When I’m stuck in hipster heaven, also known as the Drake Hotel, it takes a special singer to distract me from it all. Thankfully, this past Monday Tei Shi was that singer.
As Toronto welcomed its first real snowfall, I ventured off to see Tei Shi at the Drake Hotel before officially entering into “concert hibernation” mode until the New Year. It’s been an exciting year of concerts — Yuna, Fka twigs, Lana Del Rey, Cold Specks, Esperanza Spalding and more. Though I’m over the sometimes pretentious crowds, it was exciting to end my concert season by checking out another unique and talented artist.
Tei Shi (Valerie Teicher) has been receiving well deserved attention for her sound. But it was her recent track, “Basically,” which I’ve had on repeat for hours at a time, that officially won me over. Even more so, her seductive and imaginative cover of Beyonce’s “No Angel” — my least favourite song on the Beyoncé album — impressed me so much that I knew she was someone I had to see live.
Montreal’s Seoul kicked off the night. Their ambient pop set the vibe, getting the crowd moving, while the gorgeous, and surprisingly petite, Tei Shi casually slipped through the sold out crowd to prepare for her set.
When Tei Shi finally took the stage, she owned it, diving into fan favourites like “M&Ms,” “No Angel” and “Never Mind the End,” before thanking us, the crowd, for not enacting our notorious “Toronto Gap” stance – where the audience stands so far from the stage that an artist would land flat on their face if they attempted to dive in and crowd surf.
Tei Shi has a natural stage presence. She danced and let go and nothing felt staged or calculated. Her voice, just as crystal clear and gorgeous as in her recordings, effortlessly swooped from sweet and sexy to divine heights.
She closed the show with “Bassically,” which for me, cemented her as a fantastic live singer. I’m still uncertain about what an entire Tei Shi album will sound like, her style is swervy and eclectic, but I look forward to seeing where she takes us. Chaka V.