Jef E. Barbara's Black Space Artscape Gibraltar Point, Toronto, ON, August 19
Published Aug 20, 2016As the sun began to set and festival attendees moved towards the Camp Wavelength stage in larger clusters, Jef E. Barbara brought funky, fun R&B to life with some help from their backing band the Black Space.
After releasing albums under the solo moniker Jef Barbara and a couple of years off the grid, the Montreal glam-popsmith is back with more sultry, yet socially conscious music. The artist debuted their new tracks live to a highly receptive audience, who were keen to dance to songs that covered everything from topics of racialization to a recurring mac and cheese motif. Creamy saxophone, smooth bass and harmonious backing vocals secured the scene during exuberant, drawn-out instrumental moments.
As one can expect with any new group, this one is still ironing out their live show; a humble Barbara even admitted to forgetting lyrics on stage, though the revelation was met by forgiving hushes from the other band members. The performance felt a tad stiff at times, with Barbara mostly planted in one place, but they finally cut loose from the mic stand for the final number, dancing with pitch-perfect backing vocalist Elena Stoodley — and, inadvertently, the whole audience.