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Review: K. Flay’s Album Launch Bummer Picnic Picnic

posted June 29, 2015, 10:14 am by madelainej | Filed Under Live Show Reviews | comment Leave a Comment


K. Flay's latest album,

K. Flay’s latest album

It is always heartening to leave the comfort of your room listening to studio albums to venture outside, to the city, the T.Dot, the big TO, for an album launch and find a community of musicians and music fans still exists. After driving two and a half hours on the 401 and through summer construction and endless signs reminding me of the imminent Pan AM games (as if the commercials on TV weren’t enough), I walked in the breezy sun to the Cloak and Dagger Irish pub. It was as all Irish pubs should be, a hole in the wall that had that permanent aroma of spilt beer mingled with piss and vomit. It wasn’t overwhelming, it was like a pleasant reminder that this was an authentic Irish pub in the middle of Toronto.

The Cloak and Dagger was a wonderful host for the K. Flay album launch.

The Cloak and Dagger was a wonderful host for the K. Flay album launch.

The interior was dark, filled with booths, tables and chairs, a small stage by the window and the bar in the back corner. Making my way past the bar, I found a beautiful patio enclosed by a tall fence and a vine covered stone wall of the neighboring building. It reminded me more of a Biergarten than a patio. This small enclosure was filled with picnic tables covered in bright plastic table clothes, a barbecue situated in the back with a long table packed with condiments and hamburger and hotdog buns. Canvas posters were set up, one of K Flay and one of Collective Arts Brewing, the beer sponsoring the event. Collective Arts six pack contains bottles of beer each with a different label. If you scan the label and download Blippar, you can hear the band featured. Currently, Collective Arts is featuring 80 different artists and change the labels every four months or so according to the nice man who opened and handed me the beer. K Flay’s latest album “Life As A Dog” played unobtrusively in the background. With this hoppy beer in hand and a delicious burger on the plate before me, I listened to Life As A Dog.

K. Flay banner #BummerPicnic

K. Flay banner #BummerPicnic

Life As A Dog straddles the line between rap and pop. Thematically it will appeal to a wide audience as it taps into something essentially human. Musically it is unique without excluding music lovers from other genres. Beat Route Magazine commented on the album: “Track after track of bitingly clever lyricism mixed with infectious, chill beats,” and I agree wholeheartedly. Life As A Dog is not unremittingly RAP, it isn’t overwrought with spoken words and rhymes. It is a beautiful complication of flighty instrumentation, smooth vocals punctuated with intelligent spoken word lyrics. The musicality is masterful and oscillates between the beautifully simplistic and intricate synthesizer with drum beats and keyboard. This album is far from static and will take the listener on a journey through cityscapes and the anxiety of everyday life. K.Flay doesn’t rhyme off her lyrics like Nicki Minaj or Iggy Azalea in fast paced, unintelligible babble. K.Flay puts meter and tone into every word until it is dripping with meaning and lyricism. All in all, this is a well crafted album full of heart, pain, intelligence and musicality.

Collective Arts at #BummerPicnic Picnic

Collective Arts at #BummerPicnic Picnic

As the album continued to croon from speakers an assortment of people filled the patio, and became one of the most welcoming and friendly crowds I’ve ever been apart of. Everyone was supportive of K Flay, who even posed for photos with some children, and seemed please to talk to anyone who was willing as she coolly sipped some whiskey. Everyone was happy to introduce themselves and discuss the album and music in general as if we were all old friends meeting after a years absence. As the sun began to dip behind the high wall of the adjacent building, and as I had finished two beers and my hamburger, having listened twice to the album, I figured it was time I make the long journey homeward. This was an excellent reception for a wonderfully crafted album.

Collective Arts Brewery at #BummerPicnic Picnic K. Flay album launch.

Collective Arts Brewery at #BummerPicnic Picnic K. Flay album launch.

Served at #BummerPicnic Picnic K. Flay album launch.

Served at #BummerPicnic Picnic K. Flay album launch.

Beautiful CD case for a beautifully constructed album.

Beautiful CD case for a beautifully constructed album.

K. Flay at #BummerPicnic Picnic

K. Flay at #BummerPicnic Picnic

Everyone enjoying #BummerPicnic Picnic

Everyone enjoying #BummerPicnic Picnic

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