HAWKSLEY WORKMAN with CHAD VANGAALEN at the Commodore Ballroom

I attended this concert purely on faith. Having only heard one song by each artist, I knew I could be excited about hearing new music or apprehensive about paying for tickets that could lead to a poor performance. It was no surprise that Chad VanGaalen would be enjoyable, as his acoustic style and endearing warble were my cup of tea. The real treat was Hawksley Workman, a man who floored me with his Broadway-level performance and storytelling lyrics.

I’ve only ever seen a photo of Chad VanGaalen sitting down, so it was a special treat to see a tall and slender man walk on stage. His hair had a cute cowlick in the back and he seemed humbled by our applause. When he donned his various instruments the real treat was apparent; Chad VanGaalen’s music is as soothing and sweet as his stage presence. Accompanied by his band, Chad’s talent was apparent in both their collaboration and his solo songs. The song I knew was “Willow Tree,” a melodic song featuring only Chad and his banjo. Loved by guys and girls alike, Chad’s variety of acoustic tunes is sure to appeal to almost anyone.

Hawksley Workman took his time coming to the stage, but he was well worth the wait. He didn’t play the song I knew but by the end of his set it didn’t matter. I have never seen a band play for so long without a break, and the fans loved every minute of it. A seasoned performer, Hawksley’s stage presence is the most exhilarating aspect of his shows. He is personable and personal as he talks to the crowd, telling stories of the songs and how they came to be. His songs are lyrical and symbolic, another form of expression that he uses to tell stories about his life and his experiences. Some songs are very explicit, but it is obvious that they come from his heart and he means every word. Singing with passion and moving about the stage, it is hard to avoid being swept up with his loyal fans. Amidst various cries of “I want to have your baby!” Hawsley gives the love right back and you can feel the relationship he has developed with his fans. His songs are diverse and as colourful as his clothes. I challenge anyone to watch him perform live and not be impressed.

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