MUSIC SERIES – MAYLEE TODD’S MUSICAL PLANETARIUM

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Last night Maylee Todd’s Musical Planetarium was B.Y.O.B.: bring your own blanket. The floor of the Great Hall was littered with people and blankets and mats half an hour before the show was set to begin. Couples cozied up to one another and others already seemed pretty blissed out, staring up at the projected loop of images on the ceiling. The room had a very chill vibe and it kind of felt like a giant slumber party was about to begin. In the centre of the room was a small stage, covered with equal parts equipment, tinfoil and tulle. Attached to the stage were half a dozen white balloons, which would periodically change colour. The air was full of excitement when the lights dimmed and Maylee Todd took the stage, joined only in her performance by four back-up singers up in the balcony (some of whom occasionally doubled as dancers).

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Maylee Todd began to play the harp and sing as kaleidoscopic images swirled on the ceiling overhead. Todd’s set featured re-worked songs from her latest album ‘Escapology’, released earlier this year. Her delicate but powerful voice soared above the crowd as our attention continued to be directed up to the projections above us. The projections were a combination of pre-recorded imagery and a live feed of Todd’s performance being mixed by filmmaker Tess Girard. Throughout the evening many images floated and swirled on the ceiling, some very abstract and others more literal. Images of hands featured prominently, as did stars and water. Images were also being projected onto the balloons flanking Maylee Todd’s stage, lighting them up like bumpers on a pinball machine. It was all very beautifully executed and never felt like too much was happening at once, though there was always something happening, grabbing your attention.

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Most of the attention grabbing came courtesy of Maylee herself. In the middle of the room she remained the focal point, guiding her audience through this shared daydream.  One of the most exciting moments of the evening happened as Todd and her back-up singers ended a song with a vocal breakdown that quickly became a more intense vocal solo by Todd (at one point it almost sounded like throat singing) which then launched seamlessly into her popular single ‘Baby’s Got It’ causing the crowd to go wild. Throughout the evening the crowd continued to show Todd love whenever there was a quiet moment with cries of “We love you Maylee!” filling The Great Hall. The performance became more subdued as it reached its conclusion. Songs doubled as lullabies as Todd accompanied herself once again on the harp. She was very gracious as the show ended, thanking her crew and bringing the show’s director Steven McCarthy (leader of the band The ElastoCitizens and featured in the film Picture Day) onstage to share in the crowd’s adulation. Maylee Todd’s Musical Planetarium was the final Music Series concert of SummerWorks and it was a great note to end on. Beautifully done!

 

-Katharine MacNevin