Concerts Concerts Hey Ocean! Make Waves At The Horseshoe

Hey Ocean! Make Waves At The Horseshoe

Hey Ocean at Horseshoe Tavern
Hey Ocean!
Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, ON
June 25, 2011

Review by: Whitney Pineault
Photos by: Catherine Lacbay

With a reputation as one of the most exciting up-and-coming Canadian bands, Vancouver's Hey Ocean! have been working hard to keep the momentum going.

By relentlessly touring North America and playing countless shows and festivals, the band has considerably expanded their fanbase while successfully keeping their name on the tip of many music industry heavyweight's tongues. This past Saturday, Hey Ocean! played their first Toronto show in over a year and reminded us why they've earned such a glowing reputation.

The Horseshoe Tavern quickly filled up with fans, fellow musicians (members of Michou, Paper Lions, and USS were spotted), and music industry folk anxious to hear the band's infectious indie-pop sound. As they launched into their set, it was clear that Hey Ocean! had matured since the last visit. Noticeably tighter and more confident, the band's three core members Ashleigh Ball (vocals/flute), David Beckingham (vocals/guitar) and Dave Vertesi (vocals/bass) made capturing an audience look easy. Ashleigh, the irresistible front-woman/kick-ass flute player, has an incredible talent of making you fall in love with her in an instant. Her exceptional ability to connect and interact with the crowd is one of the band's greatest strengths.

Hey Ocean! continue to draw influence from a variety of different genres which could be heard in a number of brand new songs they debuted from their upcoming album due out later this year. The audience reacted well to the band's new (and old) material and grooved along to styles ranging from jazz to 50's pop to salsa — which erupted into a massive sweaty dance party at one point. The band also isn't afraid to let their quirky side hang out. During their set, Ashleigh brought a stuffed shark on stage and proceeded to wrap it's fins around her neck while she sang. It eventually went crowd surfing.

The band seemed to fit together perfectly both visually and musically on stage. David and Dave are quite talented musicians and also provided some really impressive backing vocals and harmonies. Ending their set with "A Song About California" from 2008's It's Easier To Be Somebody Else, it was evident the audience was glad to have Hey Ocean! back in Toronto. Even as the house music came on, they did their best to cheer over it and bring the band back out. Judging by the night's inspiring performance and positive feedback from the crowd, it seems highly unlikely that Hey Ocean! will stay unsigned for much longer.

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Thanks to Catherine Lacbay from for providing us with photos.