On May 25, Cub Sport brought their World Tour to Toronto for a magical night at The Drake Underground. The show opened with Minor Poet, a colourful band that juxtaposed their relaxed indie-pop tunes with vibrant energy. It was a charming set that is sure to have secured them some more Toronto fans:
Then, after much anticipation, out came Brisbane darlings Cub Sport, with what they aptly call their “trans-dimensional genre-queer pop.”They have been treating their Toronto fans very well, this being the third time Cub Sport has played in the city in a little over a year. Every time I see them, I think there is no way they can get better. And yet, with every return, their growth is shocking and inspiring.
The crowd cheered as singer Tim Nelson, keyboardist Sam Netterfield, guitarist Zoe Davis, and drummer Dan Puusaari walked on stage, glitter on their faces. Tim glistened in a harness and leather pants; his art-covered body was exposed for all to see. His stage presence has always been mesmerizing, but tonight he possessed a new level of captivation, the embodiment of confidence as he gazed out from the edge of the stage. Their first piece was an acapella performance of “Unwinding Myself,” where Tim showed off the power and range of his vocals. There was only profound silence in the moments where he paused. This passion never wavered throughout the entire set. Tim’s ability to look listeners straight in the eye and sing them his innermost thoughts and feelings led to an intimate and inclusive atmosphere. The moments where he connected with fans in this way, clasping hands and holding the audience’s gaze, were nothing less than electric. Many were moved to tears.
Cub Sport’s performance is a testament to the power of vulnerability. In the rare moments when Tim would speak to the crowd, it was to spread a message of self-love, encouraging people to be proud of exactly who they are with an open-hearted honesty that gave weight to his words. Before playing “As Long As You’re Happy” from their latest self-titled album, Tim talked about his love for his husband (Cub Sport’s keyboard player). He explained that although he has written many songs about Sam, “As Long As You’re Happy” is his favourite because it captures how their love feels to him. In a heartwarming moment, he thanked a fan for bringing a pride flag. He explained that since coming out had been so scary for him, it makes him happy to see young fans show up with pride. He borrowed the flag onstage during “Party Pill” and their last song “Come On Mess Me Up,” a fan favourite from their full-length debut This Is Our Vice.
Cub Sport live is not only uplifting and sincere, but they also show off incredible musical talent with three talented singers in the band taking turns at the mic, and a moment in “Lift Me Up” where Zoe came out front in her big suit to show off her guitar skills. This combination of prolific talent, touching vulnerability, and otherworldly stage presence makes for something rare and precious, so it is no wonder they have been selling out tours in their home country of Australia. With the generosity, openness, and warmth that Cub Sport put into everything they do, it is only a matter of time before they have the same success in Canada and around the rest of the world.
Cub Sport has dates lined up in the US until the end of June. Find more info on their website here so you don’t miss out!
Review by Zoe Orion.
Photos by Hannah Maynes.