Hundred Waters / Mas Ysa The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, July 9

Hundred Waters / Mas Ysa The Drake Hotel, Toronto ON, July 9
Photo: Shane Parent
"The Moon Rang Like A Bell" took Hundred Waters from a "Band To Watch" to a band that everyone is watching in 2014. Last night at the Drake was their chance to show their Toronto fans just how beautifully their highly acclaimed album translates live, a feat made effortless for them with the help of a gorgeous, cinematic light show, crazy keyboard solos and a receptive audience.

Opener Mas Ysa's presence at this year's NXNE clearly left a lasting impression, as the crowd was immediately drawn to the barefoot performer's experimental synth-pop tracks, most of which packed enough bass to shake your drink right off the table. Mas Ysa greeted the excited crowd with a noticeable awkwardness in his delivery, but played it off by saying a bunch of weird stuff and then dedicating a song to his mother: "Shout out to my mom. I've never sung in the same room as her, so this is pretty awkward, but it's okay because she's not really my mom." He revealed right before the song that the woman is, in fact, his mother, and continued his set with even more big vocals and crunchier beats that got the whole room moving. When his high energy set ended, the crowd screamed and begged for one more song, and his encore ended with big cheers from the crowd and Mas Ysa telling everyone that "Hundred Waters will touch you and won't tell anyone," a slightly weird but fitting way to end a crazy performance.

After about ten minutes, Hundred Waters took the stage and immediately got things started with "Show Me Love," a floaty, atmospheric intro that was succeeded by a breathtaking light show and the start of a full set of songs from Hundred Waters' new album. The chattiness in the back didn't stop the front section from hanging onto lead single Nicole Miglis' every piercing, angelic vocal turn. If anything, it made the Gainesville four-piece even louder than before; they'd kicked things up a notch by the time they got to "Out Alee," with more defined drums and pitch-perfect harmonies that saw the back of the room finally take notice and quiet down. Miglis stopped and greeted the crowd, expressing thanks and gratitude to them for attending. Her warm stage presence made the crowd fall in love with her even more, as she introduced "Chambers (Passing Time)." The fluttering electronics added a serene ambience to the room, as she played the keyboard under green light, each key glistening like fine china, so smooth to the ear that it left the packed room seemingly frozen in time.

By the time they got to "Down From The Rafters," you could have heard a pin drop in the room. Nothing but Miglis and her charming flute solo could be heard, as the mesmerized crowd had completely succumbed to the band's majestic pop sounds and incredible energy. The band got the whole room dancing by "Animal," right before transitioning the song's upbeat shimmer into a trippy, psychedelic jam session that found Miglis transform into a crazy keyboardist, as the drummer went wild and the synth and beats section picked up their guitars and nearly shredded the stage in half. Hundred Waters took The Drake on an emotional roller coaster last night, but not without proving that their new album is a worthwhile journey both on and off the stage.