PHOTOS AND REVIEW by Sabrina Citta
Stranded Fest presents Napoleon as PUP | July 4, 2020
YouTube Livestream [ Jam Chamber Rehearsal Studio ]
Well it’s definitely been a minute since my last concert review. Why you may ask? Well we all know why; COVID-19 happened. The pandemic has affected so many people, families, jobs, industries including the photography and music industry. Concerts and shows haven’t happened in Ontario since early March and it has been a pretty hard thing to cope with for everyone involved; musicians, venues, roadies photographers and even fans. For myself, going from photographing and attending 4+ concerts a month to not being able to leave the house definitely has a negative effect on a person. So when I was presented with the opportunity to photograph Toronto’s very own Napoleon I jumped at the chance!
Napoleon is four-piece band from Toronto that formed in early 2018. The band consists of Jonathan Elmaleh on guitar/lead Vocals, Nick Mokrzewski on guitar/backing vocals, Michael Mihalić on bass/backing vocals and Eitan Garazi on drums. They consider themselves to be a hard rock band with punk/post-hardcore tendencies AND they are managed by guitarist Scott Middleton from Cancer Bats. They also recently released their hit single Amends featuring Luke Bentham from The Dirty Nil on guest vocals.
Like many other bands Napoleon had to cancel their shows for the remainder of the year because of the pandemic but this didn’t stop them from playing. Napoleon was supposed to play a Stranded Fest cover set at the beginning of June in a Toronto venue which didn’t end up happening so Jon contacted Stranded Fest’s founder Zach Richman and asked if he wanted to help them put on this livestream event instead. Zach was super stoked so they began organizing the livestream event. Stranded Fest works with Ontario bands to perform cover sets so for this livestream Napoleon covered the band PUP playing eleven of their songs along with two original Napoleon songs Enemy and Amends. They put on a super energetic and awesome performance. They also sold a special edition charity Napoleon tshirt , as well as accepted charitable donations before, during and after the livestream with all proceeds going to Black Lives Matter Toronto. This is definitely not the last you’ll be hearing from Napoleon, Jon mentioned that they have a bunch of new song releases that are set to be coming out in the next couple of months!
It was so great to hear and see live music again and also to photograph it. Hopefully there is more shows and events to come in the near future!
Zachary Richman, founder of Stranded Fest was also kind enough to comment about Stranded Fest, the recent Napoleon live stream and the music industry during the pandemic:
About the stream:
For 5 years now, Stranded Fest has been working with Ontario bands of all sizes to put on unique cover set festivals. But with everything going on in the world today, our industry has been forced to come to a stop. We’ve been considering testing out livestreams for a while now, but it was actually Napoleon who reached out to us with the idea for this particular stream. From there, we worked together to turn it into a charity event, and the rest was history. The stream was a lot of fun, there was a ton of viewer participation, and most importantly, we raised money for Black Lives Matter Toronto. Overall, it was a success.
About the music industry during the pandemic:
It’s been a hard year for our community. Not only are musicians, venues, and other industry professionals struggling to make ends meet, but those who have a passion for shows are missing a huge chunk of their lives. It’s taken an emotional and financial toll on us all. Despite the struggle, it’s been heartwarming seeing so many musicians take to streaming to help keep the magic of shows alive. To anyone reading this, I urge you to support your local musicians and venues, to donate to charities dedicated to helping those in our industry (some examples: Unison Benevolent Fund, MusiCares, Toronto Arts Foundation, URGNT Toronto), and to sign the #SupportCanadianVenues petition.
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