Canadian Music Week is a nerve- and excitement-filled week for hundreds of up and coming Canadian artists, as all across Toronto venues are filled with musicians, fans, and industry scouts. Bolus, a Toronto-based progressive rock band, performed Saturday night at the Opera House, a spectacular show that had heads bobbing through their set and drew a crowd to the band’s merchandise table by the end of the night.
Bolus released their second studio album, Delayed Reaction, in November 2010 and have since been promoting the album and breaking into the prog music scene. They have received recognition overseas for their new album, including a review on Germany’s FFM-Rock. Closer to home, a band feature was published in Fanshawe College’s Bandwidth newsletter, which raves about the album’s impeccable engineering and production. The album was four years in the making, but Bandwidth’s review says it was well worth the wait: “The end result is an album that sounds like it was recorded with a budget containing many more 0 columns than what they actually had.”
The album is indeed perfectly polished and rife with meticulous precision, and the band’s live performance was no different. The band members fed off of each others’ energies and the show was tight, crisp, and endlessly captivating. Vocalist and guitarist Nick Karch commanded the stage wearing an animal toque and with a stuffed horse strapped to his mic stand – his voice rang clear and commanding through the venue, and his immaculate guitar solos seemed effortless. Mat Keselman drove the set with his passionate and dramatic drumming, supported Karch’s singing with his own compelling vocals and, at one point, stood at his drum set to play the flute. Keyboardist Kyle Grounds played on two keyboards and added his voice to the mix on background vocals. Karch on his own managed to sound like three singers at once – when Keselman and Grounds joined him, the stunning vocal melodies of the songs overwhelmed the venue with their strength, clarity, and emotion. Bassist Daniel Avner moved around the stage with great presence and kept the audience engaged with intermittent performance antics.
The half-hour set went by far too quickly, the band’s performance gaining momentum with each new song and never losing the audience’s attention. After their show, the band members gathered at the merchandise table near the back of the venue to mingle with the crowed gathered there and sign newly purchased CDs. For those of you not fortunate enough to have seen Bolus live, Delayed Reaction is available for purchase in physical and digitals forms online at BolusMusic.com.