Spotlight - Angela Saini

It’s nine o’clock on a Tuesday night, December 2014, in The Horseshoe Tavern on Nu Music Nite and the first act take the stage to an impressively sized crowd. This is not the first time that we’ve seen Angela Saini, once of Calgary, but now based in Toronto. Seen previously at C’est What in a pre NXNE gig last year and then more recently as the support for the filming of Paint’s set at the Cameron House. The stark difference in terms of maturity and confidence levels between those two sets are among the reasons for her well-deserved inclusion in this Spotlight series.

Having just returned from successful solo tour of the UK, Holland and Germany, Saini took the stage wearing a black top and red skirt, which provided a vivid contrast with her blond hair, accompanied by David Sufrin (drums), Jeff Scale on bass and Francois Martin on lead guitar and vocals. Playing songs mostly drawn from her two albums, ‘Cake and Callouses’ (2012) and ‘Leap’ (2013), Saini opened with ‘Dear Diary’, a song about a mid/quarter life crisis, but which oozed with positive reflection. The love song ‘Stay Here With Me’ followed and demonstrated an increased vocal confidence. What came after was a new song, ‘Sweet Sweet Mouth’, which highlighted the very good band she had on stage and included some excellent guitar fills. Next up was ‘Little Black Dress’, a really great song, featuring some quieter interludes, while showcasing Saini’s soulful vocal range and then, a change of guitars for ‘Here I Go Again’, a song about being terrified but doing something anyway, that had a feel which bordered on country and featured some sweet backing vocals for the first time in the set.

Next up was ‘Living On The Bright Side’, which opened with some subtle drum high hat work and morphed into a tune with elements of the Cure’s ‘Lovesong’, but which then developed into an interactive offstage sing a-long with the crowd, which bodes well for the future. With ‘Something Like I'm Beautiful’, taken from ‘Leap’, it was very easy to for everyone present to appreciate the vulnerability that arises from being in a new city and to face the challenges of making new friends and more without being burned and the song was beautifully, yet powerfully delivered. The closer 'U Turn’ represented everything good about the set, a lead guitar introduction, an infectious hook line, impassioned delivery, a strong confident vocal and a gradual build that was completed with a terrific lead solo at the end.

Whether acoustic, electric, solo or with a larger band, Saini is instantly likeable, with some tremendous new material on the way and will be coming soon to a venue near you. We politely suggest that you don’t miss her.


All photos reproduced by kind permission of Back2basicsphotography.com