As we officially welcomed the arrival of summer, Team GDW hit the road once again to sample our first taste of the annual “Sound Of Music” festival in Burlington, ON. Taking place along the shores of Lake Ontario, we naturally gravitated to the amazing gathering of Canadian acts over the second weekend of this nine day event. Boasting a line up of popular acts such as Tokyo Police Club, Matthew Good, and Scott Helman, we opted instead to catch some of the other acts taking place outside of the main TD Stage on the waterfront. Artists such as Dennis Ellsworth, Avery Raquel, and Lydia Persaud would all be performing over this weekend, and as featured artists on our blog recently, we made it our priority to support them in Burlington.

Arriving in Burlington on a picture perfect evening, we dined at one of our favorite pubs downtown, before taking a stroll to the OLG stage for our first taste of music. We were drawn to this stage by some great covers of Great Big Sea tunes courtesy of “Shenanigans,” who were just wrapping up their set as we made our way to the front of the stage. Our timing could not have been better, knowing that up next on this stage would be one of our favorite Newfoundland acts, The Once. With the release of their much anticipated new album “Time Enough” just a short while ago, we were eager to hear tunes new and old from Andrew Dale, Geraldine Hollett, and Phil Churchill.

Before launching into their eleven song set list, all three members would say a few words to greet their fans. Most notably, Phil would be the one to preface the music with the statement, “So we’re gonna play a bunch of our old stuff, and if you’ve never seen us, this is a bunch of our new stuff.” The trio would then open with two successive tracks from their 2010 self-titled debut album; performing “Coming Back To You” and “Sail Away To The Sea” respectively. With reference to the impressive backdrop of Lake Ontario, Geri Hollett exclaimed, “The lake sure looks more like the sea…we’re from Newfoundland, we know a lot about the sea.”

Whilst surprised that “I Can’t Live Without You” would be the only new song shared on this particular evening, The Once would opt to share some of their best loved tracks from both the “Row Upon Row of the People They Know (2011)” and “Departures (2014)” albums. Original hits such as “By The Light Of The Kerosene Lamp” and “Fool For You” were intermixed with their popular cover versions of “You’re My Best Friend” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” from these two albums.

With time for one last song, the band would ask the audience for requests, and received unanimous calls for “Sonny’s Dream,” the popular Ron Hynes cover from “Departures.” I have a strong belief that their popular closer “The Nameless Murderess” may have been written on their set list for this moment, but all three members were more than happy to combine their amazing three-part harmonies during an a cappella performance of this beautiful song. Earning their well-deserved applause, the Once took their closing bows, bid the crowd farewell, and made their exit. With several summer shows on their horizon across Canada, fans in the GTA will not have to wait too long for their next opportunity to catch Andrew, Geri, and Phil once more.

Set List:
1. Coming Back To You
2. Sail Away To The Sea
3. Cradle Hill
4. By The Light Of The Kerosene Lamp
5. The Town Where You Lived
6. You’re My Best Friend (Queen cover)
7. Fool For You
8. I Can’t Live Without You
9. We Are All Running
10. Can’t Help Falling In Love With You (Elvis Presley cover)
11. Sonny’s Dream (Ron Hynes cover)

Visit The Once’s website.

Martin Noakes

The British guy that crossed the ocean and crash landed in central Pennsylvania (to quote Greg Keelor, “And I wonder what am I doing here?”). As the youngest of four siblings, exposure to music from a very early age nurtured my passion and appreciation for many musical genres. Continuing to discover some amazingly diverse and talented musicians based in Canada, I gravitate to live music experiences and remain devoted to spreading the word about such a vibrant music scene.