CMW Review: Love X Stereo

Love X Stereo at CMW 2015
Love X Stereo at CMW 2015

Now I’ve been a fan of Love X Stereo for a couple of years and have seen them play live a few times, both here in Toronto in 2013 and in Austin, Texas at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2014, and they never disappoint. Annie Ko, the lead singer, is lovely and super friendly… and if you check back tomorrow, you’ll find an interview with her (thanks Annie!). Of course, if you attended Toronto Kpop Con, you might also recognize her from my panel, “Korean Indie Music 101” as she Skyped in from Seoul, Korea to give an indie musician’s perspective the panel. Thanks again Annie!

Love X Stereo at CMW 2015
Annie of Love X Stereo at CMW 2015

Love X Stereo at CMW

Unfortunately I was unable to make their first show on Friday, May 8th as I was at the K-pop Night Out showcase so I can’t comment on it. But luckily, they had two shows and there was lots of time to get to their show on Saturday, May 9th (it was at midnight) after LUNAFLY’s early show (it finished at 9:30 pm). Plus it also allowed me to check out a venue I wasn’t familiar with which is always fun. And of course, I was bound to compare it to Love X Stereo’s Toronto show in 2013

Love X Stereo at CMW 2015
Love X Stereo at CMW 2015

So what was it like?

The crowd. It was an interesting mix of people with an older crowd than I was expecting (most people looked 30+). I wonder if it was the venue or not? Or perhaps everyone just seemed older after the Lunafly crowd (which was all-ages so quite young). The venue wasn’t as full as I hoped but I heard that there were a lot more people at their first show. Speaking of Lunafly, the three older members were there in the audience.

The venue: It was an upstairs bar over a restaurant that seemed to have great acoustics or perhaps that was just the sound dude. Regardless, it wasn’t a bad place to catch a live show and lent itself to the intimate feel that the showcase had. Yeah, Love X Stereo and the other bands performed on a stage but it was still easy for them to interact with the audience before and afterwards. Which Love X Stereo definitely did, stopping and chatting with fans after their set.

The music. Those that were there, however, definitely got into Love X Stereo as the sound was amazing (kudos to the venue’s sound engineer). There was even a few calls for an encore after their set. But since they weren’t the last act, there was no chance for one. I was super happy to get a chance to hear some of their new stuff, including “We Love, We Leave” live (I love this song and if you haven’t heard it yet, what are you waiting for?) It was a fabulous set and while the crowd was smallish, Love X Stereo quickly grabbed their attention and held it during the set. 

On a side note, I liked the band (Saint Clare) that performed before Love X Stereo. They were a jazzy garage rock band that I’d check out again if I had the chance. I actually caught the two bands prior to Love X Stereo but the first one didn’t impress me much – despite the lead singer striping off all of his clothes (down to his briefs). And no, it wasn’t worth looking.

But back to Love X Stereo, it was a great set. It was one of those shows that makes you happy that you’re there. Their sound was as high energy as ever and I loved hearing their new songs live. Speaking of which, don’t forget to check out their new EP, “We Love, We Leave: Part 1”. While the audience may not have all known who Love X Stereo was beforehand, I’m sure based on the reactions, they converted a few fans. And isn’t that what international festivals are all about, the chance to play for fans and make new ones?!

Love X Stereo at CMW 2015
Love X Stereo at CMW 2015

Final Thoughts

While I’ve only seen them a few times, each time they’ve impressed me. Their music is fun to listen to at any time (I really do recommend checking them out if you haven’t already), but live… live they rock (pun intended). I always have a blast at their shows, so much so that I don’t end up taking as many photos as I usually do – and for someone who loves being a concert photographer, a band that can grab my attention enough that I want to focus on their music and show over my job… that’s a band with a killer live show. If you get the chance to see them live, go! 

Did you see Love X Stereo at CMW? What did you think?

Editor’s note: sorry about the odd lighting/colours in some of the photos – the one spotlight that often was on Annie had a green tinge… not the best colour for photos or people.

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

%d bloggers like this: