Sometimes the best aspect of live music comes from an intangibly inspiring quality that lingers in the air of a venue, which leaves the audience feeling like they were just part of something truly special. Sunday’s show at Festival Hall did just that.

The night featured Matt Epp and Kim Churchill, two incredibly infectious men who charmed the audience with their soulful songs and effervescent personalities.

Manitoba native Epp opened the show with his soothing voice and heartfelt ballads. He played to an already packed venue of eclectically mismatched patrons whose only commonality was their love and appreciation for great music.

With buoyant energy permeating through every square inch of Festival Hall’s high ceilings, Kim Churchill took the stage next. It is truly incredible to watch this one-man band create the same type of layered sound that a six-piece would dish out all on his lonesome.

Churchill uses a variety of instruments simultaneously, including an acoustic guitar that doubles as percussion, two booming kickstands on a large drum, a tambourine operated by foot, four different harmonicas that are swapped in and out, and a scale of chimes. His talent is palpable, and his acoustic folk tunes are powerful with wise lyrics that far exceed what you would expect from any other fresh-faced 23-year-old.

Between songs he told charming stories of where certain songs gained their inspiration and he expertly maneuvered through the potential awkwardness that a pair of very vocal and overzealous Australian audience members provided.

When asked what he thought about Festival Hall as a venue, Churchill jokingly states (in his adorable Aussie accent), “Well, there’s a lot of wood in here … But seriously the acoustics were great. I think what really makes a venue is the crowd, and this was an extraordinary crowd that digs music. It was a really great show to play.”

The brilliant sound and relaxed intimacy that Festival Hall provides to its artists and patrons is unparallel to any other venue in Calgary and it served as a perfect backdrop for this night of brilliant performances.

Photos and words by Kayla Beattie

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