Ben Gunning (with Matt Murphy)

A long time ago, in the mythical 1990s, there were a couple bands who took my heart by storm. The Flashing Lights and The Local Rabbits. The two bands would frequently play shows together around Toronto. Sunday night the frontmen from those two bands played two sets at The Drake Hotel to kick off Ben Gunning’s residency.

Matt Murphy started off the night, he who was formerly in The Flashing Lights, was playing along with his acoustic guitar, and though I’ve seen this man perform countless times and in many different genres and band setups, I had never before seem him performing alone, with a guitar. Murphy started off the set with “Pretty Boy Floyd,” a classic Woody Guthrie song1. He carried on, mostly playing new songs, but did include a song from he called old, but didn’t date, which he only recently finished, in addition, a City Field song which was not on their EP, and “Worth A Song” from the Guy Terrifico soundtrack. Murphy swapped between acoustic and electric guitars, and finished the set with “Way Out There” by Hank Snow.

Ben Gunning’s set consisted almost entirely of songs from his two solo records, Beigy Blur and Mal De Mar2, with the exception of one new song. His performances were good, and though the audience consisted of myself and my friend Allegra, Gunning played as if he was playing to a sold out crowd. I can safely say that at least 50% of the audience thought he chose an ideal set list, combining the best of his two albums, from “Beauty of God” and “Oh Rebel” on the first record to “Take The Hook” and the title track from the second.

Ben Gunning continues his residency, playing the first Sunday of the next two months at The Drake Hotel in Toronto. You can catch him on August 1 (with Steven McKay) and September 5 (with Thomas).

  1. Which I know better as a Byrds song. []
  2. I really hope I spelled those right. []

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