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LATISHA//Photo By Daman Singh

Sled Island 2024: Standout shows at Modern Love

By Ansharah Shakil, June 28 2024—

For day four of Sled Island, venues around the city were playing an outstanding number of artists. The lineup at Modern Love was a way to experience a multitude of different artists in similar genres, but each with their own unique sound. On the patio, a series of R&B performances showed off the kind of excellence we can expect from Canadian artists in this genre. The artists didn’t let the heat deter them from giving it their all, and neither did the audience, coming closer to watch the performances even though it meant standing beneath the sun. 

Singer-songwriter LATISHA, local to Calgary, began the performances at Modern Love. LATISHA is an R&B artist who knows exactly what kind of music she wants to make, and accomplishes it with poise. The moment she took the stage, it was obvious she belonged there, endearing herself to the audience almost immediately. In all of her casual charisma and undeniable delight at performing alongside her incredible band, what stands out most about LATISHA is her voice: crystal clear, admirably versatile and on full display in every song. Whether her voice was tumbling along her lyrics or stretching into graceful high notes, hearing her was an unforgettable experience. 

LATISHA//Photo By Daman Singh

Most of the songs she performed haven’t been released on streaming services yet, but was as high a calibre of R&B as any of her latest singles, and speaks to the promise she has as an artist. For one song, she led the audience into a sing-along, and was touched by their support. At the end of her set, she said with a laugh that she’d told herself she wouldn’t cry, and she’d almost made it. 

Vancouver-based singer Haleluya Haiku began her set by almost immediately announcing that Calgary was too nice. Baffled at this attitude because, in her words, Vancouver was the opposite, she playfully encouraged the crowd to boo at the stage. Haiku’s control over her audience and guitar was as deft as her voice, which easily switched from crooning snarls to almost rapping. This is her first time performing live in Calgary, and she peppered her set with tidbits about her and her band, forming a connection with the audience that bled through to her music. At one point she told the audience this was the part of the set where they could come closer, since she didn’t bite unless you asked.

Haleluya Haiku//Photo by Daman Singh

Inspired by films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Haiku’s said that she wants to take back the term “manic pixie dream girl”, something clearly evident on the snarky and catchy “MANIC PIXIE PACIFIST.” On songs like “pinball”, she delivers a tonally and lyrically emotional performance that is visceral in its emotion. But even with the lyrical content of some of her songs, most of them are all ones you can dance to, and all of them are distinctively charming. 

Ending the shows at Modern Love was hip-hop artist TOVA, based in Toronto. TOVA began his set with a quiet charisma, voice rich and smooth but easily transitioning to smooth falsettos. In honeyed tones, he swayed back and forth to the beat, consistently putting the spotlight on the members of his band — the drums in particular being a steady backdrop to the set. 

TOVA conducted a singalong with the audience that began with the question, “Are there any hard workers in the house?” Near the end of the set he asked, more teasingly, if there were any lovers in the house before launching into the evocative, dreamy “everything.” As touching as “everything” itself was the crowd’s reception to the song: the focused attention, and the one member of the audience near the stage who sang along to every word. The sense of community for what music is to people was undeniable in TOVA’s set, and meant that there was no one unaffected by the performance.

You can listen to all three artists on streaming services, and discover more about Sled Island on their website

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