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Mar 13, 2014

Review of Live Music Show

Distance Bullock, Amy Carson Hunter, and Wakefield Brewster, hosted by LimeLighter

Review by Caritas Longman


            The evening of performances by Distance Bullock, Amy Carson Hunter, and Wakefield Brewster was an inspiring and eclectic event, featuring both spoken work and music. In any event with such diversity of styles – from Bullock’s haunting and often heartbreaking vocals and lyrics, to Brewster’s witty wordplay, to Amy Carson Hunter’s gentle, intimate folk songs – there is definitely the potential for styles to clash and for the atmosphere to become confused. However, the range of tones in this instance worked favourably; audience listened attentively to each performance, and applause was often thunderous. Despite differences in style, each performer dedicated themself fully towards their unique artistic expression, and towards creating a positive atmosphere for both the audience and other performers. 


            Calgary artist Distance Bullock impressed audience with his mixture of vulnerability and careful craftsmanship, combining an incredible vocal range with confessional, melancholy lyrics. Through the use of a loop pedal, he created soundscapes which touched deeply on the experiences of love and loss. Despite this heavy subject matter, the feeling Bullock left in the audience was far from depressing – in fact, it could even be described as uplifting. Bullock’s music traversed a delicate space of intense emotion, which can so easily become melodrama. However, his artistic integrity remained intact – he never fell for simple hooks or easy answers. His lyrics are pared down to poetry, words hanging suspended in his expansive soundscapes. His music is complex in both meaning and musicality, yet accessible through its portrayal of both the pain and beauty of human experience.


            After Bullock left the stage to enthusiastic applause, Amy Carson Hunter certainly had a hard act to follow – and did, masterfully. On a surface level, Hunter’s own musical style was a drastic change of pace. Her music took a lighter touch than Bullock’s, focusing on the more enjoyable side of life and love. She was also very funny; audience and other performers alike were highly entertained by her storytelling. Although her music was very different in tone than Bullock’s, she too brought an honesty and intimacy to her performance, as well as stunning talent. Her voice was gentle but resonant, combining with her guitar skills to produce remarkable harmonies. She dealt with lighter emotions than Bullock, but brought the same level of passion and honesty to her set.


            The show ended with a performance by Wakefield Brewster – again, a huge contrast to previous performers. Brewster’s spoken word poetry was empowering, erratic, erotic, hilarious, and moving. His poems make reference to neurology, technology, the bible, Greek mythology, bell hooks, Charles Dickens, Animal Farm, explicit sexuality, and his own experiences of finding empowerment through art. With a quick wit and a mind that jumps rapidly between topics, readings by Brewster always promise entertainment. He did not disappoint. His poem “I Can” was particularly powerful, a testament to the power of art to grant one control over his or her own life. Though Brewster used words rather than song to express his message, he brought a sense of lyricism, rhythm, and openness which fit perfectly with the tone of the event.


            This event was an extremely special night, showcasing talents by three very different, and all very talented, artists. Future performances by Distance Bullock, Amy Carson Hunter, and Wakefield Brewster are definitely worth watching.