Meteor Heist and Jacob’s Ladder at Burdock Brewery

Local Toronto bands Meteor Heist and Jacob’s Ladder took the stage at Burdock Brewery on October 25th to create a soundtrack straight out of a coming-of-age movie. In the fairy-light-lit back room, surrounded by intimidatingly cool people, it was easy to feel like the main character. The small venue was the perfect fit for this show, allowing a distinct connection between musician and audience that is rare in other locations. The crowd took full advantage of this and did not disappoint, eagerly dancing, singing along and overall, being immersed in the moment. 

The night started strong with indie pop powerhouse Meteor Heist, who immediately charmed the crowd with their bright sound and heartfelt lyrics. From the beginning, their chemistry and friendship were apparent, with the members cracking jokes and telling stories in between songs and throughout the evening. This show celebrated the release of their new single “Endlessly,” whose groovy keys and overall vibe are best experienced live. Although this band is full of talented musicians, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Lila Wright’s powerful vocals, which elicited various gasps and shouts during their set. One of my favourites was a song written by bassist William Kilbride called “Won’t Be Long.” It was punchy, upbeat, and the vocal delivery was passionate, energizing the crowd to dance.

After a dramatic anecdotal retelling of getting made fun of by Snapchat AI, we eventually reached their hit single “Circling the Drain,” which recently surpassed ten thousand streams on Spotify. It’s obvious why it’s so popular, as it perfectly captures an ambivalent feeling that came along with the summer it was released. This was followed by the absolute showstopper that was "King City," a crowd favourite that left the crowd flabbergasted simply with its instrumental. It highlighted each member’s strengths while simultaneously cementing the band as a force to be reckoned with. They closed their set with another one of my favourites, a song called “Straw Dogs.” This got the audience clapping along and ended the set with a bang, leaving the audience excited and ready for the next band.

Despite not having seen Jacob’s Ladder before, I was pleasantly surprised. Although most of their set was downtempo and melancholy, the audience was drawn in from the first note. When invited, they sat on the floor for the remainder of the evening, in a scene reminiscent of kindergarten storytime. The band fused various styles and played covers and originals, making them hard to pin down in terms of genre. It’s certainly worth mentioning that Cameron Stewart did a double shift playing guitar for both bands and was 100% committed to wearing a cowboy hat despite the rest of Jacob’s Ladder forgetting to bring their headwear. I thoroughly enjoyed their rendition of John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery,” which showcased their ability to deliver a frequently covered song in an interesting way.

They even entertained during the breaks, which consisted of frantic (and comedic) tuning as a result of some intonation problems, much to the embarrassment of lead vocalist/guitarist Melissa Paju. This setback didn’t discourage them as the band continued to wow the crowd with buttery vocal harmonies, and a generally smooth vibe. Although the only current way to hear them is live, they are working on recording a single called “Sickness,” which will hopefully be released later this Winter. I was impressed by their ability to completely envelop the crowd in their contemplative bubble, and make them feel every emotion associated with their lyrics. Technical problems be damned, I’d definitely see them again.

All in all, I think these bands meshed perfectly to create a well-rounded evening of tunes. Despite being new to Toronto and its music scene, I felt entirely welcomed. There’s a certain beauty about the visible connections small bands have with the audience and those who share the stage - it was really special to witness that firsthand. I highly recommend supporting your local musicians and checking out a show!