“It’s the Tower of Song of which Leonard Cohen once sang. It’s the temple of music, the Grand Old Lady of Shuter Street, almost as old as the country itself…”
With these liner notes, celebrated author Michael Barclay entrenches the enormous musical history of Toronto’s Massey Hall. His words set the stage for a monumental new vinyl release series that captures the fascinating evolution of the venerated concert venue, a room that has housed timeless performances by everyone from Joni Mitchell to Glenn Gould since opening its doors in 1894.
Arts & Crafts, in collaboration with Massey Hall, announces the first edition in a collection of live compilations from the Live at Massey Hall concert film series, a new platform specially designed to spotlight Canada’s modern day frontier of music legends. Since its launch in 2014, Live at Massey Hall has created a space for emerging talent to flourish in its age-old hall. Now, the music of Live at Massey Hall is captured on record for the first time in a beautiful vinyl package exclusively for Record Store Day Black Friday, available in participating independent record stores across North America on November 23.
Live at Massey Hall Vol 1 plays through with incredible emotional range, from the solitary intimacy of folk-inspired poets to the electric cacophony of basement-born rock bands. In each recording, the inimitable Hall and its audience play a palpable, vital role, reconciling these landmark nights in each artist’s career.
The record opens with Destroyer alone onstage with his acoustic guitar and elegant poetry, every nuance of his voice and strings filling the silence of the hall. Constantines taps into its punk rock gospel essence with spine-tingling call-and-response. Hayden channels the pulse of the city he came up in, invoking his early days as a performer and a phone call from Massey Hall hero Neil Young. Dan Mangan + Blacksmith stretches the experimental boundaries of against-the-grain folk, while Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton counter the stadium pop of her band Metric with her own deeper narratives.
Side two opens with the masterfully crafted storytelling of Regina, Saskatchewan’s Andy Shauf, followed by the palpable excitement of francophone Québecois artist Cœur de pirate’s incredible ascension to a sold-out Massey Hall. Bahamas delivers a pin-drop performance of precise songcraft and gorgeous restraint. Japandroids literally bring the house down with the aptly titled “The House That Heaven Built,” before Whitehorse drops the curtain with the heartstopping and serene “Die Alone.”
With the release of Live at Massey Hall Vol 1, Arts & Crafts announces that $1 from every sale of this series will be donated to Massey Hall to support the Massey Hall Revitalization. An historic, refurbishment, restoration, and addition set to enhance Massey Hall by 2020, supporting patron and artist accessibility, restoration of key structures in the National Historic Site, and significant investment in artist development and community outreach.
LIVE AT MASSEY HALL VOL 1 TRACKLIST:
Destroyer “Foam Hands”
Constantines “Nighttime/Anytime (It’s Alright)”
Hayden “Almost Everything”
Dan Mangan + Blacksmith “Vessel”
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton “Fatal Gift”
Andy Shauf “The Magician”
Cœur de pirate “Place de la République”
Bahamas “Like A Wind”
Japandroids “The House That Heaven Built”
Whitehorse “Die Alone”