivating; his big voice, life-affirming. By the end you felt renewed, with Ivany capturing what we were all thinking: “This whole thing is so crazy—technology is so cool.”
—Oliver Crook

May 15

Hollowsage is the moniker of singer-songwriter Sagen Pearse, a funeral home director by day. A natural storyteller, Sagen’s lyrics are filled with bitter sweetness and necessary truths. The performance was a warm and welcoming affair, moving between electric and acoustic guitars and piano. Pearse played a selection of songs—a number from his debut album Nuclear Home (“The River,” “Phone Line,” and “Ghost Town” among them) and the stand-out title track, about the family with secrets, the one that everyone sees on TV: “I wish they could see us explode.” 

Monsters, death, and darkness centre many of these songs, along with resignation and a large heart. How can it be helped when you clock in each day to hold space and bear witness on the front lines of human grief? In Pearse’s songs, we’re taken to the shadows, to come undone and succumb. Bonus item: During the performance, the audience learned that Hollowsage first learned Zoom to conduct a distance funeral, having to switch to his phone suddenly due to technical issues, just as the visitation was about to begin.

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The Zolas
May 19

With a cranked Telecaster and heavily reverbed vocals, The Zolas’ Zach Gray spanned his whole career while bandmates Dwight Abell and Cody Hiles talked music and life between songs. As fans from all over the world lit up the comments, Gray turned a weeknight into a party. He’d cleared the room of furniture and took full advantage of the space to keep the energy up. As the chords of closer “Escape Artist” faded, the guitar was put away but the show wasn’t over: They hung around and answered questions, showcasing the intimate, fans-first approach The Zolas are known for. That sure destroyed any Monday blues. —OC