​Jef E. Barbara's Black Space

Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto, ON, August 19

​Jef E. Barbara's Black SpaceArtscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto, ON, August 19
Photo: Shane Parent
As the sun began to set and festival attendees moved towards the Camp Wavelength stage in larger clusters, Jef E. Barbara brought funky, fun R&B to life with some help from their backing band the Black Space.
After releasing albums under the solo moniker Jef Barbara and a couple of years off the grid, the Montreal glam-popsmith is back with more sultry, yet socially conscious music. The artist debuted their new tracks live to a highly receptive audience, who were keen to dance to songs that covered everything from topics of racialization to a recurring mac and cheese motif. Creamy saxophone, smooth bass and harmonious backing vocals secured the scene during exuberant, drawn-out instrumental moments.
As one can expect with any new group, this one is still ironing out their live show; a humble Barbara even admitted to forgetting lyrics on stage, though the revelation was met by forgiving hushes from the other band members. The performance felt a tad stiff at times, with Barbara mostly planted in one place, but they finally cut loose from the mic stand for the final number, dancing with pitch-perfect backing vocalist Elena Stoodley — and, inadvertently, the whole audience.

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