Unbuttoned Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 14

Unbuttoned Gladstone Hotel, Toronto ON, June 14
Photo: Kevin Jones
8
The clenched expressions on faces of singers Casey MQ and Kamilah Apong were telling of the emotion they and their Unbuttoned cohorts poured into each song and out from the stage. Snatching tracks from a string of both domestic and international releases, the local five-piece eased through an early blend of smooth and silky synth soul, with subtle bass lines and light, below-the-surface guitar touches accentuating the rich, melting mood. From there, the surprisingly varied set slipped through a brief spell of instrumental soul-jazz marked by busy drum breakdowns and collective singing key runs, before striking out in a flipped version of Aaliyah's "One In A Million" that allowed both singers to show off their combined vocal prowess. Brief infusions of pop, moments of twangy guitar balladry, and dank synth-soaked R&B completed the intensely satisfying showing for a group that does really well at combining each of those distinct sonic forms into an impressive cohesive whole.