Published Apr 27, 2014Recent Ontario transplant Kelly McMichael has been making dark-edged pop for some time but, with the Gloss, she takes on the role of new wave mistress. The room was just filling up because a show at another venue starring Steve Maloney had only recently let out. There was a minor delay because Maloney happens to drum in the Gloss and so the band's first few songs were tension-breakers on a couple of levels. With her rich emotive voice and aspirational songs, McMichael did her best to own the room and overcome some sound issues on stage, which disrupted the flow of the set and maybe her own rhythm a tad, too (a lot of chatter with the sound man Pat took place all set, which was unfortunate).
But the songs themselves were compelling and catchy, on the softer side of Land of Talk but as multilayered and glittery. Then, as a complete departure, McMichael played her last song, backed up only by a dance-pop track she'd recently written for a recording project. She seemed so free all of a sudden, putting the guitar down, dancing with herself and singing her heart out to a cool club cut. It was a last-second energy infusion, free of tech issues, which was just what the set needed.