Caught Live - The Once - Gulbenkian Theatre, Canterbury - 2019
First gig of the year for me and what an amazing start (sorry for bad photo by the way). Hailing from Newfoundland (seems it’s pronounced “Noufinland” or so my Canadian & American, friends keep telling me), The Once was a band I thought I would never get the chance to see live, so glad they proved me wrong.
The intimate setting of the Gulbenkian at the Kent University in Canterbury was a perfect venue to experience this band for the first time. With such gigs you don’t just get the music, you also get the stories behind the music, as well as personal stories from the band. With folk especially, this new-found knowledge allows, in my opinion, one to enjoy the tales they spin even more so than before.
The Once gave a two-hour set (with a short break in the middle) covering many of their large pool of songs including some of the lesser known tracks, which was a nice treat, so many times band just play the same ‘hits’ and ignore the others, many of which, in this case at least, are their best. On top of this we were treated with a stunning cover of Elvis’s ‘Always on my Mind’ and Queen’s ‘You’re my Best Friend’; a perfect example of how their sound/style always brings the emotions to the surface no matter the material.
The Once sound amazing on their albums, I say that as a matter of fact, however they are a thousand percent better live, which is always a sign of a great band. Their trademark harmonies, their rich deeply personal songs, skill with their chosen instruments and their chemistry on stage with not only each other but their audience (who ranged from the young to the more mature (at least in age)), combine to create a magical atmosphere that I, for one, will not forget anytime soon. Then upon leaving the gig the snow started falling, really cementing this as a beautifully soul enriching evening.
The stand out songs for me had to be ‘The Nameless Murderess’, it was enlightening to hear the inspiration behind the song, ‘Any Other Way’ and of course, ‘Some Lies’, yes, I welled up when they sang that one, I can’t help it, the song gets to me. Here’s hoping they return to the UK soon.
For more information on The Once, as well as their tour date, check out their website here: www.theonce.ca