On the evening of December 8, Toronto’s DIANA returned to an adoring group of hometown fans at one of the city’s most elegant venues, The Great Hall. Following the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Perpetual Surrender in 2013, the synth-fused trio fell quiet for a while. The announcement of their follow up record Familiar Touch, released November 19 through Culvert Music, delighted longtime listeners and enticed new ones to join them for the ride. Their headlining set, boasting exceptional performances from the original trio (Carmen Elle, Joseph Shabason, and Kieran Adams) as well as additional backup singers, bassist, and percussionists, felt like a homecoming celebration for a group of dearly deserving artists.
The set was a joyful reaffirmation that no amount of time apart could dull the sparkle that has made DIANA shine within the Canadian indie scene. Opening with “Confession” from the new record, the track sounded even more vivacious and live than the studio version. Elle’s genuine enthusiasm was contagious as she moved effortlessly around the stage, encouraging a crowd that needn’t much prompting to dance along. Shabason’s saxophone (as heard on Kaputt by Destroyer) was a highlight, earning praise and recognition from both Elle and the loyal audience.
DIANA’s raw sound and natural presence translated even more flawlessly in a live setting like The Great Venue. With groups of giddy, pulsating bodies filling the floor and balconies overhead, the performance felt like the perfect commemoration of one of the years strongest releases.
Review by Ava Muir
Photos by Benjamin Bush