Live at Convocation Hall


A hardworking Canadian singer/songwriter that didn’t seem to be going anywhere, Hayden Desser was finally discovered when Steve Buscemi asked him to contribute the title track to the brilliant Trees Lounge immediately following his support gigs for Guided By Voices. And if that song — co-written with Buscemi — remains one of his finest single moments on tape, it was last year’s Skyscraper National Park that proved him to be the tremendous talent that earlier full-length releases had only hinted at.

Generally speaking, you don’t want to follow your finest moment on tape with a double live album. But there you go. Live at Convocation Hall is Hayden doing his thing in front of a supportive Toronto home crowd. Hayden performs mostly by himself, although a few guests pop up from time to time, most notably Julie Doiron and Howie Beck on an affectionate version of Neil Young’s “Tell Me Why” — Young himself being a dedicated Hayden fan. And for an artist so reliant on the words, his songs work amazingly well in a large theater.

Hayden has a charming presence, cracking jokes and telling stories — in fact, the story preceding “All in One Move” lasts longer than the (admittedly brief) song itself. The songs don’t rely on any heavy production or fancy wrapping, and Live at Convocation Hall is testament of Hayden’s will to strip his already brutally honest songs to the bone, and to trust the audience to pick them up and make them their own. The set closes with an amazing four-track encore that brings everything to a perfect end, with both “Trees Lounge,” the aforementioned Young cover, and a stunning “Carried Away” proving just why Hayden’s audience is growing stronger all the time. A beautiful album — and it’s a double live set, dammit! Brilliant.

Badman Recording Co.: http://www.badmanrecordingco.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Butch Walker
    Butch Walker

    Stay Gold (Dangerbird Records). Review by Andrew Ellis.

  • Belly

    Belly brought lot of grit and a touch of grace to the Bowery Ballroom in NYC.

  • Pickathon 2016
    Pickathon 2016

    Pendarvis Farms transforms for three extraordinary days into the fun and psychedelic fest of your wildest indie music loving dreams, Pickathon. Alexa Harris was there to experience the joys of farm life for the weekend.

  • Money Chicha
    Money Chicha

    Echo En Mexico (Vampisoul). Review by James Mann.

  • Micronotz reissues
    Micronotz reissues

    Mortal Micronotz, Smash, Live, The Beast that Devoured Itself, 40 Fingers (Bar/None). Review by Scott Adams.

  • Big Eyes
    Big Eyes

    Stake My Claim (Don Giovanni Records). Review by Jen Cray.

  • Various Artists
    Various Artists

    Money Maker (Studio One). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Pawns

    A triple bill of underground Goth, led by NYC’s Pawns, transforms Uncle Lou’s into a time machine. Jen Cray did not wear eye makeup, but she did wear a black shirt to the show.

  • Bossacucanova

    The Best of Bossacucanova (Six Degrees Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Ranch Ghost
    Ranch Ghost

    Lookin’ (Rough Beast Records). Review by Jen Cray.

From the Archives