As guests continued to trickle in, Joni NehRita's fierce late-afternoon performance was enough to get each newcomer on their feet. Born in Toronto and now living in Guelph, NehRita has released three albums since 2007, although her talent shines most during live performances.
Playing alongside bassist Tyler Wagler, NehRita took to her keyboard to mesmerize the crowd with soulful vocals, while Wagler plucked groovy bass lines that could be felt from the back of the venue. NehRita was a natural on stage — she improvised when necessary and kept an ongoing conversation with the audience.
The duo started the set off with a funky, bass-heavy intro to set the tone. Most of NehRita's set was comprised of songs from her most recent album, Bloom (released in 2015), including "Brother's Keeper," "Shaken," "Play My Part" and "That's the Truth." NehRita's music transitions between funk, soul, jazz and reggae, which made for a diverse and lively set that felt far from routine.