Softside Mitchell Hall, Guelph ON, April 7

Softside Mitchell Hall, Guelph ON, April 7
Photo: Matt Forsythe
7
Filtering into the church basement gymnasium of Guelph's Mitchell Hall, the all-ages crowd that showed up early for Softside just did what was natural and gravitated to one of two opposing walls like socially anxious middle-schoolers. But when Guelph resident Ian Bain's Softside took to the stage, that was enough to reverse the parting of those seas — muted, purple music warming the room to a temperature that welcomed mingling and indulgence.
 
Formerly known as Ferne, it's a project that's gained some local reputation for its infectious, velvet chill. Their set was a smooth, seductive show that brought some extra charm in its casual onstage presence, coolly working through a set of soulful R&B from their new EP Lower Hands as well as a cover of Burt Bacharach's "(They Long to Be) Close to You," along the way provoking friendly whoops and cheers whenever a lick reached a particularly groovy height — all serving to heighten the junior high dance vibe of it.