Boyce Avenue – Phoenix Concert Theatre – Toronto, Canada – October 4, 2016
Be Somebody World Tour
This has been a year of firsts for me. Not to go into too much detail but rarely do I venture outside of my musical tastes which lie heavily on the side of Jazz and Blues. My most recent foray into mainstream music had me catching a couple of acts at the Phoenix in Toronto.
Some friends visiting from Florida for the weekend mentioned their friends were in town at the same time and they wanted to get together. We arranged to get together with their friends at the Distillery District as they also wanted to sample some micro brewery beers.
Mill Street may no longer qualify as a micro brewery but they serve good beer and I thought we would have dinner around there as well.
Their friend met us in front of the restaurant / bar and explained his two brothers had made other plans and passed along sincere apologies. My wife and I were introduced to Fabian Manzano of the Boyce Avenue band. One of my Florida friends had been Fabian’s teacher in his younger days.
We had a pleasant time sampling the Mill Street selections and the Florida friends got re-acquainted after not seeing each other since the Boyce Avenue tour kicked off this summer. After browsing the menu we decided dinner in Little Italy would be a nice treat. One of my favourites, Bella Vista on College Street indicated they would reserve a table for us and off we went.
We spoke about all things, music, food, wine, travel and otherwise. Fabian offered my wife and family free passes to check out the band and contact information was shared.
Boyce Avenue is a band of brothers, Alejandro, lead vocalist and guitarist. Daniel the bassist, backing vocalist and percussionist. Fabian the lead guitarist and backing vocalist – plus one other, the drummer, Jason Burrows. The band has taken the YouTube World by storm. As pop bands go, this band has a huge following, many of whom were at the Phoenix for the show. The theatre was sold out and the people were standing shoulder to shoulder. Boyce Avenue took to the stage about 9pm.
There were three opening acts for this show, Leroy Sanchez, Nick Howard and Sam James. The rest of the tour having the two opening acts of Leroy Sanchez and Nick Howard. We caught a few songs by Leroy Sanchez, he is a good entertainer with a smooth as honey voice.
When Boyce Avenue took to the stage the crowd put up a thunderous roar. The band smoothly played a mix of their original tunes from the newly released CD Road Less Travelled, an independent release for 2016.
The songs that most impressed, “Hello” the Adele cover, Alejandro played this one in tribute to the artist who happened to be playing down the road at AirCanada Centre. Another tune that I really enjoyed and seemingly the rest of the audience as well, judging by the applause, Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”.
When I spoke with Fabian Manzano he indicated to me that the band was pushing their original songs hoping they could get some of their music to film. The new album Road Less Travelled is all original and I believe all three brothers have written material for the album. With their massive following some two million views on YouTube I think it’s just a matter of time until one of their songs starts to get major radio airplay.
The crowd appeared to be enjoying themselves, swaying as best they could to the music, or simply jumping up and down to the beat. A solid and driving backbeat provided by heavy metal drummer Jason Burrows who drove every tune straight and true. His accomplice in the heavy rhythm section – Daniel Manzano who was with him in complete simpatico. Other tunes the band played included Boyce Avenue renditions of covers “I’ll Be The One”, “Love Me” and “Thinking Out Loud” the band played a few more electric tunes before settling down to the intimate acoustic numbers, “Stitches” and “Find Me”.
Original songs from the new CD Road Less Travelled that were given to the audience to sample included, “Cinderella”, “Imperfect Me” and “Be Somebody” any one of these songs could be just what the band needs to take them to hit city with middle of the road airplay. The brothers are all accomplished musicians. Fabiano has an elaborate set up of foot pedals and switches. He creates wonderful ambiance with his minimalist playing. Never overplaying he is always providing the fill that makes for an encompassing wall of sound.
Alejandro has a pleasing voice that compliments many styles of songs. He has an infectious energy that seems to flow through every tune. His vocal renderings, interpretations and originality in approach make every song he sings, as his own. There are times I am reminded of the Crowded House sound and another great band of brothers.
Fabian Manzano took the mic at one point in the show to announce that this was an extra special performance as both his brothers were celebrating a birthday today. They share the day October 4th but seven years separate them. Daniel Manzano is the youngest of the brothers. A cake with candles glowing was brought out to centre stage.. After the audience helped sing happy birthday to Alejandro and Daniel the candles were blown out successfully. Fabian also mentioned he hoped they would remember to celebrate his birthday – July 1st. The Canadian audience didn’t pick up on the shared birthday with our country.
The show ended with a spectacular encore, another three songs, including “When The Lights Go Down”. Many in the audience were sticking around for a meet and greet. Photos and autographs with the boys in the band.
My guests had lots of fun and thought the show was wonderful. I agree, a professional show with great sound and lights and a team that puts the fans first, these guys have a winning formula and I’m quite sure they will have continued success.
The tour rolls into the United States and finishes late October in Nashville. A short break and the band hits the road flying, off to Australia and down under in December. Official Site For Boyce Avenue
Paul J. Youngman – Oct. 2016